A Coup Ends The Monarchy Of Siam

On June 24, 1932, during the reign of King Prajadhipok of the Chakri dynasty, a coup ended the absolute monarchy of Siam (present-day Thailand). The military-dominated constitutional monarchy that replaced it brought 700 years of absolute rule under a series of Siamese kings to an end.

The Chakri dynasty had assumed power in 1782, at which time the king, Rama I, established his capital, Bangkok, on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. During his reign, the impressive city wall, the Grand Palace, and the Buddhist Temple, Wat Po, were constructed.

During the nineteenth century, the Thai kings became increasingly receptive to Western trade and influence, particularly under the reigns of King Mongkut (1851-68) and his son, King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910). By introducing social and political reforms recommended by their European advisers, they enabled Siam to avoid the colonial rule imposed on most of Southeast Asia.

The region known as Thailand has been inhabited by humans since the paleolithic period, about 10,000 years ago. Prior to the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, such as the various Tai, Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape. Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238.

Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th - 14th century, the Buddhist Tai Kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna and Lan Chang were on the ascension. However, a century later, Sukhothai's power was overshadowed by the new kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century in the lower Chao Phraya River, or Menam area. Ayutthaya's expansion centered along the Menam while the in the northern valley, Lanna Kingdom, and other small Tai city-states, ruled the area.