The History of Thailand
Ayutthaya, founded by King U-Thong, rose to power in the 14th and 15th century, having economic and geographic advantages over its rival cities. Sukhothai and the remnants of the Lanna kingdom would be assimilated into Ayutthaya, creating a large kingdom under a single ruler. The kings of Ayutthaya needed to keep order, so they appointed to themselves the divine right to rule, effectively making them god-kings. Under them, a rigid social hierarchy was erected and a set of laws creating an efficient government was erected.
Intermittent war along the border plagued the kingdom. Ayutthaya fell to Burmese control briefly during the latter part of the 16th century. King Naresuen the Great, a renowned warrior, weakened the Burmese grip on Ayutthaya. For a century and a half they were insignificant until a new wave of Burmese invaders destroyed and pillaged the once-glorious city. The Burmese committed sacrilege as they beheaded Buddhist statues and burned historical records. The population was reduced drastically and the ruins became abandoned.
In times of peace, Ayutthaya however prospered, as the arts thrived and new forms of architecture developed. Trading of items such as teak, salt, spices, and hides took between Ayutthaya and European countries. Good relationships with China and Japan added to the burst of commerce. Ayutthaya grew into a large international trading center, linking Europe and the Orients. In fact, the population of Ayutthaya exceeded that of London during the same period.