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The Tai ethnic group migrated into
mainland Southeast Asia Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is ...

mainland Southeast Asia
over a period of centuries. The word ''Siam'' ( th, สยาม ) may have originated from
Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theory (disambiguat ...
(''suvaṇṇabhūmi'', "land of gold") or
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
श्याम (''śyāma'', "dark") or
Mon Mon, MON or Mon. may refer to: Places * Mon State, a subdivision of Myanmar * Mon, India, a town in Nagaland * Mon district, Nagaland * Mon, Raebareli, a village in Uttar Pradesh, India * Mon, Switzerland, a village in the Canton of Grisons * Ang ...
ရာမည (''rhmañña'', "stranger"), probably the same root as
Shan Shan may refer to: People *Shan (surname), or 单 in Chinese, a Chinese surname *Shan, a variant of the Welsh given name usually spelled Siân *Occasionally used as a short form of Shannen/Shannon (given name), Shannon Ethnic groups *Shan people ...
and Ahom. was the name for Ayutthaya Kingdom merged from Suphannaphum city state centered in modern-day
Suphan Buri Suphan Buri () is a town (''thesaban mueang Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand. There are three levels of municipalities: city, town, and sub-district. Bangkok and Pattaya are special municipal entities no ...
and Lavo city state centered in modern-day Lop Buri. To the Thai, the name has mostly been
''Mueang Thai''
''Mueang Thai''
. The country's designation as Siam by Westerners likely came from the
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portu ...
. Portuguese chronicles noted that the
Borommatrailokkanat Borommatrailokkanat ( th, บรมไตรโลกนาถ, ) or Trailok (1431–1488) was the king of the Ayutthaya Kingdom from 1448 to 1488. He was one of many monarchs who gained the epithet ''King of White Elephants'' ( th, พระเ ...
, king of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, sent an expedition to the
Malacca Sultanate #REDIRECT Malacca Sultanate #REDIRECT Malacca Sultanate The Malacca Sultanate ( ms, Kesultanan Melayu Melaka; Jawi script: کسلطانن ملايو ملاک) was a Malay sultanate centred in the modern-day state of Malacca, Malaysia. Convention ...
at the southern tip of the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
in 1455. Following their conquest of Malacca in 1511, the Portuguese sent a diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya. A century later, on 15 August 1612, ''The Globe'', an
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Com ...
merchantman bearing a letter from
King James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of gover ...

King James I
, arrived in "the
Road A road is a wide way leading from one place to another, typically one with a specially prepared surface which vehicles and bikes can use. Roads consist of one or two roadway A carriageway (British English British English (BrE) is the ...
of Syam". "By the end of the 19th century, ''Siam'' had become so enshrined in geographical nomenclature that it was believed that by this name and no other would it continue to be known and styled."
Indianised kingdom Greater India, or the Indian cultural sphere, is an area composed of many countries and regions in South Asia, South and Southeast Asia that were historically influenced by Indian culture, which itself formed from the various distinct indige ...
s such as the
Mon Mon, MON or Mon. may refer to: Places * Mon State, a subdivision of Myanmar * Mon, India, a town in Nagaland * Mon district, Nagaland * Mon, Raebareli, a village in Uttar Pradesh, India * Mon, Switzerland, a village in the Canton of Grisons * Ang ...
, the
Khmer Empire The Khmer Empire ( km, ចក្រភពខ្មែរ), or the Angkorian Empire ( km, ចក្រភពអង្គរ, link=no), are the terms that historians use to refer to Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ព ...

Khmer Empire
and Malay states of the Malay Peninsula and
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
ruled the region. The
Thai Thai or THAI may refer to: * Of or from Thailand, a country in Southeast Asia ** Thai people, the dominant ethnic group of Thailand ** Thai language, a Tai-Kadai language spoken mainly in and around Thailand *** Thai script *** Thai (Unicode block) ...
established their states:
Ngoenyang The Kingdom of Hiran or Kingdom of Ngoenyang ( th, อาณาจักรหิรัญเงินยาง ) was an early mueang or kingdom of the Northern Thai people from the 7th through 13th centuries AD and was originally centered on Hi ...
, the
Sukhothai Kingdom The Sukhothai Kingdom ( th, สุโขทัย, , IAST: , ) was a post-classical Thai kingdom (Mandala (political model), mandala) in Mainland Southeast Asia surrounding the ancient capital city of Sukhothai Historical Park, Sukhothai in pr ...
, the
Kingdom of Chiang Mai Kingdom of Rattanatingsa or Kingdom of Chiang Mai ( th, นครเชียงใหม่; full name: รัตนติงสาอภินวปุรีสรีคุรุรัฎฐพระนครเชียงใหม่; ) () wa ...
,
Lan Na The Lan Na or Lan Na Kingdom ( nod, , , "Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields"; th, อาณาจักรล้านนา, , ), also known as Lannathai, and most commonly called Lanna or Lanna Kingdom, was an Greater India#Indianized states, I ...
, and the Ayutthaya Kingdom. These states fought each other and were under constant threat from the
Khmers Khmer people ( km, ជនជាតិខ្មែរ, ) are a Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asi ...
, Burma and
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, only
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
survived European colonial threat in Southeast Asia due to centralising reforms enacted by King
Chulalongkorn Chulalongkorn ( th, จุฬาลงกรณ์, 20 September 1853 – 23 October 1910) was the fifth monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or ...

Chulalongkorn
and because the French and the British decided it would be a
neutral territory Border control is the measures taken by a state (polity), state or a bloc of states to monitor its borders and regulate the movement of people, animals, and goods across the border. History States and rulers have always regarded the ability to ...
to avoid conflicts between their colonies. After the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand endured sixty years of almost permanent military rule before the establishment of a democratically elected government.


Prehistory

Mainland Southeast Asia Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is ...

Mainland Southeast Asia
had been a home to various indigenous communities for thousands of years. The discovery of
Homo erectus ''Homo erectus'' (meaning "upright Body relative directions (also known as egocentric coordinates) are geometrical orientations relative to a body such as a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread s ...

Homo erectus
fossils such as Lampang man is an example of archaic hominids. The remains were first discovered during excavations in
Lampang Province Lampang ( th, ลำปาง, ; Northern Thai language, Northern Thai: ) is one of Thailand's seventy-six Provinces of Thailand, provinces (''changwat''), lies in Northern Thailand#Regional classification of northern Thailand, upper northern Tha ...
. The finds have been dated from roughly 1,000,000–500,000 years ago in the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
. Stone artefacts dating to 40,000 years ago have been recovered from, e.g.,
Tham Lod rockshelter Tham Lod Rockshelter ( th, เพิงผาถ้ำลอด), first researched by Rasmi Shoocongdej from Silpakorn University, funded by the Thai Research Fund, was a prehistoric cemetery and a workshop located in Northern Thailand known to ha ...
in
Mae Hong Son Mae Hong Son ( th, แม่ฮ่องสอน, ) is a town (''thesaban mueang'') in north-west Thailand, capital of Mae Hong Son Province. It is in the Shan Hills, near the border with Burma along the banks of the River Pai (river), Pai. As of ...

Mae Hong Son
and Lang Rongrien Rockshelter in Krabi, peninsular Thailand. The archaeological data between 18,000–3,000 years ago primarily derive from cave and rock shelter sites, and are associated with
Hoabinhian The term Hòa Bình culture ( vi, Văn hóa Hòa Bình, in French ''culture de Hoà Bình'') was first used by French archaeologists working in Northern Vietnam Northern Vietnam ( vi, Bắc Bộ) is one of three geographical regions within Vie ...
foragers.


Initial states and Indianized states

There are many sites in present-day Thailand dating to the Bronze (1500–500 BCE) and Iron Ages (500 BCE-500 CE). The site of
Ban Chiang Ban Chiang ( th, บ้านเชียง, ) is an archeology, archaeological site in Nong Han District, Udon Thani Province, Thailand. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. Discovered in 1966, the site attracted interest due ...
(around
Udon Thani Province Udon Thani Province ( th, อุดรธานี, ) is one of Thailand's seventy-seven provinces (''changwat'') which lies in upper northeastern Thailand also called Isan Northeast Thailand or Isan ( Isan/ th, อีสาน, ; lo, ອ ...
) currently ranks as the earliest known center of
copper Copper is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, nuclei. Unlike chemical compounds, chemical elem ...

copper
and
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
production in Southeast Asia and has been dated to around 2,000 years BCE. Thailand also participated in the
Maritime Jade Road Philippine jade artifacts, made from white and green nephrite and dating as far back as 2000–1500 BC, have been discovered at a number of excavation (archaeology), archeological excavations in the Philippines since the 1930s. The artifacts have ...
, which existed for 3,000 years, from 2000 BCE to 1000 CE. The oldest known records of a political entity in Indochina are attributed to
Funan Funan (; km, ហ៊្វូណន, ; vi, Phù Nam, Chu Han During ancient times, the ancestors of the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese were considered to have been Proto-Austroasiatic (also called ''Proto-Mon–Khmer'') speaking people, po ...
- centered in the Mekong Delta and comprising territories inside modern day Thailand. Chinese annals confirm Funan's existence as early as the 1st century CE. Archaeological documentation implies an extensive human settlement history since the 4th century BCE. The region also hosted a number of indigenous Austroasiatic-speaking and
Malayo-Sumbawan-speaking
Malayo-Sumbawan-speaking
civilisations. However, little is known about Thailand before the 13th century, as the literary and concrete sources are scarce and most of the knowledge about this period is gleaned from archaeological evidence. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the Kingdom of
Funan Funan (; km, ហ៊្វូណន, ; vi, Phù Nam, Chu Han During ancient times, the ancestors of the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese were considered to have been Proto-Austroasiatic (also called ''Proto-Mon–Khmer'') speaking people, po ...
around the first century until the
Khmer Empire The Khmer Empire ( km, ចក្រភពខ្មែរ), or the Angkorian Empire ( km, ចក្រភពអង្គរ, link=no), are the terms that historians use to refer to Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ព ...

Khmer Empire
. These "Indianised kingdoms" are composing of
Dvaravati The Dvaravati ( th, ทวารวดี ; ) was an ancient Mon people, Mon kingdom from the 7th century to the 11th century that was located in the region now known as central Thailand. It was described by the Chinese pilgrim ''Hsuan-tsang'' i ...
,
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langu ...
and the Khmer Empire."Some Aspects of Asian History and Culture" by Upendra Thakur p.157 E. A. Voretzsch believes that Buddhism must have been flowing into Thailand from India at the time of the Indian emperor
Ashoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

Ashoka
of the
Maurya Empire The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human h ...
and into the first millennium. Later Thailand was influenced by the south Indian
Pallava dynasty The Pallava dynasty was an Indian dynasty that existed from 275 CE to 897 CE, ruling a portion of southern India South India is a region consisting of the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India ...
and north Indian
Gupta Empire The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed from the early 4th century CE to late 6th century CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 467 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is considered as the Go ...

Gupta Empire
.


Central Thailand

The
Chao Phraya River The Chao Phraya ( or ) ( th, wikt:เจ้าพระยา, แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา , or ) is the major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the centre of the country. It flows through Bangkok and th ...
in what is now central Thailand had once been the home of the Mon Dvaravati culture, which prevailed from the 7th century to the 10th century. Samuel Beal discovered the polity among the Chinese writings on Southeast Asia as "Duoluobodi". During the early 20th century archaeological excavations led by found
Nakhon Pathom Province Nakhon Pathom ( th, จังหวัดนครปฐม, ,Pronunciation) is one of the central provinces (''changwat'') of Thailand ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map ...
to be a centre of Dvaravati culture. The two most important sites were Nakorn Pathom and U Thong (in modern
Suphan Buri Province Suphan Buri ( th, สุพรรณบุรี, ) located in the central region of Thailand, is one of the country's 76 Provinces of Thailand, provinces (จังหวัด, changwat), the first-level administrative divisions. Neighbouring ...
). The inscriptions of Dvaravati were in Sanskrit and Mon using the script derived from the
Pallava alphabet The Pallava script or Pallava Grantha, is a Brahmic script The Brahmic scripts, also known as Indic scripts, are a family of abugida writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia, ...
of the
South India South India is a region consisting of the southern part of India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

South India
n Pallava dynasty. The religion of Dvaravati is thought to be
Theravada Buddhism Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon'' or ''Tripiṭaka, Tipiṭaka'' as wel ...
through contacts with
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකාව, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is ...

