The changing nature of conflict between Burma and Siam as seen from the growth and development of Burmese States from the 16th to 19th Centuries
by Pamaree Surakiat
The pre-modern states of Burma and Siam waged intense wars against each other
numerous times during the first Toungoo empire in the mid-16th century and during the early
Konbaung empire from the mid-18th to early 19th centuries. However, during the restored
Toungoo empire in the 17th century, Burmese-Siamese wars were mainly skirmishes on
peripheral battlegrounds. In the military operations of pre-modern Burmese-Siamese warfare, it
was the Burmese states which played the major offensive warfare role, endeavoring to subjugate
Siamese capitals: successively, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Bangkok. The Siamese states
dominated many battles; however, their main role was defensive warfare. Over half of modern
Thailand was formerly battlegrounds in Burmese-Siamese warfare. Therefore, to analyze the
origin of the conflict inevitably requires an in-depth study of Burmese states’ motivational
factors behind the wars.

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