On My Days & In My Mind (by Rungaroon Plintron)

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Thailand History Notes By Meatee Plintron

ยินดีต้อนรับ เมธี ผลินธร บัณฑิตใหม่จากWinona University Winona  แห่งรัฐ Minnesota ที่จะมาร่วมนำเสนอผลงานทางด้านวิชาการในบล๊อคนี้ค่ะ เมธี (หรือ หยก หรือ  Timothy Plintron) ชอบใช้เวลาว่างในการศึกษาค้นคว้าเกี่ยวกับประวัติศาสตร์และการเมืองของประเทศต่างๆ โดยเฉพาะประเทศในเอเชียทั้งหลาย  เรื่องราวความเป็นมาของแต่ละประเทศ  เมธีจะศึกษาค้นคว้าอย่างละเอียดละออจากตำราวิชาการต่างๆ รวมทั้งจากแหล่งวิชาการต่างๆเพื่อให้ได้ข้อมูลที่ถูกต้องใกล้เคียงกับความเป็นจริงที่สุด
โอกาสแรกนี้ เมธีขอนำเสนอรายงานแนวประวัติศาสตร์การบูรณะเขตแดนไทย ในมุมมองของนักประวัติศาสตร์ต่างชาติ ซึ่งทางBlog นี้จะได้นำมาเสนอเป็นตอนๆไปนะคะ
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Welcome! Meatee Plintron , the alumni of major Global Studies from Winona State University Winona, Minnesota.  From now on, Meatee (Yok, or Timothy Plintron) will be a part of our blog team to share his research articles.   Most of his writing will focus on the Asian History.  
In his research, Maetee had spent a lot of time in collecting information from reference sources, and then gathered the most accurate facts into his writing. He offered his first writing to our blog as “ RESTORING THAILAND’S BOUNDARIES”, which is divided in different parts. 
Welcome all comments that you may have, please feel free to share with us.
 Thank you and enjoy your reading.
Reference

