아유타야시대 태국과 프랑스와의 관계(1662-1688)
The Relation between Thailand and France during Ayutthaya Period, 1662-1688
Thailand had experienced dramatic changes after European nations approached this region since the 16th century. Many European countries, such as Portugal in 1511, Spain in 1598, and England in 1612, Denmark in 1620, and France in 1662, arrived in Thailand for trade and the Christian mission. Portugal, who came to Thailand before any other European countries, was in an advantageous position that gave it monopoly interests in the trade with Thailand, until the Netherlands and England arrived and competed with Portugal on the market share in this region.Thailand once expected the Netherlands to participate in the market competition to restrain both economic and political power of Portugal over Thailand. However, as the Netherlands' power in this region became stronger, Thailand then relied on England to suppress the Netherlands' power.And then King Narai believed that France was one of the most powerful countries in Europe and was strong enough to stop the expansion of the Netherland and English'power in this region. King Narai was hoping to establish a close relation with France for the sake of the balance of the power in Thailand. On the other hand, France's interest was in the expansion of its political influence over Thailand by converting King Narai to Roman Catholic as well as by sending French troops to Ayutthaya. While France increase its influence in Thailand, France made a bad impression on some Thai officials, such as King Phetraja, successor of King Narai, who sentenced Constantine Phaukkon to death, and sent the French troops back to their country in order to maintain the complete sovereignty and national security of the Thailand. Since then, the close relation between Thailand and France was immediately discontinued.The relationship between Thailand and France should be understood within this context of Thailand's policy that pursues the balance of power. It is also an excellent example that shows Thailand's strategic diplomatic policy, so called, the “check-enemies-through-enemies” strategy, which Thailand had kept for a while to protect its sovereignty. While Thailand was mostly interested in the political goal of balancing the power among the western nations that had interests over Thailand, France was mainly interested in political and economic benefits from missionary work. Because of the differences in their interests, the relationship of these two countries could not last very long.The events that took place during the Ayutthaya period (1662-1688) leaves Thailand a lesson. They learned that relying on an European nation cannot be the fundamental solution to its endangered independence.
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