Title

The End of an Era: The Last King of Siam

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

It has been since 1238 that Thailand has had a monarch reigning as head of state. Today’s King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Royal House of Chakri began the world’s longest reign in 1946, and although the coup of 1932 transformed Thailand into a constitutional monarchy, and the King a symbolic figurehead, he is nevertheless a unique head of state. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is revered and nearly deified by his people. He holds many powers, such as the head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the power of royal assent in order for a bill to become law, and the power of pardon. He is a great influential force in his country and the region. Yet, he is aging rapidly and his health is failing. Ultimately his death is imminent. Drawing on historical texts, contemporary literature, as well as other documentary resources, I will investigate how his death will impact Thailand politically and socially. South East Asia is currently a region of emerging social, economic, and political climates, with Thailand being the central influential entity in this region. Therefore, it is important to understand the cultural dimensions of the political leadership of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to appreciate the extraordinary transition of this great monarch’s passing.

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Apr 12th, 1:40 PM Apr 12th, 2:00 PM

The End of an Era: The Last King of Siam

UC 326

It has been since 1238 that Thailand has had a monarch reigning as head of state. Today’s King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Royal House of Chakri began the world’s longest reign in 1946, and although the coup of 1932 transformed Thailand into a constitutional monarchy, and the King a symbolic figurehead, he is nevertheless a unique head of state. King Bhumibol Adulyadej is revered and nearly deified by his people. He holds many powers, such as the head of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, the power of royal assent in order for a bill to become law, and the power of pardon. He is a great influential force in his country and the region. Yet, he is aging rapidly and his health is failing. Ultimately his death is imminent. Drawing on historical texts, contemporary literature, as well as other documentary resources, I will investigate how his death will impact Thailand politically and socially. South East Asia is currently a region of emerging social, economic, and political climates, with Thailand being the central influential entity in this region. Therefore, it is important to understand the cultural dimensions of the political leadership of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and to appreciate the extraordinary transition of this great monarch’s passing.