                           Restoring Thailand’s Boundaries

                                                      By  Maetee (Timothy)  Plintron

PART ONE

“Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia to not been colonized” was the popular phrase that many World Historian textbooks worldwide stated to students.  In addition, many historians gave credits more toward King Mongkut since he was the well-known Thai king from the British novel of “The King and I” by Margaret Landon who derived the tale from a British teacher (Anna Lawrence) who worked in the king’s court.   However, one of the most important fact that history text books around the world lacked was the unknown information of how Thailand, (or Siam) survived colonialism. Not many outsiders understand Thailand was able to survive through unequal treaties with the western power and many times Thailand was very close to losing its sovereignty.
As my research, this paper is not based on Thai nationalistic facts, but from other researches which based on studies of Thailand, France, British, Laos, and Cambodian All of these countries provided records from both in and of Thailand during the process of territorial secessions to both British Burma and British Malaya and also French Indochina. The former territories played important roles to spark up Thai nationalism many times in the past when it dealt with its neighbor which involved border disputes and also what position Thailand could play in the year 2015.
Many of Thai history books often mentioned that Thailand had lost territories 14 times due to imperialism.  However, the flaw of that claim was top 5 of the territories losses that Thailand gave was through wars between kingdoms and also treaties that were dealt between Thailand’s protectorate states and foreigners. The reason why it should be pointed out is the actual meaning of country according to the Oxford Dictionary was “A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory.” This statement would put France as being the first official country during Napoleon era.  To clarify the idea, the top 5 is the loss of Penang Island (Th: Koh Mak), Tennasserim, Ha Tien (Th: Ban Taimat), Perak, and Xihuangbanna (Th: Sipsongpanna). To describe individually, those claims is still remain in disputes by historians or consider as a loss from wars between kingdoms. Although they were not as significant as the loss of the eastern territories, Thailand did gain some benefits in having earlier boundaries drawn which opened up trade with its neighbors.
                                                      Top 5 Claims Still in Dispute
1) Koh Mak (เกาะหมาก, Malay: Penang Island): An island province which present day lies off the coast of Malaysia in the Province of Penang. The island was given to UK on August 11, 1786 by the Sultan of Kedah (Syburi) whom tried to brought in the East Indies Company to protect his state against Siam. The territorial session was done without the knowledge of the Central Thai government which is considered as treaty between states. The significant was it was the first treaty that allowed the British to first gain a foothold on the Malay Peninsula which, along with Singapore and Malacca, helped create the Strait Settlement in 1826. The total areas that was given was 375 sq km.
2) Tennasserim (ตะนาวศรี, Burmese: တနင်္သာရီတိုင်း(ရးတနၚ်ဩဳ): A coastal land area that consist of Tavoy, Tennasserim, and Megui which today part of Tanintharyi Region in Myanmar. Historically, the region was part ancient kingdoms from the Khmer Empire (802–1431), Burmese kingdom of Pagan (849-1297) to Thai’s Sukhothai Kingdom (1238-1583) and its successor of Ayutthaya (1351-1767). The territory was one of the contested territories, along with Chiang Mai region, that was often fought between Burma and Siam for control since 1563-1793. The importance of the region was able to control trades between the wests with mainland Southeast Asia. Although no official treaties was signed between the two kingdoms, but in the end both sides switched territories to resolve the wars in 1793 in which Siam gain control of Chiang Mai while Burma controlled Tennasserim. The British later took the area from the Burmese control in 1826 after the end of first Anglo-Burmese war which lead to total annexation of  Burma by the British in 1885. Since the Burmese independence in 1948, the area became officially part of Myanmar. Total areas was 55,000 sq km.
3) Ban Taimat (บันทายมาศ, Vietnamese: Hà Tiên): The city present day locate in the Vietnamese province of Kiên Giang which borders Cambodia. The area remains in dispute since there are many claims that Thailand never had possession on the city since  both Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Historical Atlas of Southeast Asia stated that the city, along with Saigon, was ceded by the Khmer king to Vietnam during the Vietnamese conquest of Lower Mekong in 1780 in the process of de facto by general Nguyễn Hữu Kính, (阮有鏡). Thai sources claims that the city was given to Vietnam in 1810 when Outer Cambodia was placed under Vietnamese sphere of influence. In addition, the total areas that was ceded remains unknown due to sources varying among countries.
4) Perak (รัฐเประ, Malay: Perak): The state of Perak is one of the Malay states located in Peninsula Malaysia. The area was given to the British Malaya from the Anglo-Siamese treaty of 1826 which due to drawn boundaries between British possession of both British Lower Burma and also the colony of Malaya. In addition to trade and drawn clear boundaries, the British recognized Siam’s protectorate over Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, and Kedah (Syburi).  However some sources claim that the neighboring state of Selangor was ceded also but the issue was that the state of Selangor was never part of the Bunga mas system, which sent tributaries of gold and silver trees to the Thai king. This is why the loss of Selangor was not as valid to sacrifice of Perak which opens up trades between UK and Siam.
5) Sipsongpanna (สิบสองปันนา, Chinese:西双版纳州): The territory is consider unique in which unlike other territories, the majority of the population were ethnic Tai Lue which has close ties culturally with Northern Thailand. Its present location is in the province of Yunnan, China as autonomous region known as Dai Autonomous prefecture. According to Thai sources, the territory was ceded to China during the reign of King Mongkut in 1850. The reason was due to King Mongkut’s failure in trying to annex the region by Sipsongpanna’s request by first capture Chiang Tung (Keng Tung) which was a Burmese strong hold in the Shan State. In many Thai nationalistic maps and textbooks often placed the region as part of greater Siam during the reign of Rama 1 of 1800s.  In the British account, they themselves gave Sipsong Panna to China in 1892 due to wanting to have clear boundaries between both British Burma, Qing Dynasty, and Siam. In addition, many of the British maps of Burma before 1892 marked Sipsong Panna as being
part of their territories of British India. For the Chinese sources, stated that the region had always been part of China since the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). In many of the Chinese maps of Ming and Qing Dynasty often placed the region of Sipsongpanna within their sovereignty instead of under either Burma or Siam.

