Monthon (Thai: มณฑล) were administrative subdivisions of Thailand at the beginning of the 20th century. The Thai word monthon is a translation of the word mandala (maṇḍala, literally "circle"), in its sense of a type of political formation. The monthon were created as a part of the Thesaphiban (เทศาภิบาล, literally "local government") bureaucratic administrative system, introduced by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab which, together with the monthon, established step-by-step today's present provinces (changwat), districts (amphoe), and communes (tambon) throughout Thailand. Each monthon was led by a royal commissioner called Thesaphiban (เทศาภิบาล), later renamed to Samuhathesaphiban (สมุหเทศาภิบาล). The system was officially adopted by the 1897 Local Administration Act, after some monthon had been established and administrative details were sorted out.


Before the Thesaphiban reforms, the country consisted of partially independent cities called mueang, some directly subordinate to the capital, some subordinate to larger mueang, or to one or more of the tributary kingdoms. Before the reforms, governors inherited their posts from their family lineage, and lived on taxes they collected in their area, a practice formally called tax farming. These were converted from hereditary governors to appointed governmental posts, as had been done by Chinese Yuan, Ming, and Qing-era rulers in first recognizing Tusi (tribal leaders) as imperial officials, then replacing them with imperial appointees. The arrangement resulted in governors being appointed and paid by the central government, and mueang developed into provinces. An essential step in the ending of tax farming was the creation on 3 September 1885 of the Royal Survey Department. Though its first fruits were not obtained until 1901, the department's cadastral surveys, i.e., surveys of specific land parcels, made possible the defining of ownership for land registration and equitable taxation. The term changwat (จังหวัด) for the provinces was first used in 1907 for the provinces in Monthon Pattani, and by 1916 had come into general use.

Resistance to reform

It took till around 1910 to implement the system throughout the country. The main reason for the slow implementation was the lack of suitably educated officials,[1] but also the resistance of the traditional local leaders, which recalled the 1768–1770 resistance of the monk Chao Phra Faang to Thonburi reestablishment of Siamese authority. In 1902 along both banks of the Mekong, local revolts (Prakottakan Phi Bun ปรากฏการณ์ผีบุญ) led by charismatic religious leaders called holy man or phi bun (ผีบุญ) broke out. The most serious of these was led by east-bank rebel Ong Keo against French authority in the former Thai tributary kingdom of Champasak. On the west bank in the area of Ubon Ratchathani, a less-well known former monk and phi bun headed a millenarian sect inspired by his apocalyptic prophecies, which spread fear, uncertainty and doubt among almost all the peoples along both banks of the river. The Bangkok government put down west bank resistance with little use of force, and cooperated with French Indochina officials insofar as limiting Thai authority to the west bank, later called Isan. East bank resistance however had no definitive end and became subsumed into the Second Indochina War.[2][3] Far from the Mekong, resistance to reform continued into the 21st century in the Southern Thailand insurgency.

Further development

In 1915 there were 19 monthons containing 72 provinces. Due to economic problems, several monthon were merged in 1925. Monthon Phetchabun had been dissolved in 1915. Only 14 monthon remained: Ayutthaya, Bangkok (Krung Thep), Chanthaburi, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Phayap, Phitsanulok, Phuket, Prachinburi, Ratchaburi, and Udon Thani. In 1932 another four were abolished: Chanthaburi, Nakhon Chaisi, Nakhon Sawan, and Pattani. Finally in 1933 the whole monthon system was abolished by the Provincial Administration Act 2476 B.E./A.D. 1933, part of the changes made after the coup d'état, which changed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, and the 70 provinces to second-level administrative divisions.

