The Elephant Wars, Part 2


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.


The Elephant Wars, Part 1


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.


The Spanish Philippines

Episode 14 is now available!  Recording this one was a special challenge due to sound problems, from me getting over a minor cold to static on the microphone.  Nevertheless, I strained every nerve to get it done on time, so here it is.  This time you will hear how Spain conquered the Philippines, making it a Spanish colony for more than three hundred years.

Magellan’s Not-so-excellent Adventure


You have been waiting, now here it is, Episode 13!  In this episode, a second European nation, Spain, gets involved in Southeast Asia by discovering the Philippines, a part of Southeast Asia that had not gotten much attention previously.  Then we will see Spain’s attempts to take Indonesia and its valuable spice trade from


And here is a map that explains the Portuguese-Spanish dispute in Southeast Asia.  It shows three ideas on where to put the “Tordesillas antimeridian,” the line between the Portuguese and Spanish claims.  Only the line on the right is in the correct place.  The dotted line is where Ferdinand Magellan thought the Southeast Asian mainland was.  Source:  Stalemate at Bajadoz.

The Portuguese Trailblazers


Happy New Year, and with a new year comes a new episode to the podcast.  Since the last episode finished our look at Southeast Asia during the Middle Ages, now we will meet the Portuguese, the first Europeans to reach Southeast Asia in the modern era.  For the nations of the Far East, life is about to get much more complicated!

The Long Road From Mecca to Manila


Is watching the new "Star Wars" movie on your list of things to do during this holiday season?  Go ahead, but I hope you will also take time to listen to the latest episode of my podcast, the last episode scheduled for 2016.  Here you will learn how Islam came to Southeast Asia, and meet Malacca, the first important Southeast Asian state that converted to the new religion.

And here is a map showing how Islam spread across Southeast Asia, starting with Aceh (also spelled Acheh or Atjeh), from 1240 to 1600.