Friday, February 11, 2011

Highest number of provinces

As very shortly there will be a new 77th (or actually 76th) province, one question which might someone ask is whether this is the highest number of provinces in Thailand ever. I had written about the province changes since 1910 before, but not mentioned the actual numbers in that posting.

While it seems that the number of provinces is only rising, this is only true since 1972, which was the last time a province was abolished. Or to be exact, two provinces were abolished at that time, and the new special administrative area of Bangkok was created, and its this special status of Bangkok which makes the Bueng Kan just the 76th province, and not the 77th as almost all media reports.

However, the only real big decrease in number of provinces was in 1932, when not only several of the Monthon were abolished, but also 8 provinces. Before this act, there were 77 provinces in Thailand already. And since in 1926 the province Kabinburi was abolished, there were 78 province from the end of the Thesaphiban reforms. Therefore, there needs to be another province to be back to original number of provinces, so maybe if the province Fang gets created Thailand will be back at 78.

In the chart above I have plotted the number of provinces for each year. In orange are the four provinces in the occupied areas during World War II, otherwise the time of the lowest number of provinces due to the merger of the provinces surrounding Bangkok.

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