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Thailand Part 2 – Brief History

November 2, 2006

13th century Siamese (Thai) people migrated south and settled in valley of Chao Phraya River in Khmer Empire.

1238 Siamese ousted Khmer governors and formed new kingdom based at Sukhothai.

14th and 15th centuries Siamese expanded at expense of declining Khmer Empire.

1350 Siamese capital moved to Ayatthaya (which also became name of kingdom).

1511 Portuguese traders first reached Siam.

1569 Conquest of Ayatthaya by Burmese ended years of rivalry and conflict.

1589 Siamese regained independence under King Naresuan.

17th century Foreign trade under royal monopoly developed with Chinese, Japanese, and Europeans.

1690s Siam expelled European military advisers and missionaries and adopted policy of isolation.

1767 Burmese invaders destroyed city of Ayatthaya, massacred ruling families, and withdrew, leaving Siam in a state of anarchy.

1782 Reunification of Siam after civil war under Gen Phraya Chakri, who founded new capital at Bangkok and proclaimed himself King Rama I.

1824–51 King Rama III reopened Siam to European diplomats and missionaries.

1851–68 King Mongkut employed European advisers to help modernize the government, legal system, and army.

1856 Royal monopoly on foreign trade ended.

1868–1910 King Chulalongkorn continued modernization and developed railway network using Chinese immigrant labour; Siam became major exporter of rice.

1896 Anglo-French agreement recognized Siam as independent buffer state between British Burma and French Indo-China.

1932 Bloodless coup forced King Rama VII to grant a constitution with a mixed civilian-military government.

1939 Siam changed its name to Thailand (briefly reverting to Siam 1945–49).

1941 Japanese invaded.

1945 Japanese withdrawal; Thailand compelled to return territory taken from Laos, Cambodia, and Malaya.

1947 Phibun regained power in military coup, reducing monarch to figurehead; Thailand adopted strongly pro-American foreign policy.

1955 Political parties and free speech introduced.

1957 State of emergency declared; Phibun deposed in bloodless coup; military dictatorship continued under Gen Sarit Thanarat (1957–63) and Gen Thanom Kittikachorn (1963–73).

1967–72 Thai troops fought in alliance with USA in Vietnam War.

1973 Military government overthrown by student riots.

1974 Adoption of democratic constitution, followed by civilian coalition government.

1976 Military reassumed control in response to mounting strikes and political violence.

1978 Gen Kriangsak Chomanan introduced constitution with mixed civilian–military government.

1980 Gen Prem Tinsulanonda assumed power.

1983 Prem relinquished army office to head civilian government; martial law maintained.

1988 Chatichai Choonhavan succeeded Prem as prime minister.

1991 A military coup imposed a new military-oriented constitution despite mass protests.

1992 A general election produced a five-party coalition; riots forced Prime Minister Suchinda Kraprayoon to flee; Chuan Leekpai formed a new coalition government.

1995–96 The ruling coalition collapsed. A general election in 1996 resulted in a new six-party coalition led by Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.

1997 A major financial crisis led to the floating of currency. An austerity rescue plan was agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Chuan Leekpai was re-elected prime minister.

1998 Repatriation of foreign workers commenced, as the economy contracted sharply due to the rescue plan. The opposition Chart Patthana party was brought into the coalition government of Chuan Leekpai, increasing its majority to push through economic reforms.

2001 The Thai Rak Thai party won general elections, but failed to achieve an absolute majority. Thaksin Shinawatra became prime minister.

2006 Military coup ousts Thaksin Shinawatra and Surayud Chulanont is installed as Prime Minister pending a new constitution and further elections in October 2007

If you want to read a slightly longer but still relatively brief history of Thailand from earliest times though to the 1990’s then click here

Categories: Thailand
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