The history of Thailand goes back to prehistoric times, when ancient civilizations began inhabiting the Chao Phraya valley around 3600 BC. Long before the settlement of ancient civilizations, Thailand was inhabited by dinosaurs. This is one of the most significant Thailand facts, backed up by fossils of huge meat-eating dinosaurs that were excavated in the Phu Wiang province in 1984.The first inhabitants to arrive were the Ban Chiang people. They were adept at pottery and rice cultivation, and they domesticated their animals. Between the third and eleventh centuries AD, Thai history was influenced by many cultures including the Khmers, Mons, and Malays. One of the key Thailand facts about this period was the construction of many stone marvels including the enticing Angkor Wat, in what is now Cambodia. The temple was built by the Khmers during the early years of the twelfth century.
History of Thailand
During the Sukhothai Period (1238-1378 AD), Thailand's culture flourished under the reign of King Ramkamheng. In this era, Thais overpowered the existing Khmer and Mon kingdoms and set up their independent state in Central Thailand, naming it Sukhothai, or "the Dawn of Happiness." Under King Ramkamheng's rule, Thailand's prosperity grew rapidly in terms of economy, arts, religion, and power. Thais began expanding their kingdom to what is now eastern and central Thailand. One of the most important Thailand facts of this period was the invention of Thai alphabet by King Ramkamheng.
The Sukhothai state was eventually subdued by the stronger Ayutthaya Kingdom during the late thirteenth century. Established by King Ramathibodi I, the Ayutthaya state expanded its territory from the Sukhothai province to the Malay Peninsula in the south. This was one of the most significant epochs of Thailand history as it strengthened Thailand's culture, language, and art. Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand for more than 400 years until Burmese troops captured the Thai capital in 1767. Prior to the city's capture, the seventeenth century was also important to Thai history, as it witnessed Thailand's major commercial and diplomatic relations with the western countries, and the country was popularly known as Siam to the westerners.
The history of Thailand witnessed a major change between 1767 and 1772 when a young Thai general named Phraya Thaksin fought against the Burmese invasion and reinstated Thailand's freedom. He established the new capital of Siam Thonburi on Chao Phraya River's western bank. However, the Kingdom faced internal rebellions, and the Thonburi period lasted only fifteen years. It was eventually replaced by the Chakri dynasty. The first king of the Chakri dynasty was King Rama I. King Rama I revived the Thai culture once again and built magnificent temples and palaces. During his reign, the present-day city of Bangkok was made Thailand's capital. At that time it was known as Krung Tep, which is a Sanskrit phrase for "City of Angels." His successors, King Rama IV and Rama V, led Thailand to modernization. During this period, trade and diplomacy with western countries also led to major infrastructure and industrial developments in Thailand.
Thailand is the sole nation in Southeast Asia never to be colonized by any European nation. This was only because of the shrewd diplomatic tactics adopted by the Thai rulers. The important transition in Thai history, from the kingdom rule to a constitutional monarchy, began in 1932. A democratic government was elected in 1939, and the name Siam was changed to Thailand. However, the country faced constant struggles to restore democracy during the early 1970s. The 1973 revolution initiated a brief period of democracy, but military rule was reinstated after the massacre of students and protesters in October 1976. In 2001, the Thai Rak Party came to power. A government was formed and the leader Thaksin Shinawatra was elected as the prime minister. But there was unrest as the Shinawatra government was alleged to have dictatorial characteristics. A new civilian government was initiated in December 2007 through a general election.
The history of Thailand is complex and fascinating, and visitors to the country can include numerous historical activities along with their trips to the country's islands and beaches. In addition to historic temples such as Wat Pho in Bangkok and those found at Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, there are museums in the major cities and opportunities to learn about the hill tribes that still live in the northern part of the country, ensuring that travelers have the opportunity to experience the country's culture before returning home.