Bangkok: History

The City of Angels

Bangkok History

Before the establishment of the Ayutthaya Kingdom which is the originator of modern Thailand, the town of Bangkok was a small Khmer trading post on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The history of the town's name is unclear. The name “Bang” comes from the Thai name for a town situated on the bank of a river. Kok is the Thai name for one or more olive-bearing fruits (olive in Thai is makok). This is one theory; the other idea uses the word “Koh”, “koh” meaning "island," a reference to the area's landscape which was carved by rivers and canals.

In 1767 Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese Kingdom. The new King Taksin established a new capital in the area of then-Bangkok, which became known as Thonburi. The famous temple of Wat Phra Kaew was constructed as part of the Grand Palace complex at the founding of the capital. Taksin's reign ended in 1782 and the new King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke reconstructed the capital. He gave it a ceremonial name which was shortened to its current official name, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. Bangkok was a name inherited to the new city which is continued to be used by foreigners to refer to the entire city and became its official English name.

In Thailand, people still refer to Bangkok as the old district on the west bank of the river. The city has developed at a dramatic pace. Bangkok has vastly modernized and undergone numerous changes, including the introduction of transportation and utility infrastructure in the reigns of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn, and quickly developed into the economic centre of Thailand.