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Map Interpretation

Prior Bangkok

1. Canal of Meclon - de La Loubère indicated the Sunak Hon Canal (Canal of the Howling Dog), which consisted at that time of two natural
distributaries parallel with the coastline and connected the Mae Klong River with the Tha Jin River. The canal largely silted up and was improved for
navigation in 1817 in the reign of King Rama II.

2. Taquin - Tha Jin or Chinese Landing was the initial name for present Samut Sakhon probably because in the old days it had been a trading port for
a vast number of Chinese junks and having also a large Chinese settlement at the mouth of the Suphanburi River. King Chakkraphat (reign 1548-
1569) fortified the town around 1549 in reaction to the Burmese invasion of 1548, mainly for the purpose of troop mobilization and area to gather
provisions prior battle. The town was named Mueang Sakhon Buri and functioned as a trade center under the jurisdiction of the Krom Tha or Harbor
Department. The name of the town changed to Maha Chai when Khlong Khok Makham was finalized by King Thai Sa (reign 1709-1733) in 1721
AD and renamed Khlong Maha Chai; the latter easing the passage from the Chao Phraya River to the mouth of the Tha Jin in the Gulf of Siam.
During an administrative reform in the reign of Rama VI, the town was named Samut Sakhon. [Reference: Tanabe, Shigeharu - Historical Geography
Of Canal System In Chao Phraya River Delta - Journal of the Siam Society (JSS) 65 - page 41-2; Bhamorabutr, Abha - Ancient Cities in Thailand
3. The Barr of Taquin - Mud bank at the mouth of the Tha Jin River.
4. The Barr of Siam - The bar of Siam is a remarkable bank of mud, in the mouth of the river, which allows no vessels above 12 to 13 feet of water,
when the tide is highest. When the tide falls there is not above 4 feet of water. The bar is composed in one part of soft clay and in other of hard sand,
and stretches ten miles out from its outer edge to the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Incoming ships drawing not more than 12 feet, had to wait in
the roads for high tide to cross te bar and had to face at the end of the hot season some strong southerly gales. De La Loubère noted:
"Before the
mouth of the Menam, there is a Bank of Owse, which, in the Sea-phrase, is call'd the Bar, and which prohibits entrance to great Ships. 'Tis
probable that it will increase itself by little and little, and will in time make a new Shore to the firm Land."
5. Tabanque or Customs house - Rather a registration office than a customs house, situated at the mouth of Khlong Nang Bang Kreng in Pak Nam
(Samut Prakan), about two miles and a half from the mouth of the river, upon its left bank. The ship captains needed to disembark and register all
names and goods at this checkpoint. Guns needed to be landed prior to proceed upriver. After registration a passport (tarra) was obtained to
proceed further to Bangkok or Ayutthaya. The office as well as the two guard houses on both banks at the mouth resorted under the Chao Phraya,
responsible for the security of the lower reaches of the Chao Phraya River and a kind of ambassador to receive (and evaluate) important visitors.
6. Amsterdam, the dwelling of the Hollanders - A warehouse called "Amsterdam" was built in 1636 on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River,
where it meets the Bang Pla Kot Canal. Because large ships were not able to sail the almost 80 Km long distance over the river to Ayutthaya, it was
necessary to build this warehouse on stilts, located about 2 miles from the mouth of the river. On the south corner of the canal stood Wat Bot, a
today defunct temple situated below today's Wat Khae.
7. Banvat [Ban Wat]

