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Extra info for A ''Foreign'' Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam

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The Structure of Lan Na Rulership in the Early Nineteenth Century From the time of King Kawila until the provincial administrative reforms enacted by Siam in 1892, the political structure in the north remained consistent. There were five major states: Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae and Nan. The kings of these cities were autocratic, ruling more or less independently of each other, keeping several minor states as dependencies. There were three levels in the bureaucratic structure in Lan Na.

28 However, such a characterization elides the traditional constellation of relations in which such states had operated for centuries, anachronistically positing Siam’s strength as a nation, and ignoring the relative vulnerability of Bangkok as a fledgling mandala at that historical moment. Perhaps the telescope can be turned around, so to speak, to change our view to Chiang Mai’s perspective. , 155. Ibid. Page 36 Woodhouse Chapter 2 of his Lan Na ancestor, King Mangrai, with the legendary kings of Sukhothai and Phayao in the thirteenth century: a joining of mutual political interests against a common enemy in which reciprocity was strength.

The Ping River was used by the Chiang Mai nobles (and Jao Dara Rasami) in their semi-annual travels between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Page 27 Woodhouse Chapter 2 to the west. 6 This city orientation, shared by Chiang Mai, Chiang Saen and Phayao, reflects the ideal Lan Na environment: one which supplied enough water for settled rice-agriculture on the valley floor, but also provided villagers with higher ground – the safety of the nearby sacred mountain – in the event of periodic floods. ”7 The environment of these riverine highlands and valleys, while resource-rich, was sparsely populated in comparison to the flatlands of the Chao Phraya River basin further south surrounding the historical Siamese capitals of Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

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