Sri Lanka
, with the ruling class also participating in
Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...

Hindu
rites. Dvaravati art, including the Buddha sculptures and
stupa A stupa ( sa, स्तूप, lit=heap, ) is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics.(such as ''śarīra'' – typically the remains of Bhikkhu, Buddhist monks or Bhikkhuni, nuns) that is used as a place of meditation. A rel ...

stupa
s, showed strong similarities to those of the Gupta Empire of India. The eastern parts of the Chao Phraya valley were subjected to a more Khmer and Hindu influence as the inscriptions are found in Khmer and Sanskrit. Dvaravati was a network of city-states paying tribute to more powerful ones according to the mandala political model. Dvaravati culture expanded into
Isan Northeast Thailand or Isan (Isan language, Isan/ th, อีสาน, ; lo, ອີສານ; also written as Isaan, Isarn, Issarn, Issan, Esan, or Esarn; from Pali ''īsānna'' or Sanskrit ईशान्य ''īśānya'' "northeast") consist ...
as well as south as far as the
Kra Isthmus The Kra Isthmus ( th, คอคอดกระ, ) in Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of ...
. The culture lost power around the 10th century when they submitted to the more unified Lavo-Khmer polity. Around the 10th century, the city-states of
Dvaravati The Dvaravati ( th, ทวารวดี ; ) was an ancient Mon people, Mon kingdom from the 7th century to the 11th century that was located in the region now known as central Thailand. It was described by the Chinese pilgrim ''Hsuan-tsang'' i ...
merged into two mandalas, the
Lavo Known as "Lavo" during most of its history, Lopburi Province is one of the most important cities in the Thai history, history of Thailand. The city has a long history, dating back into the prehistory period since the Bronze Age of more than 3, ...
(modern
Lopburi Lopburi ( th, ลพบุรี, , ) is the capital city of Lopburi Province Lopburi ( th, ลพบุรี, , ) is a province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from ...

Lopburi
) and the
Suvarnabhumi ( sa, सुवर्णभूमि; Pali: '); my, သုဝဏ္ဏဘူမိ, ; km, សុវណ្ណភូមិ, ''Sovannaphoum''; and th, สุวรรณภูมิ, . is a toponym Toponymy, also toponymics or toponomastics ...

Suvarnabhumi
(modern
Suphan Buri Suphan Buri () is a town (''thesaban mueang Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand. There are three levels of municipalities: city, town, and sub-district. Bangkok and Pattaya are special municipal entities no ...
). According to a legend in the Northern Chronicles, in 903, a king of
Tambralinga Tambralinga ( sa, Tāmbraliṅga) was an Indianised kingdom located on the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, ...
invaded and took Lavo and installed a Malay prince on the Lavo throne. The Malay prince was married to a Khmer princess who had fled an Angkorian dynastic bloodbath. The son of the couple contested the Khmer throne and became
Suryavarman I Suryavarman I ( km, សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី១; posthumously ''Nirvanapada'') was king of the Khmer Empire from 1006 to 1050. Suryavarman usurped King Udayadityavarman I, defeating his armies in approximately 1002. After a protrac ...
, thus bringing Lavo under Khmer domination through the marital union. Suryavarman I also expanded into the
Khorat Plateau The Khorat Plateau ( th, ที่ราบสูงโคราช) is a plateau in the northeastern Thailand, Thai region of Isan. The plateau forms a natural region, named after the short form of Nakhon Ratchasima, a historical barrier controlli ...
(later styled "Isan"), constructing many temples. Suryavarman, however, had no male heirs and again Lavo was independent. After the death of King Narai of Lavo, however, Lavo was plunged into bloody civil war and the Khmer under
Suryavarman II Suryavarman II ( km, សូរ្យវរ្ម័នទី២), posthumously named Paramavishnuloka, was a Khmer king from 1113 AD to 1145/1150 AD and the builder of Angkor Wat Angkor Wat (; km, អង្គរវត្ត "Temple cit ...

Suryavarman II
took advantage by invading Lavo and installing his son as the King of Lavo. The repeated but discontinued Khmer domination eventually Khmerized Lavo. Lavo was transformed from a Theravadin Mon Dvaravati city into a
Hindu Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...

Hindu
Khmer one. Lavo became the
entrepôt An ''entrepôt'' (; ) or transshipment port is a port, city, or trading post A trading post, trading station, or trading house, also known as a factory, was an establishment or settlement where goods and services could be traded. Typically t ...
of Khmer culture and power of the Chao Phraya river basin. The bas-relief at
Angkor Wat Angkor Wat (; km, អង្គរវត្ត "Temple city/city of temples") is the largest religious structure (temple complex) in the world by land area, measuring , located in Cambodia. Originally constructed as a personal mausoleum for ...

Angkor Wat
shows a Lavo army as one of the subordinates to Angkor. One interesting note is that a Tai army was shown as a part of Lavo army, a century before the establishment of the "
Sukhothai Kingdom The Sukhothai Kingdom ( th, สุโขทัย, , IAST: , ) was a post-classical Thai kingdom (Mandala (political model), mandala) in Mainland Southeast Asia surrounding the ancient capital city of Sukhothai Historical Park, Sukhothai in pr ...
".


Southern Thailand

Below the Kra Isthmus was the place of Malay civilisations. Primordial Malay kingdoms are described as tributaries to Funan by second-century Chinese sources, though most of them proved to be tribal organisations instead of full-fledged kingdoms. From the sixth century on, two major mandalas ruled southern Thailand, the Kanduli and the
Langkasuka Langkasuka was an ancient Malay Hindu-Buddhist kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malays ...
. Kanduli centred on what is now Surat Thani Province and Langasuka in
Pattani Province Pattani ( th, ปัตตานี, ; Pattani Malay: , , ) is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from southeast clockwise) Narathiwat Province, Narathiwat, Yala Province, Yala, and Songkhla Province, Songkhla. ...
. Southern Thailand was the centre of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
and
Mahayana Buddhism Mahāyāna (; "Great Vehicle") is a term for a broad group of Buddhism, Buddhist traditions, Buddhist texts#Mahāyāna texts, texts, Buddhist philosophy, philosophies, and practices. Mahāyāna Buddhism developed in India (c. 1st century BCE on ...
. The Tang monk
Yijing The ''I Ching'' or ''Yi Jing'' (, ), usually translated as ''Book of Changes'' or ''Classic of Changes'', is an ancient Chinese divination text and among the oldest of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zho ...
stopped at Langkasuka to study
Pali Pali () is a Middle Indo-AryanIndo-Aryan refers to: * Indo-Aryan languages ** Indo-Aryan superstrate in Mitanni or Mitanni-Aryan * Indo-Aryan peoples, the various peoples speaking these languages See also *Aryan invasion theory (disambiguat ...
grammar and Mahayana during his journey to India around 800. At that time, the kingdoms of Southern Thailand quickly fell under the influences of the Malay kingdom of
Srivijaya Srivijaya (, ; , ) was a Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay langu ...
from
Sumatra Sumatra is one of the Sunda Islands The Sunda Islands are a group of islands in the Malay Archipelago. They consist of the Greater Sunda Islands The Greater Sunda Islands are four tropical islands situated within Southeast Asia S ...

Sumatra
.
Rajendra Chola I Rajendra Chola I, often described as Rajendra the Great, was a Tamil Emperor of the Chola Empire The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri La ...
of the
Chola dynasty The Chola dynasty ( ta, சோழ வம்சம்) was a Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysia ...

Chola dynasty
invaded the
Tambralinga Tambralinga ( sa, Tāmbraliṅga) was an Indianised kingdom located on the Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, ...
Kingdom in
southern Thailand Southern Thailand is a southernmost cultural region of Thailand ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok , coordinates = , large ...
in the 11th century.


Northern Thailand

According to the '' Cāmadevivaṃsa'', the city of
Hariphunchai Hariphunchai or Haribhunjaya (from th, หริภุญชัย, in turn from pi, Haripuñjaya) was a Mon people, Mon kingdom in the north of present Thailand in the centuries before the Thais moved into the area. Its capital was at Lamphun, ...
(modern
Lamphun Lamphun ( th, ลำพูน, ) is a town (''thesaban mueang Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of ...
) was founded by
hermit A hermit, or eremite (adjectival form: hermitic or eremitic), is a person who lives in seclusion. Eremitism plays a role in a variety of religions. Description In Christianity, the term was originally applied to a Christian who lives the eremi ...

hermit
s.
Camadevi Camadevi (also spelled Jamadevi; IPA: ʃaːmaˈdeːʋiː Pali: Cāmadevī; th, จามเทวี, , ; 7th-century – 8th-century) was the first ruler of Hariphunchai (Pali: Haribhuñjaya), which was an ancient Mon people, Mon kingdom in th ...
, a princess of the
Lavo Kingdom The Kingdom of Lavo was a political entity (mandala A mandala ( sa, मण्डल, maṇḍala, circle, ) is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practit ...
, was invited to rule the city around 700. However, this date is considered too early for the foundation of Hariphunchai as Camadevi brought no
dharmachakra The dharmachakra (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South A ...

dharmachakra
s to the north. Hariphunchai may be a later (10th century) offshoot of the Lavo Kingdom or instead related to the
Thaton Kingdom The Thaton Kingdom, Suvarnabhumi, Suwarnabhumi, or Thuwunnabumi ( my, သထုံခေတ် or ) was a Mon people, Mon kingdom, believed to have existed in Lower Burma from at least the 4th century BC to the middle of the 11th century AD. ...
. Hariphunchai was the centre of Theravada in the north. The kingdom flourished during the reign of King Attayawong who built
Wat Phra That Hariphunchai Wat Phra That Hariphunchai ( th, วัดพระธาตุหริภุญชัย) is a Buddhist temple (''wat'') in Lamphun town, Lamphun, Thailand. The temple's origins date from the 11th century but the central stupa is thought to origi ...

Wat Phra That Hariphunchai
in 1108. The kingdom had strong relations with the Mon Kingdom of Thaton. During the 11th century, Hariphunchai waged lengthy wars with the Tai
Ngoenyang The Kingdom of Hiran or Kingdom of Ngoenyang ( th, อาณาจักรหิรัญเงินยาง ) was an early mueang or kingdom of the Northern Thai people from the 7th through 13th centuries AD and was originally centered on Hi ...
Kingdom of Chiang Saen. Weakened by Tai invasions, Hariphunchai eventually fell in 1293 to
Mangrai Mangrai ( nod, ; th, มังราย; 1238–1311), also known as Mengrai ( th, เม็งราย),The name according to historical sources is "Mangrai", and this is used in most modern scholarly applications. "Mengrai", popularised by a 19 ...
, king of
Lan Na The Lan Na or Lan Na Kingdom ( nod, , , "Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields"; th, อาณาจักรล้านนา, , ), also known as Lannathai, and most commonly called Lanna or Lanna Kingdom, was an Greater India#Indianized states, I ...
, the successor state of the Ngoenyang Kingdom.


