(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Photo of the Wat Phra Kaew from the outer court of the Grand Palace in Bangkok)
The destruction of Ayutthaya might well have spelled the end of Siamese power. Or it might well have led to another 1569 – following which a heroic king freed his country and restored the old capital. But instead, Siam went a different path. A liberator – two – would emerge. But they would not restore old Ayutthaya. Instead they forged a new path altogether.
The new Siam of Taksin and Rama I would cement Thai authority over mainland Southeast Asia. And when the specter of European imperialism came calling, the kingdom was well prepared to handle it. Thus modern Thailand was born.