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.
Or, The Fall of Ayutthaya and the Rise of Bangkok
The latest episode covers another round in the ongoing conflict between Myanmar and Thailand, or as they were called before the twentieth century, Burma and Siam. At the height of the fighting, the Burmese utterly destroyed Ayutthaya, the capital of Siam. But this wasn’t the end of Siam; the Siamese kings move first to Thonburi, then to Bangkok, and the kingdom recovered with amazing speed.
For the first time, I missed one of my deadlines for completing a podcast episode, due to being kept busy with various things in the real world. However, this episode is longer than average, so I hope you will think the extra content was worth the wait.
This episode covers Vietnam in the early modern era, from 1471 to 1819. Twice during this period, Vietnam was divided between rival factions, from 1527 to 1592, and then from 1592 to 1802. We will also see Champa, Vietnam’s rival in Episodes 4 and 8, for the last time. Finally, one French clergyman will invent today’s Vietnamese alphabet, and another will help Vietnam pull itself together again; that marks the beginning of French involvement in Vietnam, and we will see much more of that in future episodes.
No, this is not an April Fool’s joke. Episode 18 of the podcast has just gone online. However, you may find it tough to verify the accuracy of the material covered; these stories from the seventeenth century are some of the most obscure in the entire podcast series! Check the episode out, for some stories you have never heard before.
Episode 17 is now online, come and get it! Today we meet the third group of Europeans to explore and exploit Southeast Asia, the Dutch, and learn how they used a corporation, the Dutch East India Company (also called the V.O.C.), to get involved in Indonesia.
Now it is time to drop the other foot. Episode 16 of the podcast finishes what we started covering last time, the wars on the Southeast Asian mainland in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Whereas we mainly looked at two Burmese kings last time, here we will concentrate our attention on Naresuan, whom modern-day Thais consider their greatest king. Also, we have a strange adventure in which two Europeans, a Portuguese and a Spaniard, try to turn Cambodia into a pro-Spanish puppet state.
Normally I upload new episodes on the 1st and 16th days of each month, but because February is the shortest month, the latest one is going up a day early. This time we will return to the conflict on the mainland that started at the end of Episode 10. Special attention is given to the two most important Burmese kings of the sixteenth century, Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung. I call this episode and the next one “The Elephant Wars” because most of the fighting was either ON elephants, or OVER elephants.