Peopling of Thailand
The peopling of Thailand refers to the process by which the ethnic groups that comprise the population of present-day Thailand came to inhabit the region. The Tai migration from the northern mountains into Thailand and Laos was a slow process, with the Tai remaining near the mountainous area in the region, where they were able to use their specialized agricultural knowledge relating to the use of mountain water for rice production; the earliest Tai settlements in Thailand were in the river valleys in the northern reaches of the country. The Tai settled the central plains of Thailand and displaced and inter-bred with the pre-existing Austroasiatic population; the languages and culture of the Tai came to dominate the regions of both modern-day Laos and Thailand. In more recent times, many of the Tai tribes of Laos migrated west across the border, establishing communities in Thailand; the Laotian Tai ethnic groups referred to as the Lao, are clustered in the Isan region of Thailand. Comparative linguistic research seems to indicate that the Tai people were a proto-Tai–Kadai-speaking culture of southern China, like the Malayo-Polynesians, they may have been of Austronesian descent.
Prior to living in mainland China, the Tai are thought to have migrated from a homeland on the island of Taiwan, where they spoke a dialect of proto-Austronesian or one of its descendant languages. Unlike the Malayo-Polynesian group who sailed south to the Philippines and other parts of maritime Southeast Asia, the ancestors of the modern Tai-Kadai people sailed west to mainland China and traveled along the Pearl River, where their language changed from other Austronesian languages under the influence of Sino-Tibetan and Hmong–Mien language infusion; the coming of the Han Chinese to this part of southern China may have prompted the Tai to migrate once again. This time they went over the mountains of southern China into Southeast Asia through the mountains of Burma and Laos to the north of present day Thailand; the Tai ethnic groups are believed to have begun migrating south from China to Southeast Asia during the first millennium CE. While this theory of the origin of the Tai predominates, there is insufficient archaeological evidence to prove it, linguistic evidence alone is not conclusive.
In support of the theory, however, it is believed the O1 Y-DNA haplogroup is associated with both the Austronesian people and the Tai. Over the centuries, the Tai intermarried and absorbed many of the other populations who co-inhabited and/or politically occupied the region populations of Mon–Khmer and Chinese descent; this fusion of ethnicity has led to considerable genetic diversity in the modern Thai people, has resulted in a Tai population that differs in culture and apparel from the Tai ethnic groups who remained in China. Many of the individual Tai ethnic groups have assumed a common Thai identity and have adopted Thai cultural norms. There are presently more than 30 distinct Tai ethnic groups in Thailand, contributing nearly 85 percent of the nation's population; the genetic stratification of the ethnic clades of the Tai ethnicity is an ongoing topic of debate among linguists and other social scientists. The history of Chinese immigration to Thailand dates back many centuries, the specific Chinese ethnic groups which made their way to Thailand are numerous, although there is a greater concentration of Chinese from the southern provinces due to their geographic proximity to Thailand.
The Chinese are part of the greater Sino-Tibetan ethnicity which includes the Tibeto-Burmans. The Chinese immigrants were able to merge into the predominant Tai culture, have contributed to the economy and infrastructure of Thailand over the years; every king of the Chakri Dynasty, which rules Thailand, is part Chinese on his mother's side. Of note, the Khek River in Thailand derives its name from the Thai word Khek, the Thai name for the Hakka people of China who settled along its banks in Phitsanulok Province. Chinese traders in Thailand from Fujian and Guangdong Provinces, began arriving in Ayutthaya by at least the 13th century. Ayutthaya was under constant Burmese threat from the 16th century, the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Empire was alarmed by Burmese military might. From 1766-1769, the Qianlong Emperor sent his armies four times to subdue the Burmese, but all four invasions failed. Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767. During the Ayutthaya period, many Chinese traders and soldiers inter-married with local Tai, infusing Chinese culture into the population early in its history.
