Connect with us
sukhothai1000x600 sukhothai1000x600

Thai Country Studies

Introduction to Thailand Country Studies

A STABLE AND PROSPERING NATION located in the heart of mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand faced the 1990s with abundant resources, not the least of which was its people. Thai society was characterized by a rich blend of cultural traits, an openness to new ideas, and a high degree of adaptability to new situations. Despite a certain amount of diversity, Thai society, according to many observers, was bound together by three basic tenets:

Theravada Buddhism, support for the Thai monarchy, and pride of citizenship in the only nation in Southeast Asia to have maintained its independence throughout its history, including the colonial era.

Wat Kukut (Wat Chama devi), Lamphun, Thailand - Example of Dvaravati artCenturies of migration of various peoples into the region centered on the valley of the Mae Nam (river) Chao Phraya, followed by decades of conscious nation building by the rulers of the Chakkri Dynasty, had resulted in a relatively homogeneous society based on a wide range of cultural influences.

The majority of the populace could trace its lineage over the centuries to the Tai peoples who inhabited southern China in the first millennium A.D. Forced southward by the pressure of an expanding Chinese empire, bands of Tai filtered into Southeast Asia interacting with other ethnic groups that had preceded them. By the late thirteenth century, the Tai states of Sukhothai and Lan Na had been founded in regions previously ruled by the Khmer and the Mon, respectively.

Through interaction with these two peoples, the Tai were exposed to the culture, religion, arts, and languages of India. The Hindu-Buddhist traditions of neighboring Mon and Khmer kingdoms strongly influenced the development of the Tai concept of kingship.

Following the fourteenth-century relocation of the Sukhothai capital southward to Ayutthaya on the floodplain of the Chao Phraya, Theravada Buddhism was made the state religion. The Ayutthaya kings gradually extended their suzerainty southward into the Malay Peninsula in the fifteenth century, where their expansion was stopped by the Muslim state of Malacca. To the east, Ayutthaya established intermittent control over the old Khmer Empire. The sixteenth to eighteenth centuries were marked by frequent wars with the Burmese kingdoms to the northwest, culminating in the destruction of the capital of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767. Out of the ashes of Ayutthaya arose a new Tai kingdom centered at Thon Buri on the Chao Phraya Delta. In the following century the rulers of the Chakkri Dynasty, having moved the capital across the river to Bangkok, expanded their control over neighboring Tai principalities centered at Chiang Mai to the north and Vientiane and Luang Prabang to the east.

The new kingdom, known as Siam, also established a tributary relationship over the Khmers of Cambodia. Trade with China and India was greatly expanded, and Siamese control was established over many of the trade depots of the Malay Peninsula.

The economy of Siam, as that of its predecessers, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, was based on wet-rice agriculture. The peasantry, who worked not only their own rice fields but also performed service for a lord or patron under a system known as sakdi na, made up the vast majority of the population. Rice production was greatly increased in the second half of the nineteenth century as new lands were cultivated by an expanding peasantry. By the end of the century, Siam was a major rice-exporting country, with most exports going to India and China. Jobs associated with the rice trade — merchants, millers, and stevedores — were filled by Chinese immigrants, who increasingly flooded into the region from southeastern China after 1850. Many Chinese also entered the lower echelons of the Siamese civil service at that time.

The ruins of Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai Historical Park.
The international side of Siam’s rice trade was largely handled by Western merchants. European traders and missionaries had made their way to the Tai court at Ayutthaya as early as the sixteenth century. Substantial Western impact on Siam, however, began with the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851-68). Prior to his accession to the throne, King Mongkut had had extensive contact with Western missionaries and had studied European languages, science, and mathematics. Determined that his kingdom should not fall under Western colonial rule, as had neighboring Burma, King Mongkut established diplomatic and trade relations with Britain, France, the United States, and other Western powers during his reign. As a result, Siam became a part of the international economic community. Under King Mongkut’s son and successor, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910), major reforms and Westernization of the bureaucracy and society were adopted. At the same time, the central government tightened its control over outlying territories in the North and Isan geographical regions that had previously been rather loosely governed through local princes and chiefs. By the early twentieth century, however, Siam had been forced to give up its suzerainty over Laos and western Cambodia to the French and its control over four Muslim states on the Malay Peninsula to the British. In return for these losses, Siam became a protected buffer state between French Indochina and British Malaya and Burma.

