Please read this first! Most of the content on this site is the property of Zak Keith and is copyright protected. You are free to share this page using the share button options above and you are welcome to post a short excerpt maximum 5 to 10 sentences of this content on another website, provided that you also publish a link back to this original page. To obtain permission to republish more substantial portions of this article or the article in its entirety, please. The part about a run-down Angkor succumbing to nature and being in a serious state of disrepair is true, but Angkor was never lost. Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire, home of Khmer rulers, and a major center for culure, business and religion.
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Please read this first! Most of the content on this site is the property of Zak Keith and is copyright protected. You are free to share this page using the share button options above and you are welcome to post a short excerpt maximum 5 to 10 sentences of this content on another website, provided that you also publish a link back to this original page.
To obtain permission to republish more substantial portions of this article or the article in its entirety, please. The part about a run-down Angkor succumbing to nature and being in a serious state of disrepair is true, but Angkor was never lost.
Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire, home of Khmer rulers, and a major center for culure, business and religion. The most famous temple building in Angkor is Angkor Wat, one of the largest temple structures in the world. Angkor first rose in the s, but most of the sites and buildings were established in the s.
Up to 1 million inhabitants lived in Angkor at the peak of the Khmer empire. In a weakened state by , Angkor was conquered by invading armies and thereafter left in a state of decline not abandonment for centuries. However, when it comes to Mouhot, this is a case where Eurocentrism and the Great-White-Man-Explorer Syndrome — Henri discovering a lost Angkor for the Europeans — cannot adequately explain how the fallacy came to be.
As a young professor of philology, Mouhot spent at least 10 years of his life working as a language tutor in Russia. He traveled throughout Europe with his brother Charles, studying photographic techniques developed by Louis Daguerre.
In , he began devoting himself entirely to the study of Natural Science and that same year, he married the niece of Scottish explorer Mungo Park. The newly married Mouhot may have had a lot to prove and live up to. One year later, upon reading The Kingdom and People of Siam by Sir James Bowring in , Mouhot decided to travel to Indochina to undertake a series of botanical expeditions to collect new zoological specimens.
His initial requests for grants and passage were rejected by French companies and the government of Napoleon III. Over a period of three years, he endured extreme hardships and fended off wild animals to explore some previously uncharted jungle territory. On his first expedition, he visited Ayutthaya , the former capital of Siam already-charted territory and gathered an extensive collection of insects, terrestrial and river shells, and sent them on to England.
In January , at the end of his second and longest journey, he reached Angkor already-charted territory. In other words, the huge Angkor Wat temple was just one of many temples in Angkor. Mouhot recorded his visit to Angkor in his travel journals, which included three weeks of detailed observations. These journals and illustrations were later incorporated into books that were published posthumously.
On his fourth expedition to the jungles of Laos, Mouhot died of a malarial fever. He had been visiting Luang Prabang, capital of the Lan Xang kingdom — one of three kingdoms that eventually merged into an earlier version of modern-day Laos — and was under the patronage of the king. Two of his servants buried him near a French mission in Naphan, by the banks of the Nam Khan river.
The location and existence of the entire series of Angkor sites had always been known to the Khmers — Mouhot was certainly not the first westerner to visit Angkor.
By the time Mouhot reached Angkor in , it had already been visited by several westerners since the 16th century: In , Portuguese friar Antonio da Madalena visited Angkor Wat and published the accounts of his trip with the help of a Portuguese trader by the name of Diogo do Couto.
De Magdalena had traveled along roads and trails leading to villages between and around the Angkor sites, probably what is modern-day Siem Reap. In , Bortolome de Argensola wrote about his visit to the Angkor area, describing it as being in a state of disrepair and succombing to the jungle Angkor had been temporarily vacated due to wars.
In the s, numerous Spanish and Portuguese missionaries visited Angkor. His writings were collected and published posthumously in a book called Travels in Siam, Cambodia and Laos, and began to popularize Angkor in the West. Perhaps none of the previous European visitors to Angkor wrote as evocatively as Mouhot, who included interesting and detailed sketches. His assumptive statements and flamboyant theories were arrogant by any standards, but found a receptive audience among colonial-era Europeans, capturing their imaginations.
Mouhot compared Angkor to the pyramids, for it was popular in the West at that time to ascribe the origin of all civilization to the Middle East. It is grander than anything left to us by Greece or Rome, and presents a sad contrast to the state of barbarism in which the nation is now plunged.
Ever the superior European, Mouhot assumed that the authors of such grandeur were of a disappeared race and errantly dated the creation of Angkor back to over two millennia, to around the same era as Roman Empire.
It was the height of the Victorian Era, the golden age of the British Empire, when the prevalent opinion among Europeans was that barbaric pagans whose lives were not as meaningful should be Christianized. Angkor had been built and fully inhabited only years earlier, by the very same race of people standing right before Mouhot, but he was too busy being superior to believe it.
It was replaced in by a more durable crypt monument, and a maisonnette was built nearby to house and feed visitors to the white shrine. His birth town of Montbeliard then helped with its restoration that same year. The French carried out the majority of research work on Angkor until recently.
Some have argued that Mouhot may have been a tool for French colonialism and the annexation of territories that followed shortly after his death. Or shall we, as blind instruments of boundless ambition, come hither as a scourge, to add to their present miseries?
Dopo aver letto "The Kingdom and People of Siam" di Sir James Bowring nel , Mouhot decise di viaggiare in Indocina per condurre una serie di spedizioni botaniche raccogliendo nuove specimen zoologiche. LA sua prima richiesta di permessi e di un passaggio fu rifiutata dalle compagnie francesi e dal governo di Napoleone III. Descrisse la propria visita nel suo diario di viaggio, con tre settimane di osservazioni dettagliate. Diario ed illustrazioni furono poi inseriti in Voyage dans les royaumes de Siam, de Cambodge, de Laos che fu pubblicato postumo. Mouhot afferma nel suo diario che un suo contemporaneo, padre Charles Emile Bouillevaux missionario francese stanziato a Battambang , aveva detto di aver visitato con altri esploratori e missionari occidentali Angkor Wat ed altri templi Khmer , almeno cinque anni prima di Mouhot. Mouhot rese comunque popolare Angkor in occidente. Forse nessuno dei precedenti visitatori europei aveva descritto tale sito in maniera tanto suggestiva quanto Mouhot, che aveva anche corredato il testo con disegni assai dettagliati.
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Conclusion Henri Mouhot was one of the widely admired explorers of the 19th century who came to Southeast Asia. Mouhot arrived in via Singapore in Bangkok and used it as a base for his four journeys into the inner parts of Siam , Cambodia and Laos. A sketch of Henri Mouhot. That is factually wrong; other Westerners visited Angkor since the 16th century several times. Though, Mouhots posthumously published travel narration made the Angkor site for the first time popular in Europe. According to his brother Charles he left the family in the age of eighteen and travelled to Russia, where he spent some ten years and gained a professorship in philology. Mouhot travelled also through Europe and was fascinated by early photography, developed by Louis Daguerre.
Early life[ edit ] He traveled throughout Europe with his brother Charles, studying photographic techniques developed by Louis Daguerre. In , he began devoting himself to the study of Natural Science. Upon reading "The Kingdom and People of Siam" by Sir John Bowring in , Mouhot decided to travel to Indochina to conduct a series of botanical expeditions for the collection of new zoological specimens. His initial requests for grants and passage were rejected by French companies and the government of Napoleon III. Expeditions[ edit ] From his base in Bangkok in , Mouhot made four journeys into the interior of Siam , Cambodia and Laos.