Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782.
Bangkok was at the heart of the modernization of Siam, later renamed Thailand, during the late 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West.
The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact on Thailand's politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
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Disproportionate urban development led to increasing income inequalities and unprecedented migration from rural areas into Bangkok; its population surged from 1.8 million to 3 million in the 1960s.
Following the United States' withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973, Japanese businesses took over as leaders in investment, and the expansion of export-oriented manufacturing led to growth of the financial market in Bangkok.