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A page from Simon de La Loubère :
Du Royaume de Siam.
Illustration from the English edition (1693).

Simon de la Loubère (21 April 1642 – 26 March 1729) was a French diplomat, writer, mathematician and poet.

Mission to SiamEdit

Simon de la Loubère led an embassy to Siam (modern Thailand) in 1687 (the "La Loubère-Céberet mission").[1]:2 The embassy, composed of five warships, arrived in Bangkok in October 1687 and was received by Ok-khun Chamnan. La Loubère returned to France on board the Gaillard on 3 January 1688, accompanied by the Jesuit Guy Tachard, and a Siamese embassy led by Ok-khun Chamnan.[1]:3

Upon his return, La Loubère wrote a description of his travels, as had been requested by Louis XIV, published under the title Du Royaume de Siam: "It was by the orders, which I had the honours to receive from the King upon leaving for my voyage to Siam, that I observed in that country, as exactly as possible, all that appeared to be the most singular.[2]

Loubere also brought back with him an obscure manuscript relating to the astronomical traditions of Siam, which he passed on to the famous French-Italian astronomer Jean Dominique Cassini. The Siamese Manuscript, as it is now called, intrigued Cassini enough so that he spent a couple years deciphering its cryptic contents, determining on the way that the document originated in India. His explication of the manuscript appeared in La Loubere's book on the Kingdom of Siam in 1691, which laid the first foundation of European scholarship on Indian Astronomy.

French careerEdit

A description of the Siamese method for creating magic squares, in Simon de la Loubère's 1693 A new historical relation of the kingdom of Siam.

La Loubère was elected member of the Académie française (1693–1729), where he received Seat 16, following the 1691 publication of his book Du Royaume de Siam.[1]:59[3]

La Loubère was a friend of the German scientist Gottfried Leibniz, and once wrote that he had "no greater joy than (to discuss) philosophy and mathematics" with him (22 January 1681 correspondence).[2]

Magic squareEdit

La Loubère brought to France from his Siamese travels a very simple method for creating n-odd magic squares, known as the "Siamese method" or the "La Loubère method",[4][5][6] which apparently was initially brought from Surat, India by another Frenchman by the name of M. Vincent, who was sailing on the return ship with La Loubère.[7]

Siamese parachuteEdit

La Loubère is also famous for making one of the earliest account of a parachute following his embassy to Siam. He reported in his 1691 book that a man would jump from a high place with two large umbrellas to entertain the king of Siam, landing into trees, rooftops, and sometimes rivers.[8][9][10]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Tachard, Guy (1999). Smithies, Michael (ed.). A Siamese Embassy Lost in Africa, 1686: The Odyssey of Ok-khun Chamnan. Bangkok: Silkworm Books. ISBN 9747100959. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b de la Loubere, Simon (2003). Ames, Glenn J; Love, Ronald S (eds.). Distant Lands and Diverse Cultures: The French Experience in Asia, 1600-1700. Westport CT: Praeger. ISBN 0313308640. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. ^ de La Loubère, Simon (1693). A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam. Translated by A.P. London: Printed by F. L. for Tho. Horne at the Royal Exchange, Francis Saunders at the New Exchange and Tho. Bennet at the Half-Moon in St. Pauls Church-yard. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  4. ^ Mathematical Circles Squared" By Phillip E. Johnson, Howard Whitley Eves, p.22
  5. ^ CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics By Eric W. Weisstein, Page 1839 [1]
  6. ^ The Zen of Magic Squares, Circles, and Stars By Clifford A. Pickover Page 38 [2]
  7. ^ A new historical relation, Tome II, p.228
  8. ^ Parachuting: The Skydiver's Handbook Dan Poynter, Mike Turoff p.86
  9. ^ Encyclopedia of military technology and innovation Stephen Bull p.200 [3]
  10. ^ A system of aeronautics John Wise p.57