|INTERACTIVE MAP OF THE CHAO PHRAYA RIVER BY ENGELBERT KAEMPFER (Siam 1690)
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1. Customs House - Engelbert Kaempfer takes mistakenly the guard house for the customs house on his map. François Valentyn's map shows here
two guard houses established on both river banks of the Chao Phraya River. Their purpose was to inform the authorities at Samut Prakan of
approaching vessels. Kaempfer noted in his work that guns were installed on both sides of the river since the French troubles in 1688.
2. Bantianphia [Ban Chao Phraya] - Literally the Village of the Chao Phraya. Chao Phraya was the highest title conferred by the King to a noble
man. The official settlement, in fact the "Gate to Ayutthaya", must have been an important post. The nobleman here was responsible for the security of
the lower reaches of the Chao Phraya River and a kind of ambassador to receive (and evaluate) important visitors. The official building was likely
situated in Khlong Nang Bang Kreng in Pak Nam (Samut Prakan) along a canal with its mouth on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. The latter
derived its name from this place.
3. Banbelkot [Bang Pla Kot] - Bang Pla Kot or "Village of the Cat Fish" was the main village located along Khlong Bang Pla Kot, a canal with its
mouth on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The Dutch East India Company had a warehouse called "Amsterdam" along this canal since 1636
4. VOC Warehouse Amsterdam - A warehouse called "Amsterdam” was built around 1636 on the west bank of the Chao Phraya, where it meets
the Bang Pla Kot Canal. Because large ships were not able to sail the almost 80 Km long distance over the river to Ayutthaya, it was necessary to
build this warehouse on stilts, located about 2 miles from the mouth of the river. Kaempfer noted: "… the Dutch habitation and storehouse called
Amsterdam, near two leagues distant from the mouth of the river…" and "It is built according to the fashion of the country on piles of
bamboos. Stores of deer and buffle skins, red wood, were kept in lofts, but the red wood for dying, called Faang, or as the Japanese name
it Tsiampan, lies in an open place, till ships come to take it in, which happens every year, and the greater part of it is carried to Japan."
5. Little Buffles Field
7. Campus quondam Urbis Prapedain [Former city area Prapedain] - Phra Pradaeng was a fortified town at the beginning of the Ayutthaya period.
In the reign of King Songtham (reign 1610/1611-1628) it was abandoned because of regress of the shore-line caused by deposition of sediment at
the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Samut Prakan was established further south on the east bank (See Ban Chao Phraya).
8. Tabet or Buffles Field
9. Banwat - Kaempfer noted: "But from Bangkok to the harbor there is nothing but forests, deserts and morasses; and every where there is
plenty of bamboos, and Gabbe Gabbe, (a shrub with leaves like those of the Palm Tree) [=Nipa Palm] furnishing the inhabitants with
materials to make houses, hedges and roofs."
12. Thonburi Fortress - The Wichai Prasit Fort, named before Wichayen Fort (Phaulcon, the Chao Phraya Wichayentrathibodhi, proposed its
construction to King Narai), was erected around 1675 AD and situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River near the confluence of Khlong
Bangkok Yai (Bang Luang). The fort was built to prevent ships from sailing up the river to the then Siamese capital of Ayutthaya. The fort is at
present part of the Thai Navy's headquarters.
13. Bangkok Fortress - The fortress was designed by the French engineer de La Mare, a member of the first French Embassy (1685) who stayed at
the request of King Narai (reign 1656-1688). Construction work was already ongoing before the arrival of the second French Embassy. The
engineer Vollant des Verquains disapproved de La Mare's plan of the fortification and redesigned a new plan for the fortress, but the latter was
rejected by Phaulkon. The fortress was still in an embryonal state, with two bastions, two curtains and a cavalier still to be built. Between the
Thonburi and Bangkok forts there was a chain over the river to stop incoming and outgoing vessels. The fort, built on the Bangkok side, was
demolished on order of Phetracha (reign 1688-1703) after the ousting of the French in 1688. Kaempfer noted: "We found the old Fort, which lies
on an Island, in good condition; but the new Fort, that had been built by the French on the East shore, was quite demolished."
14. Ban Kok Noy [Bangkok Noi]
Kaempfer noted: "The banks of this river are low, and for the greater part Meinam, marshy, yet reckoning from Judia to Bangkok, which
makes at least three parts in four of the way to the seashore, they are pretty well inhabited. Along them appear many villages, the houses
of which are raised on piles, but built of poor slight stuff, and sometimes fine Temples and Habitations of the priests, with abundance of
Trees some bearing fruit, some not."