List of monthons


Map of thai 1900 8
Map of Thailand 1900
Thailand monthon 1915
Map of Thailand 1915
  • Phayap (Thai: มณฑลพายัพ): Sanskrit Northwest.[4] or Monthon Lao Chiang (Thai: มณฑลลาวเฉียง). In 1899, this northwestern monthon was described in Thai as monthon fai tawan tok chiang nuea (มณฑลฝ่ายตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือ; literally "northwest-side circle"). In 1900, this was shortened to the Sanskrit for "northwest". The actual administrative reform was established gradually between 1907 and 1915, succeeding the previous high commissionership. It covered the northern principalities of former Lan Na, the provinces Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Chiang Rai, Nan, and Phrae.
  • Maharat (Thai: มณฑลมหาราษฎร์): Monthon Maharat was created in 1915, when Monthon Phayap was split into two halves. It covered the eastern part of former Phayap, i.e., the provinces Chiang Rai, Nan, Lampang, and Phrae.
  • Nakhon Sawan (Thai: มณฑลนครสวรรค์): Monthon Nakhon Sawan was created in 1895, and was thus among the first created. It covered the provinces of Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Kamphaeng Phet, Manorom, Phayuha Khiri, Sankhaburi, Tak, Uthai Thani.
  • Phitsanulok (Thai: มณฑลพิษณุโลก): Monthon Phitsanulok was established in 1894. It covered the provinces Phitsanulok, Phichai, Phichit, Sukhothai, Sawankhalok.
  • Phetchabun (Thai: มณฑลเพชรบูรณ์): Monthon Phetchabun was split off from Monthon Nakhon Ratchasima in 1899. It consisted of the two provinces Lom Sak and Phetchabun, which were later merged. It then became the only monthon covering a single province. It was temporarily included into Monthon Pitsanulok from 1903-1907, before it was finally abolished in 1915 and incorporated into Monthon Phitsanulok.


  • Nakhon Ratchasima (Thai: มณฑลนครราชสีมา): Monthon Nakhon Ratchasima was the first monthon to be created in 1893. It covered the provinces Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), Buriram, Chaiyaphum. In 1899 Monthon Phetchabun was split off from Khorat.
  • Isan (Thai: มณฑลอีสาน): Monthon Isan was established in 1900. In June 1912 it was split into the two parts, Monthon Roi Et and Monthon Ubon.
  • Roi Et (Thai: มณฑลร้อยเอ็จ): Monthon Roi Et was split from Monthon Isan in 1912. It contained the provinces Roi Et, Kalasin, and Maha Sarakham.
  • Ubon (Thai: มณฑลอุบล) or Monthon Laokao (Thai: มณฑลลาวกาว): Monthon Ubon was split from Monthon Isan in 1912. It included Ubon Ratchathani, Khukhan, Sisaket, and Surin.
  • Udon (Thai: มณฑลอุดร) or Monthon Lao Phuan (Thai: มณฑลลาวพวน): Monthon Udon was established in 1899. It contained the provinces Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai and Sakon Nakhon.


  • Phuket (Thai: มณฑลภูเก็จ): Monthon Phuket was established in 1898, succeeding a previously established commissionership. It consisted of the provinces Phuket, Thalang, Ranong, Phang Nga, Takua Pa, Krabi, Kelantan, and Terengganu.[5] In 1909 Satun was added when most of the area of Monthon Kedah along with Kelantan and Terengganu were ceded to Britain.
  • Chumphon (Thai: มณฑลชุมพร): Monthon Chumphon was established in 1896 consisting of the provinces Chumphon, Chaiya, Kanchanadit, and Lang Suan. Chaiya and Kanchanadit were later merged into one province named Chaiya. In 1905 the monthon administration was moved to Ban Don, the center of Chaiya province. Together with the renaming of Chaiya to Surat Thani the monthon was renamed "Monthon Surat". In 1925 the monthon was incorporated into Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat.
  • Nakhon Si Thammarat (Thai: มณฑลนครศรีธรรมราช): Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat was established in 1896, consisting of the provinces Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Phattalung.
  • Pattani (Thai: มณฑลปัตตานี): Monthon Pattani was created in 1906, and covered the so-called Seven Malay Provinces Pattani (Tani), Yala, Sai Buri, Yaring, Nong Chik, Raman, Ra-ngae.
  • Syburi (Thai: มณฑลไทรบุรี): Monthon Syburi was established in 1897. It covered the provinces Kedah, Perlis. and Satun. In 1909 Kedah was ceded to Britain. Satun, as the only remaining province, was added to Monthon Phuket.


  • Krung Thep (Bangkok; Thai: มณฑลกรุงเทพ): The area around the capital was under the control of the Ministry of Urban Affairs, however a similar administration was established with the Monthon Krung Theb in 1897. It consisted of the provinces Phra Nakhon, Thon Buri, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phra Pradaeng (Nakhon Khueankhan), Samut Prakan, Thanyaburi, Min Buri. Pathum Thani and Thanyaburi later transferred to Monthon Ayutthaya. In 1915 it was renamed Krung Thep Phra Maha Nakhon (Bangkok metropolis). In 1922 the Ministry of Urban Affairs was dissolved and put under the Ministry of Interior, like all the other monthon.
  • Ayutthaya (Thai: มณฑลอยุธยา): Monthon Ayutthaya was created in 1893 as Monthon Krung Kao (Thai: มณฑลกรุงเก่า, Old Capital Monthon), consisting of the provinces Ayutthaya, also called Krung Kao or "old capital", Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Phrom Buri, Sara Buri.
  • Ratchaburi (Thai: มณฑลราชบุรี): Monthon Ratchaburi was created in 1895 and covered the provinces Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Samut Songkhram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.
  • Nakhon Chai Si (Thai: มณฑลนครไชยศรี): Monthon Nakhon Chai Si was established in 1895, consisting of the provinces Nakhon Chai Si, Samut Sakhon, and Suphan Buri.


