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Thailand means"land of the free", and throughout its 800-year history, Thailand can boast the distinction of being the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized. Its history is divided into five major periods :
Sukhothai Period (1238-1378 A.D.)
Sukhothai was the first Thai kingdom. It was founded in 1238 by two Thai governors, Khun Bang Klang Thao (Si Inthrathit) and Khun Pha Muang who rebelled against the Khmers; and gave independence to the region. Sukhothai period was the most flourishing period of Thailand. It gained independence in 1238 and quickly expanded its boundary of influence. Sukhothai period was considered to be a golden age of Thai culture. During that time in the history, everybody could say that "There are fish in the water and rice in the fields". The boundary of Sukhothai stretched from Lampang in the north to Vientiane, in present day Laos and the south to the Malay Peninsula.
Nanchao Period (650-1250 A.D.)
Thaiís began to emerge as a dominant force in the region in the13th century, gradually asserting independence from existing Khmer and Mon kingdoms. Called by its rulers"the dawn of happiness", this is often considered the golden era of Thai history, an ideal Thai state in a land of plenty governed by paternal and benevolent kings, the most famous of whom was King Ramkamhaeng the Great. However in 1350, the mightier state of Ayutthaya exerted its influence over Sukhothai.
Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767)
Ayutthaya, the capital of the Thai Kingdom was found by U-Thong King in 1350. Ayutthaya as an island is formed by the gathering of three rivers, the Chao Phraya, the Pasak, and the Loburi and surrounded by rice terraces. It is easy to see why the Ayutthaya area was settled prior to this date since the site offered a variety of geographical and economic advantages. The Thai kings of Ayutthaya became powerful in the 14th and 15th centuries, taking over U-Thong, Lopburi, and Ayutthaya.
In 1765, the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya. This time Burmese caused much fear to Thais. Burmase soldiers destroyed everything, including temples, manuscripts, and religious sculpture. After the capital fell in their hands for two years, the Burmese effectiveness could not further hold the kingdom. Phaya Taksin, a Thai general, promoted himself to be the king in 1769. He ruled the new capital of Thonburi on the bank of Chao Phraya River, opposite Bangkok. Thais regained control of their country and thus scattered themselves to the provinces in the north and central part of Thailand. Taksin eventually turn himself to be the next Buddha and was dismissed and executed by his ministers who did not approve his religious values.
Thon Buri Period (1767-1772)
General Taksin, as he is popularly known, decided to transfer the capital from Ayutthaya to a site nearer to the sea which would facilitate foreign trade, ensure the procurement of arms, and make defence and withdrawal easier in case of a renewed Burmese attack. He established his new capital at Thon Buri on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
The rule of Taksin was not an easy one. The lack of central authority since the fall of Ayutthaya led to the rapid disintegration of the kingdom, and Taksinís reign was spent reuniting the provinces.
Rattanakosin Period (1782 - the Present)
After Taksinís death, General Chakri became the first king of the Chakri Dynasty, Rama I, ruling from 1782 to 1809. His first action as king was to transfer the royal capital across the river from Thon Buri to Bangkok and build the Grand Palace. Rama II (1809-1824) continued the restoration begun by his predecessor. King Nang Klao, Rama III (1824-1851) reopened relations with Western nations and developed trade with China. King Mongkut, Rama IV, (1851-1868) of"The King and I" concluded treaties with European countries, avoided colonialisation and established modern Thailand. He made many social and economic reforms during his reign .
King Chulalongkorn, Rama V (1869-1910) continued his fatherís tradition of reform, abolishing slavery and improving the public welfare and administrative system. Compulsory education and other educational reforms were introduced by King Vajiravudh, Rama VI (1910-1925). During the reign of King Prajadhipok, (1925-1935), Thailand changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The king abdicated in 1933 and was succeeded by his nephew, King Ananda Mahidol (1935-1946). The countryís name was changed from Siam to Thailand with the advent of a democratic government in 1939. Our present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty.
Beaches on Koh Chang
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