The Narrowest of Thailand
August 8, 2015 8:45 AM   Subscribe

You know how Myanmar and Thailand share a narrow peninsula? And how Myanmar's territory veers sharply to the east, leaving Thailand with a narrow neck connecting the mainland to its extreme southern provinces? How did that happen? How did Myanmar wind up with such a large share of the land in question?

The area on Google Maps.

I'm guessing that this unusual border is the result of 19th century maneuvering on the part of Great Britain because they were the former colonial masters of Myanmar. I've googled and googled and had much more luck finding information on how the French managed to incorporate Laos and Cambodia into their empire. Wikipedia's entry on the province is a bit anodyne and uninformative.

So how did that weird boundary come into being?
posted by the hot hot side of randy to Society & Culture (3 answers total)
It's the ridge line of a mountain range. Everything which is Myanmar territory drains to the west, and everything that's Thai territory drains to the east.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:06 AM on August 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Geography is the obvious reason why the border ended up where it is. But historically, the isthmus of Kra has gone through periods of control by the Thai and the Burmese, with several wars being fought over the past few hundred years. You can read more about the history in this article. Most recently, the British took the territory from the Burmese in the 1820s and signed a treaty with Siam, setting the border where it is today. You can read a detailed Department of State study on the history of the Burma-Thailand border here.
posted by pravit at 9:37 AM on August 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks!
posted by the hot hot side of randy at 8:00 AM on August 13, 2015

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