15. Ban Troy
16. Ban Samsel [Sam Sen]
17. Talkeeuw or Talaque [Talat Kaeo]
18. Ban Pay [Bang Phai] - Bang Phai District on the Chao Phraya River right bank in Nonthaburi Province.
19. Talaquan [Talat Khwan] - Talat Khwan was a village situated in a loop of the Chao Phraya River. King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569) established
here the city of Nonburi (Nonthaburi) after the Burmese war of 1548-1549 with the purpose of easily calling up men and gathering provisions in
times of war; but the people kept using the old name. In 1636, in the reign of King Prasat Thong (r. 1629-1656), a canal (Khlong Lat Mueang
Nonthaburi) was dug to shortcut the loop in the Chao Phraya River. The island of Talat Khwan was formed by the loop, becoming Khlong Om, and
Khlong Lat Mueang Nonthaburi. Accounts of the early Bangkok period describe the city as a bustling community with long row of shops on bamboo
rafts moored near the shore. In 1834 Bishop Pallegoix estimated that there were about 500 houses, from which he deduced that the population was
around 5000. In 1928 the township of Nonthaburi was relocated to its present location.
21. Ban Noy
22. Talatquan [Talat Khwan] - Talat Khwan Sub-district of Nonthaburi.
23. Ban Trit [Ban Kret]
24. Trit Noy [Khlong Lat Kret Noi] - Shortcut canal dug in the 17th century at the town of Pak Kret, reducing the journey on the Chao Phraya
River from 6 to 2 kilometers. The Dutch called this shortcut the "small mosquito hole".
25. Ban Luangh [Ban Luang] - Bang Luang District in Pathum Thani Province.
26. Ban Lauw
27. Ban Lawma
29. Ban Kitsieng [Ban Kra Chaeng] - Mueang Pathum Thani District in Pathum Thani Province.
30. Pagus Peguanorum [Lit: Village of the Peguans / Sam Khok] - In 1661 in the reign of King Narai (reign 1656 - 1688) Mons fled Martaban after
a revolt and sought refuge in Ayutthaya. The Mon families, about 11.000 people, were met at Kanchanaburi and arrangements were made to settle
them. A large number of them were given Sam Khok as area of settlement. Abbé de Choisy mentioned that in 1685 there was a Christian church
here dedicated to Saint Peter.
31. Ban Phactrit Iay [Ban Pak Kret Yai]
32. Pagut R.
34. Templa & Pyramides aurat [Gilded Temples & Stupas]
37. Ban Trangh
38. Ban Clangh [Ban Klang] - Mentioned also on the De Graaff map.
39. I(sle) Ban Trangh - This island still can be more or less visualized and stretches out over three sub-districts of Ayutthaya and one sub-district of
Pathumthani. The most southern point of the island lies in Thai Ko sub-district (Lit. Rear of Island), while the most northern point is situated in Mai
Tra Sub-district. The western passage was largely silted, while the middle part of the island disappeared under water partly in Ban Ma Sub-district
and completely in Khok Chang Sub-district. Kaempfer noted: "On the tenth in the morning we came to a small Island washed by two arms of
the River where there are several temples and habitations of the Talapoins."
From Bang Sai
40. Bantrey [Bang Sai] - Bang Sai District in Ayutthaya Province.
41. Templa [Temples]
43. Templum Anuui Sacrificy [Wat Chumphon Nikayaram at Bang Pa-In]. Kaempfer noted: "Having made two leagues we arrived at the
famous temple Banihijn, by foreigners called the Golden Pagod. Every year, when the water is highest the King goes thither with great
pomp and a numerous attendance to perform his devotion, and to make his offerings to the Priests. The common people call this solemnity
Ktinam, that is to say, the Cutting of the water, from an erroneous tradition they have, that the King on that occasion cuts the water with
a knife in order to make it fall." The position were Kaempfer indicates the "Templum Annui Sacrifici" or the Monastery of the Annual Sacrifice is
Wat Bang Khian in Bang Krasun at present.
44. Ban Eydap [Ban Dap] - Bang Krasun Sub-district of Ayutthaya Province]
46. Ban Phay
47. Ban Thew
49. Bankedam - Village near one of the old mouths of the Pa Sak River, before the river was canalized to the east side of Ayutthaya.
50. Chinese Island - Ko Phra or Monk's Island in Ban Pho Sub-district of Bang pa-In District in Ayutthaya Province.
51. Ban Phy [Ban Bang Phi]
52. Canon or Custom House - The customs house was located near Wat Prot Sat in Khanon Luang Sub-district, south of Ayutthaya. It was the
largest tax station of the four stations around Ayutthaya, which controlled incoming and outgoing sea vessels. At the customs houses goods were
checked for prohibited items and weapons as prescribed by law, urgent dispatches were sent to the capital, and import and export duty was
collected from ships coming and going to and from the capital. The customs house was called by the Thais "Khanon" and by the French "Tabanque".
