Phuket marks Chulalongkorn Day

PHUKET: Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut this morning led an assembly of officials in a ceremony to honor Chulalongkorn Day, known in Thai as Wan Piya Maharat.

The ceremony held at the “Chulalongkorn the Great” monument at Phuket Provincial Hall began at 9am. Officers adorned the statue with flowers and speeches were made honoring the great achievements of HM King Chulalongkorn.

Known by his full title Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chulalongkorn Phra Chunla Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, HM King Chulalongkorn was born on September 20, 1853.

He was the ninth son of HM King Mongkut, also referred to as King Rama IV.

HM King Chulalongkorn ascended the throne in 1873, making him the fifth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, hence the title King Rama V.

King Chulalongkorn reigned for 42 years before passing away on October 23, 1908, from kidney disease. He was 58.

King Rama V is remembered for introducing to the country many progressive reforms, including political, military and democratic changes, and is best remembered for the abolition of slavery in Thailand.

Before he abolished slavery, more than one-third of the Thai population were slaves. The law at the time had a fixed value for the children of slaves, which was 56 baht for a boy and 48 baht for a girl.

King Rama V also introduced the first Thai banknote and proclaimed the first railway to be built in Thailand, from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.

Loved and respected throughout the Kingdom, HM King Chulalongkorn was given the epithet Phra Piya Maharat, which means “the Great Beloved King”, by the people of Siam.

After the ceremony this morning, Governor Maitri presented five prizes – each of 10,000 baht – to students who won an “Abolition of Slavery in Thailand” drawing competition held by the Chula-Alumni Phuket association to honor the King Rama V.

As today is marked a public holiday in Thailand, all banks and government offices are closed, as is the Phuket Gazette office.

— Chutharat Plerin

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