Phuket's History Plays an Interesting Part in Any Vacation

Published: 18th Sep 2008Author: Valerie Mellema

It can be easy when you plan a vacation to a beautiful destination to spend your time on the beach and not really get to visit the cultural aspects of the area. However, once you learn Phuket’s history, it can only add to your experience and become an interesting part in any vacation.

Phuket, which is Thailand’s largest island, is located off the west coast of Thailand. Although it does not have any true land boundaries, it is surrounded by a number of other Thai provinces, like Phang Nga and Krabi. Also an important part of Phuket’s history is that, while it is an island, Phuket is located close enough to the mainland that it is connected to it by a bridge.

Traveling to Phuket has always been a part of its history, although in the past, the area was only a major trading route for India and China, instead of the tourist attraction that it has grown to be today. Since the 17th century, the Dutch, English, and French have also competed for the ability to trade with Phuket Island because of its great tin mining and resources.

However, it was in 1685 that the French tin monopoly in Phuket was confirmed by King Narai to a French ambassador, the Chevalier de Chaumont. At that time, Sieur de Billy, a friend of the French ambassador, was named governor of the island. Following the Siamese revolution in1688, the French were expelled from the area. However, by 1689, a French general named Desfarges led an expedition to re-capture the island of Phuket in an attempt to restore some sort of control for the French. When occupation of the island did not provide to be useful, and Desfarges returned to Pondicherry less than one year later.

In 1785, Phuket was attacked by the Burmese. A British East India Company captain named Captain Francis Light sent word to the local administration that he had observed Burmese forces preparing to attack as he passed by the area. After a month-long siege, the Burmese were forced to retreat.

The two women who organized the battle quickly became local heroines and even received the honorary titles Thao Thep Kasatri and Thao Sri Sunthon from King Rama I. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), Phuket became the administrative center of the tin-producing southern provinces. In 1933, Phuket became its own province which is what it has remained until present day.



This is one of a series of travel articles kindly provided for us by the people at Hotels Combined. They offer an online hotel price comparison service that we use ourselves and are happy to recommend. The author, Valerie Mellema, is a freelance travel writer who has published articles about destinations all over the world.

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