Thailand has a long history and in fact, it appears that the Mekhong valley and the Khorat plateau were already inhabited 10,000 years ago by a highly evolved population from which the various Asian ethnic groups could have originated. Archaeological excavations have shown that in Thailand rice was grown as early as 4,000 BC (when in China only millet was cultivated) and that in Thailand bronze processing was already known as early as 3,000 BC, while in China this process it came only 1000 years later.

In the territory of present-day Thailand between the 7th and 13th centuries AD the whole region was reunited under the Khmer kingdom of Angkor, then repulsed within the borders of present-day Cambodia by the Thai princes who gave birth to the so called golden period of "Sukhothai" (1238 AD) which was followed by the Ayuthaya period during which the economy underwent a strong impulse thanks also to contacts with Portuguese, Dutch, English, Danish and French merchants who made their appearance in Siam in the early 1600s.

In 1782 King Chao Phaya Chakri came to power with the title of Rama I who first moved the capital to Bangkok and gave birth to the Kingdom of Thailand as it is known today.

However, Thailand and modern Thai culture began with King Rama IV or King Mongkut who, unlike the other sovereigns, brought the country closer to the western standards of the time while simultaneously tightening numerous trade agreements with Western partners. The subsequent ascent to the throne of his son Rama V Chulalongkorn marked the final civilization of Thailand, at that time slavery was abolished, a new legal code was established and numerous commercial, political and military relations were established with the major Western countries.

The monarchical regime in Thailand lasted until 1932 when a coup imposed a constitution and a parliament on the King, but this did not change the deep love and respect towards the King and the monarchy in the Thai culture. In 1939, the name of the town was officially changed from Siam to Thailand which originally meant Free Country, while nowadays the common language translates the name as the Land of the Thai.

Between the years 1932 and 1958 in Thailand there were seven coups and six constitutions that as a consequence made the military oligarchy in power strengthen and fueled the growth of internal opposition which culminated with the students' revolt of October 1973.

Until the 1990s, other coups d'état and the establishment of new constitutions followed one another until democracy was finally restored in 1992 with free elections that led to the current constitutional order. The last peaceful coup occurred in September 2006 when the unpopular former Prime Minister Taksin was dismissed. It can be said that in Thailand there is a peaceful coup d'etat every 10 years or so ... this is also a sign of democracy!

The Thai administrations of the new millennium seem rather promising, together with the new Thai constitution, they are headed towards a democratic nation and with ever greater political stability.



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