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City of Bangkok (Thailand)

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Central Region

Last modified: 2001-09-28 by
Keywords: bangkok | krung thep maha nakhon |
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City Seal since 1938

[City Seal (Bangkok City, Thailand)]
by Olivier Touzeau

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration website mentions a city flag, but has neither an image nor a description of it. The image of the badge is shown on the site on a light green square, but it does not appear to be a representation of the Bangkok flag:

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's emblem shows Phra Indr, the keeper of Amarawadee ("immortal" of ing") in Dawa Doeng, the highest of the seven heavens of Thai mythology, carrying his three-bladed weapon, Vajira ("thunder-mader"), and seated atop a white elephant whose four ivory tusks denote celestial status. (...) The City is provided with a four tusked elephant, an [animal?] which ordinarily accomplishes twice as much as its earthly brethren.

His Royal Highness Prince Naris graciously granted the emblem to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration during the term of office of our first Mayor, General Chao Phraya Ramarakop (1937-1938). You will see it on our city flag, on city buildings, on our motor vehicles and at the site of public works (...). It is Bangkok's Symbol of Service.

Here, we will use "Bangkok" when referring to the capital of Thailand. Actually, the official name of the capital is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonratanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phopnopparat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathuttiya Witsanukamprasit. Rather loosely translated, this becomes The City of Gods, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious gems, the Happy City Abounding in Enormous Royal Palaces Which Resemble the Heavenly Abode Wherein Dwell the Reincarnated Gods, A City Given by Indr and Built by Witsanukam. To the lighthearted Thai, the capital is Krung Thep.

Olivier Touzeau, 16 February 2000

Santiago Dotor asked, "Then, does "Krung Thep" mean "City of Gods"? And where did "Bangkok" come from?". On an old map of Fernão Vaz Dourado the capital of Siam is a huge area painted red, to include the old capital Ayutthya, the successor Thonburi (Chanburi) and Bangkok. In the 16th century the building of a big pagoda was started in Bangkok, and in the 17th century English, French and Dutch fought for the right to have a trading post there. The French won and built a fort there in 1687, which was demolished in 1688. It was a tiny fisherman's village in 1792, when it became the capital of Siam/Thailand. In Countries of the World, a 6-volume edition of c. 1930, p. 3628, one reads:

The capital is a narrow strip, mostly nothing but a mile wide, along the banks of the Menam River. It begins at or below Krung Tep, the Heavenly Royal City itself, and according to inhabitants runs up to Ayuthia Krung Kao, the Old Capital, 40 miles away.
Krung Tep (etc.) would thus indicate the Royal City (like in Beijing) and the surrounding area Bangkok. If I remember correctly the name Bangkok or Bankok was the Chinese name of the place. (...)

Bangkok means "village of the wild plum". The name is derived from 17th century Western maps, which referred to the city (or town as it then was) as Bancok. This name was only superceded by Krungthep in 1782, and so the Western name has deeper historical roots. Source: 1993 Thailand, Indochina and Burma Handbook, Bath, England, 1992.

Jarig Bakker, 20 and 25 February 2000

I visited Thailand last week. I could not see any provincial flag in Bangkok but have seen dark yellow 2:3 flags with red wheel in the center which looks similar to one of former Sikkim's national flag. The flag could been seen in Golden Palace and temples flying along with Thai national flag in the city. I guess that is a kind of Buddhist flag but not administrative flag.

Nozomi Kariyasu, 1 June 2001

Hypothetical Former Flag

[Hypothetical Former Flag (Phang Nga Province, Thailand)] 2:3
by Olivier Touzeau