In the late-18th century, King Taksin of Thonburi, himself half-Chinese encouraged Chinese immigration and trade. Settlers came from Chaozhou prefecture in large numbers. By 1825, the population of Chinese in Thailand had reached 230,000, it grew due to a constant stream of Chinese immigrants to the country throughout the 19th century. Early Chinese immigration consisted entirely of Chinese men, who, of necessity, married Thai women; the children of such intermarriages were called meaning ` children of Chinese' in Thai. The Chinese population in Thailand had risen to 792,000 by 1910. By 1932 12.2 percent of the population was ethnic Chinese. The corruption of the Qing dynasty and the massive population increase in China, combined with high taxes, caused many families to leave for Thailand in search of work and a better life; those who came before the First World War came overland or by sailboats called sampams, while after World War II most arrived by steam ship. The earlier tradition of Chinese-Thai intermarriage declined once larg
Prehistoric Thailand may be traced back as far as 1,000,000 years ago from the fossils and stone tools found in northern and western Thailand. At an archaeological site in Lampang, northern Thailand Homo erectus fossils, Lampang Man, dating back 1,000,000 – 500,000 years, have been discovered. Stone tools have been found in Kanchanaburi, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Lopburi. Prehistoric cave paintings have been found in these regions, dating back 10,000 years; the Lower Palaeolithic is the earliest subdivision of the Old Stone Age. It spans the time from around 2.5 million years ago, when the first craft and use of stone tools by hominids appears in the archaeological record, until around 120,000 years ago when important evolutionary and technological changes ushered in the Middle Palaeolithic. The earliest hominids, known as Homo erectus and recognisable as human, appear in the archaeological record between 1,000,000-500,000 years ago. Locally typified by Lampang Man. About 1,000,000 years ago, Homo erectus moved to Asia from Africa.
Its use and control of fire was an important tool in its hunter-gatherer means of subsistence. Homo erectus's skull was thicker than that of modern human beings, it lived in the mouth of caves near streams or other water supplies. Its main natural enemies included the giant hyena Hyaena senesis, the sabre-toothed tiger, the orang-utan, the giant panda. In 1999, Somsak Pramankit claimed to have found skull fragments of Homo erectus in Ko Kha, though most scholars do not recognize these finds as credible, it was comparable to the skull fossils of Sangiran II Man found in Java, 400,000 - 800,000 years old, as well as Peking Man. Stone artefacts dating to 40,000 years ago have been found at Tham Lod Rockshelter in Mae Hong Son. Modern Thais are not descendants of Lampang Man. Genetic research supports this assertion. Geneticists have proved that there was no inter-breeding between modern human immigrants to Southeast Asia and Homo erectus, affirming that the Thai descended from Africans in accordance with the Recent single-origin hypothesis.
The Neolithic or "New" Stone Age was a period in the development of human technology, traditionally the last part of the Stone Age. The Neolithic era follows the terminal Holocene Epipalaeolithic periods, beginning with the rise of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution" and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age or Bronze Age or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on geographical region. At the Khao Toh Chong rockshelter in Krabi archaeologists have found evidence of a change in diet leading up to domestication due to changes in sea levels. Recent archaeological excavations suggests that domesticated rice was introduced to central Thailand by immigrating rice farming societies about 4000 B. P. Neolithic culture appeared in many parts of Thailand, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani about 9000 BCE. People pioneered wild cereal use, which evolved into true farming. For peninsular Thailand evidence of rice agriculture exists from 2500 - 2200 B.
P. However, the possibility of an early presence of rice agriculture in southern-peninsular Thailand has been discussed by scholars Early Neolithic farming was limited to a narrow range of crops, both wild and domesticated, which included betel, pea, pepper and domesticated cattle and pigs; the establishment of permanently or seasonally inhabited settlements, the use of pottery. In Southeast Asia, the independent domestication events led to their own regionally-distinctive Neolithic cultures which arose independent of those in other parts of the world. Spirit CaveSpirit Cave is an archaeological site in Pang Mapha District, Mae Hong Son Province, northwestern Thailand, it was occupied from 9000 to 5500 BCE by Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers from North Vietnam. The site is at an elevation of 650 m. above sea level on a hillside overlooking the Salween River. Lang Kamnan CaveLang Kamnan Cave is an archaeological site in Muang District, Kanchanaburi Province, is on a limestone upland, facing northeast and 110 m above sea level.
