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Contemporary Dutch manuscript translation of 1607 letter from the King of Siam to the Prince of Orange

EKATHOTSAROT, King of Ayutthaya (Siam/Thailand).
Translaet van eenen brieff geschreven in gout ende bij den Coninck van Syam gesonden aen Sijn Excellentie Mauritio de Nassau.
[The Hague?, ca. 1608]. Folio (34 x 21 cm). Dutch manuscript translation of a 1607 letter from Ekathatsarot, King of Ayutthaya (Siam/Thailand) to Maurits of Nassau, Prince of Orange (received in 1608), distributed as a manuscript newspaper. [1] leaf.
€ 28,000
A contemporary Dutch manuscript translation of a letter written late in 1607 by King Ekathotsarot of Ayutthaya (then generally called Siam in the West and more or less the present-day Thailand), sent with the first Siamese embassy to the Netherlands and addressed to the Dutch stadtholder Maurits of Nassau, Prince of Orange, who received it in September 1608. We have found no printed version of the present text, it supplies details that we have not found in any other source and the original Thai version appears not to survive, giving the present document the greatest importance for understanding the earliest diplomatic relations between Siam and the Dutch Republic and throwing light on activities of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) in its earliest years. Ekathotsarot's letter proposes a friendship and alliance between the two nations, requests various goods and military aid against the Portuguese in "Tanassery".
The principal goal of the VOC, established in 1602, was to advance Dutch trade with Asia, especially the East Indies and China, where the Portuguese were then the greatest European power. In 1604, a VOC representative in Siam learned that the King of Siam sent an annual embassy to China and he hoped that a Dutch representative could accompany the next embassy and try to open trade between China and the Dutch Republic. This came to nothing, partly because of Siam's war with Burma and the death of the King of Siam, at that moment Naresuan the Great, in 1605. Prince Ekathotsarot (ca. 1556-1620) succeeded to the throne, ruling as King Sanphet III from 1605 to 1610 He brought stability to Siam and was eager to expand trade with many foreign powers, including the Dutch Republic. The Dutch were disappointed in their hopes to use Siam as a stepping stone to trade with China, but the Siamese did allow the VOC to establish trading posts at Sangora in 1607 and Ayutthaya in 1608. In late 1607 Ekathotsarot sent an embassy of five people (of which two ambassadors) to visit the Dutch Republic and they brought with them his letter to the Dutch stadtholder, whom the Dutch and Siamese called the "King of Holland" in their correspondence.
The manuscript was formerly folded, with contemporary or near contemporary notes, "Zeitung aus India" on the outside of the folded leaf and "Nova ex India" in the upper right segment of the back of the unfolded leaf. So it was clearly distributed as a manuscript newspaper. With a few tiny holes in the paper along the old folds, not affecting the text, and a small marginal tear and stain at the foot, but otherwise in very good condition. For the 1608 embassy: J. Anderson, English intercourse with Siam in the seventeenth century (1890), p. 38; J.J.L. Duyvendak, "The first Siamese embassy to Holland", in: Toung Pao XXXII (1936), pp. 285-292; Lach & Van Kley III, pp. 47, 394; www.vocsite.nl/geschiedenis/handelsposten/siam.html; H. Zoomers & H. Zuidervaart, Embassies of the King of Siam sent to his excellency Prince Maurits, ... (2008).
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  Southeast Asia | VOC - East India Company
Autographs, documents & manuscripts  >  Manuscripts & Documents
Low countries  >  Maritime & Military History
Maritime history  >  VOC & WIC