The city of Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese invaders in 1767 CE.
Reform and modernization supported by King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn led to the rise of a Westernized military and political elite who increasingly agitated for a liberalizing of the political process. The Chakkri kings of the early twentieth century and their close advisers were somewhat less concerned with modernization of their rule and resisted efforts at establishing a constitutional monarchy. In 1932 a small group of Westernized military leaders and top bureaucrats organized a bloodless coup, forcing a constitutional monarchy on King Prajadhipok (Rama VII, 1925-35). Divisiveness within the coup leadership, however, resulted in several decades of new constitutions and repeated coups, led by various military-bureaucratic factions.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.1 / 5. Vote count: 6521

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Pages ( 1 of 4 ): 1 234Next »

Advertisement



Thai Covid-19
3,998
Confirmed
21
Confirmed (24h)
60
Deaths
0
Deaths (24h)
1.5%
Deaths (%)
3,803
Recovered
3
Recovered (24h)
95.1%
Recovered (%)
135
Active
3.4%
Active (%)
In Thailand, the health authorities reported 21 new corona infections by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration within 24 hours. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the CFCSA has counted a total of 3,998 infections with Sars-CoV-2 in Thailand. The number of deaths related to the virus rose 0 to a total of 60.

HM King Bhumibol Royal Jazz Composition

HM King Rama IX Royal Composition

Thailand

Central Thailand5 hours ago

Bangkok Expat Travel Guide

Bright lights, big city, where tradition merges effortlessly with the megalopolis that Thailand’s capital has become, be prepared to be...

rangsit1000x600 rangsit1000x600
Central Thailand1 day ago

Rangsit Expat Travel Guide

Rangsit (รังสิต) is an exurb 40 km north of Bangkok. Understand Memorial Hall, Wat Dhammakaya Effectively a suburb of Bangkok, Rangsit...

udonthani1000x600 udonthani1000x600
Northeast Thailand1 day ago

Udon Thani Expat & Tourist Guide

Udon Thani (อุดรธานี, also Udorn Thanee) is a city in the Isaan region of Thailand. Often referred to as simply Udon or Udorn (อุดร), the city should not be...

mai-khao-3 mai-khao-3
Thailand3 days ago

2 Hours Nonstop Mega Hits 2020🌱 including Krabi, Phi Phi, Chumphon and many other Travel Destinations

Latest Tracks during the first lockdown covering Belize, Bahamas, Ibiza, Bali, NSW, Rhodes, Phi Phi Islands, etc. How useful was...

huahin1000x600 huahin1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Hua Hin Cha-am Expat Travel Guide

Hua Hin Travel Guide Hua Hin is a district in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province of Thailand, 295 kilometers from...

Ko Si Chang1000x600 Ko Si Chang1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Ko Si Chang Expat Travel Guide

Ko Si Chang (เกาะสีชัง) is a small island, population 4,500, near Si Racha and near Pattaya. Understand In the Gulf of Thailand,...

khaolak1000x600 khaolak1000x600
Southern Thailand5 days ago

Khao Lak Expat Travel Guide

Khao Lak (เขาหลัก) is a 20 km long strip of coastal resorts in Phang Nga Province on the Andaman Sea...

Chaiyaphum1000x600 Chaiyaphum1000x600
Northeast Thailand5 days ago

Chaiyaphum Expat Travel Guide

Chaiyaphum (ชัยภูมิ) is a town in Isaan, Thailand. Understand Chaiyaphum is a place where many periods of civilization have overlapped...

