Phuket: History

A Beautiful Bankgkok On Sea

Phuket History

In the 17th century, the island of Phuket (which at the time was named Junk Ceylon) was valued as a rich source of tin. The Dutch, the English, and from the 1680s the French, competed with each other for trade. In September 1680, a ship from the French East India Company visited Phuket and left with a full cargo of tin. In 1681 or 1682, the Siamese king Narai, named Governor of Phuket the French medical missionary Brother René Charbonneau. The Siamese king Narai was seeking to reduce Dutch and English influence.

In 1685, king Narai confirmed the French tin monopoly in Phuket to a French ambassador. By 1688 the French were expelled from Siam, following the 1688 Siamese revolution. The French tried to gain control again but failed.

In 1785 the Burmese attacked Phuket. Two women who were related to the recently deceased Governor assembled forces and fought back the Burmese. They became local heroines, receiving the honorary titles Thao Thep Krasatri and Thao Si 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 Monthon Phuket was dissolved and Phuket became a province by itself.