April 6 marks the anniversary of the founding of the present Chakri Dynasty of which the present ruling monarch, King Bhumibol the Great, is the ninth king.
During his reign he consolidated the kingdom in such a way that here was no further fear of invasion from enemies. King Rama I has been praised as an accomplished statesman, a lawmaker, a poet and a devout Buddhist. Thus, his reign has been called a "reconstruction" of the Thai state and Thai culture. He was the monarch who established Bangkok as the capital of Thailand, and this is the most long-lasting creation which gains popularity as the "City of Angels" . King Rama I passed away on September 7, 1809 at the age of 72.
During his reign of 42 years, many changes and reforms were made in Thailand. Slavery was abolished, modern system of administration was introduced, efficient law courts were established, education was systematically spread, and he financial system was revised.
King Vajiravudh, who succeeded King Chulalongkorn , further consolidated and developed what had been accomplished in the previous 40 years. He contributed much to the national language and literature so much so that he was sometimes called the poet who was a king. The outstanding achievement of his reign is perhaps a number of new treaties concluded between Thailand and other powers as it helped enhancing the prestige of Thailand. The King also introduced the use of tricolor flag to replace the old red flag with the white elephant.
King Vajiravudh passed away on November 26, 1925 and was succeeded by his younger brother King Prachadhipok , the seventh king of Chakri Dynasty who reigned as the last absolute monarch. On June 24, 1932 a revolution took place and His Majesty accepted the proposal of a constitutional regime. On March 2, 1934 the King abdicated and later died in exile, leaving the throne to his nephew, King Ananda Mahidol , who after 11 years rule met a sudden death leaving the throne to his younger brother, King Bhumibol Aulyadej , the present monarch.
On Chakri Day, His Majesty King Bhumibol accompanied by members of royal family presides over a religious ceremony performed to give merit to the deceased rulers at the Royal Chapel, then pays respects to His Majesty's Predecessors at the Royal Pantheon and lays a wreath at the statue of King Rama I at the Memorial Bridge. On this occasion, the Prime Minister, Ministers, high ranking officers, students, public and private organizations and people from all walks of life take part in a wreath-laying ceremony and make merit for the great kings who dedicated the best part of their lives for the betterment of their subjects.
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