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The Company And The Court

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines the relatively equal positions of the Dutch East India Company and the royal court of Ayutthaya in commerce, politics, and diplomacy. Both were profit-oriented trade organizations and political-territorial rulers, with a hierarchical bureaucracy and diplomacy to define their internal and external relations. In the seventeenth century, the VOC policies towards Siam were constructed upon the significance of the kingdom in the overall scheme of the Company’s intra-Asian trade, in particular its operations in East Asia. In 1688, Phaulkon’s dominance at court was brought to an end by the Palace Revolution led by a prominent official, Phra Phetracha, who subsequently usurped the throne of Ayutthaya after King Narai’s death. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, the VOC and the Siamese court normally had two elements in diplomacy in common: the idea of the hierarchy of states and the practice of sending and receiving embassies.

Keywords: court of Ayutthaya; Dutch East India Company; hierarchical bureaucracy; intra-Asian trade; king Narai; Phaulkon’s ally; Siamese diplomacy; VOC-Siam trade



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