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March 7, 2022

50 Amazing Vintage Photographs Capture Everyday Life in Bangkok, Thailand in 1950

Bangkok became the capital of Siam (as Thailand was previously known) in 1782, when General Chao Phraya Chakkri, the founder of the ruling Chakkri dynasty, assumed the throne as Rama I and moved the court from the west to the east bank of the Chao Phraya River.

Since World War II Bangkok has grown with unprecedented rapidity, which caused problems with transportation, communication, housing, water supply, drainage, and pollution. Tourism rose in importance during the Vietnam War, when the city became a popular destination for U.S. military personnel.

Bangkok was beguiling, charming, soft, sophisticated, relatively orderly but always accommodating, adapting to the demands and needs of a modernizing Siamese public and American influences. From the 1950s, rapid changes took place throughout the nation. Free enterprise in commerce was the order of the day and a free-wheeling social scene was swinging. The pleasure-loving, gracious and hospitable Siamese made it easy then for Americans to thrive here.

(Photos by Dmitri Kessel/ LIFE Photo Archives)


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