Siam, the chief kingdom of the peninsula styled Indo-China, or Further India. Siyam, from the dark color of the inhabitants or of the soil, is the ancient, and Muang T'hai, the kingdom of the free, the modern native appellation for the country; T'hai, the free, for the people. With its Laos, Cambodian, and Malay peninsular dependencies, it lies between lat. 4° and 22° N, and between lon. 97° and 106° E.; greatest length 1,350 m., breadth 450 m.; area estimated at about 300,000 sq. m.; pop, about 5,750,000. The capital is Bangkok. Siam proper lies mainly between lat. 13° and 18° and lon. 98° and 102°, being bounded by its dependencies, the gulf of Siam, and the British territory of Tenasserim. Two mountain ranges, extending mainly S. E. from the Himalaya, form general natural divisions from China on the north, and partly from Anam on the east and Burmah and the British possessions on the west. A third range, less continuous and direct, passes through the central regions; in this is situated the P'hra Bat, or mountain of "the sacred foot" (footprint) of Buddha, a Mecca for Buddhists. The gulf of Siam, between Siam proper and the Malay peninsula, forms a long coast line, and has numerous islands, much precipitous shore, and several ports, of which Bangkok is the chief.

It is never visited by typhoons or heavy gales. - The country is watered by several rivers, bearing the generic name Menam, "mother of waters," and taking the specific name or names from cities or provinces. The Menam Kong, Mekong, or river of Cambodia, 1,800 m. long, traverses in its middle course the N. E. or Laos dependencies of Siam. (See Mekong.) The Menam Chow P'ya, Menam Bangkok, or simply the Menam, rises in the north and flows S. through the centre of Siam proper into the gulf of Siam. Its length is about 600 m.; its principal tributary is the Meping from the west. Bangkok, Ayuthia, Angtong, and other towns are situated on the Menam. The Salwen flows on the border of British Burmah. These rivers, with the very numerous intersecting canals, for rowing, not tracking, are the great highways of traffic. The plains, irrigated and enriched by their annual overflow, are extensive and fertile; the valley of the Menam equals in richness that of the Nile, and in extent half of the state of New York. - The seasons are two, the wet or hot and the dry or cool. The former, opening near the middle of March, is not a succession of wholly rainy days, but resembles a New York April and August combined. The annual rainfall is about 60 inches.

April, the hottest month, has at Bangkok a maximum of 97° F. and a mean of 84°. In October the S. W.. monsoon gives place to the N. E., which ushers in the dry and cool season; this is very fine, with only a few light showers throughout. January is the coolest month; but the mercury rarely falls below 65°. The mean annual temperature is 82½°, and the mean range 13°. Vegetation is luxurious, fruitful, and beautiful beyond description, and the soil yields a rich return to rude and careless cultivation. Rice, sugar, pepper, cotton, and hemp are the staple products. In the abundance, variety, and excellence of fruits, vegetables, and spices, Siam is unsurpassed. Many fruits, as the durian, mangosteen, and custard apple, are cultivated in large gardens or orchards, trenched, and watered by the daily tide. In the forests are found gutta percha, lac, dammar, gamboge, catechu, gum benjamin, and the odoriferous agila or eagle wood; innumerable medicinal plants, herbs, and roots; sapan, fustic, indigo, and other dyes; the lofty silk-cotton tree, with its soft silky floss for mattresses, but too brittle for the loom; the bamboo, the rattan, and the atap, together forming the material of three fourths of the houses; the teak, with other ship and house timbers; iron, red, and white woods, rose woods, and ebony; the banian, and the sacred fig tree.

The animal kingdom is no less varied and interesting. Most celebrated is the white elephant, a dark-cream albino, prized and honored as very rare, and when captured belonging to the king. The national standard is a white elephant on a crimson ground, and the royal seal, medals, and money bear the same device. Albino deer, monkeys, and even tortoises are sometimes found, and the natives believe white animals to be the abode of transmigrating souls. The elephants of Siam attain a size and strength unsurpassed in other countries, and are much prized throughout India. Among other animals are the rhinoceros, tiger, leopard, bear, pangolin, otter, musk civet, wild hogs, ourang outangs and other apes, monkeys, and deer; dogs and cats, wild and domestic, are innumerable. The forests abound in peacocks, pheasants, pigeons, and other birds; aquatic birds of all kinds are numerous; the sea swallow which produces the edible nest is common. Among the reptiles are the crocodile, turtle, python, cobra de capello, numerous other snakes, and several varieties of lizards. Fish are plentiful, but of poor quality. The most noteworthy insect is the coccus ficus, which produces the lac of commerce by punctures in resinous trees.

