Phuket History

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Home > Phuket in Brief > History
Phuket History

Phuket was known as Bukit, Junk Ceylon, or Muang Talang, in the variety of reason. Bukit is the name that derives in meaning from the Tamil manikram, or Crystal Mountain. Junk Ceylon is the name that found on the old maps (Ptolemy's Geographical, written by the Alexandrian geographer in the Third Century A.D.) and Muang Talang is called since the part of the Srivichai and Siri Tahmarach empires. It was first called Monton Phuket in Rama V’s reign.

Phuket is a town with a long history. In centuries past, Phuket was an important trading post on the eastern shore of the bay of Bengal, handing shipping and dealing with sailors from the Arab and Malay worlds, India, Burmar, China and, of course, Siam. By the 16th century, the island was also well-know to Europeans, as first Portuguese and Dutch, then English and French sailed to its fabled shore. The island enjoyed an unprecedented surge in wealth when tin was found to be available in large quantities in the nearby shadows. Ambitious, hardworking miner and business flocked to the island from the province of south China (the 19th century), adding a considerable Chinese element to the island’s already mixed population. 

The most important historic event is the story of two heroines: Thao Thep Kasatri (Kunying Jan) and Thao Sri Sunthon(Kunying Mook) that people in Phuket were assembled led by the two heroines to fight with the Burmese that come to attack them. After a month’s siege the Burmese were forced to depart on 13 March, 1785. Kunying Jan and her sister were credited with the successful defense. In recognition King Rama I bestowed upon Kunying Jan the honorific Thao Thep Kasatri, a title of nobility usually reserved for royalty, by which she is known today. Her sister (Kunying Mook) became Thao Sri Sunthon.

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