Gunboat Diplomacy: The Franco-Siamese War of 1893

This expression, “gunboat diplomacy,” is well remembered by those who once read Soviet newspapers. A typical case of the use of such diplomacy was the Franco-Siamese conflict of 1893, when the Siamese authorities expelled French merchants suspected of opium trade from the country.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

France could not stand yet another slap in the face of some sort of “native” kingdom, because it had not yet recovered from the crushing defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, when the newly proclaimed German empire “chopped off” Alsace and Lorraine from it.
The main “skirmisher” of the restoration of the national pride of the French was the politician Jules Ferry (1832–1893), who, justifying the colonial claims of France in Indochina and Africa, said in the Chamber of Deputies in 1885: “This is the right of the highest races, because they have a duty to civilize the lower races. "
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

At this time, the representative of the "lower race" King of Siam Rama V (1853-1910) initiated a program of reform and modernization,which could withstand the pressure of colonization by the European powers, of which France posed the greatest threat.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

The eastern and western borders of Siam were practically “blurred” because they were located in a remote and difficult area. The border with the British possessions of Burma was more or less settled, which cannot be said about the eastern border with the French Indochina. The French sought to master the waterway to southern China, and undertook scientific expeditions to the upper reaches of the Mekong River in the 1880s.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

In 1890, an agreement was concluded between the colonial administration of France in Indochina and the Government of Siam, according to which the left bank of the Mekong was recognized by France as the possession of Siam, with the exception of the Sipsong Chai River on the Black River.
Relations between the two states escalated at the end of 1892, when the expulsion of French merchants accused of smuggling opium, followed by a refusal to withdraw Siamese forces from the east of the Mekong River, caused outrage from pro-colonial politicians in France.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

The situation reached a critical scale in 1893.
New French Consul Auguste Pavie, an ardent supporter of territorial seizures in Indochina, in March demanded that Siam remove all military garrisons from the left bank of the Mekong south of Khammuana, claiming that this territory is Vietnamese. (I wrote about the “pacifist” position of England and the United States in this conflict in the material https://boristayskey.livejournal.com/123112.html)
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

A signal about the unambiguous intentions of the French government was the gunboat "Lutin", which was sent to Bangkok and moored near the French mission.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

In April 1893, French troops entered the disputed territory in Laos. The main Siamese forces went ahead, languidly resisting. The occupation was almost bloodless, until a French military inspector and seventeen Vietnamese militias were killed as a result of an attack by the Siamese on the village on 5 June.
Gunboat diplomacy: French-Siamese war of 1893, France, Siam, Indochina, France, Siamese, when, Mekong, race, attack, this, French, French, which, Mekong, time, demanded, consul, Auguste, wrote, conflict

France immediately accused the government of Siam of preparing and approving this attack. This led to more decisive military intervention by France and a claim for damages.
Description of the sea battle on the Chaopraya River and the siege of Bangkok, I will save for the second part of this fascinating story.

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