SIAM, n.p. This name of the Indo-Chinese Kingdom appears to come to us through the Malays, who call it Siyam. From them we presume the Portuguese took their Reyno de Sião as Barros and Couto write it, though we have in Correa Siam precisely as we write it. Camoes also writes Syão for the kingdom; and the statement of De la Loubère quoted below that the Portuguese used Siam as a national, not a geographical, expression cannot be accepted in its generality, accurate as that French writer usually is. It is true that both Barros and F. M. Pinto use os Siames for the nation, and the latter also uses the adjective form o reyno Siame. But he also constantly says rey de Sião. The origin of the name would seem to be a term Sien, or Siam, identical with Shan (q.v.). “The kingdom of Siam is known to the Chinese by the name Sien-lo. … The supplement to Matwanlin’s Encyclopœdia describes Sien-lo as on the seaboard, to the extreme south of Chen-ching (or Cochin China). ‘It originally consisted of two kingdoms, Sien and Lo-hoh. The Sien people are the remains of a tribe which in the year (a.d. 1341) began to come down upon the Lo-hoh and united with the latter into one nation.’ ” See Marco Polo, 2nd ed., Bk. iii. ch. 7, note 3. The considerations there adduced indicate that the Lo who occupied the coast of the Gulf before the descent of the Sien, belonged to the Laotian Shans, Thainyai, or Great T’ai, whilst the Sien or Siamese Proper were the T’ai Noi, or Little T’ai. (See also SARNAU.) [“The name Siam … whether it is ‘a barbarous Anglicism derived from the Portuguese or Italian word Sciam,’ or is derived from the Malay Sayam, which means ‘brown.’ ”—J. G. Scott, Upper Burma Gazetteer, i. pt. i. 205.]

1516.—“Proceeding further, quitting the kingdom of Peeguu, along the coast over against Malaca there is a very great kingdom of pagans which they call Danseam (of Anseam); the king of which is a pagan also, and a very great lord.”—Barbosa (Lisbon, Acad.), 369. It is difficult to interpret this Anseam, which we find also in C. Federici below in the form Asion. But the An is probably a Malay prefix of some kind. [Also see ansyane in quotation from the same writer under MALACCA.]

c. 1522.—“The king (of Zzuba) answered him that he was welcome, but that the custom was that all ships which arrived at his country or port paid tribute, and it was only 4 days since that a ship called the Junk of Ciama, laden with gold and slaves, had paid him his tribute, and to verify what he said, he showed them a merchant of the said Ciama, who had remained there to trade with the gold and slaves.”—Pigafetta, Hak. Soc. 85.

„ “All these cities are constructed like ours, and are subject to the king of Siam, who is named Siri Zacebedera, and who inhabits Iudia (see JUDEA).”—Ibid. 156.

1525.—“In this same Port of Pam (Pahang), which is in the kingdom of Syam, there was another junk of Malaqua, the captain whereof was Alvaro da Costaa, and it had aboard 15 Portuguese, at the same time that in Joatane (Patane) they seized the ship of Andre de Bryto, and the junk of Gaspar Soarez, and as soon as this news was known they laid hands on the junk and the crew and the cargo; it is presumed that the people were killed, but it is not known for certain.”—Lembrança das Cousas da India, 6.


“Vês Pam, Patâne, reinos e a longura
De Syão, que estes e outros mais sujeita;
Olho o rio Menão que se derrama
Do grande lago, que Chiamay se chiama.”

Camões, x. 25.

By Burton:

“See Pam, Patane and in length obscure,
Siam that ruleth all with lordly sway;
behold Menam, who rolls his lordly tide
from source Chiamai called, lake long and wide.”

c. 1567.—“Va etiandio ogn’ anno per l’istesso Capitano (di Malacca) vn nauilio in Asion, a caricare di Verzino” (Brazilwood).—Ces. Federici, in Ramusio, iii. 396.

„ “Fu già Sion vna grandissima Città e sedia d’Imperio, ma l’anno MDLXVII fu pressa dal Re del Pegu, qual caminando per terra quattro mesi di viaggio, con vn esercito d’vn million, e quattro cento mila uomini da guerra, la venne ad assediare … e lo so io percioche mi ritrouai in Pegù sei mesi dopo la sua partita.”—Ibid.

1598.—“… The King of Sian at this time is become tributarie to the king of Pegu. The cause of this most bloodie battaile was, that the king of Sian had a white Elephant.”—Linschoten, p. 30; [Hak. Soc. i. 102. In ii. 1 Sion].

[1611.—“We have news that the Hollanders were in Shian.”—Danvers, Letters, i. 149.]

1688.—“The Name of Siam is unknown to the Siamese. ’Tis one of those words which the Portugues of the Indies do use, and of which it is very difficult to discover the Original. They use it as the Name of the Nation and not of

  By PanEris using Melati.

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