After a bloody period of dynastic struggle, Ayutthaya entered into what has been called its golden age, a relatively peaceful episode in the second quarter of the eighteenth century when art, literature, and learning flourished. Ayutthaya continued to compete with Vietnam for control of Cambodia, but a greater threat came from Burma, where a new dynasty had subdued the Shan states.
In 1765 Thai territory was invaded by three Burmese armies that converged on Ayutthaya. After a lengthy siege, the city capitulated and was burned in 1767. Ayutthaya’s art treasures, the libraries containing its literature, and the archives housing its historic records were almost totally destroyed, and the city was left in ruins.
The country was reduced to chaos. Provinces were proclaimed independent states under military leaders, rogue monks, and cadet members of the royal family. The Thai were saved from Burmese subjugation, however, by an opportune Chinese invasion of Burma and by the leadership of a Thai military commander, Phraya Taksin.