Man began to settle in the territory of modern Thailand in the Paleolithic era. About 5,000 years ago, there were rural communities on the Korat plateau, which achieved a fairly high skill in agriculture, pottery and metalworking. However, this ancient civilization did not leave behind any large monuments or temples.
In the 1st millennium BC. e. the ancestors of the Tai tribes occupied the Yunnan highlands. At the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. e. part of the Tai tribes began to move south, mixing with the local population. The formation of the first major Thai principalities dates back to the end of the 12th – beginning of the 13th century. Buddhism has been the dominant religion in Thailand since the 13th century. In 1238, the Thai principalities united, creating the state of Sukhothai. At this time, the first Thai alphabet was created, and the first forms of traditional Thai art emerged in painting, sculpture, architecture and literature. However, this state did not last long, falling into vassal dependence on the young and dynamically developing kingdom of Ayutthaya. In the XI – XII centuries. Eastern neighbors gave the Thai tribes the name Siam. Subsequently, the territory of all of Thailand became so called, and in the 16th century this name passed into European languages. In the 17th century, Siam significantly expanded trade relations with many countries. Check a2zdirectory for old history of Thailand.
In parallel to the kingdom of Ayutthaya, in the north of modern Thailand, there was the kingdom of Chiang Mai. Both of them were constantly at war with Burma and the Khmer Empire. The Burmese invasion in 1569 resulted in the defeat of the Thais and the fall of Ayutthaya. The resistance of the Thai people was led by the Siamese commander and King Taksin. After a series of defeats, the Burmese were expelled from Siam, and Taksin united the entire country under his rule. In 1782, Taksin was overthrown, and General Chakri took the throne, taking the name of Rama I and becoming the founder of the current ruling Chakri dynasty. After his enthronement in 1782, the king moved the capital to Bangkok, which is 30 kilometers south of Ayutthaya.
In the 19th century Siam remained independent, firmly rejecting the claims of one European power after another. It was the only state in Southeast Asia that escaped colonization. In 1932, in an almost bloodless revolution, Siam became a constitutional monarchy. Since 1939, Siam has been renamed Thailand, which means “land of the free” in Thai.
During World War II, the Thai government allowed Japanese troops to occupy Thailand. After the war, Thailand was dominated by the military, and the country went through more than twenty coups, between which there were short-term experiments with democracy. After democratic elections in 1979, power passed from the hands of the military to the hands of the business elite, and a long period of stability and prosperity followed.
Now Thailand is a democratic country, which is based not only on secular laws, but also on the generally accepted norms of Buddhism. Thailand doesn’t have a long history of democracy, but that doesn’t stop it from being a truly free country.
When traveling to Thailand, you should remember some important national characteristics of its inhabitants.
Thais are very sensitive to their religion and everything connected with it. When visiting shrines, you must be neatly dressed; you cannot be in shorts, T-shirts or without a shirt. Women are not allowed to address monks. In turn, Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch a woman or take anything from her hands. You can not climb on the images of the Buddha to take pictures. When entering the temples, you must take off your shoes, and in the temples themselves, you cannot sit with your feet in the direction of the Buddha. In general, among Thais, the lower part of the body is considered despicable, so pointing at an object or person with your foot is rude. Sitting cross-legged is absolutely unthinkable even for a man: it will be perceived as an insult to others.
In Thailand, any head is considered sacred. According to Thai belief, a spirit guarding a person’s life sits in the head, so touching someone else’s head and even gently ruffling their hair means insulting a person.
Thais honor the royal family and cannot tolerate even the slightest disdain for the Thai monarchy. With regard to the royal family, it is customary to conduct only praising conversations and in no case discuss the personal life of the monarchs.
Thai culture of communication does not allow raising voices at each other, in case of problems, the only way to resolve controversial issues is to calmly discuss. For insulting members of the Royal Family and for loud swearing in a public place, you can even end up in jail.