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The Kingdoms of Thailand

The Chakri Dyanasty 1782

  • In April 1782, Chao Phraya Chakri, a general who was significant in reclaiming Siam, accepted the throne of the Kingdom of Siam for the Chakri Dynasty and was named Rama I. Rama I moved the Capital from Thon buri as it was cut in half by a waterway making its defence difficult and reconstructed a new city on the East bank of the River. 
  • The old forts and city walls were demolished and replaced with widened walls and moats. New ditches and canals were dug for transport and water consumption. The new Grand Palace and the Palace to the Front were constructed. The new city was called Krung Rattanakosin Inayodhaya after the Emerald Buddha (which Rama 1, as a General retook for Siam from Vientiane in Laos). 
  • After the collapse of the Ayutthaya Kingdom a process of nation building was required. Also during this period there were wars with the Burmese, Khmer (Cambodians) and Annamese (Vietnamese). The national boundary of Siam was expanded. In the North it conquered Lan Na, the Shan states in Burma and Sip Song Panna in China. In the South it conquered Malacca, Pattan, Pera Trangkanu, Kelantan and Saiburi (now parts of Malaysia). 
  • This was a period of imperialism. The Social Philosophy of Siam in the 18th & 19th Centuries In the Rattanakosin period society still followed the Ayutthaya concepts of the divine right of Kings and the division of society between the administrators and those who were administered. People were either nobles (land owners) or commoners (including slaves). The concepts were based on Khmer Hindu beliefs and supported by the Buddhist system. Slavery was legally prevalent until 1905. The map of Thailand opposite in 1809 shows the then Kingdom of Siam (all coloured areas coloured purple). The bottom left side map then shows the subsequent territory losses up to 1910 to British colonial forces in Malaysia and Myanmar and the French in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Rama V Rama V1 Rama V11 Rama V111

  • The reference ''Rama'' comes from the Hindu traditions in Thailand adpted in the Ayutthaya Kingdom prior to the Chaki Dynasty. Rama in Indian mythology was the King of Ayodhya (Ayutthaya in Thai) and in Hinduism is the 7th Avatar of Vishnu. The deity Rama is popular in South East Asia following the Indianisation of this area 1,500 years ago. During the Kingdom of Ayutthaya some KIngs of Ayutthaya referred to themselves as ''Ramathibodi'' which translates to mean ''Rama the great ruler''.

  • The Chakri Dynasty has been and continues to be very successful in managing the Kingdom. In the early period they had to deal with invasion and wars whilst in the 20 th century, corruption and abuse of power from elected politicans who see public office as a means of making riches rather than a public service. The Chakri Kings include the following.
  • Rama I   Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke  (1782 to 1809)
  • Rama II  Buddha Loetla Nabhalai   (1809 to 1824)
  • Rama III   Nangklao  (1824 to 1851)
  • Rama IV   Mongkut (1851 to 1868)
  • Rama V   Chulalongkom (1868 to 1910)
  • Rama VI  Vajiravudh (1910 to 1925)
  • Rama VII  Prajahipok (1925 to 1935)
  • Rama VIII   Ananda Mahidol (1935 to 1946)
  • Rama IX    Bhumibol Adulyadei (1946 until the present)