Brief History of Thailand:The Khmer Empire ruled Thailand for many years starting the 800s until the 13th century. In the 13th century the local Thai Chiefs united and expelled the Khmer Empire. They established the Thai Kingdom in 1238.
In 1350 the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya emerged. Its first King was Rama Thibodi. King Thibodi made Theravada Bhuddhism the official religion and established the Dharamshastra rule of law.
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya ruled the land for over 400 years. In 1767, Burmese armies invaded and burned its capital. In 1782 the Chakri dynasty emerged at the city of Chao Phraya, which is where Bangkok is today. Rama I was the first king of the Chakri dynasty. The Chakri dynasty still rules Thailand and current the current ruler, King Adulyadej, has ruled since 1946. Thailand was called Siam and the people the Siamese by European explorers. Thailand avoided being colonized by any European country during the colonization period.
Thailand allied with Japan in World War II, but became an ally of the United States in 1954. Thailand fought along side the US in the Korean War. In recent years Thailand has seen some unrest in its government, including a military coup in 2006.
The Geography of ThailandTotal Size: 514,000 square km
Size Comparison: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Geographical Coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E
World Region or Continent: Southeast Asia
General Terrain: central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Geographical Low Point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
Geographical High Point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
Climate: tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Major cities: BANGKOK (capital) 6.902 million (2009), Nonthaburi, Pak Kret
The People of ThailandType of Government: constitutional monarchy
Languages Spoken: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Independence: 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National Holiday: Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)
Nationality: Thai (singular and plural)
Religions: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1% (2000 census)
National Symbol: garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure); elephant
National Anthem or Song: Phleng Chat Thai (National Anthem of Thailand)
Economy of ThailandMajor Industries: tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
Agricultural Products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Natural Resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Major Exports: textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber, jewelry, automobiles, computers and electrical appliances
Major Imports: capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Currency: baht (THB)
National GDP: $602,200,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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