Thailand life - History

History

Iris

The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand's revered Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognized as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions. Thailand was for centuries known as ‘Siam’, the official title changing to ‘Muang Thai’ (‘home of the free’) in 1939. The country is located in Southeast Asia and borders Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. It has a population of nearly 65 million in a country roughly the same size as France and has 3,219 kilometers of coastline.

95% of Thais are Buddhist with a smaller Muslim minority (3.8%) predominantly living in Thailand’s southern regions. Aside from this Thailand has a small number of Christians (0.5%) and a few Hindus (0.1%). Thailand prides itself on religious freedom and newer religions (Jehovah’s Witness, etc.) are emerging.

รักเธอ ประเทศไทย

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch. Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.

 

Siam

The Thais, most historians believe, began migrating from southern China in the early part of the Christian era. At first they formed a number of city-states in the northern part of what is present-day Thailand, in places like Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, but these were never strong enough to exert much influence outside the immediate region. Gradually the Thais migrated further south to the broad and fertile central plains, and expanded their dominance over nearly the entire Indochina Peninsula. Contradictory as it may seem, however, recent archaeological discoveries around the northeast hamlet of Ban Chiang suggest that the world’s oldest Bronze Age civilization was flourishing in Thailand some 5,000 years ago.

Sukhothai Period ( 1238 - 1350 A.D. )
By the early 1200s the Thais had established small northern city-states in Lanna, Phayao, and Sukhothai. In 1238 two Thai chieftains, Khun Bang Klang Tao and Khun Pha Muang, successfully rebelled against Khom suzerainty and established the first truly independent Thai kingdom in Sukhothai – a kingdom that was short-lived but of immense cultural importance in the nation’s history.

Sukhothai saw the Thais’ gradual expansion throughout the entire Chao Phraya River basin and the establishment of Theravada Buddhism as the paramount Thai religion. It was here that the first evidence of written Thai was left, along with distinctively Thai styles of art such as painting, sculpture, architecture, and literature, which survived after Sukhothai was absorbed by the kingdom of Ayutthaya – a dynamic young kingdom further south in the Chao Phraya River valley.

Ayutthaya Period (1350 - 1767 A.D.)
During Ayutthaya’s 417 years as the capital, under the rule of 34 kings, the Thais brought their distinctive culture to full fruition, totally rid their lands of Khom presence, and fostered contact with Arabian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and European powers. Contact with the West, especially, flourished during the reign of King Narai the Great (1656-1688), in which an envoy was sent to France to establish foreign diplomacy. Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya remained the Thai capital until it was sacked and burned by the Burmese in 1767.
Thonburi Period (1767 - 1782 A.D.)
Ayutthaya’s downfall was a severe blow to the Thais. However, a Thai revival occurred within a few months, and the Burmese were expelled by King Taksin, who ushered in the Thonburi Period (1767-1782). King Taksin made Thonburi the capital, but it was the shortest-lived capital in Thai history. In 1782 the first king of the present Chakri dynasty, Rama I, established his new capital on the site of a riverside hamlet called Ban Kok (Village of the Wild Plums).

Rattanakosin Period (1782 - present)
During the Rattanakosin Period (1782 – present), two Chakri monarchs, King Mongkut (Rama IV), who reigned between 1851 and 1868, and his son King Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910), saved Thailand from the powerful tides of Western colonialism through adroit diplomacy and selective modernization.

Today, Thailand is a modern constitutional monarchy. Since 1932, Thai kings, including the present monarch H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), have exercised their legislative powers through a national assembly, their executive powers through a cabinet headed by a prime minister and their judicial powers through the courts of law.

Don't in Thailand

The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Thai resources

 

Social norms

Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it. Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude.