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THE ERA OF MODERNISATION OF THAILAND

Before the 20th century,
Thailand was known as
Siam.

Pibul Songgram renamed it
to Thailand which means
‘Land of the Free’ because
it was never directly
colonised by any western
powers.

Map of Siam and the Malay States in the 19th century
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Thailand was able to maintain its independence and
sovereignty
Reasons:
• Two capable Siamese Kings
(King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn)

• Commercial treaties signed with Western
powers
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Kings of the Chakri Dynasty from Rama I to Rama V
1 2 3

Rama III or
King Chesda
(1824 – 1851)

Rama I (1782 – 1809) Rama II (1809 – 1824)

4 5

Rama IV or Rama V or
King Mongkut king Chulalongkorn
(1851 – 1868) (1868 – 1910).
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COMMERCIAL TREATIES WITH WESTERN POWERS

• First king to open door to Westerners

• Signed treaty with the British and
Americans
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COMMERCIAL TREATIES WITH WESTERN POWERS
Treaty with the British Treaty with the Americans
A British mission led by Captain Edmund Roberts led American
Henry Burney was sent to Siam in mission in 1833 to deal for
1825. commercial relation with Rama III.
The Burney Treaty was signed on This Treaty was signed between
20 June 1826 between the British Americans and Siamese.
and a Siamese King.
In 1856 American consulate was
Terms of the Burney Treaty set up in Siam.
1).Allowed the British to trade freely
Terms of the Treaty:
in Siam. 1). Americans was guaranteed
2).Allowed British to trade freely in trading concessions with the
the Malay States under Siamese Siamese.
control. 2). Siamese will reduce the port
duties to the Americans.
3.2 SIAM UNDER KING MONGKUT (1851 - 1868)

First king of Thailand
started the modernisation of
Thailand.

He get a broad education
while serving as a monk.

His main concern was to
preserve Siam’s independence
and sovereignty.
INTERNAL REFORMS
1 2

• Reorganized administrative • Increased trade with West
department • Export of Siamese rice
• Brought in experts from West • 1861: Royal Mint established

3 4

• Encouraged English education • Internal communication
• Set up schools in Bangkok improved
• Freedom of press allowed
FOREIGN POLICY
King Mongkut adopted a friendly policy with countries.
This was done to preserve Siamese independence.
He preserve Siam’s independence by co-operate with
the westerners and open Siam’s doors to trade.

Bowring Treaty 1855
Terms:
• British could trade freely in Siam
• British could buy or rent land in
Bangkok

Similar treaties was signed with
France, America, Denmark,
Portugal and Holland. Sir John Bowring
3.3 SIAM UNDER KING CHULALONGKORN
(1868- 1910)
Was sixteen years old when
his father, King Mongkut, died

The government was put
under regent, as he was
too young to rule.
He ascended the throne only
at the age of twenty one.
First educated by
Mrs Anna Leonowens and
then by Robert Morant, an
English tutors
INTERNAL REFORMS

• Prince Damrong as • Encouraged English
Minister of Home education
Affairs • Reorganised
• Siam divided into 18 Siamese
areas education
known as monthons
• Communication system •1874: abolished
improved slavery
• Railway lines built • Ended forced
labour
• Prince Rabi as Minister of
Justice
• 1891: Law School to train
FOREIGN POLICY

King Chulalongkorn
tried to continue
father’s policy of
friendship and
diplomacy to the West.
This was to prevent
Siam from falling into
hands of the West.
Relationship with France
France extended
power into Indo-China
(vassal state of Siam).

To prevent France
from entering Siam’s
boundaries, treaty
signed in 1904 and
1907.
Siam ceded Cambodia
provinces of Siemreap
and Battambang
Relationship with Britain
Treaty of Bangkok in
1909 was signed
because worried about
the rising power of
Germany.

Siam’s rights over
Perlis, Kedah,
Kelantan and
Trengganu transferred
to Britain.

In return, Britain

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