Siam (Thailand) is a state of Indochina, of which it includes the central part with a stretch of the Malay Peninsula, which stretches towards S. between the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Siam. Continental Siam also overlooks this, which borders on the NW. and to the West with the Indian Empire (Burma), to the NE. and to E. with French Indochina (Laos and Cambodia). In the Malay Peninsula, Siam borders with British Malacca (states of Perlis, Kedah, Perak and Kelantan). It seems that the name Siam is a corruption of Shan, by which the Burmese designate all their eastern neighbors, Shan, Siamese and Laos; in Europe it was first used in the Portuguese form Sião.
The continental part of Siam is essentially formed by the Menam basin and a part of that of the Mekong, on the right of this river. At one time the sovereignty of Siam extended on the left bank of the Mekong to the Annamite range, thus encompassing all of Laos; but with the Franco-Siamese treaty of 1893 the border was brought to the Mekong (subsequently, in 1903, France managed to obtain territories also on the right of this river, namely the provinces of Battambang and Siem Reap and the kingdom of Luang Prabang). The border with Burma follows the Saluen for a stretch, and then runs over the mountain ranges that divide the Saluen basin from that of the Menam. For Thailand 2019, please check philosophynearby.com.
Siam is astronomically included between 5 ° 40 ‘and 20 ° 30’ north and between 97 ° 25 ‘and 105 ° 30’ east. Its surface (513,447 sq. Km.) Corresponds to the combined ones of Germany and Denmark.
Flora and vegetation. – The flora of Siam, except that of the coasts which is closely related to that of the Malacca Peninsula, has great affinity with the flora of French Indochina and the SE. of China. In fact, the same characteristic plants are found: the Garcinia producing gommagutta, the Amomum that provide those medicinal fruits called cardamoms. On the other hand, in the mountains to the West of the Menam river, the Dipterocarpus that are characteristic of the Burmese flora meet, but the transition between the two flora is insensitive, because some species of this genus are already found in the woods near the banks of this river.
The coast is covered with pandanus, palm trees and Calamus rotang ; in the interior of the country there are rice fields and vast cultivations of coconut trees and other tropical trees. On the other hand, on the temperate climates of Laos, species typical of Japan and the Himalayan region grow, such as: pines, oaks, apple trees, vines among the woody plants; saxifrages, anemones, purples among the herbaceous ones.
Large forests are lacking in Siam proper: however, in Laos, in the plateau and in the high valley of Menam, there are forests that have all the characteristics of tropical virgin forests and contain numerous useful plants, first of all teak, which constitutes a conspicuous export asset, then ebony, Cedrela, Xylia, etc. There is no shortage of dyeing plants such as the Caesalpinia sappan which is widely exported, the Artocarpus integrifolia, or bread tree, the infructescences of which are edible, while a yellow tint is obtained from the pith, some species of mangoes whose roots provide a beautiful Red. Indigo grows everywhere, but is grown very limited.
Fauna. – The fauna of Siam is part of that fauna complex of the eastern region with elements of the Indian, Malay and Indochinese sub-regions. Of the Mammals we will mention: among the Primates, a gibbon called “Lar”, the common macaque and various other species of monkeys; among the Chiroptera various species of bats and the rouge; the Insectivores are represented by the galeopithecus, by various species of upaie, Gymnura, shrews and moles. Carnivores are very numerous: we will mention the tiger, the leopard, various cats including the Viverrino cat and the Siam cat, various species of Viverra, the Malayan marten and the Binturong, various badgers, otters, mongooses, foxes, bears. Among the Rosicanti we will notice: the Malayan squirrel, the flying squirrels, various species of voles, mice, hares and the Malayan porcupine. Ungulates are represented by various species of goats, antelope goats, deer, rhinoceros, Indian tapir. The Toothless include some species of pangolin (Malay pangolin). The avifauna is very rich, of which we will mention some characteristic species such as the seabird, the spectacled bird, the rice bird, various parrots, various owls, Astor, pheasants, etc. Among the Reptiles we will mention the megacefala tortoise of the rivers of Siam, the colote chameleon, varî Ofidî, of the genera Naia, Python, etc. Among the Amphibians, various frogs, toads and the glutinous ichthyophytes. Numerous freshwater fish and invertebrate fauna, including the luxuriant one of insects.