Arrival of the Tais

The most recent and accurate theory about the origin of the
Tai people Tai people refers to the population of descendants of speakers of a common Tai language The Tai or Zhuang–Tai languages ( th, ภาษาไท or , transliteration Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script ...
stipulates that
Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, uni ...

Guangxi
in China is really the Tai motherland instead of Yunnan. A large number of Tai people known as the
ZhuangZhuang may refer to: *Zhuang people (or Bouxcuengh people), ethnic group in China *Zhuang languages *Zhuang logogram *Zhuang Zhou, ancient Chinese philosopher *Zhuang (surname) (庄/莊), a Chinese surname {{disambiguation Language and nationality ...
still live in Guangxi today. Around 700 AD, Tai people who did not come under Chinese influence settled in what is now Điện Biên Phủ in modern
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
according to the
Khun Borom Khun Borom ( th, ขุนบรม, ) or Khoun Bourôm ( lo, ຂຸນບູຣົມ, ) is a legendary progenitor of the Southwestern Tai languages, Southwestern Tai-speaking peoples, considered by the Lao people, Lao to be the father of their r ...
legend. Based on layers of Chinese
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning ...
s in proto-
Southwestern Tai The Southwestern Tai, Southwestern Thai or Thai languages are an established branch of the Tai languages of Southeast Asia. They include Thai language, Siamese (Central Thai), Lanna language, Lanna (Northern Thai), Lao language, Lao, Isan languag ...
and other historical evidence, Pittayawat Pittayaporn (2014) proposed that this migration must have taken place sometime between the 8th–10th centuries.Pittayaporn, Pittayawat (2014). Layers of Chinese loanwords in Proto-Southwestern Tai as Evidence for the Dating of the Spread of Southwestern Tai
. ''MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities,'' Special Issue No 20: 47–64.
Tai speaking tribes migrated southwestward along the rivers and over the lower passes into Southeast Asia, perhaps prompted by the Chinese expansion and suppression. Chinese historical texts record that, in 722, 400,000 'Lao'The term ''"Lao"'' used in this context refers to Tai-Kadai speaking peoples resided in what are now Guangdong, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam in general. It is not necessarily applied solely to the ancestor of the Lao. rose in revolt behind a leader who declared himself the king of
Nanyue Nanyue () or Namz Yied ( za, Namzyied), was an ancient kingdom ruled by Chinese monarchs of the Triệu dynasty The Triệu dynasty (; vi, Nhà Triệu, links=no; wikt:家, 家wikt:趙, 趙) ruled the kingdom of Nanyue, which consisted of p ...

Nanyue
in
Guangdong Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admin ...

Guangdong
. After the 722 revolt, some 60,000 were beheaded. In 726, after the suppression of a rebellion by a 'Lao' leader in the , over 30,000 rebels were captured and beheaded. In 756, another revolt attracted 200,000 followers and lasted four years. In the 860s, many local people in what is now North Vietnam sided with attackers from
Nanchao Nanzhao, also spelled Nanchao or Nan Chao (literally 'Southern Zhao'), was a dynastic kingdom that flourished in what is now southern China Northern China () and Southern China () are two approximate regions within China China, o ...
, and in the aftermath, some 30,000 of them were beheaded. In the 1040s, a powerful matriarch-shamaness by the name of
A Nong A Nong (also A Nùng, zh, 阿儂; 1005–1055) was a Zhuang people, Zhuang shamaness, matriarch and warrior. She was the mother of the warlord Nong Zhigao (1025–1055). Alongside her son, father, and husband, she led the Zhuang and Nùng people ...
, her chiefly husband, and their son,
Nong Zhigao Nong Zhigao (modern Zhuang language 220px, Books of Zhuang language The Zhuang languages (; autonym Autonym may refer to: * Autonym, the name used by a person to refer to themselves or their language; see Exonym and endonym * Autonym (botany), ...
, raised a revolt, took
Nanning Nanning (; ; za, Namzningz) is the capital and largest city by population of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), ...

Nanning
, besieged
Guangzhou Guangzhou (, ; ; or ; ), also known as Canton and alternatively romanized as Kwongchow or Kwangchow, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the ...

Guangzhou
for fifty seven days, and slew the commanders of five Chinese armies sent against them before they were defeated, and many of their leaders were killed. As a result of these three bloody centuries, the Tai began to migrate southwestward. The ''Simhanavati legend'' tells us that a Tai chief named Simhanavati drove out the native
Wa people The Wa people (Wa language, Wa: Vāx; my, ဝလူမျိုး, ; ; th, ว้า) are a Southeast Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in Northern Myanmar, in the northern part of Shan State and the eastern part of Kachin State, near and ...
and founded the city of Chiang Saen around 800 CE. For the first time, the Tai people made contact with the
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
nized civilisations of Southeast Asia. Through Hariphunchai, the Tais of Chiang Saen adopted Theravada Buddhism and
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
royal names. , constructed around 850, signified the piety of Tai people on the Theravada religion. Around 900, major wars were fought between Chiang Saen and Hariphunchai. Mon forces captured Chiang Saen and its king fled. In 937, Prince Prom the Great took Chiang Saen back from the Mon and inflicted severe defeats on Hariphunchai. Around 1000 CE, Chiang Saen was destroyed by an earthquake with many inhabitants killed. A council was established to govern the kingdom for a while, and then a local Wa man known as Lavachakkaraj was elected king of the new city of Chiang Saen or
Ngoenyang The Kingdom of Hiran or Kingdom of Ngoenyang ( th, อาณาจักรหิรัญเงินยาง ) was an early mueang or kingdom of the Northern Thai people from the 7th through 13th centuries AD and was originally centered on Hi ...
. The Lavachakkaraj dynasty would rule over the region for about 500 years. Overpopulation might have encouraged the Tais to seek their fortune further southwards. By 1100 CE, the Tai had established themselves as ''Po Khun''s (ruling fathers) at
Nan In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softw ...
,
Phrae Phrae (; ) is a town (''thesaban mueang Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a countr ...
, Songkwae,
Sawankhalok Sawankhalok (, ) is a district (''amphoe'') in the northern part of Sukhothai Province, in the lower north of Thailand. Geography Neighboring districts are (from the south clockwise) Si Samrong District, Si Samrong, Thung Saliam District, Thung ...
, and Chakangrao on the upper
Chao Phraya River The Chao Phraya ( or ) ( th, wikt:เจ้าพระยา, แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา , or ) is the major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the centre of the country. It flows through Bangkok and th ...
. These southern Tai princes faced Khmer influence from the Lavo Kingdom. Some of them became subordinates to it.


Sukhothai Kingdom (1238–1438)

Thai city-states gradually became independent of the weakened
Khmer Empire The Khmer Empire ( km, ចក្រភពខ្មែរ), or the Angkorian Empire ( km, ចក្រភពអង្គរ, link=no), are the terms that historians use to refer to Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ព ...

Khmer Empire
. It is said that
Sukhothai Kingdom The Sukhothai Kingdom ( th, สุโขทัย, , IAST: , ) was a post-classical Thai kingdom (Mandala (political model), mandala) in Mainland Southeast Asia surrounding the ancient capital city of Sukhothai Historical Park, Sukhothai in pr ...
was established as a strong sovereign kingdom by
Sri Indraditya Si Inthrathit ( th, ศรีอินทราทิตย์, ; also spelt Sri Indraditya) was the first king of the Sukhothai Kingdom, a historical kingdom of Thailand, and ruled from 1238 until around 1270. He is credited as the founder of the ...
in 1238. A political feature which "classic" Thai historians call "father governs children" existed at this time. Everybody could bring their problems to the king directly, as there was a bell in front of the palace for this purpose. The city briefly dominated the area under King
Ram Khamhaeng Ram Khamhaeng ( th, รามคำแหง, ) or Pho Khun Ram Khamhaeng Maharat ( th, พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช, ), also spelled Ramkhamhaeng, was the third king of the Phra Ruang Dynasty, ruling the Sukhoth ...
, who tradition and legend states established the
Thai alphabet The Thai script ( th, อักษรไทย, ) is the abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez language, Ge'ez: አቡጊዳ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental Writing systems#Segmental writin ...
, but after his death in 1365, Sukhothai fell into decline and became subject to another emerging Thai state, the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the lower Chao Phraya area. Another Thai state that coexisted with Sukhothai was the eastern state of
Lan Na The Lan Na or Lan Na Kingdom ( nod, , , "Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields"; th, อาณาจักรล้านนา, , ), also known as Lannathai, and most commonly called Lanna or Lanna Kingdom, was an Greater India#Indianized states, I ...
centred in
Chiang Mai Chiang Mai (, from th, เชียงใหม่ , nod, ), sometimes written as Chiengmai or Chiangmai, is the largest city in northern Thailand Northern Thailand ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify ...

Chiang Mai
. King
Mangrai Mangrai ( nod, ; th, มังราย; 1238–1311), also known as Mengrai ( th, เม็งราย),The name according to historical sources is "Mangrai", and this is used in most modern scholarly applications. "Mengrai", popularised by a 19 ...
was its founder. This city-state emerged in the same period as Sukhothai. Evidently, Lan Na became closely allied with Sukhothai. After the Ayutthaya Kingdom had emerged and expanded its influence from the Chao Phraya valley, Sukhothai was finally subdued. Fierce battles between Lan Na and Ayutthaya also constantly took place and Chiang Mai was eventually subjugated, becoming Ayutthaya's
vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, a chief ...
. Lan Na's independent history ended in 1558, when it finally fell to the Burmese. It was dominated by Burma until the late-18th century. Local leaders then rose up against the Burmese with the help of the rising Thai kingdom of
Thonburi __NOTOC__ Thonburi ( th, ธนบุรี) is an area of modern Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom ...

Thonburi
of King
Taksin King Taksin the Great ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช, , ) or the King of Thonburi ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้ากรุงธนบุรี, ; ; Teochew: Dên Chao; Vietnamese ...
. The "Northern City-States" then became vassals of the lower Thai kingdoms of Thonburi and Bangkok. In the early 20th century they were annexed and became part of modern Siam, the country that is now called "Thailand".


Ayutthaya period (1351–1767)

The city of Ayutthaya was on a small island, encircled by three rivers. Due to its defensible location, Ayutthaya quickly became powerful, politically, and economically. Ayutthaya's name is derived from
Ayodhya Ayodhya (; IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scienti ...

Ayodhya
, an Indian holy city. The first ruler of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, King
Uthong King U-thongThe Royal Institute. List of monarchs Ayutthaya''. ( th, พระเจ้าอู่ทอง) or King Ramathibodi I ( th, สมเด็จพระรามาธิบดีที่ ๑ ; 1314–1369) was the first king of ...
(r. 1351–1369), made two important contributions to Thai history: the establishment and promotion of
Theravada Buddhism Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon'' or ''Tripiṭaka, Tipiṭaka'' as wel ...
as the official religion to differentiate his kingdom from the neighbouring Hindu kingdom of Angkor and the compilation of the ''
Dharmaśāstra ''Dharmaśāstra'' ( sa, धर्मशास्त्र) is a genre of Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan b ...
'', a legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai custom. The ''Dharmaśāstra'' remained a tool of Thai law until late in the 19th century. In 1511 Duke
Afonso de Albuquerque Afonso de Albuquerque, Duke of Goa (; 1453 – 16 December 1515) (also spelled Aphonso or Alfonso) was a Portuguese general, admiral, and statesman. He served as List of governors of Portuguese India, Governor of Portuguese India from 1509 to 1 ...

