Daniel Halliday
Dec 11 ยท Last update 4 mo. ago.

Why was Siam never colonised?

Much of the world was subject to European colonisation by the 20th century with very few nations avoiding the technological and military dominance of the Belgian, British, Danish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish or Swedish empires. One of these countries was Siam, now known as Thailand, managing to stay independent through the colonial era and both World Wars. How did Thailand manage to be one of the few states in history not to fall to European colonisation?
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The Buffer state
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The Buffer state

While military strength or will may explain some of Thailand's prevalence in the region historically, Siam was simply and somewhat fortunately caught in between the power struggle of the two foremost world superpowers. France and Britain occupied the territories surrounding the then Kingdom of Siam, but reached deadlock around the country. France did desire to carve up Thai territory between itself and Britain to avoid costly war efforts, France even fought the Franco-Siamese War of 1893 to take advantage of the situation and acquired the territory of Laos from the Kingdom of Siam. However the British decided to side with Siam and maintained it independence as a buffer between itself and France.


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Daniel Halliday
Dec 11