Siam/Thailand: Scarce, attractive old postcard from c. 1910, depicting the ruins at Ayuthia (Ayutthaya).
The Ayutthaya Kingdom (also spelled Ayudhya or Ayodhaya) was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Indians, Japanese, Koreans, Persians, and later the Spaniards, Dutch, English, and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the capital, also called Ayutthaya.
In the 16th century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The court of King Narai (1656–1688) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris.
By 1550, the kingdom's vassals included some city-states in the Malay Peninsula, Sukhothai, Lan Na and parts of Burma and Cambodia. This part of the kingdom's history is sometimes referred to as "The Ayutthayan Empire".
In foreign accounts, Ayutthaya was called Siam, but many sources say the people of Ayutthaya called themselves Tai, and their kingdom Krung Tai meaning "The Tai country" (กรุงไท). It was also referred to as Iudea in a painting that was requested by the Dutch East India Company.
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