KING RAMA-VI AND SIAMESE NATIONALISM
VAJIRAVUDH was the sixth monarch of SIAM under CHAKRI Dynasty named as RAMA-VI . He was born on 1st January 1881 in the Grand Palace , BANGKOK , SIAM from King CHULALONGKORN ( RAMA-V ) and Queen SAOVABHA PHONGSRI . He ruled over SIAM from 23rd October 1910 after the death of his father King RAMA-V and remained on the throne till his death in a very young age of 44 on 26th November 1925 . He had , at least , four spouses namly : SUCHARIT SUDA , LAKSHMILAVAN , INDRASAKDI , SUVADHANA . SUCHARIT SUDA was the high concubine of the King RAMA-VI . And was a cousin from his mother side . PRAJADHIPOK (RAMA-VII) was his brother and his successor born from his father RAMA-V and his mother SAOVABHA PHONGSRI . He was only monarch of the CHAKRI Dynasty who had abdicated the throne . It was because King RAMA-VI had a daughter only named as BEJARATANA from his wife princess SUVADHANA . King RAMA-VI was first educated in the royal palace in THAI and ENGLISH . In 1898 , he continued his education in BRITAIN at the ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE , SANDHURST . After getting graduation from there , he was commissioned as a captain in the DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY where he served with three months of exercises in the south of ENGLAND . Moreover , he studied law and history at CHRIST CHURCH , OXFORD in 1899 . But his suffering from appendicitis barred him from graduating in 1901 . However , he visited other EUROPEAN countries while living in ENGLAND . He also attended the coronation ceremony of King EDWARD VII of ENGLAND on 9th August 1902 . And being a member of the royal family , he was also a member of the exclusive BULLINGDON CLUB , a private all-male dining club for OXFORD UNIVERSITY students founded in 1780 .
King RAMA-V died on 23rd October 1910 . VAJIRAVUDH (RAMA-VI) succeeded his father as the King of SIAM . He was best known for his efforts to create and promote SIAMESE nationalism . He had keen interest in SIAMESE history , archaeology and literature . He was the founder of SIAM’S first University known as CHULALONGKORN UNIVERSITY on 26th March 1917 . Even before his coronation , he initiated several reforms . He reformed SIAMESE army . He established various military academies . He created the rank of ‘ General ‘ for the first time in SIAM . He appointed his uncle Prince BHANURANGSI SAVANGWONGSE as the first SIAMESE Field Marshal . And on 11th November 1910 , he was formally coronated after the funeral rites of his father was completed . His first action after his accession to the throne of SIAM was to build the ROYAL PAGES COLLEGE which was later renamed as VAJIRAVUDH COLLEGE by his successor King PRAJADHIPOK to honour his brother . It was built on the line of ETON and HARROW of ENGLAND . Rather building royal monastery , he preferred to build educational institutions . He raised the Civil Servant School to ‘ CHULALONGKORN ACADEMY FOR CIVIL OFFICIALS ‘. He also built VAJIRA HOSPITAL in 1912 and CHULALONGKORN HOSPITAL in 1914 . He established the WILD TIGER CORPS in 1911 . It was a para-military corp of 4000 personnel outside of the established military hierarchy which became the source of deep dissatisfaction between the army and the King . BOY SCOUTS , a branch for the children was also established by King RAMA-VI .
RAMA-VI reformed his father’s MONTHON system . He created the ‘PAKS’ or ‘REGIONS’ over the administrative MONTHONS . Each of the PAK was governed by an UPARAJA ( VICEROY ) who used to be directly responsible to the King . The UPARAJA presided over the intendants of MONTHONS in the region . Thus , he concentrated the local administrative powers in his hands . It irritated the Prince DAMRONG due to such reforms as such . As we know the early years of King RAMA-VI’S administration was largely dominated by his two uncles : 1. PRINCE DAMRONG and 2. PRINCE DEVAWONGSE . His reforms were so effective that there emerged a Palace Revolt in 1912 . It was plotted by a young military officers to overthrow or replace the King . But it was suppressed by the King . Many of the conspirators were put behind the bars . When the first world war broke out in 1917 , SIAM’S token participation in the world War first secured for it a seat in the VERSAILLES PEACE CONFERENCE . And DEVAWONGSE , the Foreign Minister of SIAM used this opportunity to convinced the world communities about the unequal treatises made in the 19th century as such . He also prayed the world communities for restoration of full Sovereignty for SIAM . The UNITED STATES first recognized full Sovereignty of SIAM in 1921 followed by FRANCE and BRITAIN in 1925 , the year of RAMA-VI’S death .
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