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  1. #1
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    French occupation of Trat and Chanthaburi provinces

    Have gathered various pieces of information on the French occupation since we holidayed in Trat and Chanthaburi in May 2010.

    Holiday snaps here
    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-travel...charg-yai.html (Chanthaburi - Buddha Park at Wat Charg Yai)
    and here
    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-travel...laem-sing.html


    Tomorrow marks the day Trat returned to Thai sovereignty after the French occupation, 23 March 1906.

    Trat Memorial Day celebrations are held at the provincial town hall, and run from 23-27 March 2011 - an exhibition about the history of Trat, parades of different groups, performances of the Royal Thai Navy, Miss Trat Commemoration Contest, Thai native ‘Lang An’ (Ridgeback) Dog Contest, sales of various products, musical show and entertainment.

    A recent article comes from the Bangkok Post (August 2010); a good one to start with

    Note: this is very much a 'work in progress'
    we moved to Chanthaburi province a week ago, hope to visit as many historic sites as possible and use my own photos
    Any referenced contributions appreciated
    Last edited by genghis61; 22-03-2011 at 05:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    The Franco-Siamese crisis #1

    The Franco-Siamese crisis



    At dusk on July 13, 1893, two French warships, La Comete and L'Inconstant, reached the estuary of the Chao Phraya River. They were deployed by France to join Le Lutin, another French warship anchored off Bangkok, at the height of imperialism after Siam had refused to surrender land on the left bank of the Mekong River to France.

    This led to Siam and France engaging in a naval battle that killed eight Thai soldiers and three French soldiers and wounded 41 Thai officers. Further threats and demands from France over the next decade forced Siam to surrender one-third of its territory to France in a bid to maintain sovereignty.

    "In 1893, France sent warships here to force Siam to surrender. The French ships seized Chanthaburi, Trat, Koh Kong and Dan Sai as collateral. Fourteen years later, France returned Chanthaburi to Siam, but held on to Trat. This led to the signing of the 1904 and 1907 treaties and border demarcation that forced Siam to surrender more land in a bid to preserve independence," said Charnvit Kasetsiri, an historian and lecturer at Thammasat University.

    The 1893 incident was as severe as the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, claiming several lives and causing great sorrow to King Chulalongkorn, according to historian Krairoek Nana, author of Franco-Siamese Crisis 1893. This 300-page book, with more than 100 illustrations, was recently published to mark the centenary of King Chulalongkorn's death and the 117th anniversary of Prachulachomklao Fort this year.

    The Age of Imperialism lasted from 1850 to 1914, although Siam was officially opened to Westerners in 1826 during the reign of King Rama III with the signing of the Burney Treaty with Britain, said Amorn Vanichvivat, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Political Science.

    From the Fourth Reign to the early Fifth reign, Siam had been under threat from Western colonisation. Therefore, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) prepared Siam to brace for change. For example, he built a fort at Tambon Laem Fa Pa, Samut Prakan - Phrachulachomklao Fort - and purchased modern weapons. The king once remarked: "If Siam loses sovereignty, my life comes to an end."

  3. #3
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    The Franco-Siamese crisis #2

    At 6:30pm on July 13, 1893, two French warships L'Inconstant and La Comete, led by the J.B. Say - a French-registered pilot boat from Saigon - entered the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Consequently, five Siamese warships - Makutratchakumarn, Murathawisitsawat, Naruebenbutri, Harnhak Sattru and Thoonkramom - were put on alert, as were soldiers at Prachul and Phisua Samut forts.

    Two warning shots were fired and a telegram was sent to the commander of L'Inconstant. However, there was no reply. The French warships kept moving towards Prachul Fort. Two more warning shots were fired, aimed - according to records - just in front of the French warships. Instead of stopping, however, both warships raised their flags to full mast as a signal to commence battle and fired on Prachul Fort, prompting the Siamese to retaliate. One shot hit the J.B. Say, which later ran aground at Lamphurai Cape. Another shot hit a mast on the L'Inconstant, killing a carpenter.