The cave is about 4 km from the Khwae Noi River. By analysing the faunal remains in the cave, the cave is believed to be one of the many temporary camps of the seasonally mobile hunter-gatherers, it was occupied from Late Pleistocene to Early Holocene. Wang BhodiWang Bhodi is an archaeological site in Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi Province, western Thailand. Dating from 4500 to 3000 BCE. Since World War II, many stone tools have been found in the caves and along the rivers in this region. Ban Chiang Ban Chiang is an archaeological site in Udon Thani Province. Dating of the artefacts using the thermoluminescence technique resulted in 4420-3400 BCE dates; the oldest graves found contain no bronze and are therefore from a Neolithic culture, the most recent ones are from the Iron Age. Khok Phanom DiKhok Phanom Di is in southeast Thailand near the flood plain of the Bang Pakong River in Chonburi Province; this site was populated from 2000-1500 BCE. Seven mortuary phases were identified in the excavation, including 154 graves, yielding abundant archaeological remains, such as fish, hearths, post holes, the burials of adults and infants.
By analysing the change in mortuary practices and the isotopes of strontium and oxygen found within dental remains, archaeologists have examined the possibility of integration between an inland agriculture with the coastal hunter-gathers of Khok Phanom Di. The isotopic studies showed that in earlier phases, the female inhabitants in the site were immigrants from b
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Development Association; the World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group. The World Bank's most recent stated goal is the reduction of poverty; as of November 2018, the largest recipients of world bank loans were India and China, through loans from IBRD. The World Bank is different from the World Bank Group, an extended family of five international organizations: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development International Development Association International Finance Corporation Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes The World Bank was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference along with the International Monetary Fund; the president of the World Bank is, traditionally, an American. The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington, D.
C. and work with each other. Although many countries were represented at the Bretton Woods Conference, the United States and United Kingdom were the most powerful in attendance and dominated the negotiations; the intention behind the founding of the World Bank was to provide temporary loans to low-income countries which were unable to obtain loans commercially. The Bank may make loans and demand policy reforms from recipients. Before 1974, the reconstruction and development loans provided by the World Bank were small; the Bank's staff were aware of the need to instill confidence in the bank. Fiscal conservatism ruled, loan applications had to meet strict criteria; the first country to receive a World Bank loan was France. The Bank's president at the time, John McCloy, chose France over two other applicants and Chile; the loan was for US$250 million, half the amount requested, it came with strict conditions. France had to agree to produce a balanced budget and give priority of debt repayment to the World Bank over other governments.
World Bank staff monitored the use of the funds to ensure that the French government met the conditions. In addition, before the loan was approved, the United States State Department told the French government that its members associated with the Communist Party would first have to be removed; the French government complied and removed the Communist coalition government - the so-called tripartite. Within hours, the loan to France was approved; when the Marshall Plan went into effect in 1947, many European countries began receiving aid from other sources. Faced with this competition, the World Bank shifted its focus to non-European countries; until 1968, its loans were earmarked for the construction of infrastructure works, such as seaports, highway systems, power plants, that would generate enough income to enable a borrower country to repay the loan. In 1960, the International Development Association was formed, providing soft loans to developing countries. From 1974 to 1980 the bank concentrated on meeting the basic needs of people in the developing world.
The size and number of loans to borrowers was increased as loan targets expanded from infrastructure into social services and other sectors. These changes can be attributed to Robert McNamara, appointed to the presidency in 1968 by Lyndon B. Johnson. McNamara implored bank treasurer Eugene Rotberg to seek out new sources of capital outside of the northern banks, the primary sources of funding. Rotberg used the global bond market to increase the capital available to the bank. One consequence of the period of poverty alleviation lending was the rapid rise of third world debt. From 1976 to 1980 developing world debt rose at an average annual rate of 20%. In 1980 the World Bank Administrative Tribunal was established to decide on disputes between the World Bank Group and its staff where allegation of non-observance of contracts of employment or terms of appointment had not been honored. In 1980 McNamara was succeeded by Alden W. Clausen. Clausen crafted a different mission emphasis, his 1982 decision to replace the bank's Chief Economist, Hollis B.
