General Taksin became the new king, but he was dethroned in 1782 and Rama I moved his court and his administration to Bangkok on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. By doing so, he made Bangkok the new capital of the country. Rama I, who founded the Chakri-dynasty, which is still in power, considered Bangkok an easier place to defend against potential enemies than both Ayutthaya and Thonburi, because the Burmese would have to cross the relatively wide Chao Phraya River.
The construction of a number of canals was initiated. These canals, the so-called klongs, were since used as waterways in the new city and a few of them still exist. It was thus possible to sail around in most of the city area east of the Chao Praya River. Klongs were also dug in Thonburi. Rama I also had the Grand Palace and the temple of Wat Phra erected. The buildings were highly inspired by the architecture and constructions of Ayutthaya and they were the centre of power of the kingdom.
Apart from these constructions and buildings for the national administration, the period until the middle of the 19th century was characterised by a steady development. The city did not take serious steps towards becoming the absolute centre of the country that Bangkok is today – northern Thailand, for instance, was still governed from Chiang Mai.
During the latter part of the 19th century, construction work in Bangkok accelerated and the population increased. King Rama IV had major construction projects carried out, including several canals and a number of road systems. His successor, King Rama V, stepped the modernisation process and the development of the city up further by considerable investment in the judicial system, health care and education. During this period, a large part of the farmland was transformed into residential areas, and in order to cope with the ensuing pressure on the infrastructure of the city, many new roads were constructed, some of them on top of canals that had been filled up for this purpose.
In 1932, the present constitutional monarchy of Thailand was established and after that, a number of public institutions were founded and Chiang Mai became an official part of Siam, which was still the official name of Thailand.
During the Second World War, the Allies bombed Bangkok. The ruined buildings were soon rebuilt and the capital experienced a rapid development during the decades following the Second World War.
During the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Bangkok was, as were several other places in Thailand, a refuge for primarily American soldiers, and this underlined the status of the city as a regional entertainment centre.
The population has since exploded and many high-rise buildings with flats and offices have been erected. The high increase in the number of inhabitants has caused a heavy growth in traffic, which has been one of the major challenges that has faced the metropolis for several years. A number of train lines have been constructed, such as the Skytrain (BTS) and the Subway (BMCL) in the centre of the city, and they are extended continuously.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the economy of Thailand boomed. Bangkok was the economic locomotive and this period became the foundation of modern Bangkok, which the tourist will meet today. A wealth of new buildings has sprouted up, including some of the luxury hotels that tourists appreciate. After a recession at the end of the 1990s, the tourist trade is booming again to the benefit of local people and visitors alike.