King Chulalongkorn was the fifth king of Siam that served under the House of Chakri. To his people, he was known as the “Royal Budda” and his reign was marked by a complete modernization of Siam, social and governmental reforms, and concessions of territory to the French and British. Even though his kingdom was surrounded by European colonies, he was able to maintain the sovereignty of his kingdom-an act that earned him the title “Great Beloved King.” That’s why Chulalongkorn Day is such a beloved holiday in Thailand and is observed on the 23rd of October every year.
A Brief Account Of The Achievements Of King Chulalongkorn
King Chulalongkorn’s reign ran from 1868 through 1910. During his rule, slavery was abolished, as was state labor service (also known as Corvée), and he abolished torture as a part of the judiciary process. He then adopted a judicial code that was more like the West’s judicial code. Other changes made by this king included sending royal princes to Europe to be properly educated and allowing writers, even ones with radical ideas, to be published. He also enacted a slew of other political, social, and governmental reforms. In 1910, he passed away and Chulalongkorn Day was created soon after to commemorate his day of death.
Interesting Facts About King Chulalongkorn
There are quite a few facts that we could squeeze into an article about Chulalongkorn Day about King Chulalongkorn, but we have a limited amount of space and have to keep it short. That’s why we’ve uncovered the facts that we feel are the most interesting about this king and listed them below.
- A fictional version of King Chulalongkorn can be seen in The King and I by Rogers & Hammerstein.
- In the King and I, King Chulalongkorn is a young boy taught by English teacher Anna Leonowens.
- King Chulalongkorn established the Royal Military Academy in Thailand.
- In 1916, Thailand’s first university was named in King Chulalongkorn’s honor.
- King Chulalongkorn was born on Sept 20, 1853, and died on October 23, 1910.
- King Chulalongkorn’s wife, Queen Sunantha died in a boating accident in 1880.
- This king fathered 77 children by four queens and many concubines.
- Only about 66% of the children sired by the king survived to adulthood.
Customs, Traditions & Celebrations Of Chulalongkorn Day
Because this is such an important holiday in Thailand, governmental organizations are usually closed on this day, although most businesses will remain open. At the Equestrian Statue at the Royal Plaza in the Dusit District, Thai people will show their respect for the great king by placing wreaths. That’s the biggest ceremony in the country, but smaller ceremonies are held at the other King Chulalongkorn statues around Thailand as well.