Afonso de Albuquerque
dispatched
Duarte Fernandes Duarte Fernandes (16th century) was a Portugal, Portuguese diplomat, explorer, and was the first European to establish diplomatic relations with Thailand, when in 1511 he led a diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya Kingdom (Kingdom of Siam), after the Por ...
as an envoy to the Ayutthaya Kingdom, known then to Europeans as the "Kingdom of Siam". This contact with the West during the 16th century led to a period of economic growth as lucrative trade routes were established. Ayutthaya became one of the most prosperous cities in Southeast Asia. According to
George Modelski George Modelski (born January 9, 1926 Poznań Poznań is a city on the Warta, River Warta in west-central Poland, within the Greater Poland region. The city is an important cultural and business centre, and one of Poland's most populous regi ...
, Ayutthaya is estimated to have been the largest city in the world in 1700 CE, with a population around one million.
George Modelski George Modelski (born January 9, 1926 Poznań Poznań is a city on the Warta, River Warta in west-central Poland, within the Greater Poland region. The city is an important cultural and business centre, and one of Poland's most populous regi ...
, ''World Cities: 3000 to 2000'', Washington DC: FAROS 2000, 2003. .
Trade flourished, with the Dutch and Portuguese among the most active foreigners in the kingdom, together with the Chinese and Malayans. The Ayutthaya Period is known as the golden age of
Thai literature 300px, ''Samut Thai'', a traditional medium for recordation and transmission of Thai and other literature in mainland Southeast Asia Thai literature is the literature of the Thai people, almost exclusively written in the Thai language (although ...
,
Art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use ...
and Trade with the eastern and western world. In Ayutthaya period was also considered as "golden age of medicine in Thailand" due to progress in the field of medicine at that time.


Burmese wars

Starting in the middle of the 16th century, the kingdom came under repeated attacks by the
Taungoo Dynasty , conventional_long_name = Toungoo dynasty , common_name = Taungoo dynasty , era = , status = Empire , event_start = Independence from Ava , year_start ...
of
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
. The Burmese–Siamese War (1547–49) began with a Burmese invasion and a failed siege of Ayutthaya. A second siege (1563–64) led by King
Bayinnaung , image = File:Bayinnaung.JPG , caption = Statue of Bayinnaung in front of the National Museum of Myanmar The National Museum of Myanmar (Yangon), ( my, အမျိုးသား ပြတိုက်), located in ...

Bayinnaung
forced King
Maha Chakkraphat Maha Chakkraphat ( th, มหาจักรพรรดิ, ; lit.: 'The Great Emperor'; 1509 – 1569) was king of the Ayutthaya kingdom from 1548 to 1564 and 1568 to 1569. Originally called Prince Thianracha, or Prince Tien, he was put on the ...
to surrender in 1564. The royal family was taken to
Bago, Burma Bago (formerly spelt Pegu; , ), formerly known as Hanthawaddy, is a city and the capital of the Bago Region in Myanmar Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, i ...
, with the king's second son
Mahinthrathirat Mahinthrathirat ( th, มหินทราธิราช, ; 1539–1569) was king of Ayutthaya kingdom, Ayutthaya 1564 to 1568 and again in 1569. He ruled his first reign as a vassal of First Toungoo Empire, Toungoo Burma before restoring his fa ...
installed as a vassal king. In 1568, Mahinthrathirat revolted when his father managed to return from Bago as a
Buddhist monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
. The ensuing third siege captured Ayutthaya in 1569 and Bayinnaung made Mahathammarachathirat his vassal king. After Bayinnaung's death in 1581, Uparaja
Naresuan King Naresuan the Great (( th, สมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช, , ) or Sanphet II ( th, สรรเพชญ์ที่ ๒), ( my , နရဲစွမ် (သို့) ဗြနရာဇ်); 1555/1556 – ...
proclaimed Ayutthaya's independence in 1584. The Thai fought off repeated Burmese invasions (1584–1593), capped by an elephant duel between King
Naresuan King Naresuan the Great (( th, สมเด็จพระนเรศวรมหาราช, , ) or Sanphet II ( th, สรรเพชญ์ที่ ๒), ( my , နရဲစွမ် (သို့) ဗြနရာဇ်); 1555/1556 – ...
and Burmese heir-apparent
Mingyi Swa , image = , caption = , reign = 15 October 1581 – , coronation = , succession = Heir Apparent of Burma , predecessor = Nanda NANDA International (formerly the N ...
in 1593 during the fourth siege of Ayutthaya in which Naresuan famously slew Mingyi Swa. The Burmese–Siamese War (1594–1605) was a Thai attack on Burma, resulting in the capture of the
Tanintharyi Region Tanintharyi Region ( my, တနင်္သာရီတိုင်းဒေသကြီး, ; mnw, ဏၚ်ကသဳ or ရးတၞင်သြဳ; ms, Tanah Sari; formerly Tenasserim Division and subsequently Tanintharyi Division, th, ...
as far as
Mottama Mottama ( my, မုတ္တမမြို့, ; Muttama mnw, မိုဟ် တၟံ, ; formerly Martaban) is a small town in the Thaton district of Mon State, Myanmar. Located on the west bank of the Salween river, Thanlwin river (Salween ...
in 1595 and Lan Na in 1602. Naresuan even invaded mainland Burma as far as Taungoo in 1600, but was driven back. Ayutthaya expanded its sphere of influence over a considerable area, ranging from the Islamic states on the
Malay Peninsula The Malay Peninsula (Malay Malay may refer to: Languages * Malay language or Bahasa Melayu, a major Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore ** History of the Malay language#Old Malay, the Malay language f ...
, the seaports of present-day India, the of Cambodia, to states in northern Thailand. In the 18th century, the power of the Ayutthaya Kingdom gradually declined as fighting between princes and officials plagued its politics. Outlying principalities became more and more independent, ignoring the capital's orders and decrees. In the 18th century, the last phase of the kingdom arrived. The
Bamar people The Bamar (, ; also historically the Burmese and Burmans) are a Southeast Asian Sino-Tibetan Sino-Tibetan, also known as Trans-Himalayan in a few sources, is a family of more than 400 languages, second only to Indo-European in number of na ...
, who had taken control of Lan Na and had also unified their kingdom under the powerful
Konbaung Dynasty The Konbaung dynasty ( my, ကုန်းဘောင်ခေတ်, ), also known as Third Burmese Empire (တတိယမြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်) and formerly known as the Alompra dynasty (အလောင်းဘ ...

Konbaung Dynasty
, launched several blows against Ayutthaya in the 1750s and 1760s. Finally, in 1767, after several months of siege, the Burmese broke through Ayutthaya's outer and inner walls, sacked the city, and burned it down. The royal family fled the city and Ayutthaya's last king,
Ekkathat Ekkathat ( th, เอกทัศ, ) or Borommoracha III ( th, บรมราชาที่ 3) or King of Suriyamarin Throne Hall ( th, สมเด็จพระที่นั่งสุริยาศน์อมรินทร์) was the ...
, died of starvation ten days later while in hiding.


Thonburi and Early Rattanakosin period (1767–1851)


Unification under Taksin

After more than 400 years of power, in 1767, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya was brought down by invading armies, its capital burned, and the territory split. Despite its complete defeat and occupation by Burma, Siam made a rapid recovery. The resistance to Burmese rule was led by a noble of Chinese descent,
Taksin King Taksin the Great ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช, , ) or the King of Thonburi ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้ากรุงธนบุรี, ; ; Teochew: Dên Chao; Vietnamese ...
, a capable military leader. Initially based at
Chanthaburi Chanthaburi ( th, :wikt:จันทบุรี, จันทบุรี, ) is a town (''thesaban mueang'') in the east of Thailand, on the banks of the Chanthaburi River. It is the capital of the Chanthaburi Province and the Mueang Chanthaburi ...
in the southeast, within a year he had defeated the Burmese occupation army and re-established a Siamese state with its capital at
Thonburi __NOTOC__ Thonburi ( th, ธนบุรี) is an area of modern Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom ...

Thonburi
on the west bank of the Chao Phraya, 20 km from the sea. In 1767 he was crowned as King Taksin (now officially known as "Taksin the Great"). After the sacking of Ayutthaya, the country had fallen apart, due to the disappearance of the central authority. Besides King Taksin, who had organised his force in the southeastern provinces, Prince Teppipit, King Boromakot's son, who had been unsuccessful in a diversionary action against the Burmese in 1766, had set himself up as the ruler of
Phimai Phimai ( th, พิมาย) is a township (''thesaban tambon Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom o ...
holding sway over the eastern provinces including
Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Ratchasima ( th, นครราชสีมา, ) is one of the four major cities of Isan, Thailand, known as the "big four of Isan". The city is commonly known as Korat (, ), a shortened form of its name. It is the governmental seat of ...
or Khorat, while the Governor of
Phitsanulok Phitsanulok ( th, พิษณุโลก, ) is an important, historic city in lower northern Thailand and is the capital of Phitsanulok Province Phitsanulok Province ( th, พิษณุโลก, ), one of Thailand's seventy-six provinces ...

Phitsanulok
, whose first name was Ruang (Thai:เรือง), had proclaimed himself independent, with the territory under his control extending to the province of
Nakhon Sawan Nakhon Sawan ( th, นครสวรรค์, ) is a city (''thesaban nakhon Thesaban ( th, เทศบาล, , ) are the municipalities of Thailand. There are three levels of municipalities: city, town, and sub-district. Bangkok and Pattay ...
. North of Phitsanulok was the town of Sawangburi (known as
Fang A fang is a long, pointed tooth A tooth (plural teeth) is a hard, calcified Calcification is the accumulation of calcium salts in a Tissue (biology), body tissue. It normally occurs in the formation of bone, but calcium can be deposited ...
in Uttaradit Province), where a Buddhist monk named Ruan had made himself a prince, appointing fellow monks as army commanders. He had himself pursued Buddhist studies at Ayutthaya with such excellent results that he had been appointed the chief monk of Sawangburi by King Boromakot. The southern provinces as far north as Chumphon, a Pra Palad who was the acting Governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat declared his independence and raised himself to a princely rank. Having firmly established his power at Thonburi, King Taksin set out to reunify the old kingdom, crushing regional rivals. After a temporary repulse by the Governor of Phitsanulok, he concentrated on the defeat of the weakest one first. Prince Teppipit of Phimai was quelled and executed in 1768. Chao Narasuriyawongse, one of Taksin's nephews, was substituted for him as governor. The last so-called ruler who still challenged the King was the Prince of Sawangburi or Chao Pra Fang, as he had just annexed Phitsanulok on the death of its Governor. King Taksin himself led an expedition against him and took it, but the prince disappeared and could not be found again. In dealing with the Prince of Nakhon Si Thammarat, who was taken prisoner by the loyal Governor of Pattani, the king not only pardoned him but also favoured him with a residence at Thonburi. In Thonburi period, the beginning of the Thai Chinese, Chinese mass immigration fell to Siam. Through the availability of Chinese workers, trade, agriculture and craftsmen flourished. However, the first Chinese rebellions had to be suppressed. However, later due to stress and many factors, King Taksin went mad. After a coup d'état removing Taksin from power was restored by General Chakri (later becoming Rama I), Taksin was sentenced to death on Wednesday, 10 April 1782.