 

 

 

 

PART TWO     

 

Thai Viewpoint vs. The World

The tops territories that were mentioned were territories that came from had varies sources within Thailand and non-Thai sources, and not just from Thailand claims was from the list of wars and treaties that occurred in the beginning of the 1800s. Thongchai Winichakul mentioned that those areas that were mentioned as being areas that varied based on the different historians that wrote them. For example, some standard history textbooks extends the loss of Malacca, Shan States, Lower Myanmar around Rangoon and Bago as being part of the Thai nation. However, the problem of the claim was that those areas had different positions among neighboring countries, especially in Myanmar and Malaysia who viewed those areas as always part of their history since the foundation of their nation. In addition, the areas were less mentioned less in the term “former boundaries” since they were loss by neighbors of equal status.

Before the arrival of both the British and the French, mainland of Southeast Asia was parallel to Europe during the Dark Age in which a European author Niccolo Machiavelli’s of “The Prince” described Europe being divided in both large and small states. States which had strong militaries were able to go and conquer small states to be under their sovereignty. Unlike the European ideas of total annexation, all of Southeast Asian kingdoms used the process of vassalage in which small states pays tribute to the strong states.  There was a system called the “Two skies” (Song Fai Fah, เมืองสองฝ่ายฟ้า) or Mandala in which a weak state had to pay homage to more than one rulers. For the strong states, they had right in appointing the new ruler in the vassal state if the royal family within the state had issues in whom would be the next king or the state became a threat to its overlord. The system gave the vassal states some independence rights to govern their own territories but are obligated in sending tributaries to its overlord. If the tributrary states rebel by refusing to cooperate with its overlord during wartime, not paying homage when the time was given, or declaring themselves independent, then the stronger states would wage the war onto the rebel state. As a punishment the state would be ether forced to send their royal family member to as a hostage, reduced in population or territory, or permanent annexation. This system alongside of modern mapping gave advantaged to the Europeans imperialist in which to expand their colonial empire faster by claiming the lands based on history from the country they conquered.  This reason was why Thailand was at a disadvantage when dealing with both the French and British. Aside of being divided among states, modern mapping was another lack of knowledge since it was a European technology. Most of the knowledge of vassal states are often written based on chronicle that was given when the country goes to war or when a vassal state came in to present their tributary gifts.

 

 

PART THREE     

 

          Territorial Session of 1867-1893

 

1867: Outer Cambodia (เขมรชั้นนอก)

  1. 1. Siam-Outer Cambodia relations

                According to both Thai, Vietnamese, and French sources, Outer Cambodia makes up the areas of present day Eastern Cambodia from Pursat province in west, toward Svay Rieng in the east. The state of Outer Cambodia actually the first territorial session that Thailand made was with France in 1867. The reasons was French conquered Lower Vietnam known as Cochin China in 1859 which was next door to Siam’s protectorate of Outer Cambodia. It was consider a stepping point in which France first demand territories from Siam and also expand their own Asiatic empire.  According to Thai history book “Thai loss of Right Bank territories”, the French interest in expansion of their colonial empire in Indochina further in order to compete with the British since they had conquered territories from both India and Burma. Due to annexation of Lower Vietnam, they viewed that they had rights to expand and annex of Outer Cambodia also.  The reason was before the French involvement, Outer Cambodia was places under both Siam and Vietnam’s joint suzerainty.

Before 1831, Cambodia was fully under the protection of Siam due to King Taksin conquest of Cambodia in 1778. Outer Cambodia was considered one of the areas, aside from Syburi (Kedah) in the south, that Siam used most of its forces to put down civil wars on both its ruler and its people which described as “pitted rival bureaucratic factions and court intriguers against one another, while behind the scenes Vietnamese agents plotted in the murk.” A quote written by an ancient Greek Philosopher, Machiavelli, best described Outer Cambodia before the first French involvement in 1853. “people willingly change their ruler, believing that the change will be for the better; and this beliefs leads them to take up arms against him. But they are mistaken, and they soon find out in practice they have only made things worse” (p.510). Outer Cambodia, like quoted, was divided between Thai loyalists vs. Vietnamese whom supports either Siam and Vietnam rule on Cambodia.

