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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, written in brown ink on paper in a slightly sloped Dutch gothic cursive hand (35 lines with text area 21 x 17.5 cm, plus 2-line drop-title), very neatly written, 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 tidings. [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. It names two Siamese ambassadors, who apparently headed the embassy of fifteen people. Ekathotsarots letter proposes a friendship and alliance between the two nations, requests various goods and military aid against the Portuguese in "Tanassery" (Tenasserim), in the Kingdom of Taungoo, now the Tanintharyi region of Myanmar (formerly Burma). He sends various presents (which are listed), and offers to send anything Maurits wishes to have from Siam and neighbouring regions, noting that all the princes and kings of the neighbouring regions are his subjects except for the King of Queda[!] (meaning Kedah on the Malay peninsula), who is his enemy.
Prince Ekathotsarot (ca. 1556-1610) succeeded his brother 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, the VOC sent the Siam embassy of fifteen people from Ayutthaya, the capital of Siam, to Pattani in Southern Thailand and from there the ship sailed to Bantam (Banten), the main base of the VOC on Java. As instructed by the VOC, five persons (including two ambassadors) were sent with the return fleet from Matelief to Fort Rammekens, Holland. This brought with them his letter to the Dutch stadtholder, whom the Dutch and Siamese called the "King of Holland" in their correspondence. The present title indicates that the original letter in the Thai language was written in gold: the original letter of King Ekathotsarot was engraved on a golden roll, which was stored in an ivory case. The visit of the Siamese embassy to the Dutch Republic has been reported in a printed newsletter, published in 1608, telling both the reception of the Siamese embassy by Prince Maurits in The Hague as well as the demonstration of the newly invented telescope. Present day three copies of this newsletter have survived. It says the Portuguese had told the Siamese that the Dutch were just pirates without a country, but Ekathotsarots letter shows he was quite well informed, knowing what the Dutch had that he wanted and knowing what to offer them in return. He offers free trade for Dutch merchants in the region and requests Dutch ships with captains and soldiers to help drive out the Portuguese, iron cannons with the largest cannonballs, and especially skilled artisans who could smelt and cast iron, people skilled in the use of artillery, and skilled gilders and tanners.
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 and with all three deckles intact (the left edge was the centre of the sheet). Perhaps the only surviving version of a 1607 letter from the King of Siam to the Dutch stadtholder Maurits, Prince of Orange: a unique source of information on Dutch-Siamese relations and on the early history of the VOC. Cf. John Anderson, English Intercourse with Siam in the Seventeenth Century, London, 1890; Han ten Brummelhuis, Merchant, courtier and diplomat; A history of the contacts between the Netherlands and Thailand, Lochem, 1987; Dirk van der Cruysse, Siam & the West 1500-1700, Paris 1991 /Chiang Mai 2002; J.J.L. Duyvendak, The First Siamese Embassy to Holland, in: Toung Pao, 32 (1936); Paul Pelliot, Les relations du Siam et de la Hollande en 1608, in: Toung Pao, 32 (1936 George Vinal Smith, The Dutch in Seventeenth-Century Thailand, DeKalb Ill., 1977; Henk Zoomers & Huib Zuidervaart ed., Embassies of the King of Siam sent to His Excellency Prince Maurits, Arrived in The Hague on 10 September 1608, Wassenaar, 2008 (none of these titles has cited the content of the Kings letter, proving both the importance and rarity of the manuscript).
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Related Subjects:

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