Chenery, with Anne Krueger was an example of this new focus. Krueger was known for her criticism of development funding and for describing Third World governments as "rent-seeking states". During the 1980s the bank emphasized lending to service Third-World debt, structural adjustment policies designed to streamline the economies of developing nations. UNICEF reported in the late 1980s that the structural adjustment programs of the World Bank had been responsible for "reduced health and educational levels for tens of millions of children in Asia, Latin America, Africa". Beginning in 1989, in response to harsh criticism from many groups, the bank began including environmental groups and NGOs in its loans to mitigate the past effects of its development policies that had prompted the criticism, it formed an implementing agency, in accordance with the Montreal Protocols, to stop ozone-depletion damage to the Earth's atmosphere by phasing out the use of 95% of ozone-depleting chemicals, with a target date of 2015.
Since in accordance with its so-called "Six Strategic Themes", the bank has put various additional policies into effect to preserve the environment while promoting development. For example, in 1991 the bank announced that to protect against deforestation in the Amazon, it would not finance any commercial logging or infrastructure projects that harm the en
Siamese revolution of 1932
The Siamese revolution of 1932 or the Siamese coup d'état of 1932 was a crucial turning point in 20th-century Thai history. The revolution, in reality a coup d'état, was a nearly bloodless transition on 24 June 1932, which changed the system of government in Siam from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy; the "revolution" was brought about by a comparatively small group of military and civilians, who formed Siam's first political party, the Khana Ratsadon. It ended 150 years of absolutism under the Chakri Dynasty and 800 years of absolute rule of kings over Thai history, it was a product of global historical change as well as domestic political changes. It resulted in the people of Siam being granted their first constitution. Unlike other Southeast Asian states, Thailand was never formally colonised by colonial powers — though significant territory had been ceded under duress to Britain and France. Conventional perspectives attribute this to the efforts made by the monarchs of the Chakri Dynasty Rama IV and Rama V, to "modernise" the Siamese polity, to the relative cultural and ethnic homogeneity of the Thai nation.
Rama IV began the process of modernisation. His son, Rama V, consolidated state control over Thai vassal states and created an absolute monarchy and a centralised state; the success of the Chakri monarchs would sow the seeds of the 1932 revolution and the end of the absolute monarchy. "Modernisation" mandated from above had created by the early-20th century a class of Western-educated Thais in the commoner and lower nobility classes. They were influenced by the ideals of the French and Russian revolutions and staffed the middle and lower ranks of the nascent Siamese bureaucracy; this new faction would form the People's Party, the nucleus of the 1932 revolution. Recent scholarship offers alternative perspectives to modern Thai history that challenge conventional views of the 1932 Siamese revolution. Thongchai Winichakul's hypothesis on the emergence of the "geo-body" of Siam is accepted by scholars in Thai and Southeast Asian studies. Thongchai argues that the traditional Hindu-Buddhist paradigms of culture, space and power were challenged by a different civilisation arising from Latin Christianity tempered by the Humanism of the Enlightenment.
The East became described as "barbaric", "ignorant", or "inferior". The mission to "civilise" the "barbaric Asiatics" became the raison d'être for colonialism and imperialism; the siwilai programme in 19th century Siam was part of a strategy the Chakri monarchy adopted to justify their country's continued existence as a legitimate independent state to fend off colonial intervention. Other components involved the spatial and political reorganisation of the Siamese polity along Western lines to strengthen the state and gain recognition from the Western powers. Thongchai argues that the tactics adopted by the Siamese state were similar to those adopted by Western colonial powers in administering their colonies. Space and power were redefined by the Siamese state. Autonomous and semi-autonomous mueangs were brought under the direct control of the state by the beginning of the 20th century. Cartography was employed to define national borders, replacing the vague frontiers of the Mandala kingdoms. People were assigned to ethnic groups.
