Thailand’s population of 63 million is relativelyhomogeneous Before 1932, Thailand was an absolute monarchy A violent collision between the military and pro-democracy demonstrators on the streets of Bangkokin 1992. The 1997 Asian economic started in Thailand Pressing problems include widening gaps betweenurban and rural conditions, and between rice andpoor.
Early History In the 13th century, several kingdoms emerged acrossthe regions The Tais were the principal ancestors not only oftoday’s Thais but also of the Lao peoples, the Shans The Tias were wet-rice farmers clusters in maung-oneor more villages under a chieftain The Tais probably adopted Theravada Buddhism fromMon states
Angkor provided lessons in administeringlarge, scattered populations and in a range of arts andtechnologies-their attacks in 14th-15th centuries. 13th century, the most celebrated early Tai states werethe Kingdom of Sokhothai.
AYUDHYA, 1351-1767 In 1351, the establishment further south of thekingdom of Ayudhya-known as Siam, which surviveduntil 1767. It founded by U Thong Thai-ness was also being constructed out ofMon, Khmer, Chinese and other peoples. Ayudha became one of Southeast Asia’s great tradingports. Male subject pay many months of service each year tothe state.
Ayudha’s social structures proved remarkably strong andenduring. They had defeated Angkor and wage war on otherrivals, and claim an empire sometimes encompassingmuch of modern Laos, the Tai kingdom of Lan Na, and thestates of Malay peninsula. 1568, the Burmese king Bayinnaung laid siege toAyudha, haivng extended his military power over the northas fas as Laos. Ayudha city fell in 1569 and was destroyed
Over the next decades, Narasuan managed toreconstitute the kingdom and clawed back much ofAyudha’s tributary empire. By 17th, Ayudha was againa major power. Ayudha was a wealthy trade centre wherePortuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, Malay and otherAsian traders. However, it had to challenge with Burma again in1766 and one year later, the city fell into the hands ofBurma. The city was burned
The Rise of Bangkok Empire Taksin declared himself king and founded a newcapital at Thonburi in 1767. In 1782, a tax revolt evolved into a coup and Tasikwas deposed and executed, and then the coup leaderoffered ChaophrayaChakri, Rama I, the throne in1782. Because of his military skills and great administrativeand intellectual abilities, Thai empire became largerthan any Ayudha had controlled.
King Rama I built constructed his capital inBangkok, founded in 1782. Rama I gathered about him talentedofficials, jurists, scholars and artists. Their achievements included the reconstruction andreform of the sangha hierarchy, production of new textof the Buddhist scriptures, the complete revision of thekingdom’s laws, and the translation of numerousworks.
Bangkok and the West In the 1830s and 1840, Bangkok saw Vietnam as theirchief foreign threat rather than Western power. In Bangkok, a group of royal and noble young menwere studying the West keenly, led by PrinceMongkut. When he as a monk, Mongkut spent his energies toreform Thai Buddhism, studying Westernlanguages, Western science and mathematics. Then he became king, Mongkut was in a position tore-orientate Bangkok positively towards the West
King Mongkut avoided other fundamental reformed. Hisson Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910) came to replacehim. King Chulalongkorn abolished slavery, ended forced laborsfor the states, a major reform in the government, cabinetgovernment, and provincial administration. However, Western empires stripped the former Thaiempire. His death in 1910 laid the foundations of a modernmilitary, improving communications, law reform, andWestern-style education.
The Eclipse of theMonarchy, 1910-1932 The emergent of Thai nationalism was strengthened in thereign of King Rama VI, 1910-25. It was his who introduced the trinity of “Nation, Religion andKing” King Prajadhipok (Rama VII, 1925-35) succeeded thethrone and the national income slumped. On 24 June 1932, plotters in the military and bureaucracystaged a bloodless coup, obliged king to surrender themonarchy’s absolute powers and accept constitutionalstatus.
The Rise of MilitaryGovernment, 1932-1948 The military was best-organized, most cohesive moderninstitution. PhibunSongkhram and his supporters were attracted toother political models-fascist Italy, Germany, Japan. Phibun changed his country’s name from Siam to Thailandin 1939. Phibun sent forces in November 1940 to invade Laos andCambodia. Facing to an Allied victory, he quietly resigned the primeminister-ship.
Strongman Era, 1948-1973 Washington wanted strong, anti-Communist, Thailandjoined in American-led strategies for containment of Asiancommunism. In the 1950s, US aided Thailand with great social andeconomic development. Phibun mounted another anti-Chinese campaign, and alsoattempted to impose cultural uniformity in Malay-Muslims ofthe far south. In 1955, Phibun promised elections, and then his party wasaccused of massive fraud during 1957 election. Sarit stagea coup in September 1957, driving Phibun into exile.
King BhumibolAdulydej (Rama IX, 1946-present) attendedpublic ceremonies, toured the provinces and patronizeddevelopment projects. The public was shocked when Thanom proclaimedreversed direction in 1971, dissolving the parliament andbanning political parties. In October 1973, student protests against politicaldepression. The demonstrators were successful when the armywithheld its support from Thanom, who fled into exile.
Between Autocracy andDemocracy, 1973-1992 In 1976, the military resumed power and permitted to right-wing organization to torture and kill student radicalsgathered at Thammasat University in Bangkok. General KriangsakChomanandassued the prime ministers-ship in 1977, promising a new constitution and elections in1979. PremTinsulanonda 1979-1988 ChatichaiChoonhavan 1988-1991 GenealSochindaKraprayoon 1991-1992 Chuan Leekpai 1992-1995; 1997-2001 ThaksinShinawatra 2001-2006
Thailand in Prospect The military’s political influence remain strong Corruption is a specter (ghost) which hang over bothcivilian and military politics. The present King maintained broad national respect. Thai society has remained stable when compared withneighboring countries. Thailand achieved average growth rates of around 7to 8 per cent; has played as a key regional financialcentre; population 63 million in 2005.
Poverty became an issue at the forefront of nationalconcern, traffic jams in Bangkok, money politics. Rural infrastructure remains inadequate to attractmuch business and industrial away from the capital. AIDS has become the country’s most pressing healthissue; drug problem; the three Malay-Muslimdominated southern states.