King of Siam Rama I


Rama I The Great of Thailand

He was an Ayuthayan military leader of Sino-Mon descent (Thai of Chinese descent).  His prowess in the battlefield established his reputation as the greatest warlord of Ayuthaya.  After he entered monkhood for a short time as dictated by Thai laws, he joined the King’s army as an officer of his royal household.  At age 25 he was promoted as governor of Ratchaburi Province.  It was his help that helped King Taksin restore the country’s sovereignty.  He married Nak who was the daughter of a town patron in Samut Sakorn.  He was later on crowned king at the age of 46.  He realized that Thonburi was too small for his needs because he cannot expand the palace grounds on both sides.  Temples occupied both sides of the palace grounds.  Another reason why he wants to move his palace was that the place where the palace stood could erode at any moment in the distant future.

Being a military man, he knew that the former location was not safe in terms of attacks from enemies.  He was weighing the advantage and disadvantage from an economic and military point of view.  It was King Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke who established Bangkok as the capital of Thailand.  During his reign he moved the capital from Thonburi to the opposite side of Chao Phraya River.  He was the first king of the Chakri Dynasty.  As the leader of the house of Chakri his emblem was composed of the discus and the trident.  This was the celestial weapon of the god Narayana.  This dynasty refers to the Head of the House as the King of Thailand.  This dynasty has ruled Thailand after the founding of the Rattanakosin era and installing Bangkok as Thailand’s capital city.  He was credited for constructing the Grand Palace and installing the Emerald Buddha in the Chapel Royal after it was completed.

King Rama I built Wat Po as well.  He placed hundreds of old Buddha images around its main chapel.  Before having the images installed, he asked those under him to gather all Buddha images from different parts of Thailand.  He ordered to have them restored before placing them in the temple.  He was responsible for the building of new canals such as Rob Krung canal and Maha Nakorn canal.  He ruled not with an iron hand but in a democratic way.  He listened to what people had to say.  In a way, the people helped run his kingdom.  He was always looking after the welfare of his people.

He picked people that were trustworthy.  He made the law adapt to the changing times.  After realizing that nine out of the ten law books of the kingdom were destroyed when Burma ransacked Thailand he decided to come up with a revised law of the kingdom and named it Laws of Three Seals.  These contains civil and military laws.  He ruled for 28 years and passed away at the ripe old age of 74.  He died in 1809.  In the 1980s he was given the title Maharaj or the Great King Rama I.  He was succeeded by his son Loetle Nabhalai known as Rama II.