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Travel and hotel information about the most popular tourism destinations in Thailand

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History of Thailand

  • Originally called Siam, Thailand is a country rich in culture and natural beauty. It has been blessed with expansive natural parks, fertile plains, remote jungles, beaches washed by turquoise waters and tropical islands bathed in endless sunshine. The country has more visible historical evidence of its past cultures than any other country in Southeast Asian. Its history is very complex, involving the invasion of many different peoples, the rule of different kings, the establishment of various kingdoms and the interaction of diverse cultures.

  • The period of time from the mid 1800's until now is probably the most important in terms of the formation of modern day Thailand. King Mongkut, who ruled the country from 1851 to 1868, was a well educated, ex-monk who kept Thailand safe from European expansion. His son, Chulalongkorn, took over in 1868 and continued theenlightenment and modernization of Thailand. King Chulalongkornmade great strides in improving the country, however he refused to allow his people democratic rights. This finally led to a takeover by Thai intellectuals, along with military help, in 1932.

  • The name of the country was changed from Siam to Thailand in 1939 by Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram, mainly because he wanted to disassociate his country from the past. Translated literally, Thailand means "Land of the Free".

  • The Thai race was previously believed to have originated somewhere near Mongolia, later moving southward. However, new theories based on historical discoveries regard the northeastern part of Thailand as the birthplace of the Thai race.

  • Over the years, the country has become home to many immigrants. The Thai people have managed to preserve the traditions of their unique culture, at the same time absorbing the practices of modern living.

  • Nevertheless, the combination of cultures and backgrounds of these immigrants make Thailand an interesting and memorable country to visit. Tourism has become an important industry in the country. More people visit Thailand than any other country in Southeast Asia. In 2000, more than 9 million people visited Thailand.


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Last updated 06-29-2001