The problem first occurred when Rama I, founder of Bangkok Kingdom, allowed the Pro-Thai Cambodian king, Ang Eng (អង្គអេង,นักองค์เอง) to ascend the throne of Cambodia in 1779. In return, Rama 1 requested for Ang Eng to annually send tribute of golden & silver trees, pay personal visit to Bangkok, and provide Siam with manpower for war and public works. The division within Cambodia court and nation began between former Cambodian court officer Baen Aphaiphubet and Ang Eng which both side does not have any good term relations toward each other. Fearing the Cambodia’s feud between two important men could cause Cambodia to become turmoil again, Rama 1 requested to Ang Eng on 1795 that he was willing to let the Cambodian king rule in peace without Baen as long that the king was willing grant to Baen on behalf of Siam the border provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap that could be ruled separately from Cambodia proper.  At first Ang Eng refused the request, however later he agreed that Baen would be allowed to rule the bordering province separately.[1]  After the death of Ang Eng in 1797, the Ang Chan to ascend to the Khmer throne in 1803, at the age of 16 years in which in Thai known as King Uthai Racha (สมเด็จพระอุทัยราชา) while in Cambodian he was known as King Ang Chan (ព្រះបាទអង្គច័ន្ទ,นักองจัน)  . The young king was not well known throughout Cambodia which caused disagreement among his own people and with Baen Aphaiphubet, the first governor of newly created Inner Cambodian province. According to Tully, when Baen Aphaiphubet died, King Rama I appointed Baen’s decedent Baen Aphaiphubet II to become Phra

[1] Consisted of modern provinces of Battambang, Siem Reap, and Sisophon1867: Outer Cambodia (เขมรชั้นนอก)
1. Siam-Outer Cambodia relations
According to both Thai, Vietnamese, and French sources, Outer Cambodia makes up the areas of present day Eastern Cambodia from Pursat province in west, toward Svay Rieng in the east. The state of Outer Cambodia actually the first territorial session that Thailand made was with France in 1867. The reasons was French conquered Lower Vietnam known as Cochin China in 1859 which was next door to Siam’s protectorate of Outer Cambodia. It was consider a stepping point in which France first demand territories from Siam and also expand their own Asiatic empire. According to Thai history book “Thai loss of Right Bank territories”, the French interest in expansion of their colonial empire in Indochina further in order to compete with the British since they had conquered territories from both India and Burma. Due to annexation of Lower Vietnam, they viewed that they had rights to expand and annex of Outer Cambodia also. The reason was before the French involvement, Outer Cambodia was places under both Siam and Vietnam’s joint suzerainty.
Before 1831, Cambodia was fully under the protection of Siam due to King Taksin conquest of Cambodia in 1778. Outer Cambodia was considered one of the areas, aside from Syburi (Kedah) in the south, that Siam used most of its forces to put down civil wars on both its ruler and its people which described as “pitted rival bureaucratic factions and court intriguers against one another, while behind the scenes Vietnamese agents plotted in the murk.” A quote written by an ancient Greek Philosopher, Machiavelli, best described Outer Cambodia before the first French involvement in 1853. “people willingly change their ruler, believing that the change will be for the better; and this beliefs leads them to take up arms against him. But they are mistaken, and they soon find out in practice they have only made things worse” (p.510). Outer Cambodia, like quoted, was divided between Thai loyalists vs. Vietnamese whom supports either Siam and Vietnam rule on Cambodia.
The problem first occurred when Rama I, founder of Bangkok Kingdom, allowed the Pro-Thai Cambodian king, Ang Eng (អង្គអេង,นักองค์เอง) to ascend the throne of Cambodia in 1779. In return, Rama 1 requested for Ang Eng to annually send tribute of golden & silver trees, pay personal visit to Bangkok, and provide Siam with manpower for war and public works. The division within Cambodia court and nation began between former Cambodian court officer Baen Aphaiphubet and Ang Eng which both side does not have any good term relations toward each other. Fearing the Cambodia’s feud between two important men could cause Cambodia to become turmoil again, Rama 1 requested to Ang Eng on 1795 that he was willing to let the Cambodian king rule in peace without Baen as long that the king was willing grant to Baen on behalf of Siam the border provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap that could be ruled separately from Cambodia proper. At first Ang Eng refused the request, however later he agreed that Baen would be allowed to rule the bordering province separately. After the death of Ang Eng in 1797, the Ang Chan to ascend to the Khmer throne in 1803, at the age of 16 years in which in Thai known as King Uthai Racha (สมเด็จพระอุทัยราชา) while in Cambodian he was known as King Ang Chan (ព្រះបាទអង្គច័ន្ទ,นักองจัน) . The young king was not well known throughout Cambodia which caused disagreement among his own people and with Baen Aphaiphubet, the first governor of newly created Inner Cambodian province. According to Tully, when Baen Aphaiphubet died, King Rama I appointed Baen’s decedent Baen Aphaiphubet II to become Phra

