| 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Heroines Monument was erected in the
middle of the city opposite Thalang National Museum on Highway 402.
After the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya, then
the capital of Siam, in 1767, King Taksin drove out the Burmese and re-unified the
country. The Burmese were bad losers, and outfitted a fleet to attack the southern
provinces and carry off the populations to slavery in Burma. The Monument honors Kunying
Jan and her sister Mook who were credited with the organizing the successful defense of
Phuket Island against the Burmese invaders. This became Phuket's most unforgettable
To acknowledge their bravery and
leadership, King Rama I conferred on Kunying Jan the honorific apellation Thao Thep
Kasatri - a title of nobility usually reserved for royalty, and her sister became Thao Sri