  • Prachinburi (Thai: มณฑลปราจิณบุรี): Monthon Prachinburi was established in 1893, covering the provinces Prachin Buri, Chachoengsao, Nakhon Nayok, and Phanom Sarakham.
  • Burapha (Thai: มณฑลบูรพา): Monthon Burapha was established in 1896, and covered the provinces Sisophon, Battambang, Phanomsok, and Siammarat, all in modern-day Cambodia. In 1907 the area was ceded to French Indochina.
  • Chanthaburi (Thai: มณฑลจันทบุรี): Monthon Chanthaburi was established in 1906, covering the provinces Chanthaburi, Rayong, and Trat. The monthon was created just before the area of monthon Burapha was ceded, and the French returned Trat Province to Thai authority.


The larger monthon Phayap, Udon Thani, and Isan had an additional administrative level between monthon and provincial administration. Three to five boriwen (บริเวณ), each administered by a commissioner (khaluang boriwen, ข้าหลวงบริเวณ).

See also


  1. ^ W. G. Johnson (2008) [1908]. "Education". In Wright, Arnold; Breakspear, Oliver T (eds.). Twentieth century impressions of Siam (PDF). London: Lloyds Greater Britain Publishing Co. p. 276. Retrieved January 28, 2012. Siam has progressed so rapidly of late years, and the machinery of Government has been reorganised and perfected so quickly, that it requires all the efforts of the Education Department to produce from its schools the supply of men capable of taking up the posts in the Government service
  2. ^ บทความ ปรากฏการณ์ผีบุญ. blog (in Thai). @cloud. Archived from the original on January 22, 2010. Retrieved September 21, 2011. เป็นกระทงร้อน มากกว่า 2 ปีพจนานุกรมฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน ให้ความหมายของ ผีบุญ ไว้ว่า ผู้อวดคุณวิเศษว่ามีฤทธิ์ทําได้ต่าง ๆ อย่างผีสางเทวดาให้คนหลงเชื่อ
  3. ^ Murdoch, John B (1974). "The 1901-1902 Holy Man's Rebellion" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. Siam Heritage Trust. 62 (1). Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  4. ^ Glenn Slayden, ed. (1982). "พายัพ" (Dictionary). Royal Institute Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 1982 พายัพ /พา-ยับ/ {Sanskrit: วายวฺย ว่า ของวายุ} [นาม] ชื่อทิศตะวันตกเฉียงเหนือ
  5. ^ "Malaysian States". Retrieved 13 May 2017.

Further reading

External links


Boriwen (Thai: บริเวณ) were subdivisions of three of the larger Thai monthon. Several mueang were grouped together into one boriwen. In 1908 the boriwen were renamed to changwat, which became the name of provinces countrywide in 1916.The monthon with between three and five boriwen were Phayap, Udon Thani and Isan. Each boriwen was administrated by a commissioner (khaluang boriwen, ข้าหลวงบริเวณ). The administrative headquarters of the boriwen were located in the provincial town listed first:

Monthon Phayap

Boriwen Northern Chiangmai: Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen, Papao, Nongkhwang, and Fang

Boriwen Western Chiangmai: Mae Hong Son, Yuam, Khun Yuam, and Pai

Boriwen Northern Nan: Chiangkhong, Thoeng, Chiangkham, Chianglaeng, Chianglom, Chianghon (Khop and Kutsawadi were seceded to France in 1904)

Monthon Udon Thani

Boriwen Makkhaeng: Ban Makkhaeng (Udonthani), Nongkhai, Nonglahan, Kumphawapi, Kamutthasai, Phonphisai, and Rattanawapi

Boriwen Phachi: Khonkaen, Chonnabot, and Phuwiang

Boriwen That Phanom: Nakhon Phanom, Chaiburi, Tha Uthen and Mukdahan

Boriwen Sakon: Sakon Nakhon

Boriwen Nam Huang: Loei, Kaen Thao, Bo Tha

Monthon Isan

Boriwen Ubon: Ubon Ratchathani, Khemmarat, Yasothon

Boriwen Champassak (Bassac): Champassak (Bassac)

