History of Thailand

Brief history of Thailand summarized

Here we have a brief tour of the history of Thailand, an Asian country.

Ancient Thailand

The first inhabitants of what is now Thailand were hunter-gatherers. However, around 4,000 BC they began to farm. They grew rice. At first farmers used stone tools, but bronze was discovered around 3,000 BC. As early as 500 BC the people of what is now Thailand used iron.

At first, what is now Thailand was divided into small states called Meuang. By 100 AD they were already practicing Theravada Buddhism.

However, the ancestors of modern Thai people are believed to have come from southern China. They migrated to Thailand between the 10th and 13th centuries AD

Meanwhile, between the 9th and 13th centuries, much of what is now Thailand was ruled by the Khmer, a people from what is now Cambodia.

However, in the 13th century, several small states in Thailand, in the Mekong River valley, joined together to form a kingdom called Sukhothai. It is considered as the first Thai kingdom. However, the first Thai kingdom did not last long. It declined at the end of the 14th century.

Meanwhile, during the 14th century, another kingdom arose in Thailand called Ayuthaya and annexed the kingdom of Sukhothai. During the fifteenth century Ayuthaya continued to grow.

The first Europeans to arrive in Thailand were the Portuguese in 1511. They were followed by the Dutch in 1605, the English in 1612, and the French in 1662.

In 1675 a Greek named Constantine Phaulkon became a court official in Thailand. He allowed the French to send soldiers to Thailand. However, he was removed from power in 1688 and the French were expelled. Subsequently, Thailand adopted an isolationist policy. The Thais cut off contact with Europe until the early 19th century.

In 1765 the Burmese invaded Ayuthaya and captured the capital in 1767 and destroyed it. However, in 1769 a general named Phraya Taksin became king and made a new capital at Thonburi, across the river from Bangkok. He also built an empire. He conquered much of Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia.

However, King Taksin began to have delusions and was ousted in a coup in 1782. A general named Chao Phraya Chakri replaced him as king. (He is known as Rama I). He had Taksin executed. He also made Bangkok the capital.

In 1809 Rama I was succeeded by his son Rama II (1809-1824). He was followed by Rama III (1824-1851). During his reign, Thai culture flourished.

The next King Rama IV or Mongkut allowed the British to live in Thailand. He also allowed them to trade freely. He also signed treaties with many other Western countries and encouraged the study of Western science.

Rama V (1868-1901) abolished the custom that subjects must prostrate themselves in the presence of the king. He also abolished slavery and the corvee (a tax paid at work). Rama V also reformed the government of Thailand.

In the 19th century, Thailand avoided being colonized by Europeans. However, in 1893 Rama V was forced to cede Laos to France. He too ceded Cambodia to France in 1907 and in 1909 was forced to cede territory in Malaya to Great Britain.

Thailand in the 20th century

In July 1917 Thailand joined the First World War on the Allied side.

In November 1925 Prajadhipok became King of Thailand. However, on June 24, 1932, a revolution made Thailand a constitutional monarchy. In October 1933 Prince Boraradej led a counter-revolution, but was defeated. Prajadhipok abdicated in March 1935 in favor of his 10-year-old nephew, Ananda Mahidol.

On December 8, 1941, Thailand agreed to allow Japanese troops to pass through the country to invade British Malaya. The Japanese occupied Thailand and on January 25, 1942, Thailand declared war on Great Britain and the United States.

However, 90,000 Thai guerrillas led by Pridi Phanomyong fought the Japanese. In 1946 Thailand signed peace treaties with Great Britain and France. That same year, Thailand joined the United Nations.

In May 1946 a new constitution for Thailand was published. However, on June 9, 1946, King Ananda Mahidol was assassinated under mysterious circumstances. King Bhumibol began his reign.

In 1947, Field Marshal Phibul staged a coup. Although the king continued to reign, Thailand became a military dictatorship. Even after Phibul’s death in 1963, the army ruled Thailand.

However, in 1973 thousands of students demonstrated demanding a proper constitution for Thailand. The king prevented the army from crushing the protesters and Thailand returned to civilian rule with a coalition of 17 parties.

However, in 1976 the students demonstrated again. This time the police brutally suppressed the demonstrations, killing and injuring many students. The army then stepped in and installed a new government in Thailand.

Beginning in 1980, Thailand was led by General Prem Tinsulanonda, who gradually introduced a more liberal regime. In 1988 he resigned and Chatichai Choonhavan became prime minister. However, on February 23, 1991, the army staged a coup and General Suchinda took power.

However, in a stunning display of “people power,” Thais took to the streets in May 1992. Suchinda moved to suppress the demonstrations, but was stopped by the king, and Thailand eventually returned to civilian rule. In 1997 a new constitution was introduced. There was another military coup in Thailand in 2006, but democratic elections were held again in December 2007.

At the end of the 20th century, Thailand experienced amazing economic growth. It was transformed from a poor, agricultural country to a newly industrialized country. Thailand suffered through the economic crisis of 1997-98, but that turned out to be a temporary setback.

Thailand in the 21st century

In the early 21st century, Thailand continued to grow economically. Like the rest of the world, Thailand suffered in the 2009 recession but soon recovered. Thailand also suffered severe flooding in 2011, but soon recovered. Thailand is now a prosperous country and its economy is constantly growing. Tourism is booming.

Currently, the population of Thailand is 68 million.

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