Tabong’s new Lord Govornor. King Ang Chan, however was furious at Siam in believed that Phra Tabong would be return to him, results refused to join the cremation of the King’s death in Bangkok 1809. In addition, the King of Cambodia became closer with the Vietnamese in the king viewed as a key out of Siam’s sphere. Vietnam under the Nguyễn dynasty, unlike Siam, had been well known as being a Sinitic state in which viewed themselves being more superior toward the Cambodian. Outer Cambodia was consider by the Vietnamese emperor to be the key in gaining more lands since the Vietnamese was successful in annexed the city of Prey Nakor (Ho Chi Minh City) along with other cities in the Mekong Delta from the Cambodian King in 1698.

     Cambodia became Vietnam’s protectorate state after the first Siamese-Vietnamese war 1831-34 after Thai forces were removed from Outer Cambodia by the Vietnamese forces. The relationship between Outer Cambodia and Vietnam ironically lasted only 7 years in which Vietnam tried to completely annex their Cambodian vassal state by process Vietnamization. The process involved in the Cambodian king had to send tribute to the Vietnamese Emperor in Hue, Cambodian court officers wearing Vietnamese court uniforms, increase of Vietnamese settlement into Cambodia, and moving Cambodian capital from Udong to Phnom Penh which was renamed by the Vietnamese as Nam Vang. After the death of Ang Chan 1834, Vietnam tried to further absorbed the weak Cambodian kingdom by installment of Ang Mey (ក្សត្រីអង្គម៉ី,นักองค์เม็ญ) as Cambodian queen in which the Emperor of Vietnam, Gia Long, viewed as key to total annexation. The last process involve in marriage between the queen of Cambodia and the Emperor’s son which was later drop due strong opposition by the nobleman. The relationship between Outer Cambodia and Vietnam fell apart instantly in which the Vietnamese took away Queen Ang Mey out of Nam Vang and placed under house arrest within Saigon which caused rebellion throughout Vietnamese Cambodia. Rama III of Bangkok whom for 7 years kept an eye on movements in both Outer Cambodia and Vietnam by send in spies from cities of Phra Tabong, Siemmarat, Chanthaburi, and Trat while mobilized defenses in bordering provinces of Manophrai, Inner Cambodia, Lower Isan region, Kingdom of Champassak, and Chanthaburi-Trat provinces. According to Thai chronicle, the governors of Bati, Kampong Som, Kampot, Kratie, Ba Phnom, and Somrong Thong vowed to help the Thai army to fight against the Vietnamese force and their supporters whom were governors of Sombok, Choeung, Prei, Kampong Siem, and Vietnamese puppet officers in Phnom Penh. With the help of Cambodian rebellion forces, the Thai armies under the commander of Phraya Bodindecha went into Vietnamese held Outer Cambodia from Phra Tabong, Bangkok, and Champassak which caused the second Siamese-Vietnamese War 1841-1845 which ended by Vietnamese full evacuation from Outer Cambodia. In the agreement between Bangkok and Hue, both countries agreed that Ang Duang would be placed as king of Cambodia in Udong and the requirement would be sending annual tributaries to both Bangkok and Hue. Outer Cambodia, as a nation, would be still under the dominant power of Siam. In addition, the former Vietnamese puppet ruler of Cambodia, Ang Mey was allowed to return to Cambodia and rule alongside with Ang Duang as a success to the throne which symbolized Outer Cambodia to be under both Siam and Vietnam’s influence.

