I’m afraid I broke a promise. A month ago, I predicted that future episodes would cover shorter time periods, but today, to get Siam done in one episode, I covered a 157-year time span, from 1782 to 1939. That means this episode will be the longest so far in the podcast series, but fortunately it is still less than an hour; you won’t have to set aside a day to listen, like you would for Dan Carlin’s history podcast. Here you will learn how Siam modernized, why it was the only Southeast Asian country that did not become a European colony, and why it changed its name to Thailand at the end of the period.
Here is a map of Siam in the early 1800s, when the kingdom was at its greatest size. These borders lasted until 1863, when Britain and France started taking parts of the kingdom for themselves. The core territory they left behind became present-day Thailand in 1939.
The latest podcast episode finishes what the previous episode started, covering the French conquest of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, from 1867 to 1907.
Episode 25 is available! Actually it has been up since July 16. I didn’t announce here it until now because I was not happy with the sound quality, after I uploaded it. For some reason my computer added static in some places. Also, after uploading I discovered that one of the sources I used for Cambodia was in error. Therefore I re-recorded the episode, with the static gone and the error corrected. If you already listened to the episode, go ahead and download and listen to it again; it won’t cost you anything, after all. And sorry for the inconvenience.
Anyway, for this episode the podcast moves to the east side of the Southeast Asian mainland. This is the first in a two-part series on how the French conquered Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. If you are interested in what I may say in the future about the twentieth-century Vietnam War, this episode is an important stepping stone, setting the stage for that conflict by bringing in the French.
Okay, since the latest episode went up today, we are back on schedule. And that’s not all; today the podcast is one year old. This time we look at the history of Burma/Myanmar from 1782 to 1890, when Britain conquered the country and made it part of British India. You will also hear me read a poem by Rudyard Kipling; listen and enjoy!
Please accept my apologies for the delay. On Friday, the day Episode 23 was supposed to go up, we had a death in our household. No, it was not a person or pet, thank God; it was our refrigerator. Everything else had to be put on hold until the refrigerator was replaced. Then, after that was done, I could finish recording this podcast episode. Today we see the British Empire get involved in Southeast Asia, and learn how they gained control over Malaya, Singapore, and part of Borneo.
After taking a bit of a break last month, the podcast is ready to resume the narrative, with the first episode covering events in the nineteenth century. This time we will see how the Dutch conquered all of Indonesia, or as they called it after they took over, the Dutch East Indies.
Or, The Colonial Era in Southeast Asian History Begins
The previous episode of the podcast finished the early modern era of Southeast Asian history (1500 to 1800), and now it is time to begin covering the colonial era (1800 to 1965). But first we need to learn what changed the relationship between Europe and Southeast Asia, and what made the Europeans boldly march in to take over the region, after they had sat on the periphery for the past three hundred years. Because this explanation is a bit too long to tack onto a regular episode, it is presented here as a special mini-episode. Listen to this, and expect the narrative to resume with the next episode, on or near June 1.