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Who were the first Europeans to come to Thailand ?

Before 1932 the name of Thailand was Siam. In 2011 we celebrated the 500th anniversary of the first Europeans arrived.

Thailand at that time
Thailand at that time

Indeed in 1511 the Portuguese Albuquerque contacted the Siamese court in Goa in India and that Antonio Miranda, who was the first to have a hearing at the court of King Rama II Thibodi (Ayutthaya).
The King quickly understood the value of this for the country's agriculture and new firearms made by the Portuguese. He also employed the latter to form his army and as a bodyguard. However the late 16 th marked the end of their influence because Portugal was annexed to Spain.

The Dutch arrived in 1601 were the first to exchange embassies with the Kingdom of Siam in 1607 during the reign of King Ekathosarot. In 1608 they opened a branch of the "Dutch East India Company to coordinate trade. Trade with Siam was particularly interesting at the time because of the position on the route from Asia. Europeans bought ceramics from China, copper and lacquer in Japan and spices very popular in Europe.

King Rama Thibodi 3
king Rama Thibodi 3
The British followed the Dutch establishing the "East India Company" in 1612 in Ayutthaya. King Songtam granted an area outside the city between the cantonment of the Dutch and Japanese. The English had fewer privileges and the Dutch boat because they were more focused on India. After several skirmishes with the British closed their boats their agency in 1612.

In 1642 during the reign of King Prasat Thong, they established their power over Malacca and Java so they could control the area and access to the Gulf of Siam. In 1659, just after you enter the throne by King Narai, who asked to "the East India Company" English, to counter the power of the Dutch, to reopen an agency on the territory of Siam

Bishop Pallu receives the title of the pope's apostolic vicar for Annam and Tonkin
Bishop Pallu receives the title of the pope's apostolic vicar for Annam and Tonkin

It was only in 1662 that the French arrived in Siam. They were not traders like their predecessors. Having received from the Pope the title of Vicar Apostolic of China, Tonkin and Annam, the Bishop of Heliopolis, Bishop Pallu decided in 1664 to establish the headquarters of the mission in Ayutthaya. The priests spent much of their time teaching and provide care, but conversions were few.

In 1673 Louis XIV sent a letter of thanks to King Narai to have protected the people of the mission and the latter seized the opportunity to open diplomatic relations with France. He wanted to swing and thus protect themselves against the Dutch have become too powerful. The first French ship, the Vulture, arrived only in 1680. He left in Batam (Java) with onboard with gifts for King Louis XIV or its cargo was transshipped to "The sun of the East" in 1681. However it never arrived at its destination.

Constantin_Phaulkon
Constantin Paulkon

During that time, the adventurer Constantine Paulkon arrived in Ayutthaya. That in 1683 he was appointed Minister of the Treasury. On the advice of the last King Narai sent a second embassy in Europe. An account of his days was recorded by two missionaries who accompanied the delegation interpreters. In September 1685 Louis XIV, on the advice of the Father of the chair, sent a mission to be headed by the Chevalier de Chaumont and accompanied by the Abbe de Choisy. They remained in Siam until December. Several treaties favoring trade and French missions were signed. The port of Songkla was granted to the East India Company. However, the father Tachard who was appointed by Louis XIV to convert King Narai to Catholicism, failed in his attempt.

King Narai, the Chevalier de Chaumont and the Abbé de Choisy
King Narai, the Chevalier de Chaumont and the Abbé de Choisy

The mission left Siam in 1685 with the Jesuit priest and a new Siamese embassy to Versailles. The latter was conducted by Kosapan and was greeted with admiration due to his manner of great qualities.

It was in September 1687 she returned to Siam with the latest French embassy led by Simon of the Father and the Loubère Tachard. She was accompanied by two ships, 636 soldiers and many present to King Narai. Paulkon also received the title of "Knight of the Order of Saint Michael". A new treaty which granted more privileges yet to East India Company was signed and Loubère and Father Tachard left Ayutthaya in 1688.

Father Tachard
Father Tachard

The power and influence over the King Narai of Constantine and his shenanigans Paulkon aroused much jealousy and discontent. In March 1688 King Narai fell seriously ill and phrap Petrajie general who commanded the army of elephants helped Kosapan was appointed Regent. Paulkon was arrested, tortured and executed. Phra Petrajie was proclaimed King and took the name Ramesuan.

The Dutch, who had left Ayutthaya in 1686 after several disputes with Paulkon regained favor with the court of Siam. Confirming that a new treaty of 1664 was signed in 1688. He also gave a monopoly of trade in hides and tin. They remained until 1765 was Ayutthaya. It was in 1767 that the Burmese invaded the kingdom and burned the city of Ayutthaya.

Not until the reign of King Mongkut Rama IV (1851-1868) that opened Siam to the West.

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