 

PART  FOUR    

  2. French interest and annexation

      On June 5, 1862, the Treaty of Saigon was signed between Emperor Tự Đức of the Ngyuen Dynasty and the French Empire under Napoleon III. The treaty stated that Vietnam must cede the southern provinces of Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, and Dinh Tuong to the French which later formed into French Colony of Cochin China. The colony was considered as a stepping stone into the interior of Indochina for the French wished in expanding. The first area of interest for expanding was the neighboring kingdom of Cambodia in which was known of being under Thai suzerainty.  In French view, the establishment of a protectorate over Cambodia would benefit in the economic reason for which they could secure their ports in Cochin China against the growing threat of British in the area.  However in order to gain a foothold on Cambodia by convincing the heir of Cambodian throne, Prince Ang Vodey, to sign a secret treaty with the French General, Admiral Pierre de La Grandière, that the prince was willing to place his kingdom under the French Cochin China. However, because to Cambodia was under Siam’s protectorate, Siam had to recognize the treaty which would be no different than Washington D.C rights to recognized Puerto Rico’s treaty with Canada since it part of the US as a protectorate.  In “A Short History of Cambodia” the French came in during the time Cambodia was in crisis since the country was freed by Siam from Vietnam in the Siamese-Annamese war of 1841-1845. “Ang Vodey, the Siamese nominee for the Cambodian throne, no longer had to fear Vietnamese designs on the kingdom, but the  Siamese now had a freer hand to meddle and they were jealous lest France supplant them as ‘protector’ of the Khmers. Ang Vodey, who was to reign as King Norodom after his coronation in 1864, sought talks with France on the advice of French missionaries, and this time the response came quickly” Although the prince signed the treaty, the prince tried to convince to King Mongkut of Siam that he was forced by threats from the French to sign the treaty. In response, Mongkut replied that he willing to appoint Prince Ang Vodey as the next king of Cambodia, but in exchange Cambodia must fully recognize to the west as being a Thai vassal state.  The French intervened after reading the Strait Times newspaper of August 20, 1864, of treaty signed between Ang Vey and King Mongkut on August 11, 1863, that Outer Cambodia was legally part of Siam’s sphere as a vassal state. To the French, it was considering as a backlash in which caused pointing out that the Kingdom of Cambodia under the French Protection in which all traditional ties between Siam and Cambodia was cut off. The process of French annexation of Outer Cambodia came to Bangkok in April 9, 1865 in which Consul Aubaret, on behalf of Paris, for negotiation on Cambodia. In April 14, Consul signed a treaty with Phraya Surivong which was agreed on these following:

·       Article I. His Majesty the King of Siam recognizes and affirms solemnly the Protectorate of His Majesty the Emperor of France over the kingdom of Cambodia.

·       Article II. The treaty concluded in December 1863 between the King of Siam and the King of Cambodia is declared null and without value, and the Siamese government will not invoke it in the future under any circumstances.

·       Article III. The Emperor of the French, wishing that the kingdom of Cambodia should in the future be free and independent and disengaged of all vassality, engages not to seize the territory of this kingdom to incorporate it into his possessions of Cochin China.

·       Article IV. The frontiers of the provinces of Phra Tabong and Siemmarat, as well as those of Thai Laos adjoining Cambodia, are accepted and recognized by France as they exist on the day of signing the present arrangement. The exact delimitation of these frontiers will be made, with the aid of markers and posts, by a commission of Siamese and Cambodian officers under the supervision of French office:s. This delimitation has for a special end to prevent any vexatious incursion of Cambodians into Siamese territory or of Siamese into Cambodian territory.

