Departmental Bulletin Paper Chinese and Burmese Involvements in the Politics of Sipsongpanna in 1837: Descriptions in Captain McLeod’s Journal

KATO, Kumiko

12pp.1 - 13 , 2016-03 , School of Letters, Nagoya University
Sipsongpanna was a Tai pre-modern state located at the southernmost part of present-day Yunnan Province of China. Sipsongpanna paid tribute to both the Chinese and Burmese dynasties. This paper illustrates how China and Burma were involved in the politics and culture of Sipsongpanna in 1837 by analysing Captain McLeod’s 1837 Journal as a main source of information. It was found that the court of Sipsongpanna was influenced by Chinese culture, especially the costume and language. The court had Chinese clerks and a secretary who took minutes of official meetings and prepared dispatches for China. However, there was no institutionalized high position for Chinese in the court of Sipsongpanna. On the other hand, the Burmese Sitke, the resident military officer, was treated as one of the highest-ranking persons in the court. He had rights to participate in formal meetings and parties at the court. The Sitke and his followers were supplied by Sipsongpanna with provisions. The Sitke also regularly received considerable amounts of money from tolls levied on crossing the Mekong River. The Sitke was able to exert a strong influence on the decision-making and behaviour of the rulers of Sipsongpanna.

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