Cover, Title Page, Imprint, Contents,
Introduction, Methodology,
List of Illustrations and Index
as PDF

Ten Ways to Look at Thailand’s Past


Barend Jan Terwiel


Reihe Gelbe Erde 9
Paperback (20,5 x 14,0 cm), 158 pages, with 44 bw-pictures.
2012. € 24,50
ISBN-13: 978-3-940527-60-8 (978-3940527608, 9783940527608)
ISBN-10: 3-940527-60-2 (3940527602)

Vertrieb: CHINA Buchservice / Bestellen (order)


This booklet is intended for people possessing little or no prior knowledge of Thai history, who wished to be informed on what happened in Thailand’s past. It was written by someone who relied mainly upon primary sources and who has the ability to critically appraise theories that are no longer tenable. At the same time this work is intended in a modest way as a contribution to Thai history itself, particularly in its presentation of Thai history according to a set of themes. There are two advantages of this thematic approach. In the first place it avoids the hotchpotch of kings, Buddhism, rice and revolution that characterises much historical writing on Thailand. Secondly, each chapter can be read as an entity in itself. Finally, the short reading and reference list at the end of each chapter can be the basis for further study.





Chapter One: The People

The origin of the Thais
The geographical setting
Language and script
The name of the country
Personal names
Further reading

Chapter Two: The Economic Perspective

The Ayutthayan economy
The first half of the nineteenth century
The growing dependence upon rice-cultivation
Financial problems, 1919–1925
The Depression and the 1932 “Revolution”
Economic nationalism in the 1930s
World War II
Investment in the infrastructure
Industrialisation and economic growth
The Asian currency crisis
Recent times
Further reading

Chapter Three: The Military and Administration

The elephant and early warfare
Traditional warfare
Traditional administration
The king and the great households
Nineteenth-century developments
The turbulent twentieth century
Further reading

Chapter Four: Kings as Heroes

Legendary figures
Ayutthayan luminaries
The Thonburi interlude
Heroic Chakris
The long reign of King Bhumibol
Further reading

Chapter Five: Religion

The Buddha and his teachings
The rise of Theravada Buddhism
The “Sermon of the Three Worlds”
Two journeys to Sri Lanka
The reform movement
The role of Buddhism in society
Recent developments
Further reading

Chapter Six: Monasteries

An overview
The cult of relics
The Bot
Bai Sema
Buddha’s footprint
The role of the monastery
Further reading

Chapter Seven: Education

Monastery education in Thailand
The effectiveness of traditional education
The monastery schools in the early twentieth century
After 1932
Secular higher education
Further reading

Chapter Eight: Internal politics

The autocratic system
Politics during the Fifth Reign
Political unrest
The first coup d’état
World War II
Democracy – and the return of the military
A military oligarchy, 1947–1973
The “Democracy Period”, 1973–1976
The 1980s and 1990s
Thaksin and after
Further reading

Chapter Nine: Foreign Relations

Ayutthaya, a cosmopolitan court
China, the centre of the world
The rise of the European model
The colonial threat
Armed clash with France
Siam and emergent Asia
World War II
Thailand and the Cold War
Adjusting to a rapidly changing world
Further reading

Chapter Ten: The search for a Thai identity

Early nationalism, 1910–1932
Flirting with totalitarianism
State-led national identity
The Ban Chiang discoveries
Further reading


List of Illustrations