Thai History, Rattanakosin Kingdom

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Thailand has one of the most important 800 years old history merging mortal interests around the world. It was known as Siam, ???? till 1939 and then as Thailand, “The Land of the Free”. Thailand can possess the distinction of being the only country that has never been colonized in Southeast Asia. Thailand history divided into five periods, the rule of different kingdoms throughout the centuries (Thaialanddaddy, n. d. ). After the destruction of Ayutthaya, the Thais started to regroup again by Tarksin who established the capital city in Thonburi and later became the king of the kingdom of Thonburi.

He was eventually executed in 1782, which was the end of the Thonburi period. At that time, the present day Chakri dynasty was established. King Ramathibodi ascended the throne and was named the Great King Rama I or Pra-Bath-Som-Dej-Pra-Put-Tha-Yod-Fah-Chu-La-Lok_ma-Ha-Raj. He was the king of the Chakri Dynasty. He ruled the country from 1782 to 1809. After his coronation, he decided move the capital city across to the east bank of the river since it offered better security against enemy attack and Thonburi was unsuitable to serve as the capital due to its limited space for expansion.

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Additionally, the palace located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River was risked to the erosion and collapsed by the river. After considering both advantage and disadvantage from a military strategic and economic point of view, he then decided to move the capital city to the new site. He erected the city’s sacred foundation post as well as transferred the Lord Buddha’s relics to a temporary shrine. After the foundation post was officially erected, King Rama I moved to the new capital and stayed in his palace temporarily (Rattanakosin Period, n. d).

During King Rama I’s reign, he built the Grand Palace, and installed the Emerald Bhuddha in the Chapel Royal following its completion. He undertook the construction of many other palaces including Dusit Mahaprasat Hall, Pimarnrattaya Hall, Ammarin Vinichchai Hall, and Chakkrabhat Priman Hall. Furthermore, he built Wat Phra Kaew, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, within the outer compound, east of the Grand Palace and Wat Po placing with 394 old Buddhist images, which were collected from every partd of the country, around the main chapel (Rattanakosin Period, n. d).

In ruling the country, King Rama I was very democratic. He always listened to people’s ideas because he believed that the kingdom was belonged to everyone in the country. Thus, people should have their voices and helped in running the country too. King Rama I developed and adopted the administrative system from Ayutthaya to the Rattanakosin kingdom and also formed a special advisory council by combining viziers, civil servants and military personnel. Moreover, he revised and promulgating new law codes, reinstating the court ceremonies and imposing discipline on the Buddhist monkhood (King Rama I, n. . ).

After King Rama I was passed away, his son, MahaUparaja became the second king of Chakri dynasty and was named King Phra Buddha LertlaNapalai or King Rama II. During his reign, he started the custom of appointing senior princes to supervise over the different department of state. According to Welcome To Thailand, “King Rama II was the best remembered though for his interest in arts. Arts, books and poem were very flourished during his reign (King Rama II, n. d). During King Rama II’s reign, the country was in peace with the neighboring countries.

Thus, King Rama II thought that it was the good time to build up the country and picked up what his father had left off. In addition, he also improved the administrative system promoted religious, culture and introduced land reforms. In the lad reform, it stated that “it was compulsory for anyone owning land, regardless of social status, to cultivate it otherwise it would be expropriated. The king also stated explicitly “Favor no one … All land, no matter how big or small, must be surveyed accordingly and accurately so as not to be misappropriated (King Rama II, n. d). ”

King Rama II was a strict Buddhist. He commanded the members of royal families and officials to shun all vices. He also set up the harsh penalties for anyone who participates in any kind of gambling including cock fighting and fish fighting. For example, he or she will be flogged and then subjected to public humiliating by hanging. Furthermore, King Rama II revived the celebrations of VisakhaBucha and sent a mission of monks to Sri Lanka to study Buddhism. He also undertook the construction of many Buddhist temples such as WatPaichayonPolsape, WatMolilokGayaram, WatPrudgasachetStaram, WatArunrajaVararam.

All of these temples are now located in Thonburi and have now turned out to be important landmarks, especially WatArun which is now become one of the major attractions in Bangkok and is also well-known throughout the world (King Rama II, n. d). King Rama II was known as the brilliant poet who composed many literary masterpieces as well as dance rhythms. He actively promoted music by both improving musical instruments and introducing the better method on how to play them. He was an accomplished musician, particularly with the three-string fiddle.