8. Banyai [Ban Yai]

9. Patache [?]

11. Banque beux

12. Banquebeu

13. Ban house

14. Ban has


10. Brick fort - The Bangkok Fortress was designed by the French Engineer de La Mare, a member of the first French Embassy (1685) who stayed
at the request of King Narai (reign 1656-1688). Construction work was already ongoing before the arrival of the second French Embassy (1687)
with de La Loubère. The Thonburi Fortress is not mentioned on the map.
15. Isle de Bankoc [Bangkok Island] - Bang Makok (Bangkok) was initially the name of an area with plenty of fruit gardens situated in an oxbow of
the Chao Phraya River. In 1542 in the reign of King Chairacha (1534-1547) the area was split up by the digging of a shortcut in the Chao Phraya
River (Khlong Lat Bangkok), reducing the journey for vessels from 14 to 2 Kms. The shortcut together with the river loop (which was later
transformed into four canals being Bangkok Noi, Bang Ramat, Taling Chan, and Bangkok Yai) created Bangkok Island. After the Burmese invasion
of 1548, King Chakkrapat established the city of Thonburi Sri Maha Samut on the island as a troop assembling area. In the reign of King Narai a fort
was added on both river banks and an iron chain (related to the customs house) placed across the river to block ships if necessary. De La Loubère
"On this River, and about seven Miles from the Sea, is seated the City of Bancok: and I shall transiently declare, that the Siameses
have very few habitations on their Coasts, which are not far distant from thence; but are almost all seated on Rivers navigable enough to
afford them the Commerce of the Sea. As to the names of most of these places, which for this reason may be called Maritime, they are
disguised by Foreigners. Thus the City of Bancok is called Fon in Siamese, it not being known from whence the name Bancok is derived,
altho there be several Siamese Names, that begin with the word Ban, which signifies a Village."
16. Talat Kaeo [Crystal Market]

17. Talat Khwan was a village situated in the loop of the Chao Phraya River. King Chakkraphat (r. 1548-1569) established here the city of Nonburi
(Nonthaburi) after the Burmese war of 1548-1549 with the purpose of easily calling up men and gathering provisions in times of war; but the people
kept using the old name. In 1636, in the reign of King Prasat Thong (r. 1629-1656), a canal (Khlong Lat Mueang Nonthaburi) was dug to shortcut
the loop in the Chao Phraya River. The island of Talat Khwan was formed by the loop, becoming Khlong Om, and Khlong Lat Mueang Nonthaburi.
Accounts of the early Bangkok period describe the city as a bustling community with long row of shops on bamboo rafts moored near the shore. In
1834 Bishop Pallegoix estimated that there were about 500 houses, from which he deduced that the population was around 5000. In 1928 the
township of Nonthaburi was relocated to its present location. De La Loubère noted:
"The Gardens which are in the Territory of Bancok, for the
space of four Leagues, in ascending towards the City of Siam to a place named Talacoan, do supply this City with the Nourishment which
the Natives of the Country love best, I mean a great quantity of Fruit."
18. Wooden Fort - In 1665 King Narai (r. 1656-1688) built a fortress at Talat Khwan, as the shortcut was giving enemies an easier way to reach
the capital Ayutthaya. The town of Talat Khwan was then moved near the fortress. During the attack of Ayutthaya in 1767 the Burmese occupied the
town to prevent any consolidation and reorganization of the Siamese army. In the reign of King Rama III (r. 1824-1851) the fortress was demolished
and Wat Chalerm Phrakiat was built on the site in 1847.
Above Bangkok

19. Ban pac naam [Ban Pak Nam]

20. Ban pac tret noi [Ban Pak Kret Noi]

21. Ban tret noi [Ban Kret Noi]

22. Ban Louang [Ban Luang]

23. Ban tret yai [Ban Tret Yai]

24. Samkoc [Sam Khok] - In 1661 in the reign of King Narai (reign 1656 - 1688) Mons fled Martaban after a revolt and sought refuge in
Ayutthaya. The Mon families, about 11.000 people, were met at Kanchanaburi and arrangements were made to settle them. A large number of them
were given Sam Khok as area of settlement. Abbé de Choisy mentioned that in 1685 there was a Christian church here dedicated to Saint Peter.

25. Ban niou

26. Banclas

27. Bansuemac

28. Bancouauant

29. Ban Tran

30. I(sle) Bantran - This island still can be more or less visualized and stretches out over three sub-districts of Ayutthaya and one sub-district of
Pathumthani. The most southern point of the island lies in Thai Ko Sub-district (Lit. Rear of Island), while the most northern point is situated in Mai
Tra Sub-district. The western passage was largely silted, while the middle part of the island disappeared under water partly in Ban Ma Sub-district
and completely in Khok Chang Sub-district.

