Monthon (Thai: มณฑล) were administrative subdivisions of Thailand at the beginning of the 20th century. The Thai word monthon is a translation of the word mandala (maṇḍala, literally "circle"), in its sense of a type of political formation. The monthon were created as a part of the Thesaphiban (เทศาภิบาล, literally "local government") bureaucratic administrative system, introduced by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab which, together with the monthon, established step-by-step today's present provinces (changwat), districts (amphoe), and communes (tambon) throughout Thailand. Each monthon was led by a royal commissioner called Thesaphiban (เทศาภิบาล), later renamed to Samuhathesaphiban (สมุหเทศาภิบาล). The system was officially adopted by the 1897 Local Administration Act, after some monthon had been established and administrative details were sorted out.
Before the Thesaphiban reforms, the country consisted of partially independent cities called mueang, some directly subordinate to the capital, some subordinate to larger mueang, or to one or more of the tributary kingdoms. Before the reforms, governors inherited their posts from their family lineage, and lived on taxes they collected in their area, a practice formally called tax farming. These were converted from hereditary governors to appointed governmental posts, as had been done by Chinese Yuan, Ming, and Qing-era rulers in first recognizing Tusi (tribal leaders) as imperial officials, then replacing them with imperial appointees. The arrangement resulted in governors being appointed and paid by the central government, and mueang developed into provinces. An essential step in the ending of tax farming was the creation on 3 September 1885 of the Royal Survey Department. Though its first fruits were not obtained until 1901, the department's cadastral surveys, i.e., surveys of specific land parcels, made possible the defining of ownership for land registration and equitable taxation. The term changwat (จังหวัด) for the provinces was first used in 1907 for the provinces in Monthon Pattani, and by 1916 had come into general use.
Resistance to reform
It took till around 1910 to implement the system throughout the country. The main reason for the slow implementation was the lack of suitably educated officials, but also the resistance of the traditional local leaders, which recalled the 1768–1770 resistance of the monk Chao Phra Faang to Thonburi reestablishment of Siamese authority. In 1902 along both banks of the Mekong, local revolts (Prakottakan Phi Bun ปรากฏการณ์ผีบุญ) led by charismatic religious leaders called holy man or phi bun (ผีบุญ) broke out. The most serious of these was led by east-bank rebel Ong Keo against French authority in the former Thai tributary kingdom of Champasak. On the west bank in the area of Ubon Ratchathani, a less-well known former monk and phi bun headed a millenarian sect inspired by his apocalyptic prophecies, which spread fear, uncertainty and doubt among almost all the peoples along both banks of the river. The Bangkok government put down west bank resistance with little use of force, and cooperated with French Indochina officials insofar as limiting Thai authority to the west bank, later called Isan. East bank resistance however had no definitive end and became subsumed into the Second Indochina War. Far from the Mekong, resistance to reform continued into the 21st century in the Southern Thailand insurgency.
In 1915 there were 19 monthons containing 72 provinces. Due to economic problems, several monthon were merged in 1925. Monthon Phetchabun had been dissolved in 1915. Only 14 monthon remained: Ayutthaya, Bangkok (Krung Thep), Chanthaburi, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phayap, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Prachinburi, Ratchaburi, and Udon Thani. In 1932 another four were abolished: Chanthaburi, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Sawan, and Pattani. Finally in 1933 the whole monthon system was abolished by the Provincial Administration Act 2476 B.E./A.D. 1933, part of the changes made after the coup d'état, which changed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, and the 70 provinces to second-level administrative divisions.
List of monthons
|Monthon||มณฑล||Established||Fate||Constituent Provinces and Polities|
|Lao Klang||ลาวกลาง||1890||1893 - renamed Monthon Nakhon Ratchasima||
|Lao Tawan Ok||ลาวตะวันออก||1890||1891 - merged with Monthon Lao Tawan Ok Chiang Nua becoming Monthon Lao Kao||
|Lao Tawan Ok Chiang Nua||ลาวตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ||1890||1891 - merged with Monthon Lao Tawan Ok becoming Monthon Lao Kao||
|Lao Phuan||ลาวพวน||1890||1893 - renamed Monthon Udon after ceding the west bank of the Mekong.||
|Lao Kao||ลาวกาว||1891||1893 - renamed Monthon Isan||
|Lao Phung Khao||ลาวพุงขาว||1893||1893 - abolished, due to the annexation of territory to French Third Republic||
|Lao Chiang||ลาวเฉียง||1893||1900 - renamed into Monthon Tawan Ok Chiang Neua||
|Krung Kao||กรุงเก่า||1893||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||Establishing Provinces
Nakhon Sawan Merger
Krung Thep Merger
|Prachinburi||ปราจิณบุรี||1893||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||Establishing Provinces
|Khamen||เขมร||1893||1899 - renamed Monthon Burapha||
|Nakhon Ratchasima||นครราชสีมา||1893||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||Establishing Provinces
Roi Et Merger
|Isan||อีสาน||1893||1912 - partitioned into Monthon Roi Et and Monthon Ubon||
|Phitsanulok||พิษณุโลก||1894||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||Establishing Provinces
|Nakhon Sawan||นครสวรรค์||1895||1932 - merged into Monthon Krung Kao - Ayutthaya||
|Ratchaburi||ราชบุรี||1895||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||Establishing Provinces
Nakhon Chai Si Merger
|Nakhon Chai Si||นครไชยศรี||1895||1932 - merged into Monthon Ratchaburi||
|Chumphon||ชุมพร||1896||1925 - merged into Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat||
|Nakhon Si Thammarat||นครศรีธรรมราช||1896||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||
|Syburi||ไทรบุรี||1897||1909 - abolished, due to the annexation of territory to British Empire||
|Krung Thep||กรุงเทพ||1897||1922 - merged into Monthon Krung Kao - Ayutthaya||
|Phuket||ภูเก็จ||1898||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||
|1903 - merged into Monthon Phitsanulok
1916 - merged into Monthon Phitsanulok
|Burapha||บูรพา||1899||1906 - abolished, due to the annexation of territory to French Third Republic||
|Tawan Ok Chiang Neua||ตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือ||1900||1901 - renamed into Monthon Phayap||
|Phayap||พายัพ||1901||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||
|Udon||อุดร||1901||1933 - abolished, abolishment of the monthon system||
|Pattani||ปัตตานี||1906||1932 - merged into Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat||
|Chanthaburi||จันทบุรี||1906||1933 - merged into Prachinburi||
|Roi Et||ร้อยเอ็จ||1912||1932 - merged into Nakhon Ratchasima||
|Ubon||อุบล||1912||1932 - merged into Nakhon Ratchasima||
|Maharat||มหาราษฎร์||1915||1926 - merged into Monthon Phayap||
- Monthon Lao Chiang is the same as Monthon Phayap, to ease understanding in this table but in all cases, they are the same.
- Monthon Lao Kao which became Monthon Isan, and Monthon Lao Phuan which became Monthon Udon.
- The use of the name is up to interpretation and use on case by case basis, but name changes occurs due to Rama V integration policy of minorities and achieving assimilation.
- Province merger not shown, only monthon partition and merger are
The larger monthon Phayap, Udon Thani, and Isan had an additional administrative level between monthon and provincial administration. Three to five boriwen (บริเวณ), each administered by a commissioner (khaluang boriwen, ข้าหลวงบริเวณ).
- Administrative divisions of Thailand
- Mandala (Southeast Asian political model)
- Native Chieftain System
- Past provinces of Thailand
- Royal Thai Survey Department
- ^ W. G. Johnson (2008) . "Education". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T. (eds.). Twentieth century impressions of Siam (PDF). London: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Co. p. 276. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
Siam has progressed so rapidly of late years, and the machinery of Government has been reorganised and perfected so quickly, that it requires all the efforts of the Education Department to produce from its schools the supply of men capable of taking up the posts in the Government service
- ^ บทความ ปรากฏการณ์ผีบุญ. blog (in Thai). @cloud. Archived from the original on January 22, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
เป็นกระทงร้อน มากกว่า 2 ปีพจนานุกรมฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน ให้ความหมายของ ผีบุญ ไว้ว่า ผู้อวดคุณวิเศษว่ามีฤทธิ์ทําได้ต่าง ๆ อย่างผีสางเทวดาให้คนหลงเชื่อ
- ^ Murdoch, John B (1974). "The 1901-1902 Holy Man's Rebellion" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Siam Heritage Trust. 62 (1). Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- ^ "ประกาศ เรื่องยุบรวมท้องที่บางมณฑลและบางจังหวัด" [Notice: Abolition of some monthons and provinces] (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 48: 576–578. 21 February 1931. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 9, 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Damrong Rajanubhab (2002). เทศาภิบาล [Thesaphiban] (PDF) (in Thai). Bangkok: Matichon. ISBN 9743227814.
- Tej Bunnag (1977). The Provincial Administration of Siam, 1892-1915: the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-580343-4.
- Tej Bunnag (2005). การปกครองระบบเทศาภิบาลของประเทศสยาม พ.ศ. 2435–2458 [The Provincial Administration of Siam, 1892–1915: the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab] (PDF) (in Thai) (2nd ed.). Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. ISBN 9745719374.
- History of the Bangkok Metropolitan Council