Episode 3.10 – The Age of Commerce

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Modern Thai floating market. Markets like these were common on the rivers and canals of Ayutthaya, with merchants docking by piers or the shore to sell their wares, food, or consumer goods to Ayutthayans and foreigners alike.)

With Naresuan’s death, the Ayutthayan Age of Commerce flourished. Abandoning the wars of his predecessors, Ekathotsarot changed course – retooling the state for commerce and trade. This was an era of intensive commercial activity throughout Asia. As the bridge between East and West, Ayutthaya was well poised to reap the profits of trade and commercial activity.

The Ayutthayan state came to resemble a private business enterprise in the hands of the King. Trade expeditions financed by the crown generated immense revenue for the treasury. Diplomatic relations were extended to foreign nations with the explicit intent to increase commerce between the various powers. Ultimately, the result was the transformation of Ayutthaya into an “urban and commercial” society, to quote Baker and Pongphaichit. 

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