He composed the famous tune “BulanLoiFah” which once was used as the King’s anthem. Besides promoting music and introducing instrument, King Rama II also concentrated on promoting culture. He promoted the culture not only because of his artistic inclinations but also because he wanted to restore the culture that lost after the Burmese attacked the old capital of Ayutthaya (King Rama II, n. d). After the death of King Rama II, his son, King PhraNangklaoChaoyuhua, or King Rama III was ascended the throne and become the third king of the Chakri Dynasty. King Rama III was crowned at the age of 37.

He was really good in government affairs and law and trade. He concentrated on not only the problems of the international and domestic trade but the trade imbalance with foreign countries as well. He managed to earn a large amount of foreign exchange. So, his father, King Rama II called him “Chao Sua”, meaning trading boss (King Rama III, n. d. ). During his reign, King Rama III encouraged both monks and novices to teach and spread Buddhism to people. He was the first person who allowed the monks to use castle and temple as a classroom for teaching Buddhism.

Furthermore, King Rama III also complied a new version of Buddhist Tripitaka, which was eventually become widely distributed throughout the country. For education, King Rama III gave a full support to everyone who had talent. He ordered a new textbook “Chindamanee” which was used until the reign of King Rama V. In addition, he established WatPhraChettupon as the center of knowledge for various subjects including literature, medical science, Buddhism, and history. For relation with foreign countries, King Rama III was aware of the influence of the westerners.

He told his people to learn from the westerners but do not get fatuous with their entire way of living. This can be clearly proved by the independence of Thailand to the present day (King Rama III, n. d. ). According to Sunsite, King Rama III has the most impressive action in his treatment of the next in line for succession to the throne. Even though he had many sons who could have been designated to be the next king, he paid more attention as to which the position should be best owed upon.

Once, before he passed away, he said to an audience consisting of people of all ranks. If anyone of the Royal Family is fit in all respects to become the next king-in daily administration, in religious affairs and in protecting the populace as well as the kingdom’s independence-then, that person should be the next king. Feel free to make your own decision without regard to my own feelings. All I ask for is that you do not solve your conflicts through force which will inevitably hurt the people (King Rama III, n. d. ). ” After the death of King Rama III, King PhraChomkloChaoyuhua or King Rama IV was ascended the throne. During his reign, the Europeans were trying to colonize countries.

Fortunately, Siam had a king who was interested in what was happening around the world. So, King Rama IV was seeking a way to maintain that independence of Siam by learning the English language and meeting some foreign rulers, in particular Queen Victoria, the Pope and the Mexican president. King Rama IV started studied English as well as French and Latin since he was a monk and eventually was able to read, write and speak fluently. He was a very benevolent king. Many of his actions revealed that he was willingly to improve society and country.

For example, he changed some old customs and westernized the government system. Additionally, he started the teaching English in school, opened up the first school for teaching English to the ladies of high social standing and hired some expert European instructors to train and teach Thai soldiers a western military tactics (King Rama IV, n. d. ). In Literature field, King Rama IV wrote many books about moral, legend and history of Emerald Buddha. One of the most famous books during that time is called “Niras London” which was written by Mr. Rachothai.

In economic field, King Rama IV abolished the monopolistic practices, banned dangerous goods, charged customs duty on imports and established treaties with Western and European countries such as a treaty with England in 1855 which was signed by Sir John Bowring and King Rama IV. This treaty helped Siam maintained its independence and free from being colonized by the Western and European countries. Even though, he reigned for a short period of 17 years he accomplished many things, which brought prosperity to the kingdom (King Rama IV, n. d. ).

After the death of King Rama IV, King Rama V was inherited the throne from his father in 1868 at the age of 15. Because he was very young and was not able to rule the country alone, the regency, therefore, helped the King governed the country for the first five years of his reign. During this time, King Rama V had a chance to travel around the world. He visited most of the powerful Western countries and learned their cultures, traditions, political organizations and technologies. King Chulalongkorn realized that Siam should have allies in order to help prevent from being colonized by other nations.

Therefore, when he returned to Siam, he aimed to reform the country and bring Siam into the modern world. (King Rama V, n. d. ). During that time, there was no communication system. Ox carts and elephant were the only two forms of transportation at that time. So, King Rama V tried to improve the system. For the government system, he reorganized the ministers by appointing 12 ministers including his son or loyal members of nobility to run the country. Furthermore, he allowed the governors of the provinces to rule themselves but they have to be loyal to the king.

