Friday, December 12, 2008
The city of Bangkok is the capital, largest urban area and primary city of Thailand. Known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or Krung Thep กรุงเทพฯ for short, it was a small trading post at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River during the Ayutthaya Kingdom and came to the forefront of Thailand when it was given the status as the capital city in 1768 after the burning of Ayutthaya, the former kingdom seat and capital of the Ayuthaya province. It was also ranked by "Travel and Leisure," as the best city in the world for the year 2008.
However, the current Rattanakosin Kingdom did not begin until 1782 when the capital was moved across the river after being sacked by the Burmese. The Rattanakosin capital is now more formally called "Phra Nakorn", pertaining to the ancient boundaries in the metropolis' core and the name Bangkok now incorporates the urban build-up since the 18th century which has its own public administration and governor.
In the span of over two hundred years, Bangkok has been the political, social and economic center of not only Thailand but for much of South East Asia and Indochina as well. Its influence in the arts, politics, fashion, education and entertainment as well as being a business, financial and cultural center of Asia has given Bangkok the status of a global city.
Bangkok is the world's 22nd largest city by population with approximately 8,160,522 registered residents (July 2007), but due to large unregistered influxes of migrants from the North East of Thailand and of many nations across Asia, the population of greater Bangkok is estimated at nearly 15 million people. This has in turn shifted the country from being a rather homogenous Thai population to increasingly a more vibrant mix of Western, Indian and Chinese people. The capital is part of the heavily urbanized triangle of central and eastern region of Thailand which stretches from Nakhon Ratchasima along Bangkok to the industrialized eastern seaboard.
The Bangkok Province borders six other provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom, and all five provinces are joined in the conurbation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Area