Thailand Country Guide



Ancient History
The earliest known Thai kingdom was Sukhothai founded in 1238, which reached its height under King Ramkhamhaeng during the 14th century. Sukhotai later fell under the rule of the kingdom of Ayutthaya, ruling most of present-day Thailand, much of Cambodia, Laos and absorbed the northern kingdom of Lanna. The kingdom of Ayutthaya was sacked in the mid-18th century by the Burmese but King Taksin regrouped and established a new capital at Thonburi. His successor, General Chakri, moved the capital to Bangkok and became King Rama I and the founder of the Chakri dynasty that
constitutionally rules Thailand today.

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Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya by PlusMinus

Modern Thailand
Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to have never been a colony of a foreign power. A bloodless revolution led by military and civilian officials in 1932 eventually led to a constitutional monarchy. During World War II, while Japan conquered the rest of Southeast Asia only Thailand was not conquered due to smart political moves. Though the country has seen several military dictatorships and toppled civilian governments, Thailand experienced an economic boomed from tourism and industrialisation through the decades.

Modern day Bangkok by Paolobon140

Coup of 2006
In September 2006, a swift and bloodless military coup overthrew the populist government led by the tycoon Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's. Though popular, the government was widely criticized, exposing a fault line between the urban elite that ruled Thailand and the rural masses that supported Thaksin. The deposed Prime Minister went into exile and a series of unstable governments followed. Successors of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party and the royalist-conservative People's Alliance for Democracy were often confronting each other behind the scenes and occasionally spilled into the streets. Since 2009, the scenario has quieted down but the political scene remains in flux.

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