By Leslie Ann Woodhouse
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Additional resources for A ''Foreign'' Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam
O. 69/62/1875, as cited in Bowie 1992. 56 Colquhoun, Archibald Ross. Amongst the Shans. London: Field & Tuer, 1885, 257. , 155. 58 Ratanaporn also explains that this patron-client system was reinforced through the special relationship of the ruling elites to ancestral guardian spirits. Belief in these spirits, who were thought to be capable of causing illness, drought, and other misfortunes, was pervasive in the region. According to one missionary, “Spirit worship or…the fear of spirits is the curse of this land.
These north-south mountain ranges are extensions of the Yunnan mountain range of southern China and the eastern Himalayas. 5 The mountainous terrain provided rich resources for both hunter-gatherers and small-scale agriculturists. However, it also made overland travel difficult and slow-going, and even movement on the waterways was largely limited to the rainiest months of the year (typically July through December). These geographic factors made it essential for settlers to choose sites which could remain largely self-sufficient for much of the year.
1 Page 24 Woodhouse Chapter 2 This information will in turn serve as background to the chapter’s main focus: the significant historical events and changes in Lan Na over the course of the mid- to latenineteenth century, and how they led to increasing conflicts with Siam. Though the leaders of Lan Na traditionally embraced policies which bound the kingdom through family bonds, the nineteenth century brought increasing division among Lan Na’s elites. The skyrocketing value of the teak trade with Burma, recently fallen under British rule, coupled with a series of disastrous mid-century military interventions by the Siamese, sorely challenged the loyalties of Lan Na’s ruling elites to Siam.
A ''Foreign'' Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam by Leslie Ann Woodhouse