KING MONGKUT Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


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King Mongkut (Rama IV)                                                                 
King of Siam                                                                           
Reign 2 April 1851 - 1 October 1868                                                     
Born 18 October 1804                                                                   
Died 1 October 1868 (aged 63)                                                           
Predecessor Jessadabodindra                                                             
Successor Chulalongkorn                                                                 
Consort Queen Somanas Vadhanavadi (1851)                                               
Queen Debsirindra (1851 onward)                                                         
Issue 82 sons and daughters                                                             
Dynasty Chakri Dynasty                                                                 
Father Buddha Loetla Nabhalai                                                           
Mother Queen Srisuriyendra                                                             
King Mongkut (Rama IV of Siam) , (October 18, 1804 - October 1, 1868) was king         
of Siam from 1851 to 1868. Historians have widely regarded him as one of the           
most remarkable kings of the Chakri Dynasty. Prince Mongkut was the son of King         
Rama II and his first wife Queen Srisuriyendra, whose first son died at birth in       
1801. Prince Mongkut was five years old when his father succeeded to the throne         
in 1809. According to the law of succession, he was the first in line to the           
throne; but when his father died, his influential half-brother, Nangklao, was           
strongly supported by the nobility to assume the throne. Prince Mongkut decided         
to enter the Buddhist priesthood and travelled in exile to many locations in           
Thailand, during which time he founded the Thammayut Nikaya reform movement that       
later became one of the two denominations of Buddhism in Thailand. Prince               
Mongkut spent the following twenty-seven years searching for Western knowledge;         
he had studied Latin, English, and astronomy with missionaries and sailors.             
Prince Mongkut would later be noted for his excellent command of English,               
although it is said that his younger brother, Vice-King Pinklao, could speak           
even better English.                                                                   
After his twenty-seven years of pilgrimage, King Mongkut succeeded to the throne       
in 1851. He took the name Phra Chom Klao, although foreigners continued to call         
him King Mongkut. His awareness of the threat from the British and French               
imperial powers, led him to many innovative activities. He ordered the nobility         
to wear shirts while attending his court; this was to show that Siam was no             
longer barbaric from the Western point of view.                                         
King Mongkut periodically hired foreign instructors to teach his sons and               
daughters English. Among teachers in the list were a missionary named Dan Beach         
Bradley, who was credited for introducing Western medicine to the country and           
printing the first non-government run newspaper; and, on recommendation by Tan         
Kim Ching in Singapore, an English woman named Anna Leonowens, whose influence         
was later the subject of great Thai controversy. It is still debated how much           
this affected the worldview of one of his sons, Prince Chulalongkorn, who               
succeeded to the throne.