Restoration under Rama I

A noble of Mon people, Mon descent, General Chakri succeeded Taksin in 1782 as Rama I, the first king of the Chakri dynasty. In the same year he founded a new capital city across the
Chao Phraya River The Chao Phraya ( or ) ( th, wikt:เจ้าพระยา, แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา , or ) is the major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial plain forming the centre of the country. It flows through Bangkok and th ...
in an area known as Rattanakosin Island. (While settlements on both banks were commonly called Bangkok, both the s:Burney Treaty, Burney Treaty of 1826 and the s:Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Siam and the United States, 1833, Roberts Treaty of 1833 refer to the capital as the City of Sia-Yut'hia.) In the 1790s, Burmese–Siamese wars#Konbaung–Bangkok, Burma was defeated and driven out of Siam, as it was then called.
Lan Na The Lan Na or Lan Na Kingdom ( nod, , , "Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields"; th, อาณาจักรล้านนา, , ), also known as Lannathai, and most commonly called Lanna or Lanna Kingdom, was an Greater India#Indianized states, I ...
also became free of Burmese occupation, but was reduced to the
Kingdom of Chiang Mai Kingdom of Rattanatingsa or Kingdom of Chiang Mai ( th, นครเชียงใหม่; full name: รัตนติงสาอภินวปุรีสรีคุรุรัฎฐพระนครเชียงใหม่; ) () wa ...
. The king of the new dynasty was installed as a tributary state, tributary ruler of the Chakri dynasty, Chakri monarch. After the coup of removing Taksin, it is probable that Chakri and his family had planned the ascent to the throne already during his predecessor
Taksin King Taksin the Great ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้าตากสินมหาราช, , ) or the King of Thonburi ( th, สมเด็จพระเจ้ากรุงธนบุรี, ; ; Teochew: Dên Chao; Vietnamese ...
. After his Coronation of the Thai monarch, coronation, he operated a systematic bloody extermination of the followers of Taksin, which corresponds to the typical approach of the usurpation, usurpers in Thai history. The new dynasty moved the capital of Thonburi to Rattanakosin Island, Rattanakosin, today's Bangkok. Bangkok had previously been a small settlement with a fort, but it was strategically located on the eastern shores of the Chao Phraya river and was known among the foreign traders as the 'key to Siam'. New palaces and temples were built. The Emerald Buddha and Wat Phra Kaeo were founded. The king's goal was to transfer the old splendor of Ayutthaya to the new capital. In his new capital, Rama I crowned himself in 1785 in a splendid ceremony. During the reign of Rama I, the foreign policy was still focused on the threat represented by Burma. Burma's new king Bodawpaya ordered the nine Burmese armies in a surprise attack against Siam, while in 1786 the Burmese army invaded the Three Pagoda Pass. It came to the "Burmese–Siamese War (1785–86), Nine Armies' Wars". In all cases, the Siamese remained victorious after the fighting. In 1805 Lanna (North Thailand) was largely brought under control of Bangkok. Rama I also attempted unsuccessfully to conquer the important trading ports of Tenasserim Division, Tenasserim. At the time of Rama I, Cambodia was practically administered as a province of Siam, as rival Vietnam had to deal with internal problems. Only when the new Vietnamese emperor Gia Long had ascended to the throne was the influence of Siam in Cambodia again contested. Relations with Vietnam took on a prominent place in this epoch. There were no significant relations with the European colonial powers during the reign of Rama I. One of the most important achievements of Rama I was the codification of all the country's laws into a work of 1,700 pages called the Three Seals Law. This law remained valid in its basic traits until the beginning of the twentieth century. Siam also had a high level of cultural achievement. The Buddhist canon (Pāli Canon) was collected and reformulated within the framework of a Grand Council. The arts were promoted, as well as the construction of new palaces and temples in the capital. Literature and theatre also thrived; in this epoch were produced works such as the important, 3,000-page Ramakian. Works from Chinese, Mon, Javanese, Persian, and Indian languages were translated into Thai. Rama I, the first king of the Chakri dynasty, continued the traditions of Ayutthaya in many respects. However, the new empire was still more tightly centralised than its predecessors. A particularly important innovation was the stronger emphasis on rationality in the relationship between the monarch and his subjects. Rama I was the first king in the history of the country who justified his decisions before the highest officials.


Maintaining the status quo under Rama II and Rama III

King Rama II of Siam, Rama II (Phra Phutthaloetla) was the son of Rama I. His accession to the throne was accompanied by a plot, during which 40 people were killed. The calmness of the interior and the exterior, which during the reign of Rama II and his successor Rama III (Phra Nang Klao), prevailed mainly through giving in to conflicts and building good relations with influential clans in the country. During Rama II's reign, the kingdom saw a cultural renaissance after the massive wars that plagued his predecessor's reign; particularly in the fields of arts and literature. Poets employed by Rama II included Sunthorn Phu the drunken writer (''Phra Aphai Mani'') and Narin Dhibet (''Nirat Narin''). Foreign relations were initially dominated by relations with the neighbouring states, while those with European colonial powers started to enter in the background. In Cambodia and Laos, Vietnam gained the supremacy, a fact which Rama II initially accepted. When a rebellion broke out in Vietnam under Rama III in 1833–34, he tried to subdue the Vietnamese militarily, but this led to a costly defeat for the Siamese troops. In the 1840s, however, the Khmer themselves succeeded in expelling the Vietnamese, which subsequently led to the greater influence of Siam in Cambodia. At the same time, Siam kept sending tribute to China. There was a serious touch with British colonial interests when Siam conquered the Sultanate Kedah on the Malay Peninsula in 1821. Kedah belonged to the sphere of interest of Great Britain. In the following year, Siam had to recognise the pre-conquest status after tough negotiations with the British envoy John Crawfurd. There was also the cautious resumption of trade and missionary activity in this epoch. In particular, British traders such as Robert Hunter (trader), Robert Hunter ("discoverer" of the conjoined brothers Chang and Eng, the original Chang and Eng Bunker, "Siamese twins") or James Hayes, but also missionaries from Europe and the United States like Jacob Tomlin, Karl Gützlaff, Dan Beach Bradley and Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix became active in Siam. In 1825 an agreement was signed with British emissary Henry Burney; Siam recognised British colonial possessions on the Malay Peninsula and made commercial concessions. This agreement was due not least to the rapid British success in the First Anglo-Burmese War. A potentially dangerous event occurred with the Lao rebellion (1826–28), Anouvong's Rebellion in 1827, when the troops of the tributary King Anouvong of the Kingdom of Vientiane advanced towards Bangkok. They were, however, destroyed, which strengthened the position of Siam in Laos. The Lao-population of the areas west of the Mekong were relocated to Thai provinces in
Isan Northeast Thailand or Isan (Isan language, Isan/ th, อีสาน, ; lo, ອີສານ; also written as Isaan, Isarn, Issarn, Issan, Esan, or Esarn; from Pali ''īsānna'' or Sanskrit ईशान्य ''īśānya'' "northeast") consist ...
. Under Rama II and Rama III, culture, dance, poetry and above all the theatre reached a climax. The temple Wat Pho was built by Rama III, known as the first university of the country. The reign of Rama III. was finally marked by a division of the aristocracy with regard to foreign policy. A small group of advocates of the takeover of Western technologies and other achievements were opposed by conservative circles, which proposed a stronger isolation instead. Since the kings Rama II and Rama III, the conservative-religious circles largely stuck with their isolationist tendency. The death of Rama III in 1851 also signified the end of the old traditional Siamese monarchy: there were already clear signs of profound changes, which were implemented by the two successors of the king.


Modernization under Rama IV and Rama V (1851–1910)

When King Mongkut ascended the Siamese throne, he was severely threatened by the neighbouring states. The colonial powers of Britain and France had already advanced into territories which originally belonged to the Siamese sphere of influence. Mongkut and his successor
Chulalongkorn Chulalongkorn ( th, จุฬาลงกรณ์, 20 September 1853 – 23 October 1910) was the fifth monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or ...

Chulalongkorn
(Rama V) recognised this situation and tried to strengthen the defence forces of Siam by modernisation, to absorb Western scientific and technical achievements, thus avoiding colonisation. The two monarchs, who ruled in this epoch, were the first with Western formation. King Mongkut had lived 26 years as a wandering monk and later as an abbot of Wat Bowonniwet Vihara. He was not only skilled in the traditional culture and Buddhist sciences of Siam, but he had also dealt extensively with modern western science, drawing on the knowledge of European missionaries and his correspondence with Western leaders and the Pope. He was the first Siamese monarch to speak English. As early as 1855, John Bowring, the British governor in Hong Kong, appeared on a warship at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Under the influence of Britain's achievements in neighbouring Burma, King Mongkut signed the so-called "Bowring Treaty", which abolished the royal foreign trade monopoly, abolished import duties, and granted Britain a most favourable clause. The Bowring Treaty meant the integration of Siam into the world economy, but at the same time, the royal house lost its most important sources of income. Similar treaties were concluded with all Western powers in the following years, such as in 1862 with Prussia and 1869 with Austria-Hungary. From the Prussian emissary Count Friedrich Albrecht zu Eulenburg comes a much-respected travel report about Siam. The survival diplomacy, which Siam had cultivated abroad for a long time, reached its climax in this epoch. The integration into the global economy meant to Siam that it became a sales market for Western industrial goods and an investment for Western capital. The export of agricultural and mineral raw materials began, including the three products rice, pewter and teak tree, teakwood, which were used to produce 90% of the export turnover. King Mongkut actively promoted the expansion of agricultural land by tax incentives, while the construction of traffic routes (canals, roads and later also State Railway of Thailand, railways) and the influx of Chinese immigrants allowed the agricultural development of new regions. Mongkut's son,
Chulalongkorn Chulalongkorn ( th, จุฬาลงกรณ์, 20 September 1853 – 23 October 1910) was the fifth monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or ...

Chulalongkorn
(Rama V), ascended to the throne in 1868. He was the first Siamese king to have a full Western education, having been taught by a British governess, Anna Leonowens, whose place in Siamese history has been fictionalised as ''The King and I''. At first Rama V's reign was dominated by the conservative regent, Somdet Chaophraya Sri Suriwongse, but when the king came of age in 1873 he soon took control. He created a Privy Council and a Council of State, a formal court system and budget office. He announced that slavery would be gradually abolished and debt-bondage restricted.


Western colonialism and cessation of protectorates

Two kings, Mongkut and Chulalongkorn, witnessed the expansion of both French colonial empire, France and British Empire, Great Britain to increase their colonial territories in Southeast Asia and encircle Siam. From the west, the British conquered
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
,
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
and Malay Peninsula, Malaya, and from the east, the French conquered Cochinchina Campaign, South Vietnam,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
and claimed to be "protecting" Cambodia, while Siam lost its extraterritorial rights in these areas to the new conquerors. The construction of Thai Canal, Kra Isthmus Canal, planned by a group of entrepreneurs led by the engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, was not constructed after the British conquered Konbaung Dynasty, Kongbaung-ruled Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885. A major event was the Paknam incident, when, on 13 July 1893, French cannon boats entered the Chao Phraya River toward Bangkok and were fired upon from a Siamese coastal fort, leading to the Franco-Siamese War. In the same year, Siam was compelled to conclude a treaty with France, in which the territory of Laos, located east of the Mekong, was annexed to French Indochina. The French forced Siam to refrain from any influence on its former vassal state. In 1887, the French Indochina, Indo-Chinese Union was founded. In 1896, British and French concluded a treaty which made a border between their colonies, with Siam defined as a buffer state. After the Franco-Siamese War of 1893, King Chulalongkorn realised the threat of the western colonial powers, and accelerated extensive reforms in the administration, military, economy and society of Siam, completing the development of the nation from a traditional feudalist structure based on personal domination and dependencies, whose peripheral areas were only indirectly bound to the central power (the King), to a centrally-governed national state with established borders and modern political institutions. The Entente Cordiale of 8 April 1904 ended the rivalry between Great Britain and France over Siam. French and British zones of influence in Siam, were outlined, with the eastern territories, adjacent to French Indochina, becoming a French zone, and the western, adjacent to Colonial Burma, Burmese Tenasserim Division, Tenasserim, a British zone. The British recognised a French sphere of influence to the east of the River Menam's basin; in turn, the French recognised British influence over the territory to the west of the Menam basin. Both parties disclaimed any idea of annexing Siamese territory. The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 defined the modern border between Siam and British Malaya. The treaty stated that Siam relinquished their claims over Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis to Great Britain, which were previously part of the semi-independent Malay sultanates of Pattani and Kedah. A series of treaties with France fixed the country's current eastern border with Laos and Cambodia. In 1904, 1907 and 1909, there were new border corrections in favour of France and Great Britain. When King Chulalongkorn died in 1910, Siam had achieved the borders of today's Thailand. In 1910 he was peacefully succeeded by his son Vajiravudh, who reigned as Rama VI. He had been educated at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and University of Oxford and was an anglicised Edwardian gentleman. Indeed, one of Siam's problems was the widening gap between the Westernised royal family and upper aristocracy and the rest of the country. It took another 20 years for Western education to extend to the rest of the bureaucracy and the army.


