The History of Krabi

Krabi, a southern province on the Andaman seaboard is rich in history. Krabi is believed to have the oldest artefacts proving there to have been a settlement of people dating back to the prehistoric period too. This entire region is built up around terrific limestone cliffs and staggering rock formations. According to records about the history of Krabi it was among these very cliffs where ancient paintings were created and artefacts were made. Stone tools and beads as well as pottery have all been found in and around Krabi province. Ancient skeletal remains were also found and are now displayed in museums in the South of Thailand.

Many Years Ago

Some 200 years ago, Krabi was split into three different boroughs. An elephant kraal was established, supporting a regular supply of elephants. In 1872 however, these districts were merged and King Chulalongkorn elevated the districts to town status. He named the province Krabi, which actually means sword. At that time Krabi was a town dependent on Nakhon Sri Thammarat, a large province of the south. But in 1875, Krabi was raised to a fourth level town in the old system of Thai government. Administrators then reported directly to the central government in Bangkok.

Over time, people came to settle in Krabi from different regions, leaving it a place representing a mix of different races. It is said that each group of people represent a different page in the history of Krabi. The Chao Ley or ‘Sea Gypsies’ tended to live on the islands in Krabi’s waters. They traditionally made their living from fishing and diving for their livelihood. These small fishing communities are still visible today. However, danger of overexposure through tourism from the Western culture has forced these communities to live within a world very different from years ago.

Chinese Descendants

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Chinese flocked to Thailand in search of work, many making their way to southern Thailand. In more recent times, the Chinese involvement has been high within the oil palm plantations and gypsum mining.

Despite the assimilation of Chinese people and their descendants with local people over time, many retain vestiges of their Chinese heritage and many can still speak Chinese. Being in close proximity to Malaysia, southern Thailand is also home to many Muslim communities, and Krabi itself has a strong Muslim presence.

2004 Tsunami

Krabi was badly affected by the Tsunami in December 2004. The tsunami hit Thailand’s south west coast along the Andaman Sea, causing devastating destruction. Krabi, along with Phuket and Phang Nga were the hardest hit. Many lives were lost and entire properties and areas destroyed. A credit to Thai culture is the aftermath of the tsunami, whereby the country was resilient and able to persevere damages with intention to rebuild.

Though the south suffered significant damage, it was able to rebuild quickly compared to neighbouring countries. Within two years virtually all the damage had been removed and many of the affected areas had been rebuilt. A significant amount of safety improvements have been added to the area, which includes tsunami alarms.

Today, Krabi is looking more stunning than ever and attracting more and more tourists every year.