Bangkok History

Bangkok had remained just a small village situated along the western bank of Chao Phraya River, along with a place of the same nature, Thonburi. During this time these two places were ship ports that sailed up to Ayutthaya, which was the former capital of Thailand known then as Siam. As Ayutthaya was seized by the Burmese armies in the year 1767, the capital of Siam or Thailand shifted to Thonburi. It was in 1782, when the capital was relocated to Bangkok by Rama I. And since the time Bangkok became the capital city, the history of the city has concurred and combined strongly with the Thai history. Most of the events that became parts of definition for the character of Thailand, took place in Bangkok. The food, culture, costumes, and language of the city became popular in entire Thailand.

Chakkri dynasty

Phraya Chakkri, from the Chakri dynasty, was crowned as the ruler of Bangkok in the year 1782. It was he who shifted the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok fearing invasion by the Burmese army. Posthumously the king has been called Rama I. A completely new city was planned when hallowed grounds were created for Buddhist monasteries and the royal places. The construction of palace temples, residence halls, and throne halls followed. A large number of prisoners were shifted to the capital where they had to work as labours. The Thai people had to give free labour in lieu of taxes. With the immense labour at dispense, Rama I undertook the construction of a large number of waterways to supplement the natural river and canal system. A number of temples, monasteries, and palaces were erected during the later periods of Chakri rule in Bangkok. The ports were improvised to facilitate better international trade.

Revolution of 1932

A consequential argument broke between the trade minister, the highest council, and Price Purachatra on economic issues. So severe were the effects of this debate that it brought about a political-domestic crisis that caused the people to be less confident on the king and the government. The new and developing ideas posed against the old ideas and principles and sought to threaten the position of the king and the government and signal a revolution. The Thai intellectuals who had had their education from the West wanted a constitutional monarchy to replace the absolute monarchy. The revolution of 1932 was a revolution that eventually succeeded and made the king reject absolute monarchy in favour of constitutional monarchy. The revolution of 1932 did away with absolute authority of the monarch giving way for a Constitution and parliament.

Roads and waterways

The last five Chakri kings after Rama I built a number of canals. Other public projects were also undertaken by them, but the canals were the prime focus to facilitate trade. Two large canals were added to one of the greatest natural curves of the river. The canals included Khlong Ong Ang and Khlong Rop Krung. The city much soon became a site for exquisite architecture like the Grand Palace which formed a political hub. More excavations took place in the later period that resulted in expanding the river canal system. One of the most traditional canals of Bangkok that remains to this day is that of Khlong Mahawawat lined by a number of stilted houses and fruit orchards.

The roadways in Bangkok developed upon the insistence of the European diplomats who desired to ride horses for fitness reasons. The request was acted upon and roads were laid down for horse riding and carriages. Roads like Feuang Nakhon and Bamrung Meuang were built so that the royal temples were accessible from Charoen Krung. A number of other prominent roadways were constructed during the time that is used to this day.

Emergence of Thaksin

The system of governance and the ways and lifestyle of Bangkok changed with the setting in of the new millennium. The most prominent incident to have taken place in the history of Bangkok and Thailand is the fall of the Thai currency that brought the entire Thai economy to an unnatural halt. This led to several job losses in Bangkok and the entire country and also caused huge income erosion. Two weeks following this deflationary tailspin of currency, a new Constitution was formed that granted more civil and human rights to its citizens. This was people’s constitution which generated great hope among the population that was emotionally drained after the sheer economic crisis. The Prime Minister whose decision had brought about the crisis was asked to resign. The re-election of the former Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai proved helpful in recovering the economic crisis. The next Prime Minister to come into rule was Thaksin Shinawatra, a police colonel, who had won by a large number of votes. The Prime Minister set about a pro-people agenda that made him a popular choice and also made number of developments in Bangkok.

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