The intriguing history of Bangkok forms an important part of the history of Thailand. Read about the history & origin of Bangkok.

Bangkok History

The capital city of Bangkok presents an intriguing history and origin that concurs and coincides with the tumultuous history of Thailand. Bangkok went on to become the capital of the Thai Kingdom in 1767, during a period when the former capital of Ayutthaya fell victim to Burmese armies. Before that, it was a small village full of plum trees, which served as a port for ships navigating to Ayutthaya. However, prior to Bangkok, it was Thonburi, a small village on the west coast of Chao Phraya River, which was chosen as Thailand's new capital.

After the pillage of Ayutthaya by the Burmese, Thai soldiers that survived their attacks established a military headquarter at Thonburi and fought with the enemy for 15 long years. Later, when they emerged victorious, they chose General Taksin as the King. Before long, he was beheaded and was succeeded by General Chakri, who ruled under the dynastic name of King Rama I. In 1782, under his governance, the capital shifted to Bangkok, when Thonburi became vulnerable to Burmese threat and attack.

Thus, Bangkok gained status of the new capital of Siam Kingdom and was bequeathed the royal title of 'Krung Thep' (City of Angels). Chinese merchants, who were the earlier inhabitants, were asked to evacuate the place and move to the Sampeng area. Thus, the construction of the city began, starting with Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). A huge city wall was erected and numerous canals, dykes and waterways were built. The Grand Palace - the imperial residence, along with the Wat Phra Kaew, saw near completion in 1785.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the city resembled a floating paradise, with lots of canals, watercourses and bridges. Most people settled on either side of the Chao Phraya and dwelled on beautiful floating houses. Nevertheless, during the regime of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and his son, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), many roadways and railways saw construction in Bangkok. The first paved street was constructed in 1863. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city became more advanced and expanded in various directions.

Beginning 20th century, many other developmental projects began in the city. Rural markets turned into residential areas and the Memorial Bridge was constructed in 1932, to link Thonburi and Bangkok. With the Vietnam War, Bangkok grew with a startling pace and saw a steady economic boom. However, Thailand's coalition with Japan, during World War II, led to many problems in the country, including the bombing of Bangkok. Nonetheless, today, Bangkok, with its urban infrastructure and its traditional heritage of monuments, palaces and temples, is one of the most developed cities in entire Southeast Asia.

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