The Emblem of Phuket

    Phuket, a large island in the Indian Ocean, is 867 kms. from Bangkok. It is the only island having provincial status, and was a regional headquarters as well, with a rich and colorful history.

     Known  as  the  Pearl  of  the Andaman, it derived much of its former glory and  its  enormous  wealth  from  tin  production,  which in Phuket dates back over 500 year. Today, Phuket is the major tourist attraction of Thailand. The surrounding waters contain much varied marine life, and the town is notable for   its   Sino - Portuguese   architecture.   It   is   a  very  attractive  island  for sightseeing,  with  lovely  seashores and forested hillsides. Its population of 1.6  million  people  ranks  sixth  among  all  provinces.  Approximately  1.75 million  Rai  of  the  area  is  forest  land.  The  main  occupation  here  is rice farming. The average per capita income is 14,343 baht.

     Phuket  is  an  island  connected  by bridges to southern Thailand's Andaman Sea coast, in the Indian   Ocean,   lying   between  7'45"  and  8'15"  north  latitude,  and  from  98'15"  to  98'40"  west longitude on the map. Phuket, Thailand's largest islands, is surrounded by 32 smaller islands that form  part  of  the  same  administration, with a total area of 570 square kilometers. Measured at its widest point, Phuket is 21.3 kilometers; at its longest, 48.7 kilometers. it is bounded thus:


Lies   The   Pak  Prah  strait,  spanned  by  two  bridges  running  side-by-side,  the  older Sarasin Bridge, and the newer Thao Thep Krasatri Bridge.
Is the Andaman Sea.
Is Phang-nga Bay (In the jurisdiction mainly of Phang-nga Province).
Is The Andaman Sea.

     Phuket  Island  has a long recorderd history, and remains dating back to A.D. 1025 indicate that the island's present day name derives in meaning from the Tamil manikram, or crystal mountain.

     For  most  of  history,  however, it was known as Junk Ceylon, which, with variations, is the name found  on  old maps. The name is thought to have its roots in Ptolemy's Geographia, written by the Alexandrian   geographer   in  the  Third  Century  A.D.  He  mentioned  that  in  making  a  trip  from Souwannapum to the Malay Peninsula it was neccesary to pass the cape of Jang Si Lang.
     Phuket  was  a  way  station  on  the  route  between  India and China where seafarers  stopped  to  shelter.  The  island  appears to have been part of the Shivite  empire  (called  in  Thai  the  Tam Porn Ling) that established itself on the  Malay  Peninsula  during  the  first Millenium A.D. Later, as Muang Takua-Talang,  it  was  part  of  the  Srivichai  and  Siri  Tahm  empires.  Governed as the  eleventh  in  a  constellation of twelve cities, Phuket's emblem, by which it was known to others in those largely pre-literate times, was the dog.
     During  the  Sukothai  Period  Phuket  was associated with Takua Pa in what is now Phang-nga Province,  another  area  with  vast  tin  reserves.  The  Dutch established a trading post during the Ayuthaya  Period  in  the  16th Cent. The island's northern and central regions then were governed by  the Thais, and the southern and western parts were given over to the tin trade, a concession in the hands of foreigners.

     After  Ayuthaya  was sacked by the Burmese in 1767 there was a short interregnum in Thailand, ended  by  King  Taksin,  who  drove  out  the  Burmese  and  re-unified the country. The Burmese, however,   were   anxious  to  return  to  the  offensive.  They  outfitted  a  fleet  to  raid  the  southern provinces, and carry off the populations to slavery in Burma.

     This  led  to  Phuket's most memorable hitoric event. A passing sea captain, Francis Light, sent word  that  the  Burmese were en route to attack. Forces in Phuket were assembled led by the two heroines,  Kunying Jan, wife of Phuket's recently deceased governer, and her sister Mook, After a month's  siege  the  Burmese were forced to depart on 13 March, 1785. Kunying Jan and her sister were credited with the successful defense.

     In  recognition  King Rama I bestowed upon Kunying Jan the honorific Thao Thep Kasatri, a title of  nobility  usually reserved for royalty, by which she is known today. Her sister became Thao Sri Sunthon.  During  the  Nineteenth  Century  Chinese  immigrants  arrived  in  such  numbers to work for  the tin  mines  that  the ethnic character of the island's interior became predominantly Chinese, while the coastal settlements remained populated chiefly by Muslim fishermen.

     In  Rama  V's reign, Phuket became the administrative center of a group of tin mining provinces called  Monton  Phuket,  and  in 1933, with the change in government from absolute monarchy to a parliamentary system, the island was established as a province by itself.