Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Enclave Mueang

Few weeks ago, a new German book on Thailand titled "Kleine Geschichte Thailands" was published, written by Professor Volker Grabowsky, whom I already knew as the editor of the anthology "Regions and national integration in Thailand". As it is written for a non-academic audience, I did not expect to learn much new from it, but already the first pages had a very interesting speciality of the administration at the beginning of the 20th century.
Die politische Zugehörigkeit eines müang hing von den herrschaftlichen Bindungen der dort lebenden Bevölkerung ab. So gehörte der 40km südlich der Stadt Chiang Rai gelegene Distrikt (amphoe) Phan noch zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts als Enklave verwaltungstechnisch zu Müang Lamphun. Phan war nämlich in den 40er Jahren des 19. Jahrhunderts von Siedlern aus Lamphun erschlossen worden, die auch nach der Auswanderung weiterhin ihrem alten Patron, dem Herrscher (cao müang) von Lamphun unterstanden. Diese Bande wogen stärker als geographische und wirtschaftliche Faktoren, die eine Zugehörigkeit von Phan zu Chiang Rai nahegelegt hätten.
Now as most of my readers don't understand German, and trying to translate the above with Google translate will only create garbled nonsense, here's my translation of this paragraph.
The political affiliation of a mueang depended on the stately dependencies of its population. For example, the district Phan located 40km south of the city Chiang Rai, at the beginning of the 20th century formed an enclave and belonged administratively to Mueang Lamphun. Phan was founded in the 1840s by settlers from Lamphun, who after their emigration kept their relationship with their old patron, the ruler (chao mueang) of Lamphun. This relationship was stronger than geographical and economical factors, which would have suggested Phan to be a subordinate of Chiang Rai.
The oldest mention of any changes for Phan district in the Royal Gazette that I am aware of is from 1912, when the minor district Mueang Phan was upgraded to a full district [Gazette].

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