Thailand History


Like other countries of Southeast Asia, Thailand was peopled in prehistoric times through successive migrations from central Asia. Evidence of Bronze Age civilizations in northeast Thailand illustrate a high level of technology achieved by prehistoric people in South-east Asia. During the eleventh century, the Thai people began migrating from southern China. (Some research indicates that they were forced out by the Han Chinese.) From the thirteennth century to the early twentieth century, the country was called Siam. The name was changed to Thailand in 1939. Thailand was ruled by an absolute monarchy until group of foreign-educated Thais  directed a military and civilian coup de’tat in June of 1932 and replaced the absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy. The current nation can be dated to that period. In 1941 Japan occupied Thailand. After World War II, Thailand followed a pro-Western foreign policy. Since the Second World War, a balance of power has been established between the military and the civilian leaders, with the king occasionally mediating. Whenever the military has felt threatened, it seized power. This has become more difficult as a growing political consciousness has developed in the Thai people. The Thais hope that the days of military coups are now over. In 2005 Dr. Thaksin’s Thai Rak thai Party was re-elected, winning Thailand’s parliamentary election with an overwhelming majority. One major challenge he faced was an insurgency of Muslims in the southern provinces. His view on resolving the conflict was to reduce government funds and increase military force in the separatists’ villages. Dissatis-faction with Thaksin’s policies led to the ouster of his government by a military-led coup i September 2006.

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