Siamese invasion of Kedah
Siamese invasion of Kedah was a military operation mounted by the
Kingdom of Siam against the
Sultanate of Kedah
Sultanate of Kedah in November 1821, in
the area of what is now northern Peninsula Malaysia.
1.1 18th century
East India Company
East India Company took over the territories of Penang Island,
which it called Prince of Wales Island, and then
Province Wellesley on
the mainland, from the
Kedah Sultanate in the latter part of the 18th
century. In return the Sultanate received payment, and some form of
assurances of defensive help against the expansionist ambitions of the
Siamese kingdom. The military and diplomatic situation in the area
turned subsequently on the precise nature and effectiveness of the
East India Company's commitment to defensive arrangements for Kedah
against the Siamese.
The Sultanate and the Company had been engaged in discussions at least
since 1771, when
Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II had asked the
Governor of Madras, at that time Josias Du Pre, for assistance against
a rebellion. In 1772 a Company mission came to Kedah under Edward
Monckton; but the conclusion was negative, to the effect that the
Sultan planned aggression against
Selangor to the south.
The Sultan of the time in 1786, Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah, sought
Francis Light assistance against threats to the Sultanate,
comprising external problems from both
Burma and Siam, and the
possibility of disputed succession and internal weakness. The
Burmese–Siamese War (1785–1786) had required of the Sultanate
measures taken purely for expediency, including acknowledgement of
Burmese overlordship, as well as the traditional Siamese overlordship.
The Burmese had been campaigning in particular in Petani to the north
of Kedah, an area then retaken by Siam. After the Fourth
Anglo-Dutch War the Company was again interested in a base in the
Penang region, to counter possible Dutch moves against the Straits of
Melaka; and it was in 1786 that
Francis Light was able to conclude a
deal with the Sultanate on Penang Island. The Company's commitment to
defensive arrangements appeared shallow to the Sultanate, and an
attempt was made in 1791 to repossess the Island; which was
successfully resisted by Light. From a position of strength Light,
who was not authorised by the Company to guarantee the defence of
Kedah, limited the understanding in the 1791 agreement to a less
committal form of words.
The Siamese forces of King Rama II achieved a rapid victory against
those of Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Halim Shah II. The campaign initiated a
period of two decades in which Kedah resisted Siamese control. The
Sultan took refuge on Penang Island, then under British control.
By 1822 there was a rise in the population of the British territories
caused by an influx of Malays displaced by the invasion. The Burney
Treaty of 1826 allowed the Siamese view of their rights to prevail.
^ Bonney, p. 27.
^ Anthony Webster (15 September 1998). Gentlemen Capitalists: British
Imperialism in South East Asia, 1770-1890. I.B.Tauris. p. 38.
ISBN 978-1-86064-171-8. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
^ Encyclopedia of Malaysia, State of Penang.
^ Bonney, pp. 69–71.
^ Bastin, John. "Light, Francis". Oxford Dictionary of National
Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press.
doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37677. (Subscription or UK public library
^ Bonney, pp. 100–1.
^ Nordin Hussin (2007). Trade and Society in the Straits of Melaka:
Dutch Melaka And English Penang, 1780-1830. NIAS Press. p. 188.
ISBN 978-87-91114-88-5. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
^ Frank Athelstane Swettenham, Map to Illustrate the Siamese Question
(1893) p. 62;