Friday, November 6, 2009

Contradicting district histories

When I recently added references to the Wikipedia article on Wiang Pa Pao district in Chiang Rai province, I had problems matching the history as taken from with the Royal Gazette announcements. writes
"เมืองป่าเป้า" ต่อมาได้ขนานนามใหม่เป็น "เวียงป่าเป้า" จัดตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอ
เมื่อปี พ.ศ.2450 โดยขึ้นกับ อ.แม่พริก (ปัจจุบันคือ อ.แม่สรวย) และยกฐานะ
กิ่งอำเภอเป็น อ.เวียงป่าเป่า เมื่อปี พ.ศ.2475 จนถึงปัจจุบัน
which back in 2007 I translated as
The minor district (King Amphoe) was created in 1907 as a subordinate of Mae Prik district, the present-day district Mae Suai. It was upgraded to a full district in 1932.
However the Royal Gazette announcements dealing with Wiang Pa Pao suggest a totally different turn of events. At first, in 1905 Khwaeng Mueang Wiang Pa Pao (แขวงเมืองเวียงป่าเป้า) and Khwaeng Mueang Phong (แขวงเมืองพง) get merged to Khwaeng Mae Suai (แขวงแม่ซวย) - at that time the districts in northern Siam were called Khwaeng, the name Amphoe was introduced country-wide later. In 1907 King Khwaeng Wiang Pa Pao (กิ่งแขวงเวียงเป้า) was upgraded to a Khwaeng. Those few announcements between 1907 and 1932 never again use word "King" to designate it being a minor district.

However this all about the early history of Wiang Pa Pao I was able to find in the gazette, so I can only presume that the minor district existed already in 1905 and was another case where it had a minor district for the central part of a district. I really wonder how came to their version of the history, the only thing which seems to be correct is the year 1907, but not as the creation of a minor district but the creation of a full district. Also, I have no source suggesting that Mae Suai was named Mae Phrik in past, there's only a subdistrict named Mae Phrik right next to Mae Suai. The only change about the name of Mae Suai was the spelling, in the announcement on its creation it was spelled แม่ซวย, but already in 1917 the modern spelling แม่สรวย was used.

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