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Chulalongkorn the Great or Rama V (real name Phra Chula Chomklao Chaoyuhua, Thai: พระบาท สมเด็จ พระ จุลจอมเกล้า เจ้า อยู่ หัว) (Bangkok, September 20, 1853 – October 23, 1910), was the fifth king of the Chakri dynasty of Thailand (then known as Siam). He is considered one of the greatest sovereigns in Thailand and the man who introduced the country to the modern world.
Born on September 20, 1853, son of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Queen Debsirinda, he received extensive training, including private lessons from prestigious teachers such as Anna Leonowens, the subject on which the film Ana was based. He was the last Thai monarch to receive his full formal education in the country.According to tradition, he was forced to start as a Buddhist monk when he was 15 years old, but had to leave as soon as his father died.
It happened to Mongkut officially on October 1, 1868 but under the regency of Si Suriyawongse for four years, when he visited the territories of Java and Singapore in 1871 and later India, where he met colonialist international politics , mainly from European countries, also visited Malaysia, Burma and Bali (now Indonesia).
Portrait of King Rama V.
After being ordained a Buddhist monk, on November 16, 1873 he was again crowned and recognized as coming of age to rule as sovereign of Thailand. During the time it contained the wishes of colonial expansion of France and the United Kingdom in Southeast Asia, and finally managed to sustain the independence of Thailand, which never in its history was colonized, although there were to give up some territories such as Laos, Cambodia and areas in northern Malaysia.
Chulalongkorn was the first Thai king to visit the European continent. On his first tour, in 1897, for a little over eight months he visited the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, Monaco, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Germany and Egypt. His second trip through Europe spanned eight countries, began on March 27, 1907 and ended on November 6. .
Determined to modernize the country, he hired foreign experts to expedite the transition until the Thais adopted the necessary knowledge to take charge of the different areas of management. However, he chose to hire professionals of different nationalities for each task (British for public finance and education system, Germans for mail and rail, Danes as naval advisors, and Americans, Belgians and French to assist legal reforms), so that no country will gain enough power to challenge Thai authority and try to colonize the kingdom.
Wives and children
King Chulalongkorn had four wives, his half sisters – sons of Mongkut – Saovabha Bhongsi (เสาวภา ผ่อง ศรี), Savang Badana (สว่าง วัฒนา), Sunandha Kumariratana (สุ นันทา กุมารี รัตน์) and Sukhumala Marasri (สุขุมาล มารศรี), of 32 consorts. He had 77 children (33 boys and 44 girls) and was succeeded to the throne by the second of them, Vajiravudh (Rama VI), son of Saovabha.
The 19 male children of Chulalongkorn who reached school age studied in England, and some continued their education in foreign cities such as St. Petersburg or Berlin. Prince Ratburi studied law at the University of Oxford and later was Minister of Justice of Thailand, between 1897 and 1910, as well as became a fundamental axis of the legal reform of the country.
He died on October 23, 1910 due to chronic kidney disease, and his ashes are preserved in the main hall of Wat Benchamabophit (Temple of Marble), in the Dusit district of Bangkok. the day of his death was instituted a national holiday in Thailand.
More Facts about Chulalongkorn
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