Damrong Rajanubhab

1862 - 1943

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

country of citizenship:  Thailand
occupation:  politicianhistorianwriterpoetmonarch

Prince Tisavarakumarn, the Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (Thai: สมเด็จพระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าดิศวรกุมาร กรมพระยาดำรงราชานุภาพ; RTGS: Ditsawarakuman Damrongrachanuphap) (21 June 1862 – 1 December 1943) was the founder of the modern Thai educational system as well as the modern provincial administration. He was an autodidact, a (self-taught) historian, and one of the most influential Thai intellectuals of his time.Born as Phra Ong Chao Tisavarakumarn (พระองค์เจ้าดิศวรกุมาร; "Prince Tisavarakumarn"), a son of King Mongkut with Consort Chum (เจ้าจอมมารดาชุ่ม; Chao Chom Manda Chum), a lesser royal wife; he initially learned Thai and Pali from private tutors, and English at the Royal School with Mr. Francis George Patterson. At the age of 14, he received his formal education in a special palace school created by his half-brother, King Chulalongkorn. He was given posts in the royal administration at an early age, becoming the commander of the Royal Guards Regiment in 1880 at age 18, and after several years he worked at building army schools as well as modernizing the army in general. In 1887, he was appointed as grand-officer to the army (commander-in-chief). At the same time, he was chosen by the king to become the Minister of Education in his provisional cabinet. When King Chulalongkorn began his administrative reform program in 1892, Prince Damrong was chosen to lead the Ministry of the North (Mahatthai), which was converted into the Ministry of the Interior in 1894. In his time as minister, he completely overhauled provincial administration. Many minor provinces were merged into larger ones, the provincial governors lost most of their autonomy when the post was converted into one appointed and salaried by the ministry, and a new administrative division—the monthon (circle) covering several provinces—was created. Formal education of administrative staff was introduced. Prince Damrong was among the most important advisors of the king, and considered second only to him in power. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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