    As the French warships came close to the fort, the Siamese warships - the Makutratchakumarn and the Murathawisitsawat - started firing on them.

    By 6:50pm, L'Inconstant and La Comete were too close to the fort for its guns to bear on them, prompting ship-to-ship and man-to-man combat. Clouds of gunpowder smoke filled the air. Despite the Siamese forces' best efforts, both French warships were at an advantage. They navigated the river mouth and anchored in front of the French embassy in Bangkok, said Commander Somkhuan Sukdit, the current deputy commander of Prachulachomklao Fort.

    The following day, the Bangkok Times, an English-language newspaper, reported that eight Siamese soldiers had been killed, 41 wounded and one was missing, while three French soldiers were killed during the battle.

    "France claimed that Siam attacked the French troops first and demanded three million francs in compensation," Mr Krairoek said.


    PROPAGANDA: A cartoon underestimating the strength of Siamese soldiers.

  4. #4
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    The Franco-Siamese crisis #3


    Siam, however, did not have enough cash to pay immediately. Fortunately, certain members of the royal family reminded King Chulalongkorn of the hoard of Mexican silver coins kept in the basement of the Chakri Mahaprasart Throne Hall since the Third Reign. King Rama III had earned the money from foreign trade and kept it in red cloth bags. Finally, Siam delivered 2.5 million francs worth of the coins to France, and promised a 500,000 franc cheque later.

    According to Mr Krairoek, before the battle of July 13, 1893, Kromkhun Marupong Siriwat, the Siamese ambassador to Paris, had managed to convince the French government to delay sending warships to Siam until the ownership of Laos was settled. For an unknown reason, the French government's telegrams failed to reach the French warships in time, ending up in a low-priority postbag for French crewmen.

    Mr Krairoek believes this was a result of foul play on the part of Auguste Jean-Marie Pavie, the French consul-general to Bangkok. Rear Admiral Yada Natecharoen, a retired navy officer, agrees and believes that France created this situation as a ruse to colonise Siam. At the time, scores of French warships and soldiers were on stand-by in Saigon.

    "After both French warships left Prachul Fort, Phraya Cholayuthyothin, the fort's Danish captain, took a train to Bangkok to request King Chulalongkorn's permission to ram HTMS Maha Chakri into the French warships. But the king refused," he said.

    Mr Krairoek added that Prince Devawongvaropakarn, the king's half-brother, suggested the king refrain from making war but instead seek arbitration by two foreign countries. However, none could be found that dared to intervene.

    The consequences of the crisis were that Siam was forced to surrender territory in Laos to France and allow French troops to control Chanthaburi until the relocation of all Siamese people in Laos to Siam, which due to intermarriage and identification problems was an impossibility.

    Finally, Siam lost Siem Reap, Battambang and Sisophon to France, but retained Chanthaburi and Trat.

  5. #5
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    The Franco-Siamese crisis #4

    The Franco-Siamese crisis of 1893 was a turning point for Siam. Since then, we have been alert and mindful," said Amorn Vanichvivat, a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Political Science.

    According to Mr Amorn, the crisis was the gravest incident during the Fifth Reign, but King Chulalongkorn learned valuable lessons from it and later sent his children to study abroad to help prepare the country for change.

    The king visited Europe twice, and his close bond with Tsar Nicholas II of Russia made Britain and France reluctant to attack Siam. A photo of the king and the tsar served as a propaganda tool to help protect Siam.


    POWERFUL ALLY: The photo of King Chulalongkorn and Tsar Nicholas II that was published by a French newspaper.

    Mr Krairoek added that the picture, taken on Sept 11, 1897, and sent by Russia for publication in the French newspaper L'Illustration, reflected Russia's efforts to help Siam. However, Russia could do little more due to a treaty it had signed with France.

    Therefore, King Chulalongkorn resorted to Germany for help. The German kaiser eventually offered to host peace talks in Bangkok if France declined to withdraw troops from Chanthaburi. This move prompted France to sign a pact to withdraw forces after obtaining Siamese land on the left bank of the Mekong. However, France maintained troops in Trat until Siam traded Battambang, Siem Reap and Sisophon for Trat, years later.