Nakhon Nayok1000 Nakhon Nayok1000
Central Thailand5 days ago

Nakhon Nayok Expat Travel Guide

Nakhon Nayok (นครนายก) is a city in the Chao Phraya Basin region of Thailand. Understand Nakhon Nayok is a tourism...

chiangmai1000x600 chiangmai1000x600
Thailand5 days ago

Chiang Mai Expat Travel Guide

Thailand doesn’t only need to be about beaches and nightlife; Chiang Mai, the cultural centre of the north of the...

kochang1000x600 kochang1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Ko Chang Covid-19 Safe Travel Trat Thailand

Ko Chang (เกาะช้าง) is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand. Understand Ko Chang is Thailand’s second largest island, and the biggest in...

ko lanta1000x600 ko lanta1000x600
Southern Thailand5 days ago

Ko Lanta Expat Travel Guide

Ko Lanta (เกาะลันตา) is an island off the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand. Like many other destinations in Krabi Province,...

kalasin1000x600 kalasin1000x600
Northeast Thailand5 days ago

Kalasin Expat Travel Guide

Kalasin (กาฬสินธุ์) is a town in the Isaan region of Thailand, population ~38,000 (2020). Understand Historical evidence points to the...

nonthaburi1000x600 nonthaburi1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Nonthaburi Expat Travel Guide

Nonthaburi (นนทบุรี) is Thailand's second largest city, being a part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Understand Due to its close...

Central Thailand5 days ago

Pattaya Expat Travel Guide

The City of Pattaya on the East coast of the Gulf of Thailand is a self-governing region about 165km Southeast...

kohmak1000x600 kohmak1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Ko Mak Covid-19 Safe Travel Trat Thailand

Ko Mak is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand. It is fairly undeveloped and natural. Understand There are very few islands in...

Southern Thailand5 days ago

Ko Phayam Expat Travel Guide

Ko Phayam is an island in Ranong Province, Thailand. Contents 1 Understand 2 Get in 2.1 Ferries 3 Get around...

Maha-Sarakham1000x600 Maha-Sarakham1000x600
Northeast Thailand5 days ago

Maha Sarakham Safe Expat Travel Guide

Maha Sarakham (มหาสารคาม, also spelt Mahasarakham) is a city and province in Isaan. Understand Maha Sarakham means "city of great...

phatum1000x600 phatum1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Pathum Thani Safe Covid-19 Travel Bangkok

Pathum Thani (ปทุมธานี) is a city in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region in Thailand. Understand Pathum Thani has been a residential...

kohkood1000x600 kohkood1000x600
Central Thailand5 days ago

Ko Kut Covid-19 Safe Travel Koh Kood Trat

Ko Kut (also Koh Kood), Thailand’s 4th largest island (25 km long and 12 km wide), is in Trat Province in the Gulf of...

koh yao1000x600 koh yao1000x600
Southern Thailand5 days ago

Ko Yao Expat Travel Guide

Ko Yao, with Phuket to the west and Krabi to the east Ko Yao (เกาะยาว), sometimes written Koyao, is a...

yasothorn1000x600 yasothorn1000x600
Northeast Thailand5 days ago

Yasothon Expat Travel Guide

Yasothon (ยโสธร) is a town and province in the Isaan region of Thailand. Understand Get in By car Use Hwy...

Thailand5 days ago

Koh Samui Expat Travel Guide

Nestled on the east coast of Thailand in the Gulf of Thailand, lies Koh Samui which has become known as...

Similan Islands1000x600 Similan Islands1000x600
Southern Thailand5 days ago

Similan Islands Expat Travel Guide

The most famous rock at the Similan Islands of Thailand. This beach and viewpoint are often visited by Similan diving...

wattatphanom1000x600 wattatphanom1000x600
Northeast Thailand5 days ago

Mukdahan Covid-Expat Travel Guide

Mukdahan (มุกดาหาร) is a city and province in Isaan. Understand Mukdahan is the 73rd province of Thailand. Its history dates...

Advertisement

Thai Travel Warning

1. Anti-government student protests have occurred in Bangkok and other areas of Thailand. The security environment can be unpredictable and turn violent. Those attending protests can face arrest or other legal consequences. Monitor media reports from thaienquirer.com for information on protest locations and avoid public gatherings. As a foreigner take official warnings seriously.

2. Thailand has high levels of air pollution. Air pollution can make bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions worse.

3. If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel to Thailand. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

Visitor’s Today

Free counters!
P