As I walked around the magnificent Grand Palace in Bangkok, I stumbled upon a royal mausoleum. The tombs inside were meticulously crafted with intricate details and ornate decorations. But what intrigued me the most was the name on one of the tombs: Bunnag. I had heard about this family before, but I couldn't recall where. As soon as I got back to my hotel, I started to research more about the Bunnag family and their fascinating history.
The Bunnag family's story began almost two centuries ago when a Persian envoy named Sulayman arrived in Thailand to establish a diplomatic relationship with King Rama I. Sulayman was welcomed with open arms, and he quickly became a trusted advisor and confidant of the king. As a sign of appreciation, the king bestowed upon Sulayman the title of Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr, which means "Lord of the Healers Who Abolished Suffering." Sulayman was also given a piece of land in Bangkok, and he established a settlement called Ban Bunnag.
The Bunnag family quickly rose to prominence and became one of the most influential families in Thailand. They were granted noble titles, and many of them became high-ranking officials in the royal court. But what sets the Bunnag family apart from other noble families is their unique blend of Perso-Thai culture. The Bunnag family has preserved their Persian heritage for generations, and they have introduced many Persian customs and practices to Thai society. In fact, some of the most beautiful Islamic architecture in Thailand, such as the Imam Sulayman Mosque in Bangkok, was built by the Bunnag family.
Descendants of Persian Royalty
Have you ever heard of the Bunnag family in Thailand? They are one of the most prominent and influential families in Thai history, with a fascinating lineage that traces back to Persian royalty.
The Bunnag family is of noble birth, and their ancestors were originally from Persia, which is now modern-day Iran. According to historical records, their lineage can be traced back to the 16th century, during the reign of King Narai of Ayutthaya.
Arrival and Contributions
The Bunnag family arrived in Siam (as Thailand was known then) during the 1600s, as part of a diplomatic mission led by Shah Abbass the Great of Persia. The mission was sent to establish diplomatic ties between the two countries, and it included representatives from the Persian, Portuguese, and Dutch governments.
As part of the mission, the Persians brought with them various gifts for the Siamese rulers, including the famous Persian carpet, which is still displayed in the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The Persian emissaries were also instrumental in promoting trade between Siam and Persia, which helped to boost the country's economy.
Involvement in Thai Politics
The Bunnag family quickly became involved in Thai politics, and they served as key advisers to various Siamese rulers. By the early 18th century, the Bunnags had become one of the most powerful families in Siam, and they played a central role in the country's political affairs.
One of the most famous Bunnag family members was Taksin the Great, who ruled Siam from 1767 to 1782. Taksin was a fierce warrior who had led the Siamese resistance against the invading Burmese army, and he was credited with saving the country from certain destruction.
The Bunnags were instrumental in helping Taksin gain power, and they continued to serve as his advisers during his reign. In fact, it was a Bunnag family member who served as Taksin's chief minister and who helped to implement many of his reforms.
Another prominent Bunnag family member was Chao Praya Chakri, who was instrumental in the establishment of the Chakri dynasty, which continues to rule Thailand to this day. Chakri was a trusted adviser to King Taksin, and he played a key role in the overthrow of the Burmese invaders.
Over the years, the Bunnag family has produced many famous and influential members. One of the most prominent was Prince Bhanurangsi Savangwongse, who served as the Minister of Education and the Minister of Foreign Affairs during the early 20th century. Prince Bhanurangsi was a highly educated and intellectual man who was known for his progressive ideas and his support of democracy.
Another famous Bunnag family member was M R Kukrit Pramoj, who served as the Prime Minister of Thailand from 1975 to 1976. Kukrit was a highly respected writer and intellectual who was known for his strong support of democracy and his opposition to authoritarian regimes.
Legacy and Current Status
Today, the Bunnag family continues to play an important role in Thai society. Although they no longer hold direct political power, they are still highly respected and influential figures in the country.
Many Bunnag family members have made significant contributions to fields such as education, the arts, and philanthropy. For example, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, a current member of the royal family, is a highly respected scholar who has made significant contributions to Thai literature and culture.
Overall, the Bunnag family has a rich and fascinating history that reflects the long and complex relationship between Thailand and Persia. Through their contributions to Thai politics, culture, and society, they have left an enduring legacy that continues to shape the country to this day.