KINGDOM OF SIAM and THAILAND: a little history



Thailand is a fascinating country in many ways and it sends images, thrills to the one who knows how to capture this atmosphere.

It is important to know the history, briefly described below, to understand Thailand today.


Fou-Nan, Chen-La and the Môns:

2nd century: dominion of a maritime power known as FOU-NAN reigning from southern Vietnam to the Malaysian peninsula.

The end of the fifth century: the emergence of a new, agrarian power in southern Laos today called the CHEN-MA. Annexation of the Fou-Nan declining.

From the 6th to the 9th centuries: civilization established in the center of Thailand. Prosperity based on trade throughout Southeast Asia.

The Khmer:

From the 9th century onwards, the Khmers ruled its capital in Angkor. They gradually spread their dominion over all Southeast Asia.

It was at this time that the first groups of Thai began to settle gradually to become dominant towards the XII ° in the region.

The Thai people are native to the South-East of China. It is the push of the Chinese and Vietnamese that push the Thai to move first to Laos and then to the present Thailand mainly in the East (Issean).

Towards the eighteenth century, the Khmer Empire dominated the whole of Southeast Asia and Malaysia. This is the Kingdom of Siam. The Mons are retreating to Myanmar (present-day Burma).

The weakening of the Khmers in the east and Pagan in the west favors a return of the expansion of the Thais gradually spreading in central Thailand where the cultivation of rice created new social classes. The chiefs of the Thai clan freed themselves of the Khmer suzerainty in 1238 and elected a king.

From this period onwards, the Kingdom did not stop composing, fighting, negotiating with its neighbors to maintain a unity which is the strength of modern Thailand. The first ruler of Ayutthaya will be King Ramathibodi I. The kingdom is then directed to the center in AYUTTHAYA until the end of the eighteenth century, the date of the destruction of the city by the Burmese (1767).

Immediately in 1769, General Taksin reunited Siam from his new capital Thonburi, reconquered the province of the former empire of Ayutthaya and was proclaimed king. He was declared mad, imprisoned and then executed in 1782. His general named Chakri succeeded him and took the name RAMA I, creating the CHAKRI dynasty which is still reigning today.

He moved to the banks of the CHAO PRAYA river, opposite Thonburi, and created Krungthep, the "City of the Gods" also known as Bangkok.

Under his rule, Thailand will regain prosperity, trading with China and its neighbors.

Rama I will develop and encourage Thai arts and culture. His son and successor RAMA II is a famous poet in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

Until the middle of the nineteenth century, attempts by neighbors (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma) were contained and negotiations with the Vietnamese neighbor offered a shared control of the Cambodian neighbor.

Then came the arrival of the French and British colonial powers. The latter will enter the war with Burma wishing to control the country but also Malaysia.

The Kingdom of Siam, conscious of its weaknesses, will choose the path of negotiation which will remain a constant strategy in order to maintain the independence of the Kingdom.

The Thais attribute to the diplomatic qualities of these monarchs and to the modernist reforms of their governments the fact that Siam is the only country in South-East Asia to have escaped colonization, not to fall directly under the control of a " A Western power.

Trade treaties liberating international trade will be signed during this period with France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The treaties signed with France will define the contours of the country that we know today in the East while the English will seize several states, provinces of the Malaysian peninsula under control then of Bangkok.

Thailand's entry into the "modern" world will be initiated by Rama IV (King Mongkut) who will be interested in Western languages ​​(including Latin) and modern sciences in the middle of the 19th century. The guardian of her son Chulalongkorn will be the British Anna Leonowens who will inspire the famous novel "Anna and the King".