    "The Franco-Siamese crisis was an important incident that changed Thai history and provided lessons for Thais to learn from and remember for good," said Wanchai Tantiwitthayapitak, the editor of the new book.

    ********

    'Franco-Siamese Crisis 1893' (in Thai) is available from the Prachul Fort Society, Prachulachomklao Fort, Samut Prakan (02-475-6260); at Ratchanavee Samosorn, Tha Chang (02-475-3244); and at the Sunshine shop in the Bangkok Art Gallery, Pathumwan, for 999 baht.

  6. #6
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    ‘Le conflit avec le Siam’


    MOCKING: A leaflet entitled ‘Le conflit avec le Siam’ (The Conflict with Siam), portrayed Siam’s troops as uncivilised and outdated.

  7. #7
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    Chanthaburi and Trat - maps


    Chanthaburi Province


    Trat Province

  8. #8
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    some pictures



    'The French Wolf and The Siamese Lamb' the hungry French wolf looking down threateningly at the meek Siamese (Thai) lamb across the Mekong river. Alluding to the French desire to annex Siam as a colony.

    Date 1893
    Source Punch Magazine
    Author Punch Magazine

    from Laos, but an indication of Thai military in 1893

    Siamese_Elephant_Mounted_Artillery_in_Laos_1893
    Date 1893
    Source French publication

  9. #9
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    French warship La Comete


    Canonniere Comete_(1884-1909)


    Source Randier, La Royale, p.392
    Date Between 1884 and 1909
    Author Unknown/ probably French Navy

  10. #10
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    Thank God for the French!

    Cambodia would be gone if they hadn't intervened.

    As for Thai land west of the Mekong, that's been their dream since they became somewhat civilized.

    The French ships seized Chanthaburi, Trat, Koh Kong and Dan Sai as collateral.
    Seized Koh Kong as collateral?

    Not much difference between the Bangkok Post and The Nation anymore.

  11. #11
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    welcome any additions, referenced and in English! Only a short period in history and have not been able to find much information; I'll keep digging. I had links to some before/after territorial maps of the region, will try to relocate.

    there's always Wiki

    ***************

    The Franco-Siamese War of 1893 was a conflict between the French Third Republic and the Kingdom of Siam. Auguste Pavie, French vice consul in Luang Prabang in 1886, was the chief agent in furthering French interests in Laos.

    His intrigues, which took advantage of Siamese weakness in the region and periodic invasions by Vietnamese rebels from Tonkin, increased tensions between Bangkok and Paris. Following the conflict, the Siamese agreed to cede Laos to France, an act that led to the significant expansion of French Indochina.

    Context

    The conflict started when French Indochina’s Governor-General Jean de Lanessan sent Auguste Pavie as consul to Bangkok to bring Laos under French rule. The government in Bangkok, mistakenly believing that they would be supported by the British government, refused to concede territory east of the Mekong and instead reinforced their military and administrative presence.

    Events were brought to a head by two separate incidents when Siamese governors in Khammuan and Nongkhai expelled three French merchants from the middle Mekong in September 1892, two of them, Champenois and Esquilot, on suspicion of opium smuggling.[1][2] Shortly afterwards, the French consul in Luang Prabang, Massie, feverish and discouraged, committed suicide on his way back to Saigon. Back in France, these incidents were used by the Colonial Party (Parti Colonial) to stir up nationalistic anti-Siamese sentiment, as a pretext for intervention.

    The death of Massie left Auguste Pavie as the new French Consul. In March 1893 Pavie demanded that the Siamese evacuate all military posts on the east side of the Mekong River south of Khammuan, claiming that the land belonged to Vietnam. To back up these demands, the French sent the gunboat Lutin to Bangkok, where it was moored on the Chao Phraya next to the French legation.


    The Canonniere Le Lutin (1877-1897)
    Date Circa 1880
    Source Randier "La Royale"
    Last edited by genghis61; 22-03-2011 at 05:25 PM.