For foreign relations, King Rama V developed a diplomatic strategy in order to reduce the colonizing powers of France and England. England tried to colonize Siam in many ways. For instance, the British Monarch had proposed to construct a railroad in Siam. King Rama V was afraid that England would use this project to trick Siam. So, he sent a message to Queen Victoria that “Siam is not yet ready for a railroad due to insufficient economy and a relatively low population. ” In the meantime, King Chulalongkorn learned technology skills from other western nations and encouraged plan for a railway system.

When the experts arrived to Siam, they taught him a strategy and plan which eventually a railroad can be successfully built by a combination of resources from European and western countries (King Rama V, n. d. ). King Rama V was the country’s greatest patriarch, with 77 children, including 44 girls and 33 boys. In order to successfully bring Siam into a modern world, it was required to have an absolute control, well-educated government officials, well traveled and loyalty to the king.

During his 42-year of reign, King Chulalongkorn successfully established the government form based on the western system, which ultimately paved the way for the democracy that present nowadays. He reformed new rule for law, established a proper judicial system, introduced compulsory military service and improved the country’s national defense. He introduced the official currency “Baht”, made taxes directly pay to the government and cut out the corrupt middlemen.

Additionally, King Rama V also set up Siam’s first hospital based on western medical practices, the first medical school and a nationwide education system (King Rama V, n. . ). The Thai Nation rightly reveres King Chulalongkorn. His skills of diplomacy abroad and ability to form a central government at home endeared him to the people. His reign was one of the most successful of any monarch in any country in the world and through his vision and leadership. A small, traditional Kingdom was transformed into a modern Nation at the heart of Asian affairs. The Thai people are proud of him (King Rama V, n. d. ). After the death of King Rama V, Mongkutklao or King Vajiravudh, king Rama V ’s first son by Queen Saowaphaphongsi became the sixth king of Chari dynasty.

King Rama VI was born on January 1, 1881. He was educated and graduated at Sandhurst and Oxford. He studied in England for 9 years and then came back and was appointed as the Crown Prince in 1894 (King Rama VI, n. d. ). At the beginning of his reign, he promoted nationalism through the founding of the Wild Tigers’ Corps and also the Bay Scout Movement in Siam. Furthermore, he reorganized the admistration by removing and adding some ministers. He combined monthon to form regions and also building a miniature city called “ DusitThani” at Dusit Palace to teach the self-government to people.

Additionally, the Royal Air Force and Fishery Departments were established. King Rama VI also introduced a compulsory education, which was announced in the Primary Education Act in 1921. On March 26, 1917, He changed the status of the Civil Service College to a University and named it Chulalongkorn University- the first university of Siam. He used this placed as a memorial for his father, King Rama V. To succeed his father, King Rama VI westernized Siam by changed Thai calendar to the western form. In his reign, people were allowed to have their own surname.

For the culture and tradition, Thai women had Western hair styles and wore skirts instead of phanung or jongkaben-a cloth with the end pulled between their legs and tucked in at the back (King Rama VI, n. d. ). King Rama VI was very good in literature. He composed many work of great merit both in prose and poetry. He encouraged music, wrote play and sometimes he acted in the play by himself. Furthermore, he translated three of Shakespeare’s work into Thai in poetic style. These plays were “The Merchant of Venice”, “As You Like It” and “Romeo and Juliet”.

The King promoted the arts in all forms. The famous plays that he wrote are “Matthanaphata” and “Sakuntala”. Asvaphahu and Ramchitti were his pen names. In 1927 the Siamese flag was changed from a white elephant on a red background to the present design, the parallel red, white and blue stripes, representing the combination of nation, religion and The King (King Rama VI, n. d. ). After King Rama VI passed away, his younger brother “King Phra-Pok-KlaoChaoyuhua” or king Rama VII, popularly known as Prajadhipok, was ascended the thorn and became the 7th King of the Chakri Dynasty.

King Rama VII was born in Bangkok on November 8, 1893. At first, King Rama VII did not expect to become the king until nine months before King Rama VI passed away. King Rama VII was a capable king. During his reign, he had made many personal sacrifices to the country. For instance, he overcame the economic depression after World War I, willingly be a king under a constitutional monarchy system after the 1932 Revolution, his abdication from the throne and his keen interest in promoting Thai art and culture (King Rama VII, n. d. ).