Nation formation under Vajiravudh and Prajadhipok (1910–1932)

The successor of King Chulalongkorn was King Rama VI in October 1910, better known as Vajiravudh. He had studied law and history as the Siamese crown prince in Great Britain. After his ascension to the throne, he forgave important officials for his devoted friends, who were not part of the nobility, and even less qualified than their predecessors, an action which had hitherto been unprecedented in Siam. In his reign (1910–1925) many changes were made, which brought Siam closer to modern countries. For example, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, all the citizens of his country had to accept Thai name, Family names, women were encouraged to wear skirts and long hair fringements and a citizenship law, Principle of the "Ius sanguinis" was adopted. In 1917 the Chulalongkorn University was founded and school education was introduced for all 7 to 14-year-olds. King Vajiravudh was a favour of literature, theatre, he translated many foreign literatures into Thai. He created the spiritual foundation for a kind of Thai nationalism, a phenomenon unknown in Siam. He was based on the unity of nation, Buddhism, and kingship, and demanded loyalty from his subjects to all these three institutions. King Vajiravudh also took refuge in an irrational and contradictory anti-Sinicism. As a result of the mass immigration, in contrast to previous immigration waves from China, women and entire families had also come into the country, which meant that the Chinese were less assimilated and retained their cultural independence. In an article published by King Vajiravudh under a pseudonym, he described the Chinese minority as ''Jews of the East''. King Vajiravudh also created some new social associations, for example, the Wild Tiger Corps (1911), a kind of Scout movement. In 1912, a Palace Revolt of 1912, Palace revolt, plotted by young military officers, tried unsuccessfully to overthrow and replace the king. Their goals were to change the system of government, overthrowing the Ancien Régime#Terminology, ancien régime and replacing it with a modern, Westernised constitutional system, and perhaps to replace Rama VI with a prince more sympathetic to their beliefs., but the king went against the conspirators, and sentenced many of them to long prison sentences. The members of the conspiracy consisted of military and the navy, the status of the monarchy, had become challenged.


World War I

In 1917 Siam declared war on German Empire and Austria-Hungary, mainly to gain favour with the British and the French. Siam's token participation in World War I secured it a seat at the Versailles Peace Conference, and Foreign Minister Devawongse used this opportunity to argue for the repeal of the 19th-century unequal treaties and the restoration of full Siamese sovereignty. The United States obliged in 1920, while France and Britain followed in 1925. This victory gained the king some popularity, but it was soon undercut by discontent over other issues, such as his extravagance, which became more noticeable when a sharp postwar recession hit Siam in 1919. There was also the fact that the king had no son. He obviously preferred the company of men to women (a matter which of itself did not much concern Siamese opinion, but which did undermine the stability of the monarchy due to the absence of heirs). Thus when Rama VI died suddenly in 1925, aged only 44, the monarchy was already in a weakened state. He was succeeded by his younger brother Prajadhipok. By 1925–1926, Siamese extraterritorial rights were restored a period of five years thereafter.


Early years of constitutional monarchy (1932–1945)


Revolution and difficult compromise

A small circle from the rising bourgeoisie of former students (all of whom had completed their studies in Europe – mostly Paris), supported by some military men, seized power from the absolute monarchy on 24 June 1932 in an almost nonviolent revolution. This was also called the "Siamese revolution of 1932, Siamese Revolution". The group, which called themselves ''Khana Ratsadon'' or ''sponsors'', gathered officers, intellectuals and bureaucrats, who represented the idea of the refusal of the absolute monarchy. The Khana Ratsadon installed a constitutional monarchy with Prajadhipok as king at the top – a corresponding constitution was proclaimed on 10 December of the year. On the same day, the experienced and rather conservative lawyer Phraya Manopakorn Nititada, was appointed as first Siamese Prime Minister of Thailand, Prime Minister. By selecting a non-party head of government, the Khana Ratsadon wanted to avoid the suspicion that the coup had only been carried out in order to come to power itself. However, the overthrow of the monarchy did not lead to free elections, political unions were forbidden. Bureaucracy and the military shared the power in the National Assembly (Thailand), National Assembly. The constitution was annexed to the monarchist ideology ("nation, religion, king") as a fourth pillar. In the following period it became clear how heterogeneous the group of Khana Ratsadon was, and it fell into several rival wings, especially those of the high officers, the younger officers and the civilians. For the predecessor of the liberal and civilian wing, Pridi Phanomyong it was not done with the mere change of government form. He sought a profound transformation of the country's social and economic system. To this end, he presented an economic plan in January 1933, which became known as a "Yellow Cover Dossier" ( th, สมุดปกเหลือง). Among other things, he proposed the nationalisation of farmland, Industrialization by Public Company, general health care and pension insurance. The King, the rather conservative Prime Minister Phraya Manopakorn, but also the high-ranking officers in the Khana Ratsadon around Phraya Songsuradet and even Pridi's friend and co-worker Prayun Phamonmontri. Fearing that Pridis's liberal wing, who had the majority in the National Assembly, would decide to take a decision, Phraya Manopakorn dissolved the parliament in April, imposed the emergency, and rescinded the constitutional part, which had not yet been a year old. He imposed a law against Communist activities, which was directed not so much against the almost insignificant Communist Party of Thailand, but rather against the alleged Communist projects Pridis. However, the younger officers of the Khana Ratsadon resisted and countered the oppressive actions of Phraya Manopakorn lead to another Siamese coup d'état of 1933, coup d'état only one year later, in June 1933, resulting in the appointment of Phot Phahonyothin, Phraya Phahon as Siam's second prime minister.


Khana Ratsadon's rise

After the fall of Phraya Manopakorn, Phraya Phahon became the new Prime Minister. Pridi Phanomyong was expelled from the charge of communism, but his economic plan was largely ignored. Only a few of his ideas, such as the expansion of primary schools and industrialisation with state enterprises, were gradually implemented. In 1933, Pridis founded the Thammasat University in Bangkok, which with its liberal self-image has remained a symbol of freedom and democracy. At the same time, the nationalist group led by Phibunsongkhram strengthened in the People's Party, oriented to the totalitarian ideas of Italy, Germany, Japan, but also the "young Turks" (Kemal Atatürk). The many unsettled constitutional roles of the crown and the dissatisfaction with Khana Ratsadon, especially Pridi's post in the new government, culminated in October 1933 in a reactionary Boworadet Rebellion staged by royalist factions. The royalists were led by Prince Boworadet, Prajadhipok's minister of defence. His forces who mobilised from provincial garrisons captured the Don Mueang International Airport, Don Muang Aerodrome and led Siam into small-scale civil War. After heavy fighting in the outskirts of Bangkok, the royalists were finally defeated and Prince Boworadet left for exile in French Indochina. After the Boworadet rebellion and some other disagreements with Khana Khana Ratsadon thereafter, King Prajadhipok abdicated the throne and exiled himself. He was replaced as king by his nine-year-old nephew Prince Ananda Mahidol (King Rama VIII), who at that time was attending school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Plaek Phibunsongkhram's popularity increased from his role in leading anti-rebellion forces. During this time, Pridi played an important role in modernising Thai public administration: completed Thai legal codes, created Thesaban, the local government system.


Dictatorship of Phibunsongkhram

When Phibulsonggram succeeded Phraya Phahon as Prime Minister in September 1938, the military and civilian wings of Khana Ratsadon diverged even further, and military domination became more overt. Phibunsongkhram began moving the government towards militarism, and totalitarianism, as well as building personality cult around himself. The defeat of France in Battle of France was the catalyst for Thai leadership to begin an attack on French Indochina. This began with smaller conflicts in 1940 and resulted in the Franco-Thai War in 1941. It suffered a heavy defeat in the sea Battle of Ko Chang, but it dominated on land and in the air. The Empire of Japan, already the dominant power in the Southeast Asian region, took over the role of the mediator. The negotiations ended the conflict with Thai territorial gains in the French colonies Laos and Cambodia. By 1942 he had issued a series of cultural decrees' '(ratthaniyom)' or Thai cultural mandates, which reflected the desire for social modernisation, but also an authoritarian and exaggerated nationalist spirit. First, in 1939 he changed the country's name of Siam to
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
''(Prathet Thai)'' ( th, ประเทศไทย). This is based on the idea of a "Thai race", a Pan-Thaiism, Pan-Thai nationalism whose program is the integration of the
Shan Shan may refer to: People *Shan (surname), or 单 in Chinese, a Chinese surname *Shan, a variant of the Welsh given name usually spelled Siân *Occasionally used as a short form of Shannen/Shannon (given name), Shannon Ethnic groups *Shan people ...
, the Lao people, Lao and other Tai peoples, such as those in
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
, Burma and South China, into a "Great Kingdom of Thailand" ( th, มหาอาณาจักรไทย). Other decrees urged the citizens to embrace Western-style modernisation.


World War II

After the Franco-Thai war ended, the Thai government declared Country neutrality (international relations), neutrality. When the Japanese invasion of Thailand, Japanese invaded Thailand on 8 December 1941, a few hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Phibun accepted Japanese demands after a brief resistance. The government improved relations with Japan by signing a military alliance in December 1941. Japanese armies used the country as a base for their invasions of Burma and Malaya. Hesitancy, however, gave way to enthusiasm after the Japanese rolled their way through Malayan Campaign, Malaya in a "Bicycle infantry#World Wars, Bicycle Blitzkrieg" with surprisingly little resistance. The following month, Phibun declared war on Britain and the United States. Union of South Africa, South Africa and New Zealand#Foreign relations and military, New Zealand declared war on Thailand on the same day. Australia followed soon after. All who opposed the Japanese alliance were sacked from his government. Pridi Phanomyong was appointed acting regent for the absent King Ananda Mahidol, while Direk Jayanama, the prominent foreign minister who had advocated continued resistance against the Japanese, was later sent to Tokyo as an ambassador. The United States considered Thailand to be a puppet of Japan and refused to declare war. When the allies were victorious, the United States blocked British efforts to impose a punitive peace. The Thais and Japanese agreed that Shan State and Kayah State were to be under Thai control. On 10 May 1942, the Thai Phayap Army entered Burma's eastern Shan State, the Thai Burma Area Army entered Kayah State and some parts of central Burma. Three Thai infantry and one cavalry division, spearheaded by armoured reconnaissance groups and supported by the air force, engaged the retreating Chinese 93rd Division. Kengtung, the main objective, was captured on 27 May. Renewed offensives in June and November saw the Chinese retreat into Yunnan. The area containing the Shan States and Kayah State was annexed by Thailand in 1942. They would be ceded back to
Burma Myanmar (; my, မြန်မာ ) or Burma ( my, ဗမာ ), officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos a ...

