Quiz about King Rama V  Absolute Monarch or Reformer
Quiz about King Rama V  Absolute Monarch or Reformer

King Rama V: Absolute Monarch or Reformer? Quiz


Chulalongkorn, also known as Rama V, ruled Thailand from 1868-1910, after inheriting the throne of a country that had been ruled in the same manner for centuries. He was determined that his reign would not be characterized by absolute monarchy-or was he?

A multiple-choice quiz by ponycargirl. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
ponycargirl
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
391,537
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
241
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 124 (6/10), Guest 124 (3/10), twlmy (6/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. One of the reasons given for Chulalongkorn's interest in reform for Thailand (then known as Siam) was that his father, King Mongkut, had arranged for a more Western type of education for his son. Who was Chulalongkorn's famous tutor? Hint

Maria Montessori
Anna Leonowens
William McGuffey
Anne Sullivan

2. When his father died, Chulalongkorn was only fifteen years old. Si Suriyawongse, the most important government official in Siam at the time, was appointed in what capacity to serve the young king? Hint

Vizier
Consul
Prime Minister
Regent

3. Although his schooling might help to explain the young King Rama V's views toward change in his country, he had a personal experience that might have also swayed his opinions. Which of the following occurred early in his reign? Hint

Drowning death of his wife
Rebellion led by Thai nobles
Occupation of Thailand by French troops
Assassination attempt on the King's life

4. The reforms made by King Rama V were not always popular with Thai nobles. One of his first acts was to establish an Auditory Office. What was the main function of the Auditory Office? Hint

Tax Collection
Military Leadership
Privy Council to the King
Provincial Administration

5. As he tried to establish a Council of State, King Rama V experienced a difficult problem that had to be overcome. Why was it almost impossible to move forward with some of his proposed reforms? Hint

His people wanted to move toward democracy.
He was very unpopular with his people.
His oldest son threatened his power.
He was still viewed as an absolute monarch.

6. What world event did King Rama V say provided him with the motivation to abolish slavery in Thailand? Hint

American Civil War
Assassination of Czar Alexander III
Forced resignation of Otto von Bismarck
Boxer Rebellion

7. King Rama V ruled a country that had a strict social system. Slaves, as well as commoners, were closely regulated by the government. What system of mandatory government service did he abolish? Hint

Corvee
Caste system
Feudal system
Confucian model

8. In 1873 King Rama did away with a practice which he called "severely oppressive". What tradition did he eliminate at that time? Hint

Genuflection
Prostration
Hlonipha
Bowing

9. Rama V was the first Chakkri monarch to travel abroad.


True
False

10. Rama's V's efforts led to no European colonization in Thailand, and no loss of territory to foreign powers.

True
False


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. One of the reasons given for Chulalongkorn's interest in reform for Thailand (then known as Siam) was that his father, King Mongkut, had arranged for a more Western type of education for his son. Who was Chulalongkorn's famous tutor?

Answer: Anna Leonowens

Chulalongkorn, born on September 20, 1853, was the son of the famous King Monghut ("The King and I") and Queen Debsirindra. He was his father's heir, even though he was the ninth son; his mother was the first "royal" wife to produce a son! His father, realizing the intricacies of European diplomacy, made sure that his son had a well-rounded education which included a variety of Western tutors, including Anna Leonowens. Although Leonowens published a book about her stay in Siam, many discrepancies have been noted. For example, Anna wrote that she was employed to serve as a governess to the King's children; in reality she was hired to be one of their teachers. It is uncertain how much influence she had over Chulalongkorn.

At this point it is necessary to remind readers that "The King and I" was a fictionalized account of Anna's time as a tutor to the King's children. There is no basis of the insinuation that as his father was dying, Chulalongkorn gave the order that there would be no more kowtowing to the king. Indeed, the young man was very ill from the same disease which claimed his father's life. In keeping with tradition, he had served a six month term as a novice monk in 1866, after which he was named his father's heir. A short time later, Chulalongkorn and his father were on an expedition on the Malay Peninsula to confirm scientific calculations regarding the solar eclipse of August 18, 1868. Both became ill with malaria; Mongkut believed they both were dying and left it up to his officials to choose who they thought would be the best heir.
2. When his father died, Chulalongkorn was only fifteen years old. Si Suriyawongse, the most important government official in Siam at the time, was appointed in what capacity to serve the young king?

Answer: Regent

Si Suriyawongse had been the strongest and most valued official in King Mongkut's government and eventually held the distinction of being the highest ranking noble in 19th century Thailand. He had served as Samuha Kralahome, which meant that he was in charge of Siam's military forces. Like Mongkut, he was interested in Western ideas and technology; he had been open-minded as to allowing Protestant missionaries into Siam and worked to bring about the Bowring Treaty, which had established an economic relationship with Britain.

When King Mongkut died, Si Suriyawongse saw to it that Chulalongkorn remained his heir, even though the King's dying words had left the choice open. Chulalongkorn went through his initital coronation in November 1868, and Si Suriyawongse became his regent, seeing to it that he was educated in the ways of government affairs and carrying on many of the policies of King Mongkut.
3. Although his schooling might help to explain the young King Rama V's views toward change in his country, he had a personal experience that might have also swayed his opinions. Which of the following occurred early in his reign?

Answer: Drowning death of his wife

Queen Sunanda Kumariratana was not only the sister of King Rama V, she was also his first wife. She was only nineteen years old when she died along with the couple's young daughter, while traveling to the Summer Palace. During the crossing of the Chao Praya River her boat sank; none of the common people available to save her, however, were allowed by law to help the drowning queen.

The law specifically said that in such a situation the boatmen had to swim away from the royal passenger or they would be put to death.