To promote the new Western-inspired definitions of siwilai, the educated Siamese of the 19th century the aristocracy, began writing ethnographies and creating their own versions of the "other" to strengthen the identity of the Siamese nation by emphasising its superiority in contrast to the barbarity of upland tribal peoples such as the Lue and the Lahu. These new perspectives created a politically dominant Siamese aristocracy that became powerful from the "modernisation/self-colonisation" process it initiated and directed; this seems to contradict conventional perspectives, which are based on the assumption that the Chakri absolute monarchy by the early-1930s was a passive actor due to the political weakness of Rama VI and Rama VII and crises such as the Great Depression. No longer in control of events and political developments in Siam, they were swept aside by adherents of democracy and nationalism. Revisionists counter by noting that the weaknesses of an individual monarch does not mean that the resolve and power of the traditional landed aristocracy or the so-called Sakdina aristocracy in maintaining its preeminence through upholding the political prerogatives of the absolute monarchy was in any way lessened.
In their view, attributing the outbreak of the 1932 revolution to the beliefs and ambitions of the Western-educated promoters of the People's Party obscures the role played by the Siamese monarchy and aristocracy. Since 1782 the Kingdom of Siam had been ruled by the Chakri Dynasty, founded by King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, who declared the Rattanakosin Kingdom with himself as the King "Rama"; the capital city, was founded by King Rama I. For over a century, the kings of Siam were able to protect the nation from neighbours and other foreign nations, escaping colonialism from European powers such as Britain and France. In 1932 Siam, together with China and Japan, were the only independent countries remaining in East Asia. King Chulalongkorn came to the throne in 1868, eager to modernise and reform his medieval kingdom, he int
Geography of Thailand
Thailand's 514,000 square kilometers lie in the middle of mainland Southeast Asia. The nation's axial position influenced many aspects of Thailand's society and culture—it controls the only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore. 15°00′N 100°00′EThe fertile floodplain and tropical monsoon climate, ideally suited to wet-rice cultivation, attracted settlers to this central area over to the marginal uplands and the highlands of the northern region or the Khorat Plateau to the northeast. By the 11th century AD, a number of loosely connected rice-growing and trading states flourished in the upper Chao Phraya Valley, they broke free from domination of the Khmer Empire, but from the middle of the 14th century came under the control of the Ayutthaya kingdom at the southern extremity of the floodplain. Successive capitals, built at various points along the river, became centers of great Thai kingdoms based on rice cultivation and foreign commerce. Unlike the neighboring Khmer and Burmese, the Thai continued to look outward across the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea toward foreign ports of trade.
When European imperialism brought a new phase in Southeast Asian commerce in the late 1800s, Thailand was able to maintain its independence as a buffer zone between British-controlled Burma to the west and French-dominated Indochina to the east, but losing over 50% of its territory in the process. Most of the areas lost contained a non-Thai population; the Thai-speaking heartland remains intact. Total: 4,863 km Border countries: Myanmar 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km Total: 3,219 km territorial sea: 12 nmi exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi continental shelf: 20-m depth or to the depth of exploitation The most conspicuous features of Thailand's terrain are high mountains, a central plain, an upland plateau. Mountains cover much of northern Thailand and extend along the Myanmar border down through the Kra Isthmus and the Malay Peninsula; the central plain is a lowland area drained by the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries, the country's principal river system, which feeds into the delta at the head of the Bay of Bangkok.
