Great Men From History Series – Naresuan the Great 1556-1605

This man was a Crown Prince and King of Thailand, and is a National Hero for freeing his people from the Burmese

BUT, his start in life was not so prestigious…and his tale is a tale of VENGEANCE and RIVALRY.

Thailand (at that time called Kingdom of Siam), and Myanmar (then called Kingdom of Burma) They are mortal enemies, and have gone to war for millennia. At this time, Burma was the dominant power, and they had a great king themselves, King Bayinnaung.

King Bayinnaung invaded Thailand in 1563, and by 1564 he had WON. Thailand was a vassal state, & as insurance that they’d behave, Naresuan (at the time, Prince Naret) was his royal captive for 7 years. The Burmese prince, Mingyi Swa, was his age, and tormented him constantly

He developed a fierce rivalry with him, & growing up in the Burmese Royal Court, he devoted himself to studying military arts & combat, particularly that of the Burmese Army

He plotted his revenge many years in advance (his story is legend in Thailand)

Finally when he was 16 (he’d lived with the Burmese since he was 9), he was sent back to Thailand. His sister was sent in his place, where she became the King’s CONCUBINE. At this point he had a switch flipped that he was going murder-fuck-massacre the Burmese at some future date

While he was back in Thailand, he wasnt able to take back control yet, King Bayinnaung was in control still, and he in fact fought alongside his forces & served as a Warrior-King for the Burmese many times. He was a phenomenal fighter, movies have been made about his life

Naresuan, known as the “Black Prince” (he was a tan guy by Thai standards), had become a legend before he was 30, which made the Burmese uneasy

In 1581, King Bayinnaung died finally. His son, Prince Nanda became King, and his son, prince Mingyi Swa, he came his number 2

At this point, things started to break down One of the other vassal kingdoms rebelled, and King Nanda called on Naresuan and his forces for help. But he was becoming afraid of him, and ordered an assassination attempt on him, As you might suspect, this DID NOT WORK

He found out about the plot and killed the men they sent himself, by elbow smashing them in the throat to death. At this point he was “fuck this” & knew the time had come, he called Council, declared the allegiance to Burma was over, TIME FOR WAR & because he was close to Bago, the capital of Burma, he decided to FREE over 10,000 Thai families that were being held hostage

Now, at this time the Burmese army was suppressing rebelling elsewhere, and they shit themselves when they heard he was in Bago. He managed to free the families…

& He fled immediately after, to Thailand.

King Nanda sent an army after him to stop him, DID NOT WORK EITHER

He kill-shot the general leading the army in the head from across a river. This was with a Portuguese musket mind you, long distance shooting was NOT a thing

When he got to Thailand, he was hailed as the Hero he was

But he was not done yet, The Burmese attempted to invade, but he fought off 5 invasions in a row, over 9 years He was outnumbered every time, but remember, he had memorized the Burmese war strategies years earlier

Finally in 1593, the Burmese decided to make on last push to conquer Thailand. This was known as The Elephant Battle. And King Naresuan finally met his childhood rival, now Crown Prince Mingyi Swa in the field -This story is a legendary tale, but let us accept it…

According to Thai legend, Naresuan and Mingyi Swa were both riding WAR ELEPHANTS. Like always, Naresuan was outnumbered, but he was managing to still beat the Burmese regardless. Charging into the Burmese front line, he ran directly into Prince Mingyi Swa

They crashed their War Elephants into each other, and fought from the top of them. The entire army paused to watch this momentous battle.

Naresuan lept after Mingyi Swa, and supposedly cut him HALF, he cleaved him from right shoulder down to left hip, slicing his torso in two

Amidst the spray of blood, he’d finally beaten his hated childhood rival. At this point, the Battle was lost for the Burmese. Naresuan would go on to be a great King and expand his Kingdom, and the Burmese would not be a threat again for another two centuries

What can we learn from this?

King Naresuan loved his country, loved his people, and he relentlessly devoted himself to his mission from a very young age that took 4 decades to achieve.

As with all Great men, fear, self doubt, and hesitation were non-factors in his Being