The purpose of this thesis is to describe the ways of life and historical role of the Portuguese community in Ayutthaya during 1516-1767 . The Portuguese were the first European to establish relationship with the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1511. The treaty signed between them in 1516 not only introduced trading relation between the two parties but also led to the founding of the Portuguese settlement in the city of Ayuttaya. The Portuguese thus became an integral part of Ayutthaya history until the fall of the kingdom in 1767.
Thai historical documents have very little information on the Portuguese community in Ayutthaya ; they were variously referred to in the documents as the Farang, the Bortesa, the Paratesa and the Capitanese. A small community outside the Estado da Índia. , it nevertheless was endowed with high potentials. Although it was an extent under the jurisdiction of Ayutthaya, it maintained a close relation with its Central State at Goa ; its village's chief, the capitão-mor, was appointed by the Estado da Índia and its churches under the patronage of the king of Portugal. Its development could be divided into 3 periods. First , the community of some 2,000 Portuguese traders and freelancers during 1516-1569. Second , the community of some 3,000 Portuguese and Mestiços traders and mercenaries during 1569-1653. Third , the community of some 6,000 Eurasians during 1653-1767. The research finds throughout its history, this Portuguese community maintain its own languages, religion, culture and way of life. Some of its members entered into the service of the Siamese court in various functions and some involved in internal and external trading and missionary works. They also introduced firearms and other western technology to Siam. However, the troubled relations with other European nations increasingly affected the status of the Portuguese commuity at Ayutthaya. A strong mistrust of the westerner was developed among the Siamese. Being a relatively large community and part of the Siamese manpower system, the Portuguese had to struggle hard in order to survive.