Chakri emblem (The symbol of the Chakri Dynasty)
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Phuttha Yodfa Chulaloke
(King Rama I 1782 – 1809)
His original name was Duang or Thong Duang. His father was Somdet Phra Pathom Maha Chanok (Thongdi) and his mother’s name was Daorueng (original name Yok). He was born on Wednesday 20 March 1736 and ascended the throne as the first king of Rattanakosin Kingdom on Saturday 6 April. 1782. He passed away on Thursday 7 September 1809, at the age of 72 years, and reigned for 27 years.
During his reign, he fought in many wars to protect the country from enemies and extended the Kingdom many times. He organized society to be in a good order, restored art and cultural heritage, custom, traditions, and royal traditions. He ordered the construction and renovation of many temples in the capital and provinces. He ordered the revision of the Tripitaka scriptures and ordere4d to have all laws rectified. The country at that time was secure, peaceful, progressive and prosperous.
In 1982, the cabinet had a resolution to honor him with the title “ Phra Bat Somdet Phra Phuttha Yodfa Chulaloke, the Great” and 6 April has been marked to be “Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day”.
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Phuttha Lertla Napalai
He fostered and developed the country in all aspects. He ordered the construction of forts and established Nakhon Khuean Khan as a border town to prevent enemies. His reign was known as the golden age of Rattanakosin literature. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Phuttha Lertla Napalai had wisdom and abilities in different of art and culture. He composed many literary masterpieces and his workmanship in art was outstandingly apparent such as hand-carved Phraya Rak Yai and Phraya Rak Noi royal puppets, hand-carved wooden doors of Wat Suthat Thepwararam, etc.
He ordered the renovation of Wat Salak near Phra Racha Wang Derm (the former royal palace of King Taksin) and gave the new name as “Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan”.
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Nangklao Chao Yu Hua
(King Rama III, 1824-1851)
He was highly talented in international trade, especially trading with China
During his reign, the country felt the pressure of western imperialism and expansionism. Discussion about signing of treaties on foreign trading was made with Great Britain and the U.S. in 1826 and 1832 respectively. King Rama III was proficient and skillful in commerce and foreign trade and he was famously admired as “Chao Sua” or a rich man in Chinese since in the reign of King Rama II, contributing to considerable amount of royal property kept in the Privy Purse known as “red bag money”. In the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V), the country had to pay reparations to France for the 1893 Paknam incident during the Franco-Siamese War, and funding in this part came from the red purse money. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Nangklao Chao Yu Hua paid high respect to Buddhism. He assigned priest ambassadors to strengthen religious relationship with Lanka. He had many temples constructed and renovated. By that time, it was said that” he prefers any person to have temples constructed.”. He ordered the collection of knowledge, art and science on various subjects such as history, literature, traditional massage and medicine inscribed in the poles of pavilions situated around Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan (Wat Pho) considered to the first university of Thailand. In 2011, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) registered Wat Pho’s inscriptions as a “Memory of the World”. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Nangklao Chao Yu Hua was kind enough to change the name of the capital (Phra Nakorn) to be “Krungthep Mahanakhon Bovorn Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya.”
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua
(King Rama IV, 1851-1868)
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua was highly interested in western art and science. He studied and had a great deal of expertise in various field of art and sciences. He had good understanding of Pali and English languages. Besides, he was good at in science, especially in astronomy.
He carried out foreign policies for the benefits of the survival of the country. He adopted western civilization and rectified old-fashioned custom and traditions to enable foreigners to realize the country was developing and modernizing as well; for example, the cancellation of the conventional tradition of filing a royal petition, granting people permission to have an audience with royalty closely, establishment of the first Royal Mint to produce coins to replace ancient Thai round coins shaped like a grub and cowry shells being used in the past as money. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua signed relationship agreements with western countries and sent ambassadors to strengthen relationships with European countries. He supported the education of English language and modern science. He was admired and honored to be “Father of Science in Thailand”. His remarkable talent was significantly apparent across the world as he was able to calculate and predict the place and time that the type of solar eclipse would happen correctly and precisely.
He was kind enough to change the name of Phra Nakhon (the capital) to be “Krungthep Mahanakhon Amorn Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phob Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amorn Phimarn Awatarn Sathit Sakathattiya Visanu Kampasit.”, and this name has long existed until today.
