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Paknam Incident

A military engagement that took place during the Franco-Siamese War near Samut Prakan, and is named after this city located at the estuary of the Chao Phraya River, which is nicknamed Pahk Nahm. Just after sunset on 13 July 1893, two French warships, i.e. L'Inconstant and La Comète, sailed up the Chao Phraya River towards Bangkok, without the permission of the Siamese. The Siamese army hence attacked from gunboats and the then newly built Chulachomklao Fortress (fig.), forcing the French to fight their way past these defenses. The French won the ensuing battle and forced their way to Bangkok. With their guns now aimed on the Grand Palace, the French delivered the Siamese an ultimatum, in which they demanded to hand over some disputed territories East of the Mekhong and to withdraw their troops from the area. To make them comply, the French also enforced a naval blockade of the Siamese coast and on 3 October 1893, a treaty was signed that ended the war. The incident is commemorated on a Thai postage stamp issued on 13 July 2013, in order to mark the 120th anniversary of the incident (fig.). In Thai, known as Wikrittakahn Pahk Nahm (วิกฤตการณ์ปากน้ำ), which translates as ‘the critical times of the estuary’. Also spelled Pahk Nahm Incident or Paak Naam Incident.