Bangkoks history dates back centuries and started presence as a big plum orchard with simply a tiny village, the home of those that worked the land. Being so near to the river and Gulf of Thailand, the area was well suited to farming as it was, at this time predominantly, wetlands. Over the years, the town grew a little and its economy developed from the orchard to a small port town, with passing merchants stopping there on the way to the country’s capital Ayutthaya better up the river.
In 1767 records of Bangkoks history were logged; Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese and the remaining Thai army left south to Thonburi, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The nation’s capital was nearly completely destroyed and King Rama I was required to build a military head office and short-lived Siam capital in Thonburi. For the next 15 years, the Thai army fought versus the Burmese, Laotians and the Vietnamese, lastly managing to push them revoke Thailand in an epic last victory. It was only then that the King was able to concentrate on restoring his individuals’s spirits and decided to construct a capital city that could match as well as surpass the splendour of Ayutthaya. Deciding that the Burmese would always assault from the west, Rama I chose to move the location for the city throughout the river to Bangkok in order to utilise the river as protection.
By this time, Bangkok was a port town with numerous Chinese and international merchants living there. These locals were asked to leave the town in order fro the brand-new city to be developed and preparation and building and construction began. The very first structure was Wat Phra Kaew (The Emerald Buddha), which is still one of Bangkok’s greatest tourist attractions. This and the Grand Palace was finished in 1785 and so the brand-new city was born. At the same time, the King had defensive moats and canals dug all around the brand-new city – which are today the Klongs and canals that are so popular to check out by boat.
By the 1850’s the waterways were the main roads in Bangkok and the city was dubbed the Venice of the East, with just a couple of dirty roads. The majority of the brand-new population lived on drifting homes along the banks of the Chao Phraya river and the water was busy with daily life and drifting markets.
Over the years, Bangkok continued in this way till King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) pushed for the modernisation of Thailand and set about building roadways and trains across the country. Naturally, with better transport networks, Bangkok rapidly broadened and quickly even encompassed Thonburi within its borders. The Memorial Bridge was built in 1932 and was the very first bridge over the Chao Phraya river. Throughout the 2nd world war, the city was occupied by the Japanese and suffered because of it. Not long after in the 1960’s and the Vietnam War, Thailand altered once again with the financial increase from American’s utilising the city and nearby Pattaya for R&R. This financial rise continued up until the 1990’s. Over this period, the population of Bangkok grew by nearly 1 million new citizens and with tourist structure, huge overseas and local investment being poured into development, the city has become what it is today.
If you enjoy history and want to find out more about Bangkoks history then you’re in for a treat here. The city is packed full of historical attractions. Many of the historical attractions are temples and palaces, but you can also discover plenty of Bangkok’s past in areas such as the old streets of Chinatown. This should be a priority on any visitor’s sightseeing list.
To further appreciate Bangkoks history, you should make sure to pay a visit to some of the cities museums. The National Museum is Thailand’s largest and top of our list. Here every piece of Thai history, art and culture can be unearthed and explained in detail.