Friday, September 18, 2009

Mueang of Isan

I knew before that there were more of the Mueang than those which became the modern-day provinces, yet most of these were subordinate of more important and powerful Mueang. For several of the districts I read in the history that they were such subordinate Mueang in the past. But I not knew the numbers of these, as the only list of Muang I have found so far seems only to include those directly subordinate to Bangkok.

But at least for the northeast (Isan) I have now found the numbers, in the paper The Isan up to its integration into the Siamese state (in: Regions and National Integration in Thailand, 1892-1992) by Volker Grabowsky the author cites a Thai lnaguage source, according to which the numbers were as follows.
  • 1826 - 33
  • 1840 - 54
  • 1860 - 70
  • 1880 - 100
  • and no new Mueang after 1885
To compare, there are now 19 provinces with 321 districts, thus by far more Mueang than provinces, but on the other side by far not all of the districts can claim their history to go back to such an old entity.

The Thai source is a book titled "Prawattisat isan" (ประวัติศาสตร์อีสาน, History of Isan) by Toem Waphikphotcanakit (เติม วิภาคย์พจนกิจ) published in 1970. I though it'd take long till I could get my hand on this book, let alone be able to read it to into the base data for the above numbers. But then the fact I posted my Thailand books on LibraryThing helped. This had inspired Jakkrits from the Ethnowater blog to do the same. And when I just checked through his library I noticed that he has exactly that book in his collection, and he send me a scan of the relevant pages. Now I only need to find the time to work through that list.

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