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  • Print publication year: 1993
  • Online publication date: March 2008

10 - The Age of Transition: The Mid-Eighteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries

from PART TWO - FROM c. 1500 to c. 1800 CE
In island Southeast Asia, Western influence directly and indirectly stimulated development in the prosperous maritime centres before the end of the eighteenth century. Relative to these events, the forces which determined the cycles of change on the mainland remained internal. Much as in island Southeast Asia, geo-economic and religious factors were essential ingredients for territorial expansion and integration in the Theravada-influenced Irrawaddy-Salween and Chao Phraya valleys, from indeed at least the time of Pagan and Ayutthaya. The imperial policies of Burma, often challenging any economic and political rationale, were grounded in the philosophy that it was the ultimate end of the Buddhist state, through the ruler as its chief instrument, to extend the dhamma. Cambodia adopted a policy of dual allegiance or the image of the 'double-headed' bird, though its gaze fell more readily on Bangkok than on Vietnam. Vietnamese economic and political exploits in Cambodia were a direct symptom of the agrarian crisis within Vietnam.
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The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia
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