Bangkok has been the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand since 1782. The city has 8,249 million inhabitants (as of 2010) and is by far the largest town in the country. A total of 14.566 million people lives in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) (as of 2010). Bangkok originally was a small fishing village on the eastern shore of Chao Phraya. In 1511 it was listed for the first time on a Portuguese map.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the city grew beyond its former borders north and east. The opening of the first bridge, the Memorial Bridge, across the Chao Praya in 1932, was a further growth spurt, especially to the west of the river. Today the city is the political, economic and cultural center of Thailand with universities, colleges, and palaces, and over 400 Wats (Buddhist temples and monasteries), as well as the most important traffic point of the country.