·       Article V. The kingdom of Cambodia is recognized free and independent. This kingdom is not subjected to any suzerainty and remains thus placed between French possessions on one side and the kingdom of Siam on the other. However, and in consideration of ancient customs, his Majesty the King of Cambodia will have the right to render homage to His Majesty the King of Siam at the same time as to His Majesty the Emperor of the French, but it is well understood that this homage is only a mark of respect, which does not affect in any way the perfect independence of Cambodia. If His Majesty the King of Cambodia desires, as in the past, to send presents to His Majesty the King of Siam, the French government will not interpose any obstacle. This government will not oppose in any way the friendly relations Cambodia may desire to entertain with Siam. Article

·       VI. The princes of Cambodia being accustomed to reside in the kingdom of Siam, the French government will not prevent it in the future; and if these princes wish to live in French territory, the Siamese government will not oppose it in any fashion. Article VII. The French government engages to make the Cambodians observe all the clauses contained in the various articles of the present arrangement

Siam recognized the French Protectorate over Outer Cambodia and declared its secret treaty null and void. In exchange, France ratified Siam’s claim, not only to Phra Tabong and Inner Cambodian territory, but to all other territory taken by Siam from Cambodia and administrated separately – Manophrai (Meluprey), Thalatboriwat (Tonle Repu), and Chiang Taeng[1] (Stung Treng), – even, temporarily at least, to Pursat and Kompong Svai, which Siam had never before held, but which Ang Vey had offered to Siam, if Mongkut would protect the rest of his territory from the Vietnamese and the French. Mongkut was obviously unable to keep this promise and instead of trying to keep it, he was now treacherously despoiling his friend of a large part of that territory as a reward for recognizing France’s suzerainty over the rest of it. However the flaw of the treaty was on the issue of the Tonle Sap Lake that touch the Thai provinces of Phra Tabong and Siemmarat due local Cambodian complaint of Thai higher payment of fishing privileges vs Outer Cambodia’s which is lower. Thai government agreed that the payment would be lowered as equal amount to French Cambodia but it does not satisfied the Governor-General of Cochin China in whom personally believed that the Tonle Sap Lake was traditionally part of Cambodia before the division between Thai- backed Inner Cambodia and Outer Cambodia.

 

Outer Cambodia’s Flag Pre Franco-Siamese Treaty 1867                         Outer Cambodia under French Protectorate post 1867 Treaty

In exchange the French announced that Inner Cambodia would still remain part of Siam. The result was in 1867, Outer Cambodia with the total area of 124,000 sq. km became officially part of French Protectorate. The loss of the northwestern provinces of Cambodia (Inner Cambodia) deeply upset King Norodom of Cambodia (Former Prince Ang Vodey) and would remain a constant source of controversy in Cambodian relations with Thailand for decades to come. (JohnRonald 1998)

                                      1888: Sipsong Chau Thai (สิบสองจุไทย)

The location of Sipsong Chau Thai is in the area of modern Điện Biên Phủ (Muang Thaeng), Lai Châu (Muang Lai), and Sơn La (Muang Son) which makes up Northwestern area of Vietnam. Sipsong Chau Thai (สิบสองจุไทย, Lao: ສິບສອງຈຸໄຕ, Vietnamese: Mười hai xứ Thái) means the twelve Tai tribe federation since it consist of the tribe of Black, White, and Red Tai tribes which lived in these following principalities

  1. Muang Tè
  2. Muang So
  3. Muang Sat
  4. Muang Ma
  5. Muang Lai
  6. Muang Chien
  7. Muang Chan
  8. Muang Than
  9. Muang Quai

10.Muang Than

  1. Muang Muoi
  2. Muang Thaeng

According to the Laotian history, the area was first brought under the first king of the united Laotian kingdom of Lan Chang, King Fa Ngum in 1351. “After the limitation of tho said territories, Prince Fah-Ngum went on to invade and annex several cities in the north, namely lluong Then, Muodg Sai, Muong Lai, Muong Kuang, Muong Horn, Muong Kang-Lan, Muong Sing-Thao, Muong Hum and Muong Gaat, again ordering them to supply him with gold, silver, curtains, silk, ceiling carpets, equipment, war supplies and manpower.” The annexation of the area puts Sipsong Chau Thai to be the border region between the Laotian State of Lan Chang and Vietnam. After the partition of Lan Chang in 1707[2], the area became part of Kingdom of Luang Prabang’s suzerainty which, along with other Laotians states, was under Siam’s protectorate. Aside from Siam through Luang Prabang, the region additionally paid homage to the Vietnamese Emperor which placed the area under two overlords.  Although the region was recognized as being under  both Siam and Vietnam’s domain, many of European atlas did not recognize it since in many of earlier maps often placed the area as being independent tribes or absolutely part of Vietnam’s domain. For this reason caused Sipsong Chau Thai region to be the first area in Thai protectorate areas of Laos that France claimed to be part of Greater Vietnam.

