The History of Bangkok
Four centuries ago, Bangkok was just a small village that served as a port for ships sailing on river Ayutthaya. Today, Bangkok’s popularity around the world is legendary, thanks to its iconic role as a global travel destination.
The city is world famous for its fascinating sites, events, activities, and its unforgettable and enticing charm. Without a doubt, Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, has managed to turn itself into a modern metropolis, complete with a vibrant city life, luxurious lifestyle, an effervescent nightlife, and an ideal melting point for world cultures.
Origin of the Name Bangkok
There are a couple of theories regarding the origin of the name Bangkok. River Ayutthaya is thought to have been the reason for the name, after its flow divided the town and made the western part an island, resulting in the name Bang Ko, which means island village. The name later became Bangkok. Alternatively, some people believe that the name Bangkok originated from the name Bang Makok, especially considering that there was a temple in the area called Wat Makok. All in all, the name Bangkok is widely thought to have been strengthened by its use among visitors.
In the 19th century, Bangkok was the center of Siam modernization. Midway through the century, the significance of the city was starting to draw missionaries, envoys, and merchants. At the time, the reigning monarch, King Mongkut, was open to Western ideologies. Consequently, Bangkok had its first steam engine, printing press, and began using modern shipbuilding techniques.
Bangkok roads also started to be paved, growing the importance of land transport beyond that of water transport. This led to establishment of permanent residential buildings in the place of the then popular floating dwellings, which also facilitated the expansion of the city away from the canals.
Bangkok and the World War II
The Allies bombed Bangkok during World War II following its occupation by the Japanese. Nevertheless, after the war, developmental aid from the US and government-sponsored investments helped the city grow at an accelerate rate.
Also within the century, political machinations resulted in the abolishment of the absolute monarchy in 1932. Several political uprisings and coups d’états have taken place in the city over the years.
The World’s Largest Primate City
Many of the aspects of the modern Bangkok have taken place over the latter half of the 20th century, clearly making it the leading city in Thailand. Bangkok is effectively a primate city, given its disproportionate size in comparison to other cities within the country, and the presence of several smaller cities and towns within it. In fact, Bangkok is known as the “most primate city on earth” since it is forty times larger than the country’s second largest city. This status has clearly made Bangkok a center for culture, media, economy, politics, and the country’s major infrastructure.
Many of the rural zones in Bangkok have turned into blossoming residential districts, which attract well-to-do locals and foreigners in equal measure. The infrastructural developments in the city have especially improved the city’s appeal to overseas investors and fun lovers. If anyone were seeking to visit or invest in a South East Asian city that brings together all the dynamisms that this exciting culture, that city would be Bangkok.