Pattani Kingdom - Early History

Early History

Further information: Pan Pan

Langkasuka was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom, founded in the region as early as the 2nd century CE, which appeared in many accounts by Chinese travelers, the most famous of whom was the Buddhist pilgrim I-Ching. The kingdom drew trade from Chinese, Indian, and local traders as a stopping place for ships bound for, or just arrived from, the Gulf of Thailand. Langkasuka reached its greatest economic success in the 6th and 7th centuries and afterward declined as a major trade center. Political circumstances suggest that by the 11th century Chola invasion, Langkasuka was no longer a major port visited by merchants. However, much of the decline may be due to the silting up of its harbor, shown most poignantly today because the most substantial Langkasukan ruins lie approximately 15 kilometers from the sea.

Pattani became part of the Hindu-Buddhist Empire of Srivijaya, a maritime confederation based in Palembang. Srivijaya dominated trade in the South China Sea and exacted tolls on all traffic through the Straits of Malacca. Malay culture had substantial influence on the Khmer Empire, and the ancient city of Nakhon Pathom.

The founding of the Islamic kingdom of Patani is thought to have been around the mid-13th century CE, with folklore suggesting it was named after an exclamation made by Sultan Ismail Shah, “Pantai Ini!” ("This beach" in the local Malay language). However, some think it was the same country known to the Chinese as Pan Pan. Despite claims that the origins of the name Pattani means "this beach", it may be the same country known to the Chinese as Pan Pan.

An alternative theory is that the Patani kingdom was founded in the 14th century. Local stories tell of a fisherman named Paktani, who was sent by a king from the interior to survey the coast, to find a place for an appropriate settlement. After he established a successful fishing outpost, other people moved to join him. The town soon grew into a prosperous trading center that continued to bear his name. The authors of the Hikayat Patani chronicle claim this story is untrue, and support the claim that the kingdom was founded by the Sultan.

The Pattani kingdom's golden age was during the reign of its four successive queens from 1584, known as Ratu Hijau (The Green Queen), Ratu Biru (The Blue Queen), Ratu Ungu (The Purple Queen) and Ratu Kuning (The Yellow Queen), during which the kingdom's economic and military strength was greatly increased to the point that it was able to fight off four major Siamese invasions, with the help of the eastern Malay kingdom of Pahang and the southern Malay Sultanate of Johore.

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