The issue of the area came when a group of Chinese outlaws known as the Haws came into the area 1865 after their failure in the Taiping Rebellion of 1864 in Qing’s China. The group invaded and harassed the Thai areas of Northern Luang Prabang, Sipsong Chau Thai, and Phuan Principality regions which were under Siam’s sovereignty alongside Vietnamese region of Tonkin. With the issue, King Chulalongkorn who was King of Siam (r.1868-1910), ordered troops from Bangkok, Northeast Siam (Isan), and Lanna under Field Marshal Chao Phraya Surasakmontri to assist Luang Prabang in their attacks on the Chinese intruders in the area of Sipsong Chau Thai. Throughout 1865-1888, the war against the Chinese outlaws was located within the areas of Luang Prabang, Sipsong Chau Thai, and neighboring Lao principalities of Huaphan, and the Phuan. The conflict later became known to both Thai and Lao people as the Haw War.

Banner of Black Flag Army that originally harassed Tonkin (1865) and later Thai territory of Laos as Haw intruder

 

The French, whom at the same time was able to annex the northern area of Vietnam known as Tonkin in 1884 after the results of Sino-French war of 1884-95, officially established their colonial empire known as French Indochina which comprised of Vietnam[3] and Outer Cambodia on October 1887. With the knowledge that the area of Sipsong Chau Thai sent tributaries to Nguyen imperial capital of Hue meant that the area was part of Vietnam. For this reason, the French army used an excuse of wanting to suppress the Chinese invaders on their side of their border as a way for annexation. From the start, the French army went in from their military base of Lao Kai, Tonkin to the area of Muang Lai, Muang Thaeng, and Lao province of Muang La. This action put the Thai armies to try a counter offense in order to save the territories in Muang La, and other provinces in Sipsong Chau Thai and Northern Laos leaving the Thai army to counter the French Army in Thaeng. Auguste Pavie, a well-known French advisor, demanded that Siam withdraws their troops out of the area since it was historically part of Vietnam. Phraya Surasakmontri In the end, the French General, and Thai army commander Chao Phraya Surisakmontri signed a Franco-Siamese treaty of December 22, 1888, in Muang Thaeng in which allowed the French army to station Sipsong Chau Thai while the Thai army stationed in the principality of Phuan and Huaphan Thang Ha Thang Hok. The town of Muang Thaeng itself would be stationed by both the French and Thai troops. In addition, both countries army would not intervene in one another territories until both Bangkok and Paris would agree on the boundary. The agreement was held in place for 5 month until Thai army withdrawn its troops from Muang Thaeng due to the request of French consulate, Massie, in Luang Prabang. The result was Siam had to cede the area of Sipsong Chau Thai to the French army in 1888 which was incorporated as part of the French protectorate of Tonkin. The total loss was 87,000 sq.km.

                                         

[1] Chiang Taeng was administrated as  part of Kingdom of Champassak domain in which both France and Cambodia claim as being part of Cambodia

[2] Due to Lan Chang’s lack of successor after the death of the Lao king of Surinyavongsa in 1694, civil war broke out among the successors especially between Wiang Chan (Vientiane) and Luang Prabang 1694-1706 which led to establishment of two separate rival kingdoms of Luang Prabang and Wiang Chan in 1707 with Siam’s recognition. Wiang Chan was then permanently annexed into Siam 1828 leaving Luang Prabang as a dominant Lao kingdom under Siam’s suzarainty

[3] Vietnam was divided regionally by the French administration in which comprised of French colony of Cochin China (Southern region), French protectorate state of Annam (Central) & Tonkin (Northern)

 

 

 (To be continue…)

 

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