The name “Chumphon” first appeared in the year 555 in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s myths about Buddha’s relics (National Library’s version). It stated that Chumphon was one of “twelve subordinate cities” of Nakhon Si Thammarat. The city’s seal was the picture of a goat. It was a northern frontier city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, as it was located on the upper part of the southern region, and therefore in between the route from Ayutthaya to the south. In the year 1454, under the reign of Somdet Phra Ramesuan Boromma Trailokkanat Bophit, the Three Emblems Law stated that Chumphon was a Tri level city and a southern frontier of Ayutthaya. In the year 1916, it became a province of Monthon Surat Thani.
The word “Chumphon” comprises two words which are “Chum”, meaning either gathering, a large number, many, or together and “Phon”, meaning good things, selected things, or blessed things. Hence, if “Chumphon” is literally translated, it means the gathering place of blessings. However, the actual meaning of the name is different.
As for the first story about the city’s name, it is believed that “Chumphon” was derived from the word “Prachumpol” or “ Chumnumphol” which means “gathering soldiers”, as Chumphon was a southern frontier city. So, the armies always set up their camps in Chumphon in preparation for the battle with Burmese or domestic insurgents. Since the city was always a place for gathering soldiers, it is possible that “Chumphon” was the shortened word of “Prachumphol”. Thai people in the south usually spoke with words that have shortened syllables and faster pronounced vowels. Hence, the word “Pra” was gradually cut off. And the word “Chumphol” became “Chumphon”. Usually, the names of cities or districts change collaterally with language evolution. Chumphon was strategically important in ancient times. Therefore, the meaning of the word “Prachumphol” aligns to Chumphon’s strategic importance in its history.
As for the second story, before warriors in ancient times marched into the battle, they held a ritual to receive blessings from the holy spirits in order to give morale support to soldiers. Therefore, Chumphon was a gathering place to receive blessings, and this matches with the meaning of “Chumnumporn” or gathering of blessings. This could also explain where the name “Chumphon”came from.
The third story is that the original location of the city was on the right side of Chumphon Canal where Cluster Figs, or “Ma Duea Chumphon”, widely grew. Originally, the canal had no name. However, it was named “Chumphon Canal” later on, after the name of the trees. Normally, a canal or river was named as accordance with the name of trees or anything existing nearby. When time passed, the town was named “Chumphon” after the canal as well. Therefore, it can be concluded that the name “Chumphon” was named after either the canal or Ma Duea Chumphon trees.