A Contemporary History of Siam and Thailand

Thailand as we know today, with it’s capital at Bangkok, or Krungthep, has been nation in name since 1939, when it changed its name from Siam as a young Constitutional Monarchy –its first constitution drafted in 1932 during the reign of the seventh monarch, or Rama VII, Prajadhipok ราชการที่ ๗, Siam’s first constitutional monarch.

The Thailand-Siam era thrives now in the waning reigning years of the ninth monarch, Rama IX, Bhumipol Adulyadej (pronounced Poo-mi-pone A-doon-ya-det) ราชการที่ ๙ ภูมิผล of the Chakri dynasty, which began in 1782, when the first monarch –which the dynasty takes its name, ascended the throne of the young Siamese nation whose capital was at Thonburi (located on the west flank of the Chao Phraya river opposite of present day Bangkok).

The first monarch shifted the capital to the opposite side of the river and in just over two centuries, Bangkok grew from a riverside village to a mega-polis capital of over eleven million inhabitants.

Prior to the capital shifting sides of the river by order of Chakri, Rama I, or King Yort Fa, the throne had been held by Taksin (pronounced Thaak-sin–not to be confused with former Thai prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, which is pronounced Taaksin, with no connection or relation to Taksin), the great Chinese blooded liberator who had unified the disgruntled Siamese after their previous capital at Ayuthaya had been obliterated by the Burmese invasion of 1767 , officially ending the Ayuthaya Kingdom’s glory.

After the fall of Ayuthaya, Taksin rapidly built an army with his comrade Chakri reunifying the scattered Siamese, and relocated the new capital further south along the mighty Chao Phraya river at a small village known as Bang Kok (pronounced Baang Gok).

Taksin, with Chakri as his first general quickly mobilized masses and rebuilt Siam up to match its former glory, repelling the Burmese once and for all, repopulating the depopulated frontier, and thus reproducing trade, economy, and diplomacy amidst an ever changing world. Thaksin and Chakri built strong foundations and Siamese pillars for their kin to inherit and maintain, though it would prove to be anything but a field day.

With Myanmar heavily occupied in conflict with Colonial Britain to the west of Siam, and the once Glorious Lao (Lan Xang) and Cambodians (Khmer) deeply intertwined with the Colonial French conquest of Indochina to the east of Siam, the Siamese people persevered through a new era of survival and sway, being the only Southeast Asian nation to maintain autonomy and sovereignty throughout the European colonolisation era which engulfed the likes of Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Chakri Dynasty Chart

Ancient History

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