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Ramkhamhaeng (รามคำแหง)

Thai. ‘Rama the brave’. King of Sukhothai from AD 1279 to 1298 and one of the three kings of the Lan Na Kingdom (fig.), as well as the designer of the Thai script (fig.). He got his name from his father at the age of 19, after intervening in a battle in which he drove away the enemy by charging his elephant, named Bekphon, pushing it ahead in front of the opponent's elephant and beating it. He was born in 1247 AD and in his youth, he was a student of the hermit Suktantha at Lavo. During his reign, absolute monarchy commenced and Theravada Buddhism, introduced by Indian missionaries from Sri Lanka, was adopted as the official religion. He passed away in 1298, at the age of 52, and is one of the Great Kings in Thai history referred to as a Maha Raj. As such, his statue (fig.) is included in the monument at Uthayaan Rachaphak (fig.). There is a Thai university (map - fig.) named after him, of which the Bangkok branch is located on a main road of the same name, and his statue features on 20 baht banknotes issued in 2013. See also list of Thai Kings, Bell of Ramkhamhaeng and Stone of Ramkhamhaeng. Sometimes transcribed Ramkamhaeng. MORE ON THIS.