The period between the last decades of the seventeenth century and the first decade of the nineteenth century conventionally has been regarded as a ‘dead’ period in the history of Southeast Asia, a period inherently less lively and implicitly less ‘important’ than the periods that precede or follow it. The way that period usually is presented displays a great deal of activity in the 1680s, followed by a long century or more of quietude, stasis, and even decline until the tempo of economic and political change rapidly picks up after the distractions of the Napoleonic era end in 1815. Before that period there was the relentless expansion of Dutch power in the Indonesian Archipelago and the dramatic episode of European adventurism in Siam; and following it came the foundation of Singapore (1819), the Anglo-Dutch Treaty (1824) which signalled the beginning of heightened European competition in the Island world, the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824-1826), and the Java War (1825-1830), to name but a few traumatic episodes. What lies between these two periods, however, lacks the drama and supposed significance of the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, and few have chosen to attend to what lies between.