53. Klong Nam Ja - Still existent canal with its origin at Khlong Takhian near Ban Prakan (called Lam Rang Prakan before - the area is at present
called Pak Kran) and its mouth at the Noi River near Ban Klueng (called Khlong Ban Klueng in that area). The canal is mentioned on Valentyn, de
Courtaulin and Coronelli's maps.
54. Maccasars [Makassar Settlement]
55. Malagans [Malay Settlement]
56. Peguans [Pegu (Mon) Settlement]
57. Japonese [Japanese Settlement]
58. Dutch [Dutch Settlement]
59. Paduam Pasaan
60. Tiam piatai [Wat Chao Phraya Thai] - today called Wat Yai Chaiya Mongkhon.
61. Palatium Metropol. Episc. - The church and palace of Mr. Louis the Metropolitan Bishop (St Joseph's Church) - Kaempfer noted: "opposite to
that side of the River, where it lets out the branch Klang Nam Ja the Metropolitan Bishop Mr. Louis had caus'd a stone Palace to be built,
together with a fine Church, which is now lock'd up since his Imprisonment. The Roman Catholick Ecclesiasticks in Siam have assur'd me,
that there live above three thousand six hundred Christians in the neighbourhood of Judia, who are past seven years of age, and have been
admitted to the Sacrament."
62. Camp of the Portuguese (Portuguese settlement) - Kaempfer noted: "On the opposite side of the River stands a village inhabited by a
Portuguese race begot on black women, and farther down stands a Church, dedicated to St. Domingo to which belong the Fathers of the
Dominican Order. Behind it stands another small Church, which is kept by two Fathers of the Order of St. Austin, who with the foresaid
three Dominicans live peaceably together in a house built of reed. Not far from hence, on the same plain, stands a Jesuit Church named St.
Paul, after the chief Church at Goa, belonging to the Fathers of this Order, who through all Asia are better pleased to be called Paulins
from that church than Jesuits."
63. Palace of the Querry of the Kings elephants (Rear Palace) - Kaempfer noted: "The third and last Palace is smaller than any of the two, and
situated in the West and least inhabited part of the City. In this lives at present a Prince of the Royal Palace of the Blood, and it is call'd the
Palace of the Querry of the of the King's Elephants, the said Prince being the Conductor and Elephants. Manager of the Elephant, which
carries the King."
64. Grand Palace - Kaempfer noted: "The first is the new palace built by the late King on the north side towards the middle of the town. It
consists of a large square, with several sub-divisions, and many buildings, which according to the Chinese architecture are adorned with
many roofs, and frontispieces part of which are gilt over. Within the walls of the Palace as well as without, are to be seen long stables, in
which some hundred of elephants stand in a long row magnificently harnessed."
65. Palace of the Prince royal (Front Palace) - Kaempfer noted: "The second palace, call'd the foremost Prince Royal palace, is situated in the
North East part of the City towards its extremity. It is of a square figure, but not near so large as the first. It was the ancient place of
Residence of the former King's, but at present, in 1690, it is inhabited by the Prince Royal, who is twenty years of age."
66. Thamnop Ro was a kind of weir made of wooden beams positioned in the water to break the speed of the river in order to prevent damage to
the embankments. Thamnop Ro was situated at the confluence of the old Lopburi River with the Front City Canal or Khu Khue Na, in front of the
today defunct Maha Chai fortress. The Thamnop Ro Bridge derived its name from this water speed breaker.
67. Barklams Temple [Barcalon or Phra Klang's Temple] - Kaempfer noted: "The other remarkable curiosity is a double square joining
together, and situate not far from the city towards the East; each fquare contains several temples, convents, chapels, columns, pyramids
and other buildings of different forms. They are separated by a Canal, and are each enclos'd with a fine wall."
68. Phahkton Pyramis [Phukhao Thong] - Kaempfer noted: "The first is the famous Pyramid Pkah Thon or Puka' thon, which stands on a
plain one league North West of the City. It was built by the Siamites in remembrance of a great victory obtained in that place over the King
of Pegu, whom they killed and defeated his numerous army, thereby freeing themselves of the subjection they were under to the Peguans,
and restoring their ancient liberty. It is a bulky, but magnificent structure, forty odd fathoms high, standing in a square taken in with a low
neat wall. It consists of two structures which are built one upon the other."
69. Templum Novum [New Temple] - Probably Wat Choeng Tha.
70. Templum [Temple] - Probably Wat Mai.
71. Campus Elephantorum [Elephant Kraal].
|Interactive map & text by Tricky Vandenberg
Last update April 2019
|Kaempfer's Interactive map of the Chao Phraya River shows important geographical features dating from 1690 AD, the year of his visit to Ayutthaya.
The map named "Mappa Meinam Fluvij Ad Orig. Eng. Kempfer delin, I.G.S" was published in 1727 as a part of his work "The History of Japan,
together with a description of the kingdom of Siam, 1690-92."