Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and the Malay Muslim South

Tamara Loos

in The Ambiguous Allure of the West

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9789622091214
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207493 | DOI:
Competitive Colonialisms: Siam and the Malay Muslim South

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This chapter examines how Siam's modernity developed in relation to areas on the Malay Peninsula, focusing on the role played by King Chulalongkorn and his closest advisors. The catalyst for Bangkok's centralization of control over territory was nineteenth-century European imperialism. Siam's leaders felt that the country's autonomy was under siege by imperial Britain and France, so they centralized and strengthened its provincial administration. The chapter argues that the decision by Siam's rulers to incorporate certain territories on the Malay Peninsula but not others, and the particular reforms pursued, were imbued with motives that went far beyond the original concern for Siam's independence, let alone survival. It entailed the direct administration of autonomously ruled Malay Muslim states and involved several other measures that appear characteristically imperial.

Keywords: Siam; Malay Peninsula; King Chulalongkorn; Bangkok; European imperialism; Malay Muslim

Chapter.  8561 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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