Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - State Regulation and Management of Elephants on the British India-Siam Borderland 1896–1914

Thursday, March 22
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Virginia Suite C, Lobby Level

During the end of the nineteenth century, the government of British India and Siam agree to draw the border line between the province of British Burma and Siam. After the demarcation process, they seek to control their border and territory. By installing the police and patrol system, movement along the border line was subject to a strict control. My paper explores the changing functionality of elephant, the efforts to regulate the mobility of elephant on the borderland, and the transition of border economy between the British India and Siam.

It was the Satow-Devawongse Agreement in 1896 that had imposed the non-tariff basis for all import-export item. The demand for elephant was increasing because of the expansion of the teak industry; elephant became a luxurious exported animal from Siam. Records suggest the rising of elephant theft in the Siamese territory. Very often, the hideout for stolen elephant was a small Karen village in Burma. Control over the movement of elephants on the border between Burma and Siam became crucial. By putting elephant as the center and changing context of global economy, this paper will explain how elephants affected the politico-economic relationship between British India and Siam, the border control, legal and contract system, the development of the teak industry, and ethnic relations in the borderland region.

Amnuayvit Thitibordin

Chiang Mai University, Chiang Rai, Thailand

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4 - State Regulation and Management of Elephants on the British India-Siam Borderland 1896–1914



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