Bhumibol Adulyadej po͞o´mēpôl˝ ädo͝ol´yädĕt˝ [key], 1927–, king of Thailand (1946–), b. Cambridge, Mass. A member of the Chakri dynasty, he was at school in Switzerland when his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, died (1946) under mysterious circumstances. Bhumibol ruled with a regent until 1950, when he was formally crowned Rama IX. The longest-ruling monarch in Thailand's history, in 2000 he also became longest-reigning ruler in the world. He has enjoyed great popular support although his power is largely ceremonial. The king has actively promoted development projects and has been generally a stabilizing force in the country's turbulent politics, intervening several times to resolve governmental crises or criticize government leaders. His displeasure with the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra partially contributed to the coup that ousted Thaksin, and the king subsequently gave his approval to the coup and new government. The king's name also appears as Phumiphen.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See study by P. M. Handley (2006).
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Southeast Asia History: Biographies
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