1556 - WAR WITH LOVEK
Text by Tricky Vandenberg - June 2012
Chronicles of Ayutthaya

Around mid-year 917 CS (1555 AD), Prince Satha, the younger brother of King Ang Chan (r.1516-1566), helped by the Dai Viet attacked and
conquered Lovek, the Khmer capital, vassal to the Ayutthaya Kingdom.

King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569) ordered the Cambodian Prince Suthan, governor of Sawankhalok and eldest son of the King Ang Chan, to
lead an Ayutthayan army to recapture Lovek. In 1556, Prince Suthan and the King’s representative Phraya Montri, left with an army of 30,000
men under command of Phraya Rammalak. (1) Logistics was in the hands of Phra Maha Thep. Phraya Yao was, as four year earlier, the
commander of the naval forces. Due to weather circumstances, the naval force could not catch up with the land forces.

Phraya Rammalak’s vanguard penetrated the enemy forces in the middle of the night in the Pursat Plains. The Vietnamese army and the Khmer
army of Prince Sattha were prepared and resisted heavily. The vanguard was routed and in a withdrawing maneuver, collided with the main army.
In the chaos Prince Suthan was killed on the neck of his elephant. The Ayutthayan army lost many soldiers, horses and elephants. Slain, it returned
to the capital of Ayutthaya. [1]
Chronicles of Cambodia

Following the Chronicles of Cambodia the Siamese attack under the command of the 55-year old prince Chau-Phnhéa-Ong (Chao Phraya Ong)
occurred in 1534. The chronicles speak of a land army of 80,000 men and a naval army of 5,000. The Cambodian kalahom (defense minister)
was sent to the Gulf of Siam to take care of the Ayutthayan fleet. The Siamese fleet commander Phraya Racha Wangsan (2) was beaten and
withdrew to Ayutthaya. The King of Lovek commanded himself the land army. In the initial engagement Prince Ong was killed on his elephant by
an arrow and many chiefs next to him. The Ayutthayan army finally dispersed and withdrew.

After the campaign, the King of Lovek arranged the funerary honors for Prince Ong and constructed a victory pagoda near a banyan tree, where
he made his prayers prior the battle. All the gold and silver found on the Siamese commanders was used to make Buddha images for the temple.
The latter received the name of Pou Mean Bon (Pagoda of the all mighty banyan). The site still exists southwest of Pursat (Phouthisat) in Bakan
district. [2]
(Engravure of the City of Lovek)
Footnotes:

(1) The date of 1556 AD is taken from Luang Prasoet’s Chronicle. Other Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya state the army left in the
November 1536 AD (898 CS, 12th month, 8th of the decade). The Cambodian Chronicles have 1534 AD. Delaporte put the event in 1555 AD.
[3]
(2) Phraya Racha Wangsan is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Following Chularatana, the Phraya Racha Wangsan was the
division chief of the Krom Asa Cham, in charge of the Cham communities in Ayutthaya with a sakdina of 2,000 Rai. Author has the
impression that the function of the Racha Wangsan should be interpreted larger as also being responsible for - at least - a part of the Ayutthayan
naval forces. Winai Pongsripian, citing the "Three Seals Code", points out that the name "wangsan" (bangsan) was an inflection from "Hassan".
Cham were known for their expertise at seafaring and warfare at sea, likely the reason why the Wangsan was in charge for the sea going vessels.
[4][5]

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 30 / Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend
Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - War With Lawaek, 1556.
[2] Le Royaume du Cambodge - Jean Moura (Paris, 883) - page 42-3.
[3] Voyage au Cambodge - L'Architecture Khmer - Louis Delaporte (Paris, 1880) - page 447.
[4] The Shi’ite Muslims in Thailand from Ayutthaya Period to the Present - Julispong Chularatana - Manusya: Journal of Humanities, Special Issue
No.16, 2008.
[5] พรรณนาภูมิสถาน พระนครศรีอยุธยา เอกสารจากหอหลวง (ฉบับความสมบูรณ์) - Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents
from the palace - Dr Winai Pongsripian - Bangkok (2007) - page 57, footnote 68.