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History of Trang Province
Trang province is located in the South near the West Sea of Thailand. It is adjacent to Andaman Sea and Indian Ocean and has been the important seaport of the south from past to present in which its history has been developing in sequence as follows:
1. Prehistorical Era
2. Early-historical Era
3. Historical Era
4. Sukhothai Era
5. Ayutthaya Era
6. Thon Buri Era
7. Early Rattanakosin Era
8. The West Sea Province Governance Era Until Present
1. Prehistorical Era
A great deal of archaeological evidence was discovered in caves such as cracked stone axes, polish axes, earthenware, three-legged pots, steel equipment, color paintings in Khao Sam Batr cave, Khao Sai cave, Khao Ku Ram cave, Khao Pi Na cave which is a lone hill at Trang river, Khao Mai Kaew cave, Khao Tiem Pa cave which is a lone hill in the middle of a field, Khao Jao Mai cave, Khao Bae Na cave at a seashore and ancient human skeletons at Wat Phu Khao Tong cave and Sa Kai cave at the side of Bun Tad hill. This shows that Trang ancestors have been living there for not less than 5,000 years.
2. Early-historical Era
This was the time when the Trang ancestors knew how to grow plants, to feed animals and to go out of their caves to build dwellings at the side of hills, streams, and at the middle of fields which became big communities, especially the society at the side of Trang streams at Khao Ku Ram, Huay Yod district in which the evidence has continuously been discovered since Prehistorical Era including objects showing the relationships with foreigners such as glass beads, raw clay votive tablets and stupa pieces. The raw clay votive tablets were found in several caves, for instance, Khao Sai cave, Kee Ree Vihan cave and Khao Nui cave which are located at the side of Trang river not far from Khao Ku Ram. Archeologists estimates the age of the raw clay votive tablets around 13-14 Buddhist era. The most important discovery was the archeological site at the same period at Na Pla District, Amphoe Muang Trang near Nang Noi canal which is the branch of Trang river to Bun Tad hill and to Muang Phatthalung. The site consisted of the religious building bases, stupa pieces, Avalokitesvara Samrid and so forth which its estimated age was also around the 13-14 Buddhist era. These archeological findings shows the influence of Mahayana Buddhism and Srivijaya Contemporary Art and ancient territory at the eastern part of the South, Then, around the 18 Buddhist era, Theravada Buddhism in Lanka Wong doctrines began to be widespread in the South which can be seen from Nakhon Si Thammarat history mentioning Phra Tanakuman and Ms. Hemchala from India who respectfully engaged Buddha's relics to flee from the war to Lanka and went ashore at Sai Kaew beach and buried the Buddha's relics. When Phraya Sri Thammasokraj discovered them, he decided to build the country there at Sai Kaew beach and created the stupa of the Buddha's relics as well as possessing cities in Melayu cape called 12 Zodiac. Trang is one of 12 Zodiac cities with horse badge as its city badge showing that in Nakhon Si Thammarat era, Trang was the city regulated by Nakhon Si Thammarat and continuously went on for a long time.
3. Historical Era
The historical Eras of Trang is based on Thai History which means it started from Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thon Buri and Rattanakosin Era respectively. Recently the eras is divided more based on important events of the city as follows:
4. Sukhothai Era
Trang province is the pass way of Buddhism to the South according to the legend of Buddha Sihing in the book ‘Jinakalamali’ which said that Phra Chao Ruang of Sukhothai as well as Phra Chao Siriyatham of Siriyatham Nakorn had sent their diplomat to ask for Buddha Sihing from Lanka. The legend of Muang Phatthalung refers to Nang Luad Khao who installed the Buddha Sihing from Lanka and built Phrasisanphet Buddha Sihing temple at Trang in order to establish the statue of Buddha. In the first Stone Inscription of Sukhothai, it said "สังฆราชปราชญ์เรียนจบปิฎกไตร หลวกกว่าปู่ครูในเมืองนี้ ทุกคนลุกแต่เมืองศรีธรรมราชมา" (patriarch scholars studied Tripitaka, more intelligent than ancestors in the city, everyone moved from Sri Thammarat) which means there were contacts between Nakhon Si Thammarat, India and Lanka via Trang ports.
5. Ayutthaya Era
Trang is the first door to welcome the first country foreigners who came to Thailand on B.E. 2055 (A.D. 1512). Portugal had beaten Malacca and sent diplomats to Ayutthaya to build friendly relations with His Majesty King Rama II through Trang ports. It is understood that at that era, the location of the city was at the side of Trang river on Amphoe Huay Yod.
Afterwards, there was the announcement of Kalpana Temple on B.E. 2152 – 2153 (A.D. 1609 – 1610) stating that Buddha Sihing temple and Phra Ngam temple at Trang were under Stang temple and Khian Bang Kaeo temple at Muang Phatthalung. Besides, there were clear urbanization evidence in Khao Sam Batr cave or Khao Sa Bap cave in which color letters in Ayutthaya era were written at the front of the cave. One part of the messages stated that "…ขุนนางกรมการทัง…เมืองแลสัปรุศชายญ.ให้เลิกสาศนาพระพุท่เจากํบริบูนแล้วแลสัปรุศ…..ชวนกันฉลองกุสลบุญ…หาสุ่กกรุราชได้สองพันร้อยหาสิบเจดปีเจดวันนันแล.." which means in B.E. 2157 (A.D. 1614) there were huge communities in city level in Khao Sam Batr cave of Trang because there were lords and provincial directorates as well as sayings and pioneering of moat traces and Khu Mueang temple nearby.