Gold, copper, iron, tin, and lead all abound, in great purity; but by reason of the rudeness of working, the jealousy toward foreigners, and the fevers and hardships of the jungle, their vast wealth is comparatively undeveloped. Antimony, zinc, sulphur, and arsenic also exist, and silver in combination. Salt is largely manufactured by solar evaporation, and saltpetre less so. Mining, previously under the strict surveillance of government, and carried on chiefly by Chinese, has recently excited some interest among Europeans. Rubies, spinel, corundum, sapphire, amethyst, garnet, topaz, and other precious stones are found. - According to the French consul Garnier at Bangkok (1874), the population of Siam proper and its Laos dependencies is composed of 1,800,000 Siamese, 1,500,000 Chinese, 1,000,000 Laos, 200,000 Malays, 50,000 Cambodians, 50,000 Peguans, and 50,000 Karens and others. The Siamese are of Mongolian origin and Laos or Shyan descent. They are olive-colored and of medium height. The head is large, face broad, forehead low, cheek bones prominent, jaw bones in retreat very divergent; mouth capacious, lips thick, nose heavy, and eyes black and without the Chinese turn of the lid. The teeth are stained black, and sometimes serrated.

The hair is all plucked from the face in youth, and the most of the head is shaved bi-monthly. A black bristling tuft 4 or 5 in. broad and 2 in. high is left on the top; that of the women, whose hair is only closely cut, is often encircled by a thread of bare skin whence two or three hairs' breadths have been uprooted. The dress consists of a cotton waist cloth (to which women add a silk shoulder scarf), a jacket for the cold, and a straw hat for the sun. Children under seven or eight years old are clad only in jewels, fig leaves, flowers, and turmeric. Priests, with head entirely shaven and uncovered, wear several yellow robes of cotton and silk. Kings and nobles on state occasions wear silk and gold brocades and high conical hats. The Siamese are indolent, greedy, and untruthful, intemperate, servile, and superstitious. At the same time they are peaceable and polite, decorous in public, and affectionate to kindred and kind to the poor and imbecile. The dwellings are of one story, partly to prevent the indignity of another's walking over the head.

They consist of huts, built on piles, of bamboo, roofed and sided with atap leaf; boats, serving also as peddling stalls or vehicles; floating houses, of panelled teak, rising and falling with the tide on bamboo rafts; and palaces, of white stuccoed brick, adorned with gilding, carving, painting, foreign furniture, pictures, gold, silver, china, and glass. These palaces are not of Chinese, but rather of Indian architecture, and they often occupy several acres, with the dwellings of the wives, the quarters of the servants, and the grounds, which are paved, shaded, adorned with flowers, and enclosed by high walls. Marriage takes place as early as 18 for males and 14 for females, without the aid of magistrates or priests, though the latter may be present to make prayers, and especially to feast and to receive presents. The number of wives, ordinarily one, in the palaces reaches scores and hundreds; but the first is the wife proper, to whom the rest are subject. Social distinctions are very numerous, and in the law are represented numerically, from 100,000 for the second king down to 5 for the lowest slave.

Before "the lord of life " on the throne, far above numerical representation, all crawl and crouch, or, with head bowed to the ground, lie "dust at the sacred feet." Prince is approached by noble, noble by lord, lord by master, etc, each with body bent, eyes prone, and hands folded and raised to the forehead or above the head, giving and receiving homage. An annual service of three months is paid to the king by all, save the Chinese triennially taxed. One third of the common people, it is largely estimated, are slaves by birth, by gambling or other debts, by redemption from the penalty of crime, by capture, etc. Men sell their children, their wives, or themselves; convicts in scores clank their chains about the streets; villages of thousands are made up of foreign captives. Yet Siamese life is in the main comfortable, and is moreover gladdened by many sports, amusements, and holidays. On all great occasions the coffers of kings and nobles are opened widely for merrymaking for the people, and merit-making for themselves. The only honorable disposal of the dead is by burning. The badges of mourning are white robes, and an entire shaving of the head. A limit-ed and superficial education is afforded gratuitously at the temples, to the males, 80 or 90 per cent, of whom read.

