In 1782, after
the passing away of King Taksin of Thon Buri, today
part of Bangkok located on the west bank of the Chao
Phraya River, Chao Phraya Maha Kasatsuek ascended the
throne and was known as King Buddha Yodfa or Rama I.
The King moved the capital to the opposite side of the
river known as Bangkok, and established the Chakri Dynasty.
A bridge in the area
of Rattanakosin Island in 1901.
The main reason for the removal was
that Bangkok had a better location for protection from
foreign invasions as it was separated by the river from
the west bank and also covered a bigger area. Then canals
were dug around the city starting from the expansion
of Banglamphu and Ong Ang canals to the east. When finished,
the two canals were joined together and linked the Chao
Phraya River at both ends so the city was surrounded
by water and the whole canal was named "Khlong
Rop Krung" meaning the canal round the city. These
canals together with other smaller ones were the source
of Bangkok's nickname "Venice of the East".
King Rama I then commanded the construction of the Grand
Palace close to the river modeling on the ancient palace
of Ayutthaya with a royal temple, the Emerald Buddha
Temple, within the city walls. In addition, other important
government offices were newly built on the east bank.
The King gave a very long name to the capital, i.e.
Krung Thep Mahanakhon Bowon Rattanakosin Mahinthrayutthaya
Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet
Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathatiya Witsanukam
Prasit. (Later, King Rama IV (1851-1868) changed
the word "Bowon" in the full name into "Amon".)
This long name is still a world record, though in normal
usage it is shortened to "Krung Thep".
In the early Rattanakosin period (1782-1851), Bangkok
remained a quiet place. It was covered with lush vegetation
and had waterways as its chief routes of transportation.
The capital underwent some development based on Western
models in the reign of King Rama IV who ordered road
building, canal digging, ship building, and a reorganization
of the Thai army and administration. The great reform
occurred in the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910) who
brought the nation into modernization in various aspects,
including administration, education, justice, communications
and public health. For the convenience of administration,
the country was divided into several monthon,
and Bangkok was one of them.
In 1932, a revolution was staged and the political system
was changed into constitutional monarchy. Bangkok on
the east bank known as Krung Thep or Phra Nakhon became
a province and Thon Buri on the west bank became another
province. In 1971, the two provinces were merged under
the name of Nakhon Luang Krung Thon Buri or Bangkok-Thon
Buri Metropolis. One year later, the form of local government
in the metropolis was reorganized and the province obtained
a new name as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or popularly called
Krung Thep for short. The name is still used among the
Thais today as always, while the foreigners know Krung
Thep as Bangkok. It is noteworthy that the
name "Bangkok" formerly referred to a small
fishing village which later expanded into communities
on both sides of the Chao Phraya River. It is so named
because the village (called bang in Thai) was
full of wild olive (called makok in Thai which
was shortened to kok) groves, and the name has
been internationally used up to now.
Bangkok is now a bustling city with a population of
some 8 millions as it is the centre of administration,
transportation, business, communications, education,
entertainment and all.