Bangkok Culture Guides


Bangkok's History

Bangkok Culture | Bangkok culture and events

Bangkok's history is riddled with accounts of the rising and falling of kingdoms, and of immeasurable riches and lands, which were won and lost. In reading of Bangkok's history it is much like reading a classic adventure novel. Even in recent times, Bangkok's history is at least as interesting and exciting.

Bangkok's history tells of how Bangkok transformed from a Chinese trading port to the capital of Thailand. Bangkok became the capital of Thailand after the turbulent years, which followed the Burmese overtaking of the former Thai capital, Ayutthaya in 1767. During that time most of the country's riches were looted while the Burmese confined many of the citizens including the Royal family members in captivity.

General Phraya Taksin along with General Chakri reeling from the defeat and the loss of Ayutthaya rallied and managed to drive out the Burmese. General Taksin then became the new king of Thailand and established Thon Buri as the country's new capital. Taksin's royal temple was Wat Arun or The Temple of the Dawn is one of the few remaining sites of that period in Bangkok's history.

Thon Buri's status as the capital of Thailand was as brief as the reign of Taksin. It is said Taksin became mad with divine power of his own creation and overthrown. General Chakri who was instrumental along with Taksin in saving the country from invasion was then chosen to be the new king. The Chakri Line continues to resign as the present-day monarch.

After Phaya Chakri took over the reign of the country of Thailand, he moved the capital of Siam across the river to the former Chinese trading port of 'Bang Makok', meaning the place of olive plums. Chakri named the city a royal title which is so long the Thais refer to its first two name 'Kreng Thep', meaning City of Angels. The full name has 62 syllables and is known to be the longest city name in the world. Starting with Bangkok's history to modern times, internationally the city is known as Bangkok.

According to Bangkok's history, Phaya Chakri or Rama I as he is continually known was instrumental in the preservation of many of Bangkok's most historical sites. It was during his reign the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha was built as well as the refurbishing of Wat Pho.

In Bangkok's history the first paved street was constructed during the reign of King Mongkut, Rama IV. The modernization of Bangkok continued during the reign of his son King Chulalongkorn, RamaV.

In Bangkok's history an important step was made in 1932 with the erection of the Memorial Bridge. The bridge opened up development to the west side of the river where Thon Buri lies. Because of the interlocking canals all through the city of Bangkok, it was easily traversed by boat than any other method of transport. However, as the city grew and new developments began, many of these canals were filled to adjust to the new growth of the city. A few remain, however their state is deplorable. It has not been properly maintained.

It is known from Bangkok's history the Monarchy has been in Bangkok for two centuries or more, but they have not always in power during certain times. A major coup was instigated by a group of Paris-based students who came to Bangkok with democratic ideas. King Prajadhipok, Rama VII permitted a constitutional monarchy, but later resigned which created a hole in the government from 1935 to the end of WWII.

As told in Bangkok's history, a puppet government under a military rule by the name of Phibul Sonkhram ruled Thailand during World War II and sided with the Japanese in order to maintain their personal power grip. At the end of the war when the Allies demanded compensation for the war it was extremely costly to the country.

Bangkok's history continues to be formed with every succeeding governor and political parties holding power with promises of to ease some of the problems in the urban area of the city with pollution being one of them. Those in power today are attempting to create a more conservational Bangkok and to expand the BTS Skytrain and the MRT Subway systems, which will help cut down on the city's traffic congestion.

Last Updated: 27 Feb 2008