The Ruling Princes of Chiang Mai

Prince Indavijayanond
B.E. 2413 - 2440, A.D. 1870 - 1897

The picture of Chao Luang Indavijayanond
Prince Indavijayanond was one of the sons of Chao Rajavong Mahaprom Khamkhong and Princess Khamla. He was the son-in-law of King Kawiloros Suriyavong. The King’s daughter, Princess Tipakesorn, had 11 children, three of whom played a significant role in the history of Chiang Mai: Prince Chao Noi Suriya, the sixth son, became the eighth King of Chiang Mai; Prince Kaeo Navarat, the seventh son, became the ninth King; and Princess Darasasmi, the eleventh child, became the royal consort of King Rama V of Siam.

Prince Indavijayanond became the ruling prince of Chiang Mai in 1873, and was promoted to King of Chiang Mai in 1881 by King Rama V of Siam. When the vassal King went to have an audience with King Rama V in 1886, he took with him his fourteen years old daughter and offered her to King Rama V. The Princess was accepted, and ceremoniously admitted to the Inner Circle, as a royal servant or consort of the King.

In 1868 an American Missionary, the Reverend McIlvary, and his family came to Chiang Mai. He set up a mission post for proselytising, and began to teach a western style of education, the first of its kind in the north. Education for girls was experimented with in 1875, and a school for girls was established not very far from the east end of Nawarat Bridge. The school is still in existence and is now known as Daravidyalai School. In 1888 a school for boys was established, called Wang Sing Kam, set up in the area of that name. It is also still operating, now known as Prince Royal’s College. Initially, English and the northern Thai dialect were used as mediums of instruction. Text books in Lan Na script were published. The Lan Na ‘Dham’ alphabet was for the first time set in type for printing by the missionaries in 1936.

The photograph of Chao Dararasmi, the royal consort of King Chulalongkorn, the daughter of Chao Luang Indavijayanond
During this period, many logging companies came to operate in the region of Chiang Mai. The British Borneo Company came in 1863, the Bombay Burma Company in 1889, and the Siam Forest Company in the following year. The companies brought with them Burmese and Karen workers, and workers of other ethnic minorities. In this way the number of British and their dependants gradually increased. As a result of logging, there occurred serious conflict between foreigners and the ruling Prince. Some legal cases were taken to be tried in Bangkok. From the records, we can see that between 1863 and 1873 42 cases in total were tried. Out of these, 31 cases were repealed, and from the remaining 11, Prince Indavijayanond was found to be guilty, and ordered to pay heavily as compensation. These problems prompted the reform of the administration system in Lan Na.

Prince Indavijayanond died in 1897, and the cremation rites were conducted in the following year at a ford of the Ping River. A stupa was built to enshrine the bone relics of the King, under a Banyan tree at the west end of the bridge, beside the stupa of Princess Tiepkaison, his Queen. Some time later, the relics of the King and Queen were removed to be enshrined in stupas built by royal command at Wat Suan Dok.

The teak trading in the northern dense forests; the trade and economic development caused northern cities to be annexed to Siam.

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