Dutch East India Company Merchants at the Court of by Bhawan Ruangsilp

By Bhawan Ruangsilp

This examine makes a speciality of the perceptions of the retailers of the Dutch East India corporation (VOC) of the Thai royal court docket in the course of their prolonged place of dwelling in Ayutthaya. Basing herself on a wealth of Dutch basic resources, the writer exhibits how exchange, politics and international relations formed a distinct courting in keeping with 'partnership' and a 'sense of differences'. The ebook contributes to increasing the research of Ayutthaya's history-known for its shortage of indigenous resources- with the aid of modern Dutch perspectives.

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As much as possible, it emphasizes the direct experience of the observers. The proximity of the writer of the source to the objects or events under observation has been a prime selection criterion. 72 Especially useful is the series of records classified as the Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren (OBP), letters and papers sent from the Company’s trading office in Ayutthaya to Batavia from 1614 to 1765. 73 According to the VOC system, its records were usually written by the incumbent opperhoofd (the VOC trade director or chief factor) of the place; therefore, it is rare to have two voices at the same time.

Certainly, King Narai felt the impact of the terms of the treaty. He sent envoys to Batavia to renegotiate it, especially the clause prohibiting the use of Chinese sailors. 26 Importantly, this episode should be seen as a limited conflict with a limited goal, in which the VOC used force as a means to strength- 22 CHAPTER ONE en its position in the trade between Siam and East Asia. Soon enough, the Dutch realized that their efforts had yielded only meagre success. The trading privileges offered by the treaty were never fully accorded by the Siamese court.

In 1608, King Ekathotsarot decided to send his envoys there to THE COMPANY AND THE COURT 31 test the Portuguese accusation that the Dutch had no country. This shows how the Ayutthayan court created its world order: it fathomed the power of a potential ally by empirical experience. The Dutch were immediately compelled to understand the politics of the region. The VOC administrators had initially refused to transport the Siamese embassy to Europe, fearing the high costs. 69 Since the Dutch had transported an embassy from Aceh to the Netherlands in 1604, they could not refuse to accord the Siamese King at least the same honour.

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