Burma
in 1945. The Seri Thai (Free Thai Movement) was an underground resistance movement against Japan founded by Seni Pramoj, the Thai ambassador in Washington, D.C., Washington. Led from within Thailand from the office of the regent Pridi, it operated freely, often with support from members of the royal family such as Prince Chula Chakrabongse, and members of the government. As Japan neared defeat and the underground anti-Japanese resistance Seri Thai steadily grew in strength, the National Assembly forced out Phibun. His six-year reign as the military commander-in-chief was at an end. His resignation was partly forced by his two grandiose plans gone awry. One was to relocate the capital from Bangkok to a remote site in the jungle near Phetchabun Province, Phetchabun in north-central Thailand. The other was to build a "Buddhist city" near Saraburi Province, Saraburi. Announced at a time of severe economic difficulty, these ideas turned many government officers against him. At war's end, Phibun was put on trial at Allied insistence on charges of having committed war crimes, mainly that of collaborating with the Axis powers. However, he was acquitted amid intense public pressure. Public opinion was still favourable to Phibun, as he was thought to have done his best to protect Thai interests, specifically using alliance with Japan to support the expansion of Thai territory in Malayan Campaign, Malaya and Burma Campaign, Burma.


Cold War period


Allied occupation of Thailand (1946)

After Japan's defeat in 1945, British, Indian troops, and US observers landed in September, and during their brief occupation of parts of the country disarmed the Japanese troops. After repatriating them, the British left in March 1946. US support for Thailand blunted Allied demands, although the British demanded reparations in the form of rice sent to Malaya, and the French the return of territories lost in the Franco-Thai War. In exchange for supporting Thailand's admission to the United Nations, the Soviet Union demanded the repeal of the anti-communist legislation. Former British POWs erected a monument expressing gratitude to the citizens of Ubon Ratchathani for their kindnesses. In early September the leading elements of Major General Geoffrey Charles Evans's Indian 7th Infantry Division landed, accompanied by Edwina Mountbatten. Later that month Seni Pramoj returned from Washington to succeed Tawee as prime minister. It was the first time in over a decade that the government had been controlled by civilians. But the ensuing factional scramble for power in late 1945 created political divisions in the ranks of the civilian leaders that destroyed their potential for making a common stand against the resurgent political force of the military in the post-war years. Following the signature by Thailand of the Washington Accord of 1946, the territories that had been annexed after the Franco-Thai War, which included Phibunsongkhram Province, Nakhon Champassak Province, Phra Tabong Province, Koh Kong Province (1941), Koh Kong Province and Lan Chang Province, were returned to Cambodia and Laos. Moreover, the post-war accommodations with the Allies weakened the civilian government. As a result of the contributions made to the Allied war effort by the Free Thai Movement, the United States, which unlike the other Allies had never officially been at war with Thailand, refrained from dealing with Thailand as an enemy country in post-war peace negotiations. Before signing a peace treaty, however, Britain demanded war reparations in the form of rice shipments to Malaya. An Anglo-Thai Peace Treaty was signed on 1 January 1946, and an Australian–Thai Peace Treaty on 3 April. France refused to permit admission of Thailand to the United Nations until Indochinese territories annexed during the war were returned. The Soviet Union insisted on the repeal of anti-communist legislation.


Democratic elections and the return of the military

Elections were held in January 1946. These were the first elections in which political parties were legal, and Pridi's People's Party and its allies won a majority. In March 1946 Pridi became Siam's first democratically elected prime minister. In 1946, after he agreed to hand back the Indochinese territories occupied in 1941 as the price for admission to the United Nations, all wartime claims against Siam were dropped and substantial US aid was received. In December 1945, the young king Ananda Mahidol had returned to Siam from Europe, but in June 1946 he was found shot dead in his bed, under mysterious circumstances. Three palace servants were tried and executed for his murder, although there are significant doubts as to their guilt and the case remains both murky and a highly sensitive topic in Thailand today. The king was succeeded by his younger brother, Bhumibol Adulyadej. In August Pridi was forced to resign amid suspicion that he had been involved in the regicide. Without his leadership, the civilian government foundered, and in November 1947 the army, its confidence restored after the debacle of 1945, 1947 Thai coup d'état, seized power. After an interim Khuang-headed government, in April 1948 the 1948 Thai coup d'état, army brought Phibun back from exile and made him prime minister. Pridi, in turn, was driven into exile, eventually settling in Beijing as a guest of the China, PRC. Phibun's return to power coincided with the onset of the Cold War and the establishment of a communist regime in North Vietnam. He soon won the support of the United Nations. Once again political opponents were arrested and tried, and some were executed. During this time, several of the key figures in the wartime Free Thai underground, including Thawin Udom, Thawi Thawethikul, Chan Bunnak, and Tiang Sirikhanth, were eliminated in extra-legal fashion by the Thai police, run by Phibun's ruthless associate Phao Sriyanond. There were attempted counter-coups by Pridi supporters in 1948, 1949, and 1951, the second leading to heavy fighting between the army and navy before Phibun emerged victorious. In the navy's 1951 attempt, popularly known as the Manhattan Coup, Phibun was nearly killed when the ship where he was held hostage was bombed by the pro-government air force. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy, Thailand was ruled by a series of military governments, most prominently led by Phibun, interspersed with brief periods of democracy. Thailand Thailand in the Korean War, took part in the Korean War. Communist Party of Thailand guerrilla forces operated inside the country from the early-1960s to 1987. They included 12,000 full-time fighters at the peak of movement, but never posed a serious threat to the state. By 1955 Phibun was losing his leading position in the army to younger rivals led by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat and General Thanom Kittikachorn, the Sarit's army staged a bloodless coup on 17 September 1957, ending Phibun's career for good. The coup beginning a long tradition of US-backed military regimes in Thailand. Thanom became prime minister until 1958, then yielded his place to Sarit, the real head of the regime. Sarit held power until his death in 1963, when Thanom again took the lead.


Thailand during the Indochina wars and communist insurgency

The regimes of Sarit and Thanom were strongly supported by the US. Thailand had formally become a US ally in 1954 with the formation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, SEATO While the war in Indochina was being fought between the Vietnamese and the French, Thailand (disliking both equally) stayed aloof, but once it became a war between the US and the Vietnamese communists, Thailand committed itself strongly to the US side, concluding a secret agreement with the US in 1961, sending troops to Vietnam and Laos, and allowing the US to use Royal Thai Air Force Bases, airbases in the east of the country to conduct its bombing war against North Vietnam. The Vietnamese retaliated by supporting the Communist Party of Thailand's insurgency in the north, northeast, and sometimes in the south, where guerrillas co-operated with local discontented Muslims. In the postwar period, Thailand had close relations with the US, which it saw as a protector from communist revolutions in neighbouring countries. The Seventh and Thirteenth US Air Forces were headquartered at Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base. Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant chemical used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, was tested by the United States in Thailand during the war in Southeast Asia. Buried drums were uncovered and confirmed to be Agent Orange in 1999. Workers who uncovered the drums fell ill while upgrading the airport near Hua Hin District, 100 km south of Bangkok. US Vietnam-era veterans whose service involved duty on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand anytime between 28 February 1961, and 7 May 1975, may have been exposed to herbicides and may qualify for VA benefits. A declassified US Department of Defense report written in 1973 suggests that there was a significant use of herbicides on the fenced-in perimeters of military bases in Thailand to remove foliage that provided cover for enemy forces. Between 1962 and 1965, 350 Thai nationals underwent an eight-month training course in North Vietnam. In the first half of 1965, the rebels smuggled approximately 3,000 US-made weapons and 90,000 rounds of ammunition from Laos. Between 1961 and 1965, insurgents carried out 17 political assassinations. They avoided full scale guerrilla warfare until the summer of 1965, when militants began engaging Thai security forces. A total of 13 clashes were recorded during that period. The second half of 1965 was marked by a further 25 violent incidents, and starting in November 1965, Communist Party of Thailand insurgents began undertaking more elaborate operations. The insurgency spread to other parts of Thailand in 1966, although 90 percent of insurgency-related incidents occurred in the northeast of the country. On 14 January 1966, a spokesman representing the Thai Patriotic Front called for the start of a "people's war" in Thailand. The statement marked an escalation of violence in the conflict. The insurgency had come to an end only by 1983. The Vietnam War hastened the modernisation and Westernisation of Thai society. The American presence and the exposure to Western culture that came with it had an effect on almost every aspect of Thai life. Before the late 1960s, full access to Western culture was limited to a highly educated elite in society, but the Vietnam War brought the outside world face to face with large segments of the Thai society as never before. With US dollars pumping up the economy, the service, transportation, and construction industries grew phenomenally as did drug abuse and prostitute, prostitution, which using Thailand as a "Prostitution in Thailand, Rest and Recreation" facility by US forces. The traditional rural family unit was broken down as more and more rural Thais moved to the city to find new jobs. This led to a clash of cultures as Thais were exposed to Western ideas about fashion, music, values, and moral standards. The population began to grow explosively as the standard of living rose, and a flood of people began to move from the villages to the cities, and above all to Bangkok. Thailand had 30 million people in 1965, while by the end of the 20th century the population had doubled. Bangkok's population had grown tenfold since 1945 and had tripled since 1970. Educational opportunities and exposure to mass media increased during the Vietnam War years. Bright university students learned more about ideas related to Thailand's economic and political systems, resulting in a revival of student activism. The Vietnam War period also saw the growth of the Thai middle class which gradually developed its own identity and consciousness. Economic development did not bring prosperity to all. During the 1960s many of the rural poor felt increasingly dissatisfied with their condition in society and disillusioned by their treatment by the central government in Bangkok. Efforts by the Thai government to develop poor rural regions often did not have the desired effect in that they contributed to the farmers' awareness of how bad off they really were. It was not always the poorest of the poor who joined the anti-government insurgency. Increased government presence in the rural villages did little to improve the situation. Villagers became subject to increased military and police harassment and bureaucratic corruption. Villagers often felt betrayed when government promises of development were frequently not fulfilled. By the early 1970s rural discontent had manifested itself into a peasant's activist movement.


The 1973 democracy movement

With the dissatisfaction of pro-US policies of Military administration that allowed the US forces for using the country as a military bases, the high rate of prostitution problems, the freedom of press and speech were limited and influx of the corruption that lead to inequality of social classes. Student demonstrations had started in 1968 and grew in size and numbers in the early 1970s despite the continued ban on political meetings. In June 1973, nine Ramkhamhaeng University students were expelled for publishing an article in a student newspaper that was critical of the government. Shortly after, thousands of students held a protest at the Democracy Monument demanding the re-enrolment of the nine students. The government ordered the universities to shut, but shortly afterwards allowed the students to be re-enrolled. In October another 13 students were arrested on charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government. This time the student protesters were joined by workers, businessmen, and other ordinary citizens. The demonstrations swelled to several hundred thousand and the issue broadened from the release of the arrested students to demands for a new constitution and the replacement of the current government. On 13 October, the government released the detainees. Leaders of the demonstrations, among them Seksan Prasertkul, called off the march in accordance with the wishes of the king who was publicly against the democracy movement. In a speech to graduating students, he criticised the pro-democracy movement by telling students to concentrate on their studies and leave politics to their elders [military government]. As the crowds were breaking up the next day, on 14 October, many students found themselves unable to leave because the police blocked the southern route to Rajavithi Road. Cornered and overwhelmed by the hostile crowd, the police responded with teargas and gunfire. The military was called in, and tanks rolled down Ratchadamnoen Avenue and helicopters fired down at Thammasat University. A number of students commandeered buses and fire engines in an attempt to halt the progress of the tanks by ramming into them. With chaos on the streets, King Bhumibol opened the gates of Chitralada Palace to the students who were being gunned down by the army. Despite orders from Thanom that the military action be intensified, army commander Kris Sivara had the army withdrawn from the streets. The king condemned the government's inability to handle the demonstrations and ordered Thanom, Praphas, and Narong to leave the country, and notably condemned the students' supposed role as well. At 18:10 Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn resigned from his post as prime minister. An hour later, the king appeared on national television, asking for calm, and announcing that Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn had been replaced with Dr. Sanya Dharmasakti, a respected law professor, as prime minister. 1973 Uprising brought about the most free era in Thai recent history, called "Age when democracy blossom" and "Democratic experiment," which ended in Thammasat University massacre and a coup on 6 October 1976.