Boriwen Khukhan: Khukhan, Sisaket, and Det-udom

Boriwen Surin: Surin, and Sangkha

Boriwen Roi-et: Roi Et, Mahasarakham, Kalasin, Kammalasai, Suwannaphum


Chulalongkorn, also known as King Rama V, reigning title Phra Chula Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Thai: จุฬาลงกรณ์; RTGS: Chulalongkon; 20 September 1853 – 23 October 1910), was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri. He was known to the Siamese of his time as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang (พระพุทธเจ้าหลวง, the Royal Buddha). His reign was characterized by the modernization of Siam, governmental and social reforms, and territorial concessions to the British and French. As Siam was threatened by Western expansionism, Chulalongkorn, through his policies and acts, managed to save Siam from colonization. All his reforms were dedicated to ensuring Siam's survival in the face of Western colonialism, so that Chulalongkorn earned the epithet Phra Piya Maharat (พระปิยมหาราช, the Great Beloved King).

Circle (country subdivision)

Circle is a type of administrative division of some countries. In Thailand the former monthon are translated as circle. The former Holy Roman Empire was organized into Imperial Circles (German: Reichskreise). Algerian daïras are circles.

Monthon Arayangkoon

Monthon Arayangkoon (Thai: มณฑล อารยางกูร) is a Thai film director, screenwriter and producer. His credits include Garuda, the first all-digital Thai film production. His other films include The Victim and The House. He attended Chulalongkorn University, graduating from the Faculty of Education, Department of Art Education.

Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat

The Monthon Nakhon Si Thammarat (Thai: มณฑลนครศรีธรรมราช) was an administrative subdivision of Thailand in the early 20th century. It included the eastern part of southern Thailand.

Monthon Surat

The Monthon Surat (Thai: มณฑลสุราษฎร์, originally named Monthon Chumphon มณฑลชุมพร) was an administrative subdivision of Thailand at the beginning of the 20th century. It covered the northeastern part of southern Thailand.

Mueang Phetchabun District

Mueang Phetchabun (Thai: เมืองเพชรบูรณ์, pronounced [mɯ̄a̯ŋ pʰét.t͡ɕʰā.būːn]) is the capital district (amphoe mueang) of Phetchabun Province, northern Thailand.

Nakhon Chai Si District

Nakhon Chai Si (Thai: นครชัยศรี, pronounced [ná(ʔ).kʰɔ̄ːn t͡ɕʰāj sǐː]) is a district (amphoe) of Nakhon Pathom Province, central Thailand.

Northern Thai people

The Northern Thai people or Tai Yuan (ไทยวน, [taj˧ ɲuːən˧]), self-designation khon mu(e)ang (ฅนเมือง, [xon˧ mɯːəŋ˧], meaning "people of the (cultivated) land" or "people of our community") are a Tai ethnic group of eight provinces in northern Thailand, principally in the area of the former kingdom of Lan Na. As a Tai group, they are closely related to Tai Lü and Tai Khün with regards to common culture, language and history as well as to Thailand's dominant Thai ethnic group (in contrast referred to as Siamese or Central Thai). There are approximately 6 million Tai Yuan. Most of them live in Northern Thailand, with a small minority 29,442 (2005 census) living across the border in Bokeo Province and Sainyabuli Province of Laos. Their language is called Northern Thai, Lanna, or Kham Mueang.

Phetchabun Province

Phetchabun (Thai: เพชรบูรณ์, pronounced [pʰét.t͡ɕʰā.būːn]) is one of the central or northern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Loei, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Lopburi, Nakhon Sawan, Phichit, and Phitsanulok.

Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahitsaraphakdi

Phraya Ratsadanupradit Mahitsaraphakdi (Thai: พระยารัษฎานุประดิษฐ์มหิศรภักดี; 1857–1913, born Khaw Sim Bee (Thai: คอซิมบี๊; RTGS: Kho-simbi, Chinese: 許心美) was a Thai provincial administrator. He was the youngest of the six sons of Khaw Soo Cheang, a trader from Zhangzhou in China.As a member of the Khaw na Ranong family which held the governor's post in Ranong for generations, Khaw was assigned to become governor of Trang in 1890. His most significant contribution was the introduction of the rubber tree to Thailand, which at his time was only grown in Malaysia. It has since become one of the major crops of Thailand. He also initiated the connection of Trang with Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung by road as well as the railroad connection to Nakhon Si Thammarat, one of the first railroads of Thailand.

