The city occupies 1,568.7 square kilometres (605.7 sq mi) in the Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and has a population of over 8 million, or 12.6 percent of the country's population.
Over 14 million people (22.2 percent) lived within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region at the 2010 census, making Bangkok an extreme primate city, significantly dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms of importance.
Rapid growth of the city continued through the 1980s and early 1990s, until it was stalled by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
By then, many public and social issues had emerged, among them the strain on infrastructure reflected in the city's notorious traffic jams.
The Asian investment boom in the 1980s and 1990s led many multinational corporations to locate their regional headquarters in Bangkok.
The city is now a major regional force in finance and business.
The reigns of Kings Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851–68) and Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868–1910) saw the introduction of the steam engine, printing press, rail transport and utilities infrastructure in the city, as well as formal education and healthcare.
Bangkok became the centre stage for power struggles between the military and political elite as the country abolished absolute monarchy in 1932.
The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact on Thailand's politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
Today, the city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (กรุงเทพมหานคร) or simply as Krung Thep (กรุงเทพฯ).
Its full ceremonial name, which came into use during the reign of King Mongkut, reads as follows: Thai school children are taught the full name, although few can explain its meaning as many of the words are archaic, and known to few.
In 1915 the monthon was split into several provinces, the administrative boundaries of which have since further changed.
The city in its current form was created in 1972 with the formation of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), following the merger of Phra Nakhon Province on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya and Thonburi Province on the west during the previous year.