In 1782, the Thonburi Kingdom was crumbling into chaos. King Taksin was reportedly going mad. Famine was slowly strangling its people and corruption was eating at the kingdom’s foundations. Meanwhile a sizable part of the military was away subjugating Cambodia and Laos, leaving the capital vulnerable and exposed.
Rebels led by an influential official landed the final death blow to the Kingdom when they deposed King Taksin and seized control of the capital. Yet their triumph was short-lived. Upon hearing the news of the rebels’ victory, General Maha Kshatriyaseuk quickly returned to the capital to reestablish order. Soon after his return he executed King Taksin and crowned himself the new king of the Chakri Dynasty. Years later, he became known as Rama I, the founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom that reigns over Thailand to this day.
Upon claiming the throne King Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi to the east bank of the Chao Phraya, the main river that runs through the heart of Bangkok. There he commissioned the construction of the Grand Palace. Initially its appearance was modest, built using wood and bricks from the remains of the sacked city of Ayutthaya. Since then it has continued to grow not only in terms of size but also elegance. Over the centuries successive kings have added their artistic touch to the overall design of the Palace. The result is an eclectic range of artistic and architectural styles existing in harmony, together producing an impressive showcase of Thailand’s unique and colorful aesthetic taste.
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