The Chao Phraya system drains about one-third of the nation's territory. In the northeastern part of the country the Khorat Plateau, a region of rolling low hills and shallow lakes, drains into the Mekong through the Mun River; the Mekong system includes a series of canals and dams. Together, the Chao Phraya and Mekong systems sustain Thailand's agricultural economy by supporting wet-rice cultivation and providing waterways for the transport of goods and people. In contrast, the distinguishing natural features of peninsular Thailand are long coastlines, offshore islands, diminishing mangrove swamps. Total: 513,120 square kilometres Land: 510,890 square kilometres Water: 2,230 square kilometres Thailand uses a unit of land area called the rai, 1,600 m2. Northernmost point: Myanmar border, Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai Province, at 20°28′N 99°57′E Southernmost point: Malaysian border, Betong District, Yala Province, at 5°37′N 101°8′E Easternmost point: Laos border, Khong Chiam District, Ubon Ratchathani Province, at 15°38′N 105°38′E Westernmost point: Myanmar border, Mae Sariang District, Mae Hong Son Province, at 18°34′N 97°21′E Highest point: Doi Inthanon, 2,565 metres, at 18°35′32″N 98°29′12″E Lowest point: Gulf of Thailand, 0 metres - sea level The National Research Council divides Thailand into six geographical regions, based on natural features including landforms and drainage, as well as human cultural patterns.
They are, namely: the North Region, the Northeast Region, the Central Region, the East Region, the West Region and the South Region of Thailand. Although Bangkok geographically is part of the central plain, as the capital and largest city this metropolitan area may be considered in other respects a separate region; each of the six geographical regions differs from the others in population, basic resources, natural features, level of social and economic development. The diversity of the regions is in fact the most pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical setting. Northern Thailand is a mountainous area. Parallel mountain ranges extend from the Daen Lao Range, in the southern region of the Shan Hills, in a north/south direction, the Dawna Range forming the western border of Thailand between Mae Hong Son and the Salween River, the Thanon Thong Chai Range, the Khun Tan Range, the Phi Pan Nam Range, as well as the western part of the Luang Prabang Range; these high mountains are incised by steep river valleys and upland areas that border the central plain.
Most rivers, including the Nan, Ping and Yom, unite in the lowlands of the lower-north region and the upper-central region. The Ping River and the Nan River unite to form the Chao Phraya River; the northeastern part is drained by rivers flowing into the Mekong basin, like the Ing. Traditionally, these natural features made possible several different types of agriculture, including wet-rice farming in the valleys and shifting cultivation in the uplands; the forested mountains promoted a spirit of regional independence. Forests, including stands of teak and other economically useful hardwoods that once dominated the north and parts of the northeast, had diminished by the 1980s to 130,000 km². In 1961 they covered 56 percent of the country, but by the mid-1980s forestland had been reduced to less than 30 percent of Thailand's total area. During the winter months in mountainous northern Thailand, the temperature is cool enough for the cultiva
The baht is the official currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang; the issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand. According to SWIFT, as of February 2017, the Thai baht is ranked as the 10th most used world payment currency. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation produces at least some Thai banknotes and coins; the Thai baht, like the pound, originated from a traditional unit of mass. Its currency value was expressed as that of silver of corresponding weight, was in use as early as the Sukhothai period in the form of bullet coins known in Thai as phot duang; these were pieces of solid silver cast to various weights corresponding to a traditional system of units related by simple fractions and multiples, one of, the baht. These are listed in the following table: That system was in use up until 1897, when the decimal system devised by Prince Jayanta Mongkol, in which one baht = 100 satang, was introduced by his half-brother King Chulalongkorn.
However, coins denominated in the old units were issued until 1910, the amount of 25 satang is still referred to as a salueng, as is the 25-satang coin. Until 27 November 1902, the baht was fixed on a purely silver basis, with 15 grams of silver to the baht; this caused the value of the currency to vary relative to currencies on a gold standard. In 1857, the values of certain foreign silver coins were fixed by law, with the one baht = 0.6 Straits dollar and five baht = seven Indian rupees. Before 1880 the exchange rate was fixed at eight baht per pound sterling, falling to 10 to the pound during the 1880s. In 1902, the government began to increase the value of the baht by following all increases in the value of silver against gold but not reducing it when the silver price fell. Beginning at 21.75 baht = one pound sterling, the currency rose in value until, in 1908, a fixed peg to the British pound sterling was established of 13 baht = one pound. This was revised to 12 baht in 1919 and after a period of instability, to 11 baht in 1923.