Additionally, King Rama VII had made the most important decision that was proved to be a very beneficial to the country. This happened in June 24,1932 revolution, King Rama VII agreed to remain King under the constitution despite the fact that he maintained a large armed forces still loyal to him and could certainly have fought the so-called “Kana Raj” revolutionists. Later on, the government did not follow the democracy system; King Rama VII eventually decided to abdicate the throne. He abdicated the throne in order to let others who were more capable rule the country.

After World War I, Thailand faced a very serious economic problem. The national income was lower than its expense. King Rama VII was very worried, so he decided to return the throne and solved this problem by cutting down the government expenditure in every possible way. This situation made King Rama VII became unpopular among military and the bureaucracy. King Rama VII was very upset so he decided to comment to the military officers on February 5, 1931: “ I strongly feel that I was born only to chop things down.

I have done that from the beginning and will have to do so again until I do not know what is going to happen next. It is unfortunate that I have to be doing all of these things often and I fully realize that people who are the victims of the reduction program will be in deeper trouble since it is difficult for them to find other means of livelihood. I, consequently, feel extremely heavyhearted and most sympathetic for those who have to leave. If I have other ways in which I could shoulder the burden, I would do everything for them but as it is I have no other alternatives.

I cannot do anything else but to cut down on expenses… (King Rama VII, n. d. ). ” King Rama VII encouraged and promoted the cooperative system by promulgating a law governing cooperatives in the year 1928. He said, “Farmers who have limited capital but wishing to pursue the same interest should form a cooperative so that they can mutually help one another in order to accumulate greater wealth as well as a better moral strength of the country. Moreover, King Rama VII also attempted various ways in order to make the country became more prosperous.

He promulgated many new laws such as the Land Expropriation Act. This act was chiefly aimed to construct new highways; railways and control trading activities and motion picture show and mended the marriage law, etc. (King Rama VII, n. d. ). For the cultural field, King Rama VII developed a firm foundation by establishing Royal Institute to handle the Royal City Library’s activities including investigating literary work, administering museum and observing and preserving ancient sites and objects including maintaining the art of handicrafts.

Furthermore, King Rama VII wrote many Buddhism textbooks, which was published and distributed, to the children in the country on VisakaBucha Day each year (King Rama VII, n. d. ). After the death of King Rama VII, the Majesty King AnandaMahidol or King Rama VIII was ascended the throne. He was the second monarch of the Chakri Dynasty who was crowned under the new Constitutional Monarchy System. He was born on September 20, 1925 in Heidelberg in Germany. He was the first son of Prince SonkhlaNakarind and SomdejPhra Sri Nakarindhara. He was crowned as the King Rama VII when he was only ten years old.

At the time he was attending school on Switzerland. His father was one of King Rama V’s sons and having done much for the country in the field of medicine. His mother is most brilliant and a very enterprising person who devotes her time attending to the needs of the people. When King Rama was 13 years old, he returned back to Thailand. The Thai people were very excited to meet their young king who was grown up in a foreign country. Many people talked about him endlessly and they wished him the best luck (King Rama VIII, n. d. ). Seven years later, King Rama VIII returned to Thailand for the second time.

People welcomed him wherever he went. King Rama VIII loved to travel and visit places, which eventually made people impressed. For example, he visited Sampheng – a district that King Rama I gave to PhtayaRajasetthi and the Chinese community. Many Chinese fulled this place. So, the government tried to arrest the Chinese and get back this area to Thais. King Rama, on the other hand, did not agree that arresting all the Chinese was the best way to get this area back. So, he decided the send the representatives to talk with the Chinese community at the palace and visit the Chinese community by himself (King Rama VIII, n. d. . It was very difficult to undertake this area from the Chinese since Sampheng was a trade and business center.

When the people who lived around Sampheng knew that the King was going to visit the community, all the Chinese and businessmen were overwhelmed delightfully. Roads were all repaired and all shops set up therealter in front of their shops preparing to welcome the King. When the Thais saw that all the Chinese had a deep loyalty and high esteem to the Thai King, the anger that Thai people had gradually decreased (King Rama VIII, n. d. ). On June 9, 1946, the saddest news about the death of King Rama VIII spread.

