Chulalongkorn was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri. He was known to the Siamese of his time as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang. His reign was characterised by the modernisation of Siam, governmental and social reforms, and territorial concessions to the British and French. As Siam was surrounded by European colonies, Chulalongkorn, through his policies and acts, ensured the independence of Siam. All his reforms were dedicated to ensuring Siam's independence given the increasing encroachment of Western powers, so that Chulalongkorn earned the epithet Phra Piya Maharat.