During World War II, the baht was fixed at a value of one Japanese yen. From 1956 until 1973, the baht was pegged to the U. S. dollar at an exchange rate of 20.8 baht = one dollar and at 20 baht = 1 dollar until 1978. A strengthening US economy caused Thailand to re-peg its currency at 25 to the dollar from 1984 until 2 July 1997, when the country was affected by the 1997 Asian financial crisis; the baht was floated and halved in value, reaching its lowest rate of 56 to the dollar in January 1998. It has since risen to about 30 per dollar; the baht was known to foreigners by the term tical, used in English language text on banknotes until 1925. Rama III was the first king to consider the use of a flat coin, he did so not for the convenience of traders, but because he was disturbed that the creatures living in the cowrie shells were killed. When he learned of the use of flat copper coins in Singapore in 1835, he contacted a Scottish trader, who had two types of experimental coins struck in England.
The king rejected both designs. The name of the country put on these first coins was Muang Thai, not Siam. Cowrie shells from the Mekong River had been used as currency for small amounts since the Sukhothai period. Before 1860, Thailand did not produce coins using modern methods. Instead, a so-called "bullet" coinage was used, consisting of bars of metal, thicker in the middle, bent round to form a complete circle on which identifying marks were stamped. Denominations issued included 1⁄128, 1⁄64, 1⁄32, 1⁄16, 1⁄8, 1⁄2, 1, 1 1⁄2, 2, 2 1⁄2, 4, 4 1⁄2, 8, 10, 20, 40, 80 baht in silver and 1⁄32, 1⁄16, 1⁄8, 1⁄2, 1, 1 1⁄2, 2, 4 baht in gold. One gold baht was worth 16 silver baht. Between 1858 and 1860, foreign trade coins were stamped by the government for use in Thailand. In 1860, modern style coins were introduced; these were silver 1 sik, 1 fuang, 1 and 2 salung, 1, 2, 4 baht, with the baht weighing 15.244 grams and the others weight related. Tin 1 solot and 1 att followed in 1862, with gold 2 1⁄2, 4, 8 baht introduced in 1863 and copper 2 and 4 att in 1865.
Copper replaced tin in the 1 solot and 1 att in 1874, with copper 4 att introduced in 1876. The last gold coins were struck in 1895. In 1897, the first coins denominated in satang were introduced, cupronickel 2 1⁄2, 5, 10, 20 satang. However, 1 solot, 1 and 2 att coins were struck until 1905 and 1 fuang coins were struck until 1910. In 1908, holed 1, 5, 10 satang coins were introduced, with the 1 satang in bronze and the 5 and 10 satang in nickel; the 1 and 2 salung were replaced by 25 and 50 satang coins in 1915. In 1937, bronze 1⁄2 satang were issued. In 1941, a series of silver coins was introduced in denominations of 5, 10, 20 satang, due to a shortage of nickel caused by World War II; the next year, tin coins were introduced for 1, 5, 10 satang, followed by 20 satang in 1945 and 25 and 50 satang in 1946. In 1950, aluminium-bronze 5, 10, 25, 50 satang were introduced whilst, in 1957, bronze 5 and 10 satang were issued, along with 1 baht coins struck in an unusual alloy of copper, nickel and zinc.
Several Thai coins were issued for many years without changing the date. These include the tin 1942 1 satang and the 1950 5 and 10 satang, struck until 1973, the tin 1946 25 satang struck until 1964, the tin 50 satang struck until 1957, the aluminium bronze 1957 5, 10, 25, 50 satang struck until the 1970s. Cupronickel 1 baht coins were introduced in 1962 and struck without date change until 1982. In 1972, cupronickel 5 baht coins were introduced, switching to cupronickel-cl
Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand and known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country; the capital and largest city is a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar, its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other.
European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign declining thereafter until being destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom, he was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's influential role in politics.
Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy. Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. By outsiders prior to 1949, it was known by the exonym Siam; the word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word; the word Śyâma is not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion. Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century; the Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. The signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut Rex Siamensium, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means "free man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives encompassed in Thai society as serfs".
A famous Thai scholar argued that Thai means "people" or "human being", since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai would have evolved from the etymon *kri:'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA > tʰajA2 or > tajA2. Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for t