The incredible story of Thailand is visible in the eyes and hearts of all visitors through the magnificent ruins of ancient kingdoms rose and fell throughout the centuries. The earliest archaeological evidence of human occupation in Thailand is is found in the Northeast hamlets of Ban Chiang and Ban Prasat dated back to 4000 B.C. Thailand is also credited for promoting the world's oldest culture, The Bronze Age in this period. Thousands of years later, three major groups of people Mon, Khmer and Thai migrated south from China to Thailand. The Mon settled in present day Myammar , the Khmer settled in Cambodia and Thais had established their dominance in three Northern Thai states : Lanna , Sukhothai and Phayao. Throughout its 800 years old history, Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized. The amazing history of Thailand is divided into five major periods.
1) Nanchao Period
(650 –1250 A.D.)
The kingdom of Thailand was established and flourished in the southern part of China, which is the present day Yunnan, Kwansi and Canton provinces. Many people have migrated to the Southern Chao Phraya Basin and settled under the rule Khmer empire in the central areas whose culture is the main influence of the fundamental Thai culture..
2) Sukhothai Period
(1238 – 1378 A.D.)
Sukhothai or “dawn of happiness” is considered the first independent state of Thailand and beginning of Thai Kingdom when it was freed from the power of the Khmer in 1238. Sukhothai was known as the golden era in the history of Thailand due to the prosperity of power, economy, arts and culture. Some of the most important developments in this period are the first written historical record and the invention of Thai alphabets by the famous king Ramkamhaeng. In 1350 Sukhothai eventually subdued to Ayutthaya.
3) Ayutthaya Period
(1350 – 1767 A.D.)
Founded by King U-Thong, Ayutthaya in Thailand is dominated by many other principalities, and was one of the most developed and richest kingdoms in this period. Language, art and culture of Ayutthaya are the basis for the development of unique identity in Thailand. After 417 years of prosperity Burmese invasion succeeded in capturing Ayutthaya, but Phraya Taksin and his troops broke through and expelled the Burmese soon after.
4) Thon Buri Period
(1767 - 1782 A.D.)
After regaining control of the kingdom, Phraya Taksin became king Taksin and moved the capital from Ayutthaya to Thon Buri. The fall of Ayutthaya led to many questions, such as the continuing battles with the Burmese uprising and revolution throughout the Kingdom. The rapid disintegration of Thon Buri marked the beginning of the Rattanakosin period.
5) Rattanakosin Period
(1782 A.D. to the Present)
Rattanakosin is the time for change, growth and prosperity of Thailand, mainly due to the capability and commitment of all nine kings of Charkri Dynasty.King Rama I founded Bangkok as the capital of Thailand and this will again be strong as Ayutthaya. International relations with western countries and growing trade with China were developed during the reign of King Rama II and King Rama III. Many treaties signed with European countries and economic reforms were made by King Rama IV. One of the most significant changes happened during the reign of King Rama V, which is abolition of slavery and improving the public welfare and administrative system. The compulsory education system was implemented during the period of King Rama VI, followed by the change of country’s ruling system from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy in the period of King Rama VII. The name of the country is changed from Siam to Thailand with the advent of democracy during the period of King Rama VIII. Present king of Thailand Rama IX or King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is the world's longest serving head of state and monarch in the history of Thailand who has developed several projects to improve the lives of Thais and is the father figure for the people of Thailand.
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