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Jeremias van Vliet

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Jeremias van Vliet was a Dutch East India Company opperhoofd (factor) who headed the Company's operations in Ayutthaya (in Siam) from 1633 to 1641.

Between 1636 and 1640, van Vliet wrote four volumes on Ayutthaya's history. These include a "Description of the Kingdom of Siam" (1638), "The Historical Account of King Prasat Thong" (1640), "The Short History of the King of Siam" (1640), and one other. The four volumes, partially translated into English in the 20th century, are among the chief European-language sources on the history of the kingdom and its capital city, and on the history of the Japantown which thrived there in the 1590s-1630s.

Van Vliet is said to have learned the Thai language quite quickly, and to have mingled among Siamese elites, Buddhist monks, and Siamese society otherwise, gaining access to official historical records. His accounts, therefore, while still somewhat tainted by European bias, can be assumed to be less so tainted than those of many of his contemporaries.

References

  • Cesare Polenghi, Samurai of Ayutthaya: Yamada Nagamasa, Japanese warrior and merchant in early seventeenth-century Siam. Bangkok: White Lotus Press (2009), 5-6.
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