From Bang Sai

31. Rayjacran [Rachakram]

32. Bancotraya

33. Bansamlevo

34. Palace Royal - Bang Pa-in Summer Palace dates back to the 17th century when King Prasat Thong (reign 1629-1656) constructed the
Aisuriyathiput Maha Prasat on Bang Pa-In Island in the Chao Phraya River. It is not known how long the palace was used before the Burmese
invaded Ayutthaya in 1767, but nothing remained in 1807. The present palace dates from King Chulalongkorn (reign 1868 - 1910).

35. Pagod Royal - Wat Chumphon Nikayaram was built by King Prasat Thong in 1652, as is evidenced by the two square relic towers with
redented corners.

36. Bannoi [Ban Noi]

37. Banmac
37. I(sle) Chinoise [Chinese Island] - Ko Phra or Monk's Island in Ban Pho Sub-district of Bang Pa-In. today
38. Tabanque [Customs House] -  The customs house was located near Wat Prot Sat in Khanon Luang Sub-district, south of Ayutthaya. It was the
largest tax station of the four stations around Ayutthaya, which controlled incoming and outgoing sea vessels. At the customs houses goods were
checked for prohibited items and weapons as prescribed by law, urgent dispatches were sent to the capital, and import and export duty was
collected from ships coming and going to and from the capital. The customs house was called by the French "Tabanque". de La Loubère noted:
"Tabanque in Siamese signifies the Custom House: and because the Officer’s House, which stands at the Mouth of the River, is of Bambou
like all the rest, the French gave the name of Tabanque to all the Bambou houses where they lodged, from the name of the Officers House,
which they had seen first of all."

39. Banco

40. Banlec [Ban Lek]

41. Macassars [Makassar Settlement]

42. Japonois [Japanese Settlement]

43. Wooden Fort


44. Ayutthaya - de La Loubère noted: "‘Tis by the means of these Channels, called by the Siameses Cloum, that the City of Siam is not only
become an island, but is placed in the middle of several Islands, which renders the situation thereof very singular. The Isle wherein it is
situated, is at present all inclosed within its walls, which certainly was not in the time of Ferdinand Mendez-Pinto;"
and  "Its Latitude,
according to Father Thomas the Jesuit, is 14 d. 20 m. 40 S. and its Longitude 120 d. 30 m. It has almost the figure of a Purse, the mouth of
which is to the East, and the bottom to the West. The River meets it at the North by several Channels, which run into that which environs
it; and leaves it on the South, by separating itself again into several streams. The King’s Palace stands to the North on the Canal which
embraces the City; and by turning to the East, there is a Causey, by which alone, as by an Isthmus, People may go out of the City without
crossing the water. The City is spacious, considering the Circuit of its Walls, which, as I have said, incloses the whole Isle; but scarce the
sixth part thereof is inhabited, and that to the South-East only. The rest lies desart, where the Temples only stand. ‘Tis true that the
Suburbs, which are possessed by strangers, do considerably increase the number of People. The streets thereof are large and strait, and in
some places planted with Trees, and paved with Bricks laid edgewise. The Houses are low, and built with Wood; at least those belonging to
the Natives, who, for these Reasons, are exposed to all the Inconveniences of the excessive heat. Most of the streets are watered with strait
Canals, which have made Siam to be compar’d to Venice, and on which are a great many small Bridges of Hurdles, and some of Brick very
high and ugly."

45. Mapram R. [Maha Phram River/Canal] - Ancient canal linking the city of Ayutthaya with the Chao Phraya River, before the latter was diverted
towards Ayutthaya in 1857. The canal starts off today at Khlong Bang Ban. In the 17th century, the French had their catholic Seminary of the Holy
Angels along this canal.
46. Menam R. - A waterway presently called Lopburi River, surrounding Ayutthaya at earlier times. The western branch is Khlong Sra Bua. The
eastern branch is the old bed of the Lopburi River presently Khlong Muang - Khlong Bang Khuat  - Khlong Hua Ro.
Interactive map & text by Tricky Vandenberg
Last update April 2019