The drama is much cultivated, and dramatic companies are attached to the palaces and gaming houses. The music is unwritten, simple, plaintive, and pleasing. Bands of 10 or 12 instruments, most resembling Javanese, are a part of every wealthy establishment. Gaudy and incongruous paintings, of rude perspective, chiefly adorn the temples. The medical art is in a barbarous state. Nowhere else does Buddhism hold so pure and absolute a sway as in Siam. It is of the Cey-lonese rather than Chinese type. The wats or temples, resembling not the Chinese, but distantly the Egyptian architecture, are among the most beautiful and splendid in the East. They are in vast, choicely situated, paved parks, with white walls gleaming through the leaves, serrate roofs and spacious domes and lofty pra-chadi spires, all painted and gilded and glazed, vocal with air-rung bells, and resplendent in the sunlight. One is estimated to have cost, with all its paraphernalia, over $800,000. (See Bangkok.) Missions have been carried on by the Roman Catholics, under the greatest vicissitudes, since the middle of the 16th century. The missionaries are French, and their converts were reckoned in 1872 at 10,000 in 16 congregations. At the head of the mission is a vicar apostolic.

Protestant missions date from the visits of Gutzlaff, Tomlin, and Abeel in 1828-'31, and properly from the settlement of Jones in 1833. Representatives of the American Baptist missionary union, of the Presbyterian board of foreign missions, and of the American missionary association have established several Protestant congregations, schools, and religious papers. The number of the Baptist congregations in 1874 was 154, and of Presbyterian 38. - In commerce Bangkok once ranked second only to Calcutta and Canton in the far East; but monopolies, exorbitant duties, and numberless restrictions had well nigh stifled production and banished trade till in 1855-'6 new treaties were negotiated for Great Britain, the United States, and France, by Sir John Bowring, Townsend Harris, and Count do Montigny. The purchase of land is now allowed; the monopolies and tonnage duties are abolished; imports pay 3 per cent, in money or kind, and exports one duty only, according to tariff. In 1873 the number of Siamese vessels entering the port was 157, tonnage 55,049; British 84, tonnage 32,406; German 15, tonnage 4,731; French 14, tonnage 5,198; American 1, tonnage 388. The total arrivals in 1873 were 386, tonnage 102,454; clearances 265, tonnage 97,212. The principal exports are rice, sugar, pepper, Sesamum, sapan wood, hides, and cardamoms.

Their total value in 1873 was about $4,600,000; that of the imports, $4,000,000. The most important trade is that with China, carried on in junks built and navigated by Chinese. The junks leave the Me-nam generally in June, returning in December. The tical, a silver coin bearing the device of an elephant and weighing 236 grains troy, with bars of silver cut into pieces, stamped, and bent into an irregular oval, in value 7½, 15, and 60 cents, with cowries, form the currency. Dollars are also current, though usually exchanged for silver ticals at the rate of three dollars for five ticals. The rate of interest is about 30 per cent. The inland trade is conducted chiefly by boats. Foreign steamers ply between Bangkok and Singapore. The United States and European treaty powers are represented by resident consuls at Bangkok. - The government of Siam is theoretically a duarchy, practically a monarchy. While there is a second or vice king, the first or senior king is actual sovereign. The crown is hereditary, but without primogeniture, being bequeathed, with the sanction of princes and nobles, to any son of the queen; but intrigue and violence have often diverted the succession from the high royal line.

