The History of Thailand

The History of Thailand

The History of Thailand

The History of Thailand

Synopsis

The people of Thailand call their country "Ratchaanachak Thai"-Kingdom of Thailand. During two periods of history, Thailand was called "Siam"-in 1855-1939 and 1946-1949. By any name, this nation has a truly unique culture due largely to its status as the sole Southeast Asian nation that successfully resisted western colonization.

Excerpt

Thailand is a fascinating country with a very rich civilization. It was in Thailand that the world’s first rice cultivator had the unique opportunity to plough the field. Even today it is the world’s leading exporter of rice. Home to one of the earliest iron and bronze cultures, it may be regarded as a “cradle of civilization.” Though not recognized as one of the world’s pristine centers of civilizations like that of Egypt, Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia or China, it was one of those early centers of civilizing human development.

Remaining free from colonial rule, Thailand was one of those countries that was able to become special and unique in its own way. Today, Thailand is a mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, historical, and physical features. External influences from Indian, Chinese, Islamic, and European civilizations have left deep imprints on the indigenous culture of Thailand.

Although Thailand has received a transfusion of culture from other civilizations, it has added to that culture its own nuances and shades of meaning through centuries. As a result, the country has not lost its idiom. It has maintained its separate identity and independence in spite of invasion from neighboring regions and the expansion of colonialism in Southeast Asia. The name “Siam” was in vogue officially from 1855 to 1939 and again between 1946 and 1949. It is Siam that the world sees in performances of the musical The King and I. Since 1949 the region has been called Thailand. In the language . . .

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