As a young man, Prince Tub (as Jessadabodindra was then known) served his father King Rama II by working in the Krom Tha (Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs). His successful crushing of a rebellion and his clever handling of difficult state affairs meant that Prince Tub was greatly trusted by the King and the Royal entourage. Prince Tub's elder half-brother Prince Mongkut was technically next in line to the throne, but when the King died without officially naming a successor, the nobility thought Prince Tub's previous experience made him a more able choice. So, at the age of 36, Prince Tub became King Jessadabodindra (while his brother, Prince Mongkut remained a monk).
Just as King Rama I was referred to as Phan Din Ton (The First Kingdom) and Rama II was referred to as Phan Din Klang (The Middle Kingdom), the new King should have been referred to as Phan Din Plai (The Last Kingdom). Instead, however, he was referred to as Ratchakal Ti Saam (The Third Reign). Since then, all the kings in the Chakri Dynasty have had their reigns numbered and are unofficially known as Ratchakal Ti nth (The nth Reign).
King Jessadabodindra (Rama III) proved an able ruler. His earlier experiences in trade and foreign affairs enabled him to withstand the demands of the British presented by the Burney mission in1826, and helped him to agree a treaty that established regular trade with the West, without relinquishing any of Siam's independence. As a result, foreign trade first began to prosper in Siam.
The King's army also fought many military campaigns against Laos and Cambodia, even intervening with the latter to prevent colonization by the Vietnamese.
Jessadabodindra died in 1851 without naming a successor and so the throne was passed to his half-brother Prince Mongkut.
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Article written by Christine Oatley.
Asia Products LLC Thailand Discovery Pages provides articles a variety of topics including current events, politics, and travel ideas for learning about Thailand. Asia Products LLC also offers an e-commerce store selling Thailand products on http://www.asiaproductsllc.com. He is documenting some of his more interesting travels in his Thailand Travel Pages website : http://www.apllc-connect.com.