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Damrong Rachanuphaap (ดำรงราชานุภาพ)

Name of a Krom Phraya, who was born on 21 June 1862 with the name Disuan Kumaan (ดิศวรกุมาร), and as the 57th son of King Mongkut and Chao Chom Maanda Choom Rochanadit (ดาชุ่ม โรจนดิศ), a lesser royal wife. Being the half-brother of the successive King Chulalongkorn, he was given posts in the royal administration at an early age, becoming the commander of the Royal Pages' Bodyguard Regiment at age 18. In 1887, after several years of service and modernizing the Army, he became deputy to the commander-in-chief, whilst he was simultaneously chosen by the king to become the Minister of Education in his cabinet. When Rama V began his administrative reform program in 1892, Prince Damrong was asked to lead the Mahatthai, which was converted into the Ministry of the Interior in the same year. He is considered one of the most important advisors of King Rama V, only second to him in power. During his time as minister, he completely overhauled the provincial administration, merging many minor provinces into larger ones, whilst creating a new administrative division, known as the monthon. Though, after the death of the king in 1910, the relationship with his successor King Vajiravudh was less smooth and in 1915 Prince Damrong eventually resigned from his post (fig.). From then on, he worked as a self-taught historian and became an author, writing books on Thai literature, culture and arts, after which he was dubbed the Father of Thai History (fig.). Today, his works are kept in the Damrong Rachanuphaap Library (fig.). He lived in Wang Woradit (fig.), but after the 1932 revolution, he was exiled to Malaysia, and though being allowed to return to Thailand in 1942, he died a year later, on 1 December 1943, the date on which he is now annually remembered and known in Thai as Wan Damrong Rachanuphaap. He is the originator of the House of Ditsakun (ดิศกุล) and due to the system of rajasakun, initiated in 1912 by his prolific father Rama IV, all his descendants use the royal surname Ditsakun. In English, his name is sometimes transcribed Damrong Rajanubhab, and his full name with royal title is Somdet Phra Chao Boromawong Teh Pra Ong Chao Ditsaworakumaan Krom Phraya Damrong Rachanuphaap (สมเด็จพระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าดิศวรกุมาร กรมพระยาดำรงราชานุภาพ). He is depicted on a Thai postage stamp issued in 1992 for the 100th Anniversary of  the Ministry of Interior (fig.), and in 2012 a set of four stamps was issued to mark his 150th Birthday Anniversary (fig.). Also transcribed Damrong Rajanubhab. His preliminary work as an historian was instrumental in the establishment of Thailand's National Archives, which was founded on 18 August 1952 (fig.).