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The reigns of Kings Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851–68) and Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868–1910) saw the introduction of the steam engine, printing press, rail transport and utilities infrastructure in the city, as well as formal education and healthcare.

Bangkok became the centre stage for power struggles between the military and political elite as the country abolished absolute monarchy in 1932.

Bangkok's role as the nation's political stage continues to be seen in strings of popular protests, from the student uprisings in 19, anti-military demonstrations in 1992, and successive anti-government demonstrations by opposing groups from 2008 onwards.

Administration of the city was first formalized by King Chulalongkorn in 1906, with the establishment of Monthon Krung Thep Phra Maha Nakhon () as a national subdivision.

The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok.

The city is now a major regional force in finance and business.

Bangkok's economy gradually expanded through busy international trade, first with China, then with Western merchants returning in the early-to-mid 19th century.

Its full ceremonial name, which came into use during the reign of King Mongkut, reads as follows: Thai school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning as many of the words are archaic, and known to few.It is an international hub for transport and health care, and has emerged as a regional centre for the arts, fashion and entertainment.The city is well known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, as well as its notorious red-light districts.Limited roads, despite an extensive expressway network, together with substantial private car usage, have led to chronic and crippling traffic congestion, which caused severe air pollution in the 1990s.The city has since turned to public transport in an attempt to solve this major problem.

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