In 1902, he was assigned to become the commissioner of Monthon Phuket and held the post until his death in 1913.

A monument commemorating him was erected in the city of Trang. In 1992, he was also honored as one of the five most distinguished government officials in administration.


Phutthamonthon (Thai: พุทธมณฑล, also spelled Buddha Monthon, from Sanskrit Buddha Máṇḍala, 'Buddha's sphere') is a Buddhist park in the Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand, west of Bangkok. It is highlighted by a 15.87 m (52 ft) high Buddha statue by Corrado Feroci, which may be the tallest free-standing Buddha statue in the world.

The park was created in 1957 (the year 2500 in the Thai Buddhist Era) on the basis of an idea of Thailand's prime minister, Phibunsongkhram. The park covers an area of about 400 hectares, which in traditional Thai units is 2500 rai. Construction started 29 July 1955, and the park was inaugurated on the Vaisakh Bucha day, 13 May 1957.

After a long pause, construction on the park resumed in 1976. The main Buddha statue was built after that time. Already designed in 1955 by art professor Silpa Bhirasri, the statue was cast in 1981. The Leela Attitude statue, 15.875 m high and at the centre of the park, was given the name Phra Si Sakkaya Thotsaphonlayan Prathan Phutthamonthon Suthat (Thai: พระศรีศากยะทศพลญาณ ประธานพุทธมณฑลสุทรรศน์, literally 'the Graceful Statue of the Shakyamuni who was of the Tenfold Power, the Presiding Buddha of the Beautiful Phutthamonthon') by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Around the statue are sites memorialising the four main stations in the life of Buddha: his birth symbolized by seven lotus flowers, his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, his first sermon, and his death. Another important building is the marble viharn, which contains the entire Buddhist canon engraved in 1418 marble stelas.

Provinces of Thailand

The Provinces of Thailand are part of the government of Thailand that is divided into 76 provinces (Thai: จังหวัด, RTGS: changwat, pronounced [t͡ɕāŋ.wàt]) proper and two special administrative areas (Thai: เขตปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ), one representing the capital Bangkok and another the city of Pattaya.. They are the primary local government units and are divided into amphoes (districts) and also act as juristic persons. Each province is led by a governor (ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด phu wa ratchakan changwat), who is appointed by the central government.

Regions of Thailand

Thailand is variably divided into different sets of regions, the most notable of which are the six-region grouping used in geographic studies, and the four-region grouping consistent with the Monthon administrative regional grouping system formerly used by the Ministry of Interior. These regions are the largest subdivisions of the country.

In contrast to the administrative divisions of the provinces of Thailand, the regions no longer have an administrative character, but are used for statistical or academic purposes.

Sangkha District

Sangkha (Thai: สังขะ, pronounced [sǎŋ.kʰàʔ]) is a district (amphoe) in the southern part of Surin Province, northeastern Thailand.

Satun Province

Satun (Thai: สตูล, pronounced [sā.tūːn]; Malay: Setul) is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Trang, Phatthalung, and Songkhla. To the south it borders Perlis of Malaysia.

Surat Thani Province

Surat Thani (Thai: สุราษฎร์ธานี, pronounced [sù.râːt tʰāː.nīː]), often shortened to Surat, is the largest of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. It lies on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Surat Thani means 'city of good people', a title given to the city by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI).

The Victim (2006 film)

The Victim (Thai: ผีคนเป็น or Phii khon pen) is a 2006 Thai horror-thriller film written and directed by Monthon Arayangkoon. The film stars Pitchannart Sakakorn as a struggling young actress who takes a job working for the police department, re-enacting crime scenes, but starts to have frightening experiences when she takes on the role of a murdered beauty queen.

Ubon Ratchathani Province

Ubon Ratchathani (Thai: อุบลราชธานี, pronounced [ʔù.bōn râːt.t͡ɕʰā.tʰāː.nīː]), often shortened to Ubon (อุบลฯ), is one of the northeastern provinces (Isan) of Thailand, and the country's easternmost. Ubon is about 630 km (390 mi) from Bangkok. Neighboring Provinces are (from west clockwise) Sisaket, Yasothon, and Amnat Charoen. To the north and east it borders Salavan and Champasak of Laos, to the south Preah Vihear of Cambodia.

Designations for types of administrative territorial entities

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