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Bones Around My NeckThe Life and Exile of a Prince Provocateur$
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Tamara Loos

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704635

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704635.001.0001

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Gulf of Siam

Gulf of Siam

Prisdang’s Star Ascends

Chapter:
(p.10) 2 Gulf of Siam
Source:
Bones Around My Neck
Author(s):

Tamara Loos

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501704635.003.0002

This chapter showcases the circumstances of a fateful solar eclipse as well as the events in Prisdang's childhood following the ascension of Chulalongkorn as Siam's new ruler. Here, the chapter shows how, on Tuesday, August 18, 1868, at exactly 11:36 A.M. and twenty seconds, the sun was in total eclipse as observed by King Mongkut through his telescope on the terrace of his temporary palace on Wako Beach. Historical contingency—the unpredictable trajectories of a limited set of options—brought Prisdang, his father, King Mongkut, and his son to this remote beach, where they all contracted malaria, thus setting in motion a train of events that were equally unpredictable.

Keywords:   solar eclipse, Mongkut, Chulalongkorn, malaria, Siamese royalty, Prisdang's education

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