Democratisation and setbacks

Post-1973 has been marked by a struggle to define the political contours of the state. It was won by the king and General Prem Tinsulanonda, who favoured a monarchial constitutional order. The post-1973 years have seen a difficult and sometimes bloody transition from military to civilian rule, with several reversals along the way. The revolution of 1973 inaugurated a brief, unstable period of democracy, with Military junta, military rule being reimposed after the 6 October 1976 Massacre. For most of the 1980s, Thailand was ruled by Prem Tinsulanonda, a democratically inclined strongman who restored parliamentary politics. Thereafter the country remained a democracy apart from a brief period of military rule from the 1991 Thai coup d'état for two years.


Political conflicts since 2001


Thaksin Shinawatra period

The populist Thai Rak Thai party, led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, came to power in 2001. He was popular with the urban, suburban, and rural poor for his populist social programs. His rule came under attack from elites who saw danger in his "parliamentary dictatorship". In mid-2005, Sondhi Limthongkul, a well-known media tycoon, became the foremost Thaksin critic. Eventually, Sondhi and his allies developed the movement into a mass protest and later unified under the name of People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). On 19 September 2006, after the dissolution of parliament, Thaksin became head of a provisional government. While he was in New York for a meeting of the UN, Army Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Sonthi Boonyaratglin launched the bloodless September 2006 Thailand military coup d'état supported by anti-Thaksin elements in civil society and the Democrat Party (Thailand), Democrat Party. A general election on 23 December 2007 restored a civilian government, led by Samak Sundaravej of the People's Power Party (Thailand), People's Power Party, as a successor to Thai Rak Thai.


2006 coup d'état

Without meeting much resistance, a military junta overthrew the interim government of Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006. The Military dictatorship, junta wikt:abrogated, abrogated the constitution, dissolved Parliament and the Constitutional Court, detained and later removed several members of the government, declared martial law, and appointed one of the king's Privy Counselors, General Surayud Chulanont, as the Prime Minister. The junta later wrote a highly abbreviated 2006 Interim Constitution of Thailand, interim constitution and appointed a panel to draft a new permanent constitution. The junta also appointed a 250-member legislature, called by some critics a "chamber of generals" while others claimed that it lacks representatives from the poor majority. In this interim constitution draft, the head of the junta was allowed to remove the prime minister at any time. The legislature was not allowed to hold a vote of confidence against the cabinet and the public was not allowed to file comments on bills. This interim constitution was later surpassed by 2007 Constitution of Thailand, the permanent constitution on 24 August 2007. Martial law was partially revoked in January 2007. The ban on political activities was lifted in July 2007, following the Party dissolution charges in Thai politics, 2006, 30 May dissolution of the Thai Rak Thai party. The new constitution was approved by referendum on 19 August, which led to a return to a 2007 Thai general election, democratic general election on 23 December 2007. Š


2008–2010 political crisis

The People's Power Party (Thailand) (PPP), led by Samak Sundaravej formed a government with five smaller parties. Following several court rulings against him in a variety of scandals, and surviving a vote of no confidence, and protesters blockading government buildings and airports, in September 2008, Sundaravej was found guilty of conflict of interest by the Constitutional Court of Thailand (due to being host of a TV cooking program), and thus, ended his term in office. He was replaced by PPP member Somchai Wongsawat. As of October 2008, Wongsawat was unable to gain access to his offices, which were occupied by protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy. On 2 December 2008, Thailand's Constitutional Court in a highly controversial ruling found the Peoples Power Party (PPP) guilty of electoral fraud, which led to the dissolution of the party according to the law. It was later alleged in media reports that at least one member of the judiciary had a telephone conversation with officials working for the Office of the Privy Council and one other person. The phone call was taped and has since circulated on the Internet. In it, the callers discuss finding a way to ensure the ruling PPP party would be disbanded. Accusations of judicial interference were levelled in the media but the recorded call was dismissed as a hoax. However, in June 2010, supporters of the eventually disbanded PPP were charged with tapping a judge's phone. Immediately following what many media described as a "judicial coup", a senior member of the armed forces met with factions of the governing coalition to get their members to join the opposition and the Democrat Party (Thailand), Democrat Party was able to form a government, a first for the party since 2001. The leader of the Democrat Party, and former leader of the opposition, Abhisit Vejjajiva was appointed and sworn-in as the 27th Prime Minister of Thailand, Prime Minister, together with a new cabinet, on 17 December 2008. In April 2009, protests by the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, or "Red Shirts (Thailand), Red Shirts") forced the cancellation of the Fourth East Asia Summit after protesters stormed the Royal Cliff Hotel venue in Pattaya, smashing the glass doors of the venue to gain entry, and a blockade prevented the Chinese premier at the time, Wen Jiabao, from attending. About a year later, a set of new 2010 Thai political protests, Red Shirts protests resulted in 87 deaths (mostly civilian and some military) and 1,378 injured. When the army tried to disperse protesters on 10 April 2010, the army was met with automatic gunfire, grenades, and fire bombs from an opposition faction in the army. This resulted in the army returning fire with rubber bullets and some live ammunition. During the time of the Red Shirt protests against the government, there were numerous grenade and bomb attacks against government offices and the homes of government officials. Gas grenades were fired at Yellow Shirt protesters who were protesting against the Red Shirts and in favour of the government, by unknown gunmen killing one pro-government protester, the government stated that the Red Shirts were firing the weapons at civilians. Red Shirts continued to hold a position in the business district of Bangkok and it was shut down for several weeks. On 3 July 2011, the opposition Pheu Thai Party, led by Yingluck Shinawatra (the youngest sister of Thaksin Shinawatra), won the 2011 Thai general election, general election by a landslide (265 seats in the House of Representatives of Thailand, House of Representatives, out of 500). She had never previously been involved in politics, Pheu Thai campaigning for her with the slogan "Thaksin thinks, Pheu Thai acts". Yingluck was the nation's first female prime minister and her role was officially endorsed in a ceremony presided over by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Pheu Thai Party is a continuation of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party.


2013–2014 political crisis

Protests recommenced in late 2013, as a broad alliance of protesters, led by former opposition deputy leader Suthep Thaugsuban, demanded an end to the Thaksin regime. A blanket amnesty for people involved in the 2010 protests, altered at the last minute to include all political crimes, including all convictions against Thaksin, triggered a mass show of discontent, with numbers variously estimated between 98,500 (the police) and 400,000 (an aerial photo survey done by the ''Bangkok Post''), taking to the streets. The Senate was urged to reject the bill to quell the reaction, but the measure failed. A newly named group, the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) along with allied groups, escalated the pressure, with the opposition Democrat party resigning en masse to create a parliamentary vacuum. Protesters demand variously evolved as the movement's numbers grew, extending a number of deadlines and demands that became increasingly unreasonable or unrealistic, yet attracting a groundswell of support. They called for the establishment of an indirectly elected "people’s council", in place of Yingluck's government, that would cleanse Thai politics and eradicate the Thaksin regime. In response to the protests, Yingluck dissolved parliament on 9 December 2013 and proposed a new election for 2 February 2014, a date that was later approved by the election commission. The PDRC insisted that the prime minister stand down within 24 hours, regardless of her actions, with 160,000 protesters in attendance at Government House on 9 December. Yingluck insisted that she would continue her duties until 2014 Thai general election, the scheduled election in February 2014, urging the protesters to accept her proposal: "Now that the government has dissolved parliament, I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections. I have backed down to the point where I don't know how to back down any further." In response to the Electoral Commission (EC)'s registration process for party-list candidates—for the scheduled election in February 2014—anti-government protesters marched to the Thai-Japanese sports stadium, the venue of the registration process, on 22 December 2013. Suthep and the PDRC led the protest, which security forces claimed that approximately 270,000 protesters joined. Yingluck and the Pheu Thai Party reiterated their election plan and anticipated presenting a list of 125 party-list candidates to the EC. On 7 May 2014, the Constitutional Court ruled that Yingluck would have to step down as the prime minister as she was deemed to have abused her power in transferring a high-level government official. On 21 August 2014 she was replaced by army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha.


2014 coup d'état

On 20 May 2014 the Thai army declared martial law and began to deploy troops in the capital, denying that it was a coup attempt. On 22 May, the army admitted that it was a coup and that it was taking control of the country and suspending the country's constitution. On the same day, the military imposed a curfew between the hours of 22:00–05:00, ordering citizens and visitors to remain indoors during this period. On 21 August 2014 the National Assembly of Thailand elected the army chief, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, as prime minister. Martial law was declared formally ended on 1 April 2015. "Uniformed or ex-military men have led Thailand for 55 of the 83 years since absolute monarchy was overthrown in 1932,..." observed one journalist in 2015. The rise of fascism in Thailand began around the coup, first coined by James Taylor of University of Adelaide in 2011, after the National Council for Peace and Order, junta took control, academics and political commentators started to identify a political system by fascism. Pithaya Pookaman and James Taylor called it 'New Right' consisting of ultraconservatives, reactionaries, semi-fascists, pseudo-intellectuals and former leftists. John Draper, an academic and political commentator, noted that the rise of fascism in Thailand began in 2014. The King's sufficient economy was mentioned that it serves as one of the ideological foundations of the military regime, and reminiscent of Fascism in Europe, fascist regimes in Europe in the 1930s.


Military Junta (2014 - 2019)

The ruling junta led by Prayuth Chan-o-cha promised to hold new elections, but wants to enact a new constitution before the elections are held. An initial draft constitution was rejected by government officials in 2015. A national referendum, the first since the 2014 coup, on a newly drafted constitution was held on 7 August 2016. There was a 55% turnout of which around 61% voted in favour of the constitution. Under the new constitution an unelected person other than a member of parliament can be appointed as Prime Minister, which would open the post to a military official. The new constitution also gives the National Council for Peace and Order the authority to make all the appointments to the 250-member Senate in the next government.


Maha Vajiralongkorn reign (2016–present)

On 13 October 2016, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died at the age of 89, in Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok. On the night of 1 December 2016, the fiftieth day after the death of Bhumibol, Regent Prem Tinsulanonda led the heads of the country's three branches of government to an audience with Vajiralongkorn to invite him to ascend to the throne as the tenth king of the Chakri dynasty. In April 2017, King Vajiralongkorn signs the new constitution which will aid in the return to democracy. In May 2017, Bangkok hospital was bombed, wounding 24 people on the third anniversary of the military coup of 2014. On June 2019, both houses of Thailand's parliament elected Prayuth Chan-ocha, retired general and former military junta leader, as the country's next prime minister. The vote officially restored civilian rule in Thailand. The opposition complained of voting irregularities in the March 24 2019 Thai general election, elections.


See also

* Dhamma Society Fund * History of Asia * History of Southeast Asia * History of Isan * History of the Thai Forest Tradition * List of Kings of Thailand ** Thai monarchs' family tree, Monarchs' family tree * List of Prime Ministers of Thailand * Peopling of Thailand * Politics of Thailand * Reactions to the death of Bhumibol Adulyadej * Siam Society * Thai cultural mandates * Thai studies * Thaification * South Thailand insurgency


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Section 'The Japanese invasion of Thailand, 8 December 1941
Part onePart three


External links


Thailand
Library of Congress Country Studies, Country Study for the Library of Congress, 1987. Barbara Leitch LePoer, editor. This text comes from the Country Studies Program. The series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.
Thailand profile – Timeline
at the BBC News Online {{DEFAULTSORT:History of Thailand History of Thailand,