|Flag of Thailand|
|Adopted||September 28, 1917|
|Designed by||King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)|
The flag of Thailand consists of five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red.
The colours have no official symbolism, but the prevailing interpretation is as follows:
- The central blue stripe represents the monarchy.
- The two white stripes represent the Therevada Buddhist religion.
- The outer red stripes represent the land or the nation.
Also it's thought that the blue colour was chosen because according to Thai astrology it's the colour of the day on which King Vajiravudh was born; or to show solidarity with the Allies in the First World War.
The national flag of Ancient Siam is unknown, however, there were some evidences that in the reign of King Narai (1590-1605) the plain red flag was hoisted to salute the French ship. The red flag was also used in the reign of King Boromokot (1732-1758) when Thai monks were sent to Sri Lanka. Thus, Prince Damrong Rajanub had concluded that the red flag was the national flag of Siam in the ancient time.
King Rama I, the first King in the Rattanakosin period, changed the national flag by adding a wheel in the middle of the red flag; this flag was used by the royal ships.
In the reign of King Rama II, three white elephants were offered to the King, which was regarded as a special event. Thus, the King declared to charge the national flag with a white elephant in the wheel. This flag was only used by the royal ships when they sailed to trade with other countries while the plain red flag was still used by the private ships.
The national flag was changed again in the reign of King Rama IV. The King thought that the plain red flag used by the private ships cannot distinguish Thai ships from foreign ships. So the King decided to take the wheel out and only the white elephant remained on the red flag. This national flag was used by both royal and private ships.
During the First World War King Rama VI considered that his people cannot afford the elephant flag since it was made in foreign countries. So they mostly used white and red cloth instead of the national flag. Occasionally, the national flag with a white elephant was flown upside-down by mistake. To solve the problem, the King declared to use the red flag with horizontal white stripes as the national flag.
In 1917 the flag was changed again. King Rama VI, who originally used the red and white striped flag as the national flag, was suggested by a columnist of the Bangkok Daily Mail Newspaper that a central stripe of red should be changed to blue. The reasons for the changing were that blue was the colour of the King and the red white blue coloured flag, which was similar to the national flags of alliances, would remind the participation of Thailand in the World War I. The King agreed with this idea and declared the Flag Act B.E. 2460 (1917) stating that the red white blue coloured flag, which was known as Trairanga (tricolour) Flag, was the national flag of Thailand.