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History of Thailand

The country originates from the Kingdom of Sukhothai that was founded in 1238. This state was followed by the Kingdom of Ayutthaya in 1350. Thai culture has experienced strong influence of China and India. In the 18th century Siam suffered from inroads of the Burmese until Taksin and Prha Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke defeated them. After Taksin’s death in 1782, Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke ascended the throne as King Rama I and created the Chakri dynasty. Owing to his ancestors, King Rama IV and King Rama V, Thailand has never been colonized, the sole incidence in Southeast Asia. Truth to be told, Thailand was bound to give up on 3 southern provinces that later became a part of Northern Malaysia. These events were caused by British state interests in the region, since England was trying to conquer Thailand.

Thai people are very proud that their country has never been colonized. There are two reasons for this unprecedented fact. First, Thailand was left as a buffer state between British and French colonies in Asia. Second, Siamese kings were very influential at that time. The velvet revolution in 1932 generally lead to the installment of a constitutional monarchy in Thailand. Earlier known as Siam, Thailand has been first given its present name in 1939. After the end of World War II, in 1949, this naming was adopted once and for all. During the war Thailand was supporting Japan, and after the conflict became a US ally.

Prince Damrong Rajanubhab was one of the most prominent cultural figures of that time. He was a founder of the modern Thai educational system and the provincial administrative system. He was also a historian and one of the most influential intellectuals of his day in Thailand. Damrong Rajanubhab was the first Thai to be included in the UNESCO list of the world’s most distinguished people.

Thai legal calendar is based on the Buddhist Era and is 543 years greater than the Western calendar, e.g. the year 2011 in the West is the year 2554 in Thailand.

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