A royal decree of May 8, 1874, announced that in future the king would give important laws only after consulting the council of state and the ministry. The council of state comprises the first , king as president, the ministers, who have no vote, from 10 to 20 councillors, who have to draft new laws and from their own number elect a vice president, and six princes of the royal house. Any two members of the council may submit a new law to the king. The ministry (senabodi) consists of an honorary president, three ministers of the interior (of the west, the north, and the east), and the ministers of agriculture, justice, the royal house, and finance. The minister of finance may be dismissed at any time; the dismissal of any other minister requires a sentence of the court. The country is divided into 41 provinces, each of which is governed by a phraya or council of the first class. There are also several territories which have their own princes, tributary to the king. The king is by title "sacred lord of heads," "possessor of all," and property and life are at his will, to be taken at governmental necessity or caprice; but many considerations conspire to render a violent and arbitrary exercise of this absolute power comparatively unfrequent.

The queen consort, the wife supreme among hundreds, must be of native and royal blood, and she is rigidly kept from all possible intercourse with an inferior of the other sex. She never becomes regent, or takes any part in political affairs, but is treated with the highest deference. She has a separate court, in which appear the princesses, who, not allowed to marry beneath them, rarely marry at all. She has her female guards in uniform and arms. The number of females within the palace is, on royal authority, 5,000, and of males about the same. The second king has also a separate palace, seraglio, officers, retainers, and soldiers, only second to those of the first. Though never appearing at the audiences of the nobles with the senior king, his opinion and sanction are sought on important state policy, and his name is associated in treaties, His position seems to be that of counsellor, not of co-ruler or successor. The larger portion of the public revenue is embezzled by the numerous officers, who receive only a nominal salary.

The revenue of the king is estimated at about $4,000-000. There is a very ancient written code of laws, the acts and decisions of the kings, and an unwritten code, scarcely less authoritative, of traditional usages; both are often absurd, unjust, and cruel, and both liable to be disregarded at the royal will. More than 25 classes are excluded from testifying, many for the most trivial reasons. The penalties are various, from bambooing to beheading. Capital crimes are now very few. Treason, very comprehensive, is punished by beating the convict, enclosed in a large sack, nearly to death, and then casting him loaded into the river. The military force is small, and is disciplined by European officers. In time of war all male inhabitants are liable to service. The fleet consists of seven men-of-war carrying 40 guns. - The history of Siam dates back some centuries before Christ, but only the annals subsequent to the founding of Ayuthia, the former capital, A. D. 1350, can be deemed au-, thentic. In the 16th century the dominion extended to Singapore, and the first western connection was made with the Portuguese and Spanish. In 1604 the Dutch established relations; in 1662 an English ship arrived; and the latter part of the century is remarkable for the grand embassies from and to Louis XIV. of France, and the later bloody and almost utter overthrow of French influence.

In 1782 the present dynasty ascended the throne, and transferred the seat of government from Ayuthia (sacked by the Burmese) to Bangkok. In 1822 and 1825 treaties were made with Great Britain, or rather with the East India company, through Mr. Crawfurd and Capt. Burney. In 1833 a treaty was made with the United States through Edmund Roberts. The first embassy from the country for nearly two centuries was sent to England in 1857; and another was sent to France in 1861. In 1868, on the death of his father, the reigning king ascended the throne, with the title Phra-bat Somdetya Chula Lankarana, and during his minority a regent carried on the government; he became of age Nov. 16, 1873. The name of the present second king (1875) is Kroma Phraratcha. The recent kings of Siam have been among the most remarkable characters of the East by their attainments in languages and general information, adoption of foreign ideas and improvements, wise and humane government, and liberal and enlightened intercourse with foreigners and foreign powers.

In January, 1875, a conflict arose between the first and second kings, the latter for a time taking refuge with the British consul; but a reconciliation was soon effected. - The best books on Siam are Crawfurd's "Embassy to Siam and Cochin-China" (London, 1828); Pallegoix's Description du royaume Thai ou Siam (Paris, 1854); Bowring's " Kingdom and People of Siam" (London, 1857); Bastian's Reisen in Siam (Berlin, 1867); Mrs. Leonowens's "English Governess at the Siamese Court" (Boston, 1870); McDonald's "Siam, its Government, Manners, Customs," etc. (Philadelphia, 1871); "Siam, or the Land of the White Elephant," compiled by the Rev. George B. Bacon (New York, 1873); and " The Land of the White Elephant," by Frank Vincent, jr. (New York, 1874).