From Academic Kids

Mongkut may also refer to to Vajiravudh (Rama VI), reigning title Phra Mongkut Klao Chaoyuhua.
Missing image

King Mongkut (Rama IV), (October 18, 1804October 18, 1868) was king of Thailand 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 Sri Suriyendra, 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. 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 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 hired an English woman, Anna Leonowens, whose influence was later the subject of great Thai controversy, to be his sons' tutor. It is still debated how much this affected the worldview of one of his sons, Prince Chula, who succeeded to the throne. Anna claimed that her conversations with Prince Chula about human freedom, and her relating to him the story of Uncle Tom's Cabin, became the inspiration for his abolition of slavery almost 40 years later. Leonowens' story would become the inspiration for the American musical The King and I.

As king, Mongkut worked to establish the Thammayut Nikaya, an order of Buddhist monks that he believed would conform more closely to the orthodoxy of the Theravada school.

One of King Mongkut's last official duties came in 1868, when he invited the British consuls from Singapore to watch the solar eclipse, which Mongkut had predicted two years earlier, at Wakor district in Prachuap Khiri Khan province. This became perilous when Mongkut and Prince Chula were infected with malaria. The king died several days later, and was succeeded by his son, who survived the malaria.

Reportedly, Mongkut once remarked to a Christian missionary friend: "What you teach us to do is admirable, but what you teach us to believe is foolish".

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  • An image ( of King Mongkut
Preceded by:
Rama III
Kings of Thailand Succeeded by:
Rama V the Great
de:Rama IV.

nl:Rama IV ja:ラーマ4世 th:พระบาทสมเด็จพระจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว


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