  12. #12
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    Conflict

    When Siam rejected the French demands, de Lanessan sent 3 military columns into the disputed region to assert French control in April 1893.

    8 small Siamese garrisons west of the Mekong withdrew upon the arrival of the central column, but the advance of the other columns met with resistance: in the north, the French came under siege on the island of Khoung, with the capture of an officer, Thoreaux; while in the south, the occupation proceeded smoothly until an ambush by the Siamese on the village of Keng Kert resulted in the killing of a French police inspector Grosgurin, confined to his sickbed, together with most of the Vietnamese militia whom he commanded.

    As a result, relations between Bangkok and the West soured, with France demanding reparations. The British sent in 3 navy ships to the mouth of the Chao Phraya, in case evacuation of British citizens became necessary.

    In turn the French went one step further in July 1893 by ordering two of their ships, the sloop Inconstant and the gunboat Comète, to sail up the Chao Phraya towards Bangkok, without the permission of the Siamese: they came under fire from the fort at Paknam on July 13, 1893. The French returned fire and forced their way to Bangkok.

    With guns trained on the Grand Palace in Bangkok, the French delivered an ultimatum to the Siamese on July 20 to hand over the territory, to withdraw their garrisons there, to pay an indemnity of two million francs in reparation for the fighting at Paknam, and to punish those responsible for the killings in the disputed territory.[6] When Siam did not immediately comply unconditionally to the ultimatum, the French blockaded the Siamese coast.

    In the end the Siamese submitted fully to the French conditions, finding no support from the British. In addition, the French demanded as guarantees the temporary occupation of Chantaburi and the demilitarisation of Battambang, Siemreap and a 25 kilometre-wide zone on the western bank of the Mekong. The conflict led to the signature of the Franco-Siamese Treaty, on October 3, 1893.

  13. #13
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    Territorial losses of Thailand


  14. #14
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    Handy map, thanks. Good to know when exactly the Western Cambodian territories were returned.

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    and one from Rural Surin's Siam, Thailand & Bangkok Old Photo Thread

    Le Petite Journal, 5 April 1903


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pol the Pot View Post
    Handy map, thanks. Good to know when exactly the Western Cambodian territories were returned.
    Quality, accurate info is difficult to come by; my partner's family are in southern Sa Kaeo, not too far north-east, and have some 'history' in this area, she's interested as they learnt none of this at school and it was only when we visited last May she believed my wild tales of the French being here not much more than 100 years ago (and wilder accusation she may have ancestry other than her claimed 'pure Thai' as in Khmer, as they are border folk (not french, a fate worse than death) - that one hurt!)
    Last edited by genghis61; 22-03-2011 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Clarity of a bad post

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by genghis61
    and wilder accusation she may have ancestry other than her claimed 'pure Thai' - that one hurt!
    How would you like it if someone suggested your Parents/grand parents may have been violated by a Frenchie? Disgusted I should imagine.

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    Of course looking back further

    Last edited by Chairman Mao; 22-03-2011 at 07:44 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Parents/grand parents may have been violated by a Frenchie?
    FWIW, frenchie is Irish slang for a condom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pol the Pot View Post
    Thank God for the French!
    Thank who's GOD?
    Cambodia would be gone if they hadn't intervened.
    Gone...?? Gone where?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pol the Pot View Post
    Thank God for the French!
    Thank who's GOD?
    Cambodia would be gone if they hadn't intervened.
    Gone...?? Gone where?
    Gone to Thailand, obviously. FFS, don't you know anything about SE Asian history?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Parents/grand parents may have been violated by a Frenchie?
    FWIW, frenchie is Irish slang for a condom.
    Perhaps in the 1920's or in Proddy circles.

    As of the 1990's it was term for a french kiss.

  23. #23
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    it's nice to see the French winning another war again,

  24. #24
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    meandering along here, with diversions

    This map of Indochina gives a clear picture of the size of Siam in 1886



    Small pic here - the one from this link too big to post, shows great detail of borders at that time
    Last edited by genghis61; 22-03-2011 at 09:23 PM.

  25. #25
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    Interesting thread, thanks

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