The recent history of this enchanting country, known as Siam was characterised in the King and I.

This King was Rama IV who was commonly known as Mongkut (1851-68), he had been a Budhist Monk for 27 years when he succeeded his brother Rama III. This sparked a new contact with the West using his contacts with French and American Missionaries. During his reign he took a close look at the was Budhism was practiced in Thailand and set to bring some order back to the teachings.




Grand Palace, Bangkok


After his death in 1868, his son Chulalongkorn became RamaV at the age of 15. Chulalongkorn was well educated by Mrs Anna Leonowens. He brought a mix of traditional Thai and modern Western elements to the country and after 5 years of regency he set about the reforms envisioned by his father. Gradually he abolished slavery by 1874. During his reign there was threats from France and in 1907 he was forced to reliquish Cambodia to the French and in 1909 three Malay states fell to the British. He died in 1910.

Vajiravudh, succeded his father to the thrown, this British - educated prince. Tried to build up his following by creating a new division of the army called the Wild Tigers. The result eventually backfired on him as a coup was plotted against him. As a response he decided to create a series of reforms including the introduction of compulsory primary eductaion and tried to raise the standing of women in society, supportng monogamy in place of the more widely practised polygamy. He encouraged people tom live as modern westerners. Childless, he died in 1925 and Prajadipox, the sevety-sixth child and last son of Chulalongkorn was capitulated to the thrown. this young, inexperienced responded to the countries crisis by creating a Supreme Council of State.

Between 1932 ans 1957 the country was subject to milatary coup. In the 1938 elections Phibun became the prime minister. He changed the name from Siam to Thailand in 1939.

After the upheval of WW2, the hope for democratic civillian government wer set a blow by the death of King Ananda.

In 1957 General Sarit overthrew the new government and decided that a unifying authority was what was needed for the country and King Bhumibol becam Rama IX.

In Modern Thailand you will see a country where its people have deep effection for its King and Queen. more so tham many coutries that I have visited.


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Page updated 27th October 2002