Asian Review


Piyanart Bunnag

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When treaties were made with Western nations, starting with the Bowring Treaty in 1855, more Chinese migrated to Siam. They began to play a greater role in the economy, particularly as middlemen between Western traders and local citizens, but also in other roles in the export-oriented economy such as compradors, pawnbrokers, retailers, wholesalers, bankers, and owners of such enterprises as printing houses and factories. Some worked as common laborers at the docks, factories, and rice mills. During the second half of the nineteenth century, business expanded along new roads, causing environmental changes, crowding, congestion, disorder, and pollution. Fires became common, especially in Sampaeng, the largest of all the Chinese business areas. However the outstanding economic role of the Chinese has played an important part in the development of Bangkok up to the present.



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