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chulachomklao Chao Yu Hua
(King Rama V, 1868-1910)
During his reign, major reforms in Thailand’s government and society had been instituted. He abolished serfdom and the conscription of commoners for slave labor and converted into tax-paying
He developed the country in all aspects; politics, administration, economy, society, laws, education, military, public health; the first public hospital founded during his reign was Siriraj Hospital, public utilities such as electricity, tap water, telegram, the first railway from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, contributing to the highest progress of the country. Bureaucratic reform first occurred in Thailand during his reign. Divisions were elevated to be ministries and ministers were assigned to station and oversee each ministry. With regard to regional administration, the administration of the country by dividing it into provinces and districts was introduced. He formulated foreign policies so as to strengthen relationship with western countries. He made visits to Europe to study art and sciences for developing the country. He made personal visits within the country by disguising himself as a commoner and to learn about people’s livelihood. In order to foster education, he gave orders to build a Royal school in the area of the Grand Palace. Later, the education was expanded to people in general and the school for people was established for the first time at Wat Mahannapharam and expanded to local cities in various parts of the Kingdom, in particular the abolition of slavery and serfdom. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chulachomklao Chao Yu Hua was called “Somdet Phra Piyamaharat.”
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Mongkutklao Chao Yu Hua
(King Rama VI, 1910-1925)
He was educated at the University of Oxford in England. He carried out the country reform policies based on western models. The first change occurred in 1913 was all Thai citizens were required to have surnames.
He had an idea to promote democratic administration. He created “Dusit Thani”, a miniature city and micronation project, to perform a trial run of democratic administration. He ordered the legislation of Private School Act and expanded primary education and established Chulalongkorn University. He established Wild Tiger Corps to train civil servants and people to learn about military practices and the Boy Scouts as a youth activity. His reign was considered the golden age of printing and newspaper business. He sent soldiers to joined the World War 1, contributing to the correction of unfair treaties signed with powerful countries. Phra Bat Somdet Phra Mongkutklao Choa Yu Hua was named as “Somdet Phra Maha Theeraratchao.”
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Pokklao Chao Yu Hua
(King Rama VII, 1925-1934)
The introduction of democracy and the first constitution of Thailand occurred during his reign. He was the first king under the constitution. When he witnessed that the democratic administration was not carried out as it should be, he abdicated the throne. His Majesty wrote “....I am willing to surrender the powers I formerly exercised to the people as a whole, but I am not willing to turn them over to any individual or any group, especially to use them in an autocratic manner and without heeding the real voice of the people.”
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Paramenthara Maha Ananda Mahidol Phra Athama Ramathibodinthra (King Rama VIII, 1925-1946)
During his reign, conflict between Thai and Chinese people, brining about a violent incident on Yaowarat Road. He paid a visit to Sampeng to eliminate the conflict. His arrival to inspect the military parade of the Allied Troops held at Sanam Luang, with Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia , considerably gave morale and encouragement to people. He had an idea to promote national education by paying a visit to see the business of National Library of Thailand and gave university degrees to Chulalongkorn University graduates.
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej Maharat Borommanat Bophit
(King Rama IX, 1946-2016)
His Majesty was the world’s longest-reigning monarch. He was the center of the minds of people from all classes. He was the developer king.
He discovered various new alternatives for farmers to be self-reliant as known as new theory farming system. He gave Thai people the philosophy of sufficiency economy to be a guideline for people to live their lives. He created more than 5,000 projects of the royal initiatives that cover all aspects, especially agriculture, irrigation, land, forest, fishery, and livestock so as to elevate people’s livelihood and quality of life. He was aware of and gave importance to education to improve the quality of people. He was kind enough to establish many schools, satellite long distance learning project, Thai youth encyclopedia; knowledge book for Thai youth to study. He was the upholders of the Buddhist religion and all religions in Thailand, enabling people of all religions can live together peacefully. In addition, he promoted and patronized art and cultural pieces of work to ensure they maintain the country identity. He showed his concern about health and well-being of people by establishing Royal Medical Units, Royal Dental Mobile Services, and many foundations to help relieve people’s trouble. His royal duties were for the benefits and happiness of the people.
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (King Rama X, 2016-present)
His Majesty’s commitment is to improve Thai people’s livelihood and help the country build up its strength. He has determination to carry on, preserve, and build upon all King Rama IX’s initiative projects to relieve people’s trouble and develop the country. He has a policy to assign Rajabhat universities to be sources of knowledge, places to produce quality teachers, and to be the universities for local development. He carries out “Volunteer Project We Do Good Deeds by Heart” aiming to do public service activities within Bangkok and every province across the country that benefit others without expecting anything in return. He gives happiness to people by granting his permission for the use of the Dusit Palace plaza to be a venue for holding music performance, concerts that allow people to be relaxed and in the meantime to promote Thai good culture and traditions. He also instills Thai people to adhere to goodness, righteousness, honesty for their work and the way they lead a normal life by practicing Dhamma, praying and praising Triratana (the Triple Gem of Buddhism) on Buddhism religious holidays and other important days related to Somdet Phra Burapa Maha Kasatariyathirat (former kings).