A Brief History of Thailand
Thailand means “Land of the Free”
and throughout the country’s 800-year history, the
Thai people can boast the distinction of being the only
country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized.
Formerly known as Siam to Foreigners who
first came to this region as early as the 12th Century,
the country’s name was changed to Thailand with the
advent of a democratic government.
Long before the emergence of what is conventionally
called the Thai Kingdom curing the 12th Century, the area
known as Chao Phraya valley, was inhabited by ancient civilizations
that can be traced back to pre-historic times.
By far the most important archaeological
discoveries confirming these ancient people were made in
the tiny village of Ban Chiang near Udon Thani in the Northeast.
Systematic excavation of Ban Chiang began only two decades
ago, revealing painted pottery, jewellery, bronze and iron
tools. Settlement began about 3600 B.C. The Ban Chiang people,
farmed rice, domesticated their animals, and were skillful
But even before human beings roamed the
northeastern plateau, the region was once home to a more
ancient of animal the dinosaur, In 1984, fossils from a
plant-eating dinosaur were found in Phu Wiang province,
and was named Phuwiangosaurus Siamontyrannus isanensis,
a fierce meat-eating ancestor of the infamous Tyrannosaurus
Over the centuries, the area was influenced
by various cultures, from the Indians in the 3rd Century,
the Mons between the 6th to the 11th Century, and the Khmers
who built the wondrous Angkor Wat and who also left their
legacy in the form of numerous stone sanctuaries scattered
across the Thai Kingdom. Thailand dominant culture is believed
to have arrived with tribes who moved down from southern
China almost a thousand years ago. They settled in what
is now northern Thailand before expanding south to the rich
plains and valleys, gradually asserting their independence
from existing Khmer and Mon Kingdoms.
Early History of Thailand | Sukhothai | Ayutthaya | Thon Buri | Rattanakosin |