Many people cried and were sad. They did not believe that their own king was really passed away. The news spread that “ the king woke up at 6. 00 a. m. and had taken castor oil after which he conducted the morning routine before turning in again. At about 9. 00 a. m. , pages of the royal chamber arid a gunshot from the inside and on immediate investigation discovered His Majesty lying on the bed with blood on his body and already dead. The royal page, therefore, reported the incident to HRH Princess Mother who immediately rushed into the royal chamber to see what had happened.

Afterwards, members of the Cabinet came to pay their respects. It is surmised that His Majesty toying with a pistol as was his wont with firearms and it accidentally went off (King Rama VIII, n. d. ). ” After King Rama VIII passed away, the entire country melancholy prevailed with sadness. Even though his reign was short and required Council of Regency since he was quite young then, King Rama VIII still managed to conduct his many tasks. His warm and graceful personality earned him the tremendous love and respect from Thais and aliens residents in the country.

Their memory of His Majesty King AnandaMahidol will remain vivid in the minds of the Thais forever. After the death of King Rama VIII, King BhumibolAdulyadej, his younger brother, ascended the thorn and became ninth king of the Chakri dynasty. King Bhumibol was born on December 5, 1927 in Cambridge Massachusetts in the United States. He was the youngest child of the Royal Highness Prince and Princess Mahidol of Songkhla(Biography, n. d. ). King Bhumibol was the direct grandson of King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V who was renowned as the great reformer who brought Thailand to the modern world.

King Rama IX was given the name of BhumibolAdulyadej, meaning Strength of the land incomparable power. This eventually becomes prophetic as his reign can overcome through many difficulties (Biography, n. d. ). King Rama IX decided to study science at Lausanne University but later on after his elder brother passed away, he deiced to go back to Switzerland to study political science and law in order to help him had a good knowledge for ruling the country. In 1950, King Bhumibol returned to Thailand for the Coronation ceremony on the fifth of May (Biography, n. . ). On July 19, 1949, King Bhumibol met RajawongseSirikit, the daughter of his highness Prince ChandaburiSuranath, and eventually engaged with her. KingBhumibol and Princess Sirikitraised four children including The former her royal highness Princess UbolRatana, His royal highness crown prince MahaVajiralongkorn, Her Royal Highness Princess MahaChakriSirindhorn and Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn (Biography, n. d. ). The former her Royal Highness Princess UbolRatana was born on the fifth of April in 1951 in Lausanne in Switzerland.

She was graduated from the faculty of Science in biochemistry at Massachusetts Institutes of Technology in the United States in 1973. She married to Mr. Peter Ladd Jensen who now resides in the United States with their three children (Biography, n. d. ). The second child of King Bhummibol and Princess Sirikit is His Royal Highness crown prince MahaVajiralongkorn. He was the only son who was born on the 28th of July in 1952 in Bangkok. He later was changed to the significant name SomdechPhraBoromaOrasadhiraj Chao FahMahaVajiralongkornSayamMakutrajakuman.

He was graduated from the royal Military College Duntroon in Australia and how he held the rank of major general and commander. He married with Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali and had one daughter (Biography, n. d. ). The Third child is Her Royal Highness Princess MahaChakriSirindhorn. Princess MahaChakriSirindhorn was born on the second of April in 1955 in Bangkok. She was conferred the title of SomdechPhraDebaratanaRajasuda ChaoFahMahaChakriSirindhornRathasimakunakornpiyajatSayamBoromaRajakumari. She was graduated from the faculty of art with the bachelor degree of Art in history at Chulalongkorn University.

Later on in 1979, she received a master degree in oriental epigraphy from Silpakorn University and in the following year, she received another master degree in oriental languages from Chulalongkorn University. Furthermore, she received the doctor degree in educational development from Srinakarinwirot University in 1986(Biography, n. d. ). The last child is Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn. She was born on the fourth of July in 1957 in Bnagkok. She graduated from the faculty of art and science at Kasetsart University.

She received a bachelor degree of science in organic chemistry with first class honors. She completed her work in organic chemistry in 1985 and received a doctor degree from Mahidol University (Biography, n. d. ). King BhumibolAdulyadejis the world’s longest-reigning monarch. During his reign, he implemented a rural development by himself without any support from the government. Additionally, he also enjoy earned and organized the broad-based public support. He work very hard for the country to make the country has credibility and success (Bangkok Post, 2006).

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