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Bangkok


 


Bangkok

The full name of Bangkok is "Krung Thep MahaNakhon Amorn Ratanakosin mahintharayutthaya mahadilok popnoparat burirom Ratchathani udomratchanivetmahasathan amornpiman sakkathattiyavisnukarmprasit avatarnsathit" and appears as the world's longest name of a location in the Guinness Book of Records; the translation would be: "The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the invincible city of Ayutthaya and God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the purple celestial where the reincarnated god reigns, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."

The name of Bangkok comes from a small fishing village near Ban Kok called "village of olives”. This village existed long before and was the basis for the European traders’ path of the ancient capital Ayutthaya and the Southeast Asia.

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, was founded in 1782 by King Rama I. Before the founding of the capital of Siam (Thailand was called Siam up to the XXth century), the Thai people, originally from the Yunan river and displaced by the Chinese to the south, have been organized throughout history in three kingdoms with their respective capitals.
The first kingdom had its capital in Sukhothai, founded in 1238 and lasted until 1350. The Thais proclaimed its independence from the Khmer and established the kingdom of Siam.
The second kingdom had its capital at Ayutthaya and ruled Siam from 1350 to 1767. The kingdom of Ayutthaya was founded by King Ramathibodi I. Ayutthaya, crossed by numerous waterways, came to be dubbed the "Venice of East", its name means "impenetrable city".
After years of struggle, the kingdom of Ayutthaya fell under the Burmese rulers who robbed and destroyed it in 1767.
In the same year of 1767, the Thai people, ruled by King Taksin, drove out the Burmese and moved their capital to Thonburi, creating a kingdom that didn’t last for long. In 1782, the capital was moved to the newly established Bangkok.
When the General Chao Praya Chakri came to the throne of Siam by the name of Rama I, he feared another invasion from the Burmese so he built a palace on the other side of the Chao Phraya River to where, if attacked, he could escape easily. On the other bank there was a small village called Krung Thep "City of Angels" that eventually adopted the name of Bangkok.

Thailand and Bangkok were never colonized by the Europeans. Taking advantage of the Franco-British rivalry in the region, they became a state bridge between Southeast Asian countries influenced by the French in Indochina and the British in India and Burma. But independence came at a price. Siam had to sign a trade agreement beneficial to British interests and give away three southern provinces that are now part of Malaysia.

In the first part of the 19th century there was a gradual increase of foreigners in Bangkok, missionaries and traders came from many countries in Europe and North America. In 1860 many traders had formed economic alliances and treaties with Bangkok.
King Mongkut (1851-1868), and later his son, King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) produced a great development in the modernization of Bangkok and Thailand. The first paved street of the city was completed under the Mongkut regime and in 1863 his son proceeded to build new roads in the city, the development of a railway line linking Bangkok with the northern part of Thailand and the creation of a tramway.

In 1900, rural areas of Bangkok began to develop into residential districts. Memorial Bridge was built in 1932 to connect Thonburi to Bangkok, this bridge is believed to have promoted economic growth and modernization in a period when the infrastructure was developed considerably.
During World War II, Thailand allied with Japan and Bangkok suffered the bombing of the allies during the years 1944-1945. After the Japanese defeat, Thailand became an ally of the United States. Bangkok really began to develop after World War II.
During the Vietnam War in the 1960’s, foreign direct investment increased in Thailand, improving the Don Mueang Airport and the roads.
Bangkok established itself as the major force behind the new role of Thailand as a newly industrialized country since the 1980's onwards. Rapid economic growth has attracted migration from the countryside, with millions of Thai moving from Issan to earn a living.

With a strong tourism that has encouraged its rapid growth, Bangkok has become one of the major Southeast Asian cities. It is host to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific United Nations and other UN regional offices.

 


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