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K
ing Mongkut was instrumental in establishing the strong ties between Siam and Singapore. When the British set themselves up in Singapore in 1819, they were very keen to extend their commercial reach to Siam. They enjoyed a slight advantage over other western powers in that King Mongkut spoke English. The British did come to dominate the foreign trade of Siam when, in 1855, King Mongkut concluded the Bowring Treaty. This treaty introduced a new system of import and export duties that favoured trade. It also acted as a stimulus for the rice trade that came to be in the hands of the Chinese in Bangkok and Singapore. The Bowring Treaty set the tone of non-interference in Siamese affairs and respect for Thai independence that was followed by other western powers.

Singapore was the British centre in the region and British officials in Singapore came to be involved in Siamese affairs. There were many visits between British and Siamese officials. In 1861, King Mongkut sent Chao Phraya Sri Suriyawongse Juang Bunnag and Prince Krommamun Vishnunarth Nibhadhorn to study how Singapore was administered. Modern technology was brought to Siam such as the construction of roads and bridges.

Although King Mongkut had plans to visit Singapore, it never materialised. In 1868, the King invited Sir Harry Ord, the Governor of the Straits Settlements, to Siam to witness the total solar eclipse that the King had calculated accurately. The royal party assembled at their camp at Bann Wa Kor, Tambon Hua Wan, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, and witnessed the eclipse on 18 Aug 1868. The King fell ill when he was on his way back to Phranakorn and passed away.

  Prince Krommamun Vishnunarth Nibhadhorn and Chao Phraya Sri Suriyawongse (Juang Bunnag) visited Singapore in 1861.
   
His Majesty King Mongkut with Sir Harry Ord, the Governor of the Straits Settlements, and British officials in front of the royal camp at Bann Wa Kor, Tambon Hua Wan, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. The Royal party had gone to see the occurrence of the total solar eclipse on 17 Aug 1868 that the King had accurately calculated. His Majesty King Mongkut (sitting on a chair) with Sir Harry Ord, the Governor of the Straits Settlements, and the British delegation at Bann Wa Kor, Tambon Hua Wan, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province.  
     
  Sir Harry Ord, Governor of the Straits Settlements
   
 
 

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