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
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.