A Chronicle of Siam's 14 Boundary Losses
Siam's independence, during the past two hundred years, came under serious threat from foreign powers, and only the astute rule of King Chulalongkorn in the late 19th century saved the country from being swallowed by Britain and France, like much of the rest of Southeast Asia. Siam did, however, suffer some fourteen boundary losses; eight of them to Britain and France, and the rest to neighboring countries. The following lands were lost to foreign states:
- 11th Aug. 1786: Britain took control of Penang, or Koh Maak, a 375 sq kms. island ceded to the British East India Company by the Sultan of Keddah, in return for protection against the armies of neighboring Siam and Burma.
- 16th Jan. 1793: Mergui, Tavoy and the Tennasserim Strip of some 55,000 sq kms. was taken by the Burmese.
- 24th May 1810: the 3,000 sq kms. city of Ha Tien was ceded to Vietnam.
- With the death, in 1815, of the ruler of Northern Thailand, Prince Gawila, the 100,000 sq kms. autonomous region of Chiang Toong , broke away from Siam to become part of the eastern Shan state of Burma.
- 20th Jun. 1826: Siam was forced to sign the Anglo-Siam agreement, thereby losing the 70,000 sq kms. states of Perak and Selangor to Britain.
- 1st May 1850: Siam lost Chiang Roog (Jinhong) City to China. The great neighboring power also laid claim to the entire 60,000 sq kms. region of Sibsong Panna, north of the Lanna kingdom, and brought it under the wing of the southern province of Yunnan.
- 15th Jul. 1867: Siam lost all 124,000 sq kms. of eastern Cambodia, which became a French protectorate, annexed to French Indo-China, in a treaty signed between France and Siam.
- Laos and north Vietnam, by signing the Luang Prabang agreement with France. French troops had invaded the region , some 50 kms. to the east of present-day Vientiane, the previous year, and refused to leave.
- 27th Oct. 1892: Siam is forced to agree to an Anglo-Siamese Boundary Commission, thereby losing to British-Burma 13 towns and villages on the eastern bank of the Salween River; and area of some 30,000 sq kms.
- 3rd Oct. 1893: France takes possession of 143,8s00 sq kms. of eastern Laos, along the eastern bank of the Mekong River. French logic at the time deemed that since Laos belonged to Vietnam, which in turn was part of the French Indo- China empire, then Laos must be under French control.
- 12th Feb. 1903: French troops seized the city of Chandhaburi in eastern Siam, and offer it in exchange for more territory in Laos. Faced with little choice, Siam agrees to give to France the land on the western bank of the Mekong River; the 62,500 sq kms. embracing the region of Luang Prabang and Cham Pasak became part of French Indo-China.
- 27th Mar. 1906: French troops are used in a now familiar ploy to wrest land from Siam with the invasion of the city of Trad. Siam was then forced to relinquish her eastern state, covering Siem Reap, Battembang and Sri Sobhon; a loss of some 51,000 sq kms. of land. The city of Trad was eventually given back by the French.
- 10th Mar. 1908: The transfer of the peninsula states of Kelantan, Trengganu, Kedah and Perlis from Siam to British Malaya resulted in Siam losing 80,000 square miles of land.
- 15th Jun. 1962: Thailand lost 2 square miles of Khao Phra Wihaan temple to Cambodia. A bitter dispute arose when Cambodians came out from nowhere claiming the temple. The World Court relied on an inaccurate map drawn up by French colonial powers when Cambodia was part of their French Indo-China empire. The decision by the World Court to award this sacred site to Cambodia so angered the then Prime Minister, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat,as well as the citizens of Thailand that he stated we should have refused to relinquish Khao Phra Wihaan. The temple is a world's heritage which belongs to everyone. Due to geography and history, Siam or Thailand must have a perfect right to look after this particular temple.