They were allowed to throw coconuts to the victim or extend a spear for them to grasp, but any other action could result in both their death and the death of their family. The only person allowed to touch the queen was the Thai king.
4. The reforms made by King Rama V were not always popular with Thai nobles. One of his first acts was to establish an Auditory Office. What was the main function of the Auditory Office?

Answer: Tax Collection

The supervision of tax collectors had been the responsibility of Thai nobles and had been the source of much corruption. Of course, the reform brought about quite a bit of uproar as it threatened not only the nobles' status, but one of the major sources of their wealth as well. One of the main goals of King Rama V was to limit the power of the nobility, and this brought him into conflict with the Front Palace.

In existence since the 1400s, the Front Palace official, who Westerners would call the Vice King or Second King, was typically a brother or son of the Thai king.

This official was very powerful and throughout history the official even controlled his own army and/or navy. King Rama V ended the system, but not without having to deal with the Front Palace Crisis in 1874. Early opposition from the nobles did hinder the speed in which reforms could be made, and it had to be a gradual process.

It was not until 1885 when the Vice King died that Rama V was able to abolish the office.
5. As he tried to establish a Council of State, King Rama V experienced a difficult problem that had to be overcome. Why was it almost impossible to move forward with some of his proposed reforms?

Answer: He was still viewed as an absolute monarch.

When Rama V became King, he inherited a government had been run in the same way for hundreds of years; it was going to be difficult to institute change. The Council was fearful of giving someone advice who was traditionally an absolute monarch and someone who was in a much higher social class than themselves.

The members of the Council of State would not veto proposed legislation, nor would they freely give guidance to the king. It became necessary to disband the Council of State; in 1894 a new cabinet came into existence. During his reign Chulalongkorn reformed the judicial and legal codes in his country.

It is interesting to note here that it did not appear that the king really wanted to give up his absolute power. As more and more Thai people were educated in the outside world, some asked for the government to become a constitutional monarchy. Rama V declined to make the change.

Instead, he used his absolute power to make reforms that improved the lives of his people.
6. What world event did King Rama V say provided him with the motivation to abolish slavery in Thailand?

Answer: American Civil War

In Siam prisoners of war were traditionally taken as slaves. This was not, however, the only way a person became a slave. People who had too many children could sell some into slavery. If a person owed a debt, he could sell himself and even his entire family into slavery. Slavery was the consequence of a defaulted debt.

Not only that, but a slave's children were also born into slavery. It has been estimated that in 1867 approximately 33% of the people in Thailand were slaves. The abolition of slavery, however, was a touchy subject. First of all, there were some slaves who did not care to have their freedom; once freed they would need a way to make a living on their own.

In addition, the nobles stood to lose their household laborers. Freeing the slaves in Thailand was a gradual process, beginning in 1874, and ending in 1905, when the Slave Abolition Act was passed.

The king believed that the American Civil War had been fought over slavery, and he did not want his people exposed to a similar type of violent conflict.
7. King Rama V ruled a country that had a strict social system. Slaves, as well as commoners, were closely regulated by the government. What system of mandatory government service did he abolish?

Answer: Corvee

The use of the corvee system historically goes all the way back to ancient Egypt; common people were expected to assist the government with construction projects when they were unable to farm due to the annual flooding of the Nile River. It continued on in many areas of the world up to the time of the Industrial Revolution.

Many people thought that giving their labor to the government was better than paying taxes! The corvee system had been established in Thailand by King Ramathibodi II in 1518. Men of a certain age had to register with the government or a nobleman and were expected to work three months a year. If they could make some sort of a payment, say of cattle, for example, they could do that instead of serve.

This was another system that was very difficult to abolish in traditional Thai society.

In 1900 an Employment Act was passed that required that all workers be paid for their labor.
8. In 1873 King Rama did away with a practice which he called "severely oppressive". What tradition did he eliminate at that time?

Answer: Prostration

The Thai tradition of prostration in the presence of the king involved a person lying flat on the ground as a gesture of humility and obedience. In 1873 Rama V's proclamation was published in the "Royal Siamese Government Gazette". In addition to calling the practice "severely oppressive" he also said that he did "not see how the practice of prostration will render any benefit to Siam".

He went on to say that "Taking a bow will be regarded as a new form of paying respect". The Thai people, an estimated 90% who are practicing Buddhists, also do this in their religion as a sign of reverence and respect.

Interestingly the practice was revived in the 1950s as a way to show respect to the royal family. At Chulalongkorn University it has been a tradition since 1997 for freshmen students to prostrate themselves before statues of Rama V and Rama VI.
9. Rama V was the first Chakkri monarch to travel abroad.

Answer: True

As a young boy Chulalongkorn had not only been given a traditional Thai education, but also had many European tutors. During the time of his regency, he visited Java and India in order to become more familiar with European policies of colonial administration.

He later undertook two world tours. In 1897, an eight-month tour took him to many locations including Venice, Russia, England, Spain and France. The purpose of the tour was to learn more about Western science, establish diplomatic relations, and gain European recognition. King Rama V wanted other monarchs to treat him and his country as equals. Ten years later, a second European tour mostly centered in France, was held to hopefully find a cure for the kidney disease which eventually took his life in 1910.
10. Rama's V's efforts led to no European colonization in Thailand, and no loss of territory to foreign powers.

Answer: False

King Rama V wanted to maintain a relationship of equals with European powers, however, he needed their help in modernizing Thailand. Port cities were created, railways were built, and a power station was constructed. Europeans began to have a sphere of influence in Thailand; at one point the king even passed a law that Thais had to wear European clothing! Rama V knew that especially the British and French posed a threat to the independence of his country. Giving up claims to territory in Cambodia, Laos, and northern Malaysia, however, allowed him to pass a modernized, independent country on to his son, Vajiravudh, who became Rama VI.
Source: Author ponycargirl

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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