The History of Bangkok Thailand

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  2. May 13, 2013 11:13 pm

The History of Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok: A Brief History

Bangkok began its existence sometime during the fourteenth century as a riverside fishing village. By the sixteenth century, it grew into a prosperous port frequented by European traders and Chinese merchants. However, it was not until 1782 that the city became the capital of Siam, as Thailand was known at the time.

The former capital, Ayutthaya, was located 85 kilometers north of Bangkok close to the border with Burma. Because of its proximity with the border, the old capital was difficult to defend against invaders. It was the Burmese invasion of 1767 and the subsequent destruction of Ayutthaya that prompted King Rama I to move his capital south to Bangkok. He renamed the city Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.

With the help of artisans and prisoners of war, Bangkok’s canals were expanded, walls were built, palaces erected and temples were constructed. By 1785, the initial expansion of the city was finished. However, subsequent rulers continued to expand the city into neighboring farm land.

Bangkok continued to modernize during the nineteenth century, taking on many western ideas while resisting the forces of colonialism. In 1932, a coup overthrew the monarchy, and a constitutional government was formed.

During World War II, Bangkok was occupied by the Japanese and bombed by the allies. Local Thai resistance movements fought against the occupation.

In the 1960s, Bangkok was again affected by war. American military personnel, on leave from the Vietnam war, brought a considerable influx of cash into the Bangkok economy. Their presence prompted explosive growth in the entertainment and nightclub industry.

Bangkok experienced another economic growth spurt during the 1980s. However, this period of prosperity was interrupted by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997. Despite the economic setback, Bangkok continues to maintain its position as a world leader in finance, hospitality and culture.


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