On B.E. 2185 (A.D. 1642) Dutch documents said that Trang governor had invited Hollander living in Muang Tha Lang to move their factory to Trang which they would be able to export more tin and rice which showed the evident identity of the Trang governor. The conditions of Trang at that time had been under Nakhon Si Thammarat until the end of Ayutthaya.
6. Thon Buri Era
Trang was the West sea free port located of Nakhon Si Thammarat together with the golden East sea free port.
7. Early Rattanakosin Era
in the early of King Rama I, Phraya Trang, who was a poet, had committed an offense and was penalized by being called to work in the government service in Bangkok; then, Phra Phakdee Borirak was appointed as the governor. At that time, Trang was divided into 2 cities along Trang river on the West side called Muang Trang located in Baan Kuan, Na Wong District, Huay Yod Amphoe and on the East side called Muang Phura located in Baan Na Thong Lang, Baan Phoe District, Amphoe Muang Trang. Phra Phakdee Borirak, who was found taking the position since around B.E. 2330 (A.D. 1787), requested to combine those 2 cities to be Trang Phura.
At the end of Phra Phakdee Borirak era around B.E. 2347 (A.D. 1804), Toh Pangkawah or Phra Petch Phakdee Samut Songkhram, the city deputy chief who was stationed in Koh Li Bong, was appointed to be the governor, so the power was centralized in Muang Li Bong. At the end of Toh Pangkawah era, Luang Litti Songkhram, the son-in-law of Toh Pangkawah, inherited his position. At that time, there was an essential incident in which Burmese marched an army to attack Myang Ta Lang on B.E. 2352 (A.D. 1809). Koh Li Bong became the community of navy of the south provinces in order to move the troops to rescue Ta Lang.
Subsequently, on B.E. 2354 (A.D. 1811), King Rama II Luang Utai Ratchathani (some said ‘Upai’) became the governor of Trang in which the city was located in Kuan Thani. At that period of time, Chao Phraya Nakorn. (Noi) developed Muang Trang to be a strong naval base to handle the war with Burma, commanded the province and conquered pirates. Muang Trang, at that time, was prosperous. They became shipyard and exported products to foreign countries. The significant types of products were elephants and tin. Muang Trang became both the commercial and battle port. The important city negotiation occurred in Trang on B.E. 2367 (A.D. 1824) in which the British regent, who was stationed in Penang island, had sent the army lieutenant James Low to confer with Phraya Nakorn. (Noi), but the negotiation was not successful. Later, the British sent the army captain Henry Burney who could visit Bangkok and made the contract called ‘Burney Contract’ and had to come back to Trang to exchange the contract on B.E. 2369 (A.D. 1826).
On B.E. 2381 (A.D. 1838) King Rama III era, the rebel occurred in Sai Buri. the foreign pirate Wan Mali from Koh Yao teaming up with the rebel attacked Muang Trang. Phra Songkhram Vichit (Muang), the governor of Trang, could not handle the rebel, so he ordered a retreat to inform the city. The enemy went on attacking Muang Phatthalung and Songkhla. The Thai had sent their troops to oppose until the enemy retreated. Subsequently, the new governor established the governing center at Baan Na Khaek, Nong Trut District, Amphoe Muang Trang. Presently, there are lineages descending at that site, but the city site is still at Kuan Thani. Until the era of King Rama IV on B.E. 2396 (A.D. 1853), Phraya Trang Na Khaek had passed away; therefore, the new Trang governor was Phra Trang Kavisayanurakpitakratseema appointed.
8. The West Sea Province Governance Era Until Present
At the beginning of King Rama V era, Chinese laborers had frequently caused a riot in the West provinces; thus, they appointed a High Commissioner from Bangkok to be stationed in Phuket in order to monitor all of the West provinces. The High Commissioner had stayed at a commanding center at Trang for a while and then came back to Phuket.
Another essential city of Trang was Pa Lian which had been the city under Muang Phatthalung since Ayutthaya era. Afterwards, it was subsided to be one of the Districts of Trang on B.E. 2434 (A.D. 1891).
Muang Trang had been situated at Kuan Thani until the era in which Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi (Khor Zim Bi Na Ranong) was the governor. Phraya Ratsadanupradit moved the city location to Kantang on B.E. 2436 (A.D. 1893), developed Kantang to be the main free port for contacting with foreign countries and promoted cultivation for exporting, especially planting rubber trees until it became the important industrial crop of Thailand.
Later, when the center started adjusting the governance to be in ‘county’ level, Trang was classified to be one of the cities in Phuket county which was located in Kantang until the post-World War I. The city location was, then, moved to Tub Tiang District on 1 January B.E. 2458 (A.D. 1915) which fell on the era that Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi (Sin Thephassadin) was the city governor.
After 1932 Siamese Revolution (B.E. 2475), the Government cancelled the ‘county’ system, so Trang has been one of the provinces of Thailand since then.
The Origin of The Word ‘Trang’
It is presumed that the meaning of the word is composed of 2 ways as follows:
                   1. it came from a Malay word ‘Terang’ which means ‘bright’ or ‘clear’, so it can be implied that Muang Trang is the city of dawn.
                   2. It came from Sanskrit words ‘ตรงฺค’ or ‘ตรังคะ’ (Trangka) which can be divided into ตร + องฺค. ตร directly means ‘element’, ‘that’, ‘cross’, ‘walk’ or ‘move to’ and องฺค means organs. When translating these 2 words together, it means organs that can move to the sea. In other words, it means waves or ripples which could be implied that Muang Trang is the city of waves (winds and waves in the front sea of Muang Trang).