The Early Chakri Dynasty



The Early Chakri Dynasty

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After the sack of Ayutthaya, Taksin, an army general, established a new capital at Thon Buri, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya opposite what would later become Bangkok. He became king in 1768, and in 10 years Siam was a regional power again. However, he became increasingly despotic and, in 1782, was ousted by the military commander Chao Phraya Chakri, who was later pronounced King Rama I. Chakri’s descendant, King Mongkut (Rama IV), modernized Siam, opening it up to foreign trade and influence.

Chakri Kings

The reigns of Ramas I, II, and III signaled an era of stable monarchical rule. Rama II was a literary man, while Rama III was a great merchant

Chakri Throne

The Busabok Mala Maha Piman Throne was built in the reign of Rama I for important occasions. It is in the Grand Palace

Sir John Bowring

The Bowring Treaty (1855) allowed the British free trade. Later, Siam forged similar treaties with other colonial powers, thus avoiding annexation

Thai Etiquette (1855)

In mid-19th century Siam, prostrating oneself before a superior was common. It was officially abolished by Rama V

Mongkut (1851–68)

Before coming to the throne, Mongkut, pictured here with his favorite wife, traveled widely, meeting many Westerners

Early Bangkok (Krung Thep)

The Siamese capital was moved from Thon Buri to the east of the river in 1782 as a defense against the Burmese. Its official 43-syllable name matches the majesterial plans that Rama I had for his new city: the first two words, “Krung Thep,” mean “city of angels.” This mural from 1864 shows the temples and river houses of early Bangkok

King Mongkut Mural

In this mural King Mongkut is in his palace observing an eclipse through a telescope, his subjects below him. Where to See Early
Chakri Thailand

Where to See Early Chakri Thailand

Almost all the best examples of architecture from the early Chakri – or Rattanakosin – period can be seen in Bangkok. The earliest Chakri building is the bot of Wat Phra Kaeo. Other examples include the bot of Wat Suthat, the wihan of Wat Suthat, Wat Pho, and Phra Nakhon Khiri in Phetchaburi.


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