Asienreisender - Thai Army in 1875

Thai Army in the Haw War, Laos, 1875.
Image: (Common Free)

Asienreisender - French Battleships

French Battleship at the mouth of the Chao Praya River. The French land hunger was great. France was on the verge of occupying whole Siam at around 1890. The French expansion led to a short French - Siamese war in 1893. Finally France and Britain agreed to remain Siam as a buffer state between their two colonial empires. Siam had to agree to huge concessions for French and British economic activities in Siam.
Image: (Common Free)

A History of Thailand

A highly recommendable introduction in the understanding of contemporary Thailand and it's society.


This lively, accessible book is the first new history of Thailand in English for two decades. Drawing on new Thai-language research, it ranges widely over political, economic, social, and cultural themes.

Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit reveal how a world of mandarin nobles and unfree labour evolved into a rural society of smallholder peasants and an urban society populated mainly by migrants from southern China. They trace how a Buddhist cosmography adapted to new ideas of time and space, and a traditional polity was transformed into a new nation-state under a strengthened monarchy.

The authors cover the contests between urban nationalists, ambitious generals, communist rebels, business politicians, and social movements to control the nation-state and redefine its purpose. They describe the dramatic changes wrought by a booming economy, globalization, and the evolution of mass society. Finally, they show how Thailand's path is still being contested by those who believe in change from above and those who fight for democracy and liberal values.

Chris Baker taught Asian history at Cambridge University, and has lived in Thailand for over twenty years. He is now an independent writer, researcher, and translator. Pasuk Phongpaichit is Professor of Economics at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. She has written widely in Thai and English on the Thai economy, sex industry, corruption, illegal economy, and social movements. Together, they have co-authored Thailand: Economics and Politics, Thailand's Boom and Bust, Thailand's Crisis, and Thaksin: The Business of Politics in Thailand.

Cambridge University Press


History was invented for the nation-state. It has a tendency to imagine 'the false unity of a self-same, national subject evolving through time' (Prasenjit Duara). All too easily, the nation becomes something natural which always existed but was only properly realized in the nation-state. In reaction against this tendency, historians today prefer to write about people, things, ideas, localities, regions, or the globe – anything but the nation. Or else they write reflective histories about the interplay between the nation and the production of its own history. The approach adopted here is to make the career of the nation-state the explicit focus of the story. One of the themes of this book is about how the idea of the nation and the machinery of the nation-state were established in Thailand, and then how different social forces tried to make use of it – by reinterpreting what the nation meant, and by seeking to control or influence the use of state power. The second major theme is about the evolution of the social forces involved. After the introductory chapter, the chapters alternate between these two themes, though the division is rough not rigid. (...)

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Asienreisender - Siam's Territorial Losses

Siam's Territorrial Losses until 1909.
After the fall of Ayuthaya 1767 Siamese Civilization was almost destroyed. The remaining Siamese were regathered under (King) Thaksin, who founded Thonbury on the Eastern side of the Chao Praya River. Thaksin was killed under obscure circumstances in 1782. The new capital moved then to the other side of the river, founding Krung Theb (Bangkok), where the Palace and the surroundings were erected. From the 1820s on the new Bangkok - Siam city state expanded to the South, the North and the East, getting borders with approximately what is Vietnam nowadays. The encounter with the European colonial powers Britain and even more France set the expansion into reverse.
Image: (Common Free)