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Flag 1782-1817 (Thailand)


Last modified: 2005-12-03 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: siam | chakra (white) | wheel (white) | plain (red) |
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[Siam 1782-1817 (Thailand)]
by Jaume Ollé

See also:


Not all flag books are in agreement on when the various flags of Siam/Thailand were introduced. According to Crampton, the first flag of Thailand was red with a white chakra (...). In 1817 a white elephant was added to the centre of the chakra. Sources: Crampton 1992; Jos Poels 1990; Crampton 1991.

From contributions by
Roy Stilling, 21 February 1996
Jan Oskar Engene, 3 October 1996 and
Mark Sensen, 3 March 1997

The Flags of the Principal Nations of the World 1837 flag chart, printed by Hinnman and Dutton, shows Siam with a red field and a white disk in the center. Upon the white disk is a simple drawing of a sun with a face upon it. The identical sun drawing appears in the canton of the flag of Uruguay, to the hoist side of the central white stripe of the flag of Buenos Ayres (sic) and in the middle of the vertical red-white-red flag of Peru. I would not judge the Siam drawing to be authentic as it differs from Crampton's description. The flag next to Siam in my chart is Burma — a red field with a white elephant facing the fly. If anyone has a copy of Norie and Hobbs 1848 (or the German reprint, Norie and Hobbs 1971) they should check Siam out.

Nick Artimovich, 3 April 1998

In Bangkok in May 2002 I bought a copy of The booklet of Thai Flags, Thailand Fine Arts Department, 1977. It shows the first flag adopted in 1782 by King Rama I (reigned 1782-1809) and the second one adopted in 1817 by King Rama II (reigned 1809-1824). The above image by Jaume Ollé is based on The booklet of Thai Flags.

Nozomi Kariyasu, 22 September 2002

According to the Chakri Dinasty data in FOTW, King Rama I reigned 1782-1809, King Rama II 1809-1824 and King Rama IV (i.e. King Mongkut) 1851-1868 (all dates AD). We *might* thus date the red flag with chakra ca.1782-ca.1809, the same flag with an elephant inside the chakra ca.1809-1855.

Santiago Dotor, 14 November 2002

A tourist information website (in French) about Thailand, introducing the national symbols and the national career Thai Airways (with the history of the company logotype), gives more information on the ancient Thai flags.

In 1802, king Rama II decided to add a white elephant on the red flag. The white elephant was the symbol of the absolute monarchy since king Ramkhamhaeng (XIIIth century). The elephant was inscribed in a white wheel, whose elements symbolized the bow of his vessels.

In 1851, king Rama IV removed the wheel to increase the visibility of the flag.

Ivan Sache, 21 July 2004

Civil Ensign

[Siam ca.1656-1782, civil ensign 1782-1855 (Thailand)] ca.1656-1782 | 1782-1855 |
by Santiago Dotor

According to The booklet of Thai Flags, Thailand Fine Arts Department, 1977, the 1782 and 1817 flags were used as state flag together with the plain red flag as civil flag until the white elephant on red flag was introduced in 1855 by Rama IV.

Nozomi Kariyasu, 22 September 2002