1538 - CHIANG KRAN WAR
Text by Tricky Vandenberg - June 2012
In 900, a year of the dog …...In the eleventh month, the King went to Chiang Krai and Chiang Kran.

The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya [1] spent only one line on this event, stating that King Chairacha (r.1534-1547) went to Chiang Kran (1)
in the eleventh month of the year 1538 (900 CS).

The Burmese Chronicles do not even mention a single skirmish with the Siamese in that period.

Prince Damrong Rajanubhab put this "war" in the year 1539, after Martaban - at that time an important port situated at the mouth of the Salwin
River - was subdued by King Tabeng Shwe Thi. The Burmese Chronicles although put the fall of Martaban in 1540. [2]

If the date of Luang Prasoet's Chronicle would be correct, than the skirmish should have taken place during the conquest of Pegu by Tabeng Shwe
Thi in 1538-39. Wood follows this time frame. [3]

All in a nutshell: nothing is sure, nor the date, neither the exact place of the incident.

On the little information gathered we can conclude that the King of Taungoo, Tabeng Shwe Thi (2), came into conflict with Ayutthaya somewhere
in the period  1538-40 after a series of offensive actions against his neighbors. In his conquest, Tabeng Shwe Thi occupied the town of Chiang
Kran (1), which was subjected to Ayutthaya. Phayre writes in his "History of Burma" that "
Tabeng Shwehti took measures for occupying the
country to the eastward of the Salwin. Military posts were established on the frontier of the Thaungyin river, to watch Zimme and Siam
."
(4) [4], an indication may be that the Burmese with these actions infringed on Siamese territory. King Chairacha attacked the Burmese and drove
them out of his realm. (5) In this military expedition he was assisted by Portuguese mercenaries [5], which did such a good service that they were
rewarded with commercial and residential privileges (see the essay on the Portuguese in Ayutthaya).  

Footnotes:

(1) Some sources put Chiang Kran as the former town of Gyaing in Moulmein district [Gyaing is presently the name of a river in Myanmar]. Prince
Damrong in his 1928 edition relocate Chiang Kran on the Siamese border by the Three Pagoda Pass. The town of Chiang Kran was formerly
called Diangkrains by the Mons [
no information on Diangkrains found]. It was also called Kreng and situated on the banks of the road leading
to the boundary of Mae Sot in the district of Tak [
no information on Kreng found]. The people inhabiting Chiang Kran were Mons. It is
suspected that the town was under Siamese rule when Sukhothai was the capital of Siam. But probably Tabeng Shwe Thi thought that it was Mon
territory and wanted to annex it. [2]
(2) Tabeng Shwe Thi - meaning "golden umbrella" (3) - succeeded his father Minkyinyo as ruler of the Taungoo dynasty in 1531. Between 1534
and 1538 Tabin Shwe Thi, in a series of offensives, marched south from Taungoo against the Mon kingdom of Pegu in lower Burma. In 1539,
Hongsawadi (Hanthawaddy), its capital, came under Burmese control and was annexed by Tabeng Shwe Thi. Hongsawadi became the Burmese
royal capital from 1539 till 1599 and from 1613 till 1634.
(3) Pali: Suvanna Akachatra. Some ancient records called him King Farang Mangtra. [3]
(4) Zimme = Chiangmai
(5) The Siamese skirmish with the Burmese was likely not with the main army of Tabeng Shwe Thi, but - if it the incident ever took place - one of
Tabeng Shwe Thi's reconnaissance divisions.

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 20 / Source: Luang Prasoet.
[2] Our Wars with the Burmese - Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (re-edited 2001) - page 10/13.
[3] A History of Siam - W.A.R. Wood (1924) - page 102/103.
[4] History of Burma - Arthur Phayre (1883) - London - page 98.
[5] The Voyages and Adventures of Fernand Mendez Pinto, A Portugal: During his Travels - Pinto (1653) - London.