The earliest inhabitants of what is now Thailand were hunter-gatherers. However about 4,000 BC they began farming. They grew rice. At first the farmers used stone tools but about 3,000 BC bronze was discovered. From about 500 BC the people of what is now Thailand used iron. At first what is now Thailand was divided into small states called Meuang. By 100 AD they were practicing Theravada Buddhism. However the ancestors of modern Thais are believed to have come from southern China. They migrated to Thailand between the 10th century and the 13th century AD. Meanwhile between the 9th century and the 13th century much of what is now Thailand was ruled by the Khmers, a people from what is now Cambodia. However in the 13th century several small states in Thailand in the Mekong River valley united to form a kingdom called Sukhothai. It is regarded as the first Thai kingdom. However the first Thai kingdom did not last long. It declined in the late 14th century. Meanwhile during the 14th century another kingdom arose in Thailand called Ayuthaya and it annexed the kingdom of Sukhothai. During the 15th century the Kingdom of Ayuthaya continued to grow. The first Europeans to reach Thailand were the Portuguese in 1511. They were followed by the Dutch in 1605, the English in 1612 and the French in 1662. In 1675 a Greek called Constantine Phaulkon became an official at the court in Thailand. He permitted the French to station soldiers in Thailand. However he was removed from power in 1688 and the French were expelled. Afterwards Thailand adopted an isolationist policy. The Thais cut contact with Europe until the early 19th century. In 1765 the Burmese invaded Ayuthaya and they captured the capital in 1767 and destroyed it. However in 1769 a general named Phraya Taksin became king and he made a new capital at Thoburi across the river from Bangkok. He also built up an empire. He conquered much of Laos and other parts of Southeast Asia. However King Taksin began to have delusions and he was removed in a coup in 1782. A general named Chao Phraya Chakri replaced him as king. (He is known as Rama I). He had Taksin executed. He also made Bangkok the capital. In 1809 Rama I was succeeded by his son Rama II (1809-1824). He was followed by Rama III (1824-1851). During their reigns Thai culture flourished. The next king Rama IV or Mongkut allowed the British to live in Thailand. He also allowed them to trade freely. He also signed treaties with many other western countries and he encouraged the study of Western science. Rama V (1868-1901) abolished the custom that subjects must prostrate themselves in the king's presence. He also abolished slavery and corvee (a tax paid in labour). Rama V also reformed Thailand's government. In the 19th century Thailand avoided being colonized by Europeans. However in 1893 Rama V was forced to cede Laos to France. He also ceded Cambodia to France in 1907 and in 1909 he was forced to cede territory in Malaya to Britain. Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand:
This huge metropolis is home to more than eight million people. It's a magical place where graceful dancers perform in shimmering silk gowns, temples with gold-leaf spires harbor graceful Buddha’s, and riverboats cruise a bewildering maze of canals. The only nation in Southeast Asia to escape colonial rule, Bangkok is the nation's commercial, cultural, and spiritual heart. Attractions:
Phuket pronounced phuu get, is Thailand's largest island. It is 48 km in length, 21 km at its widest, and is in Southern Thailand, on the west-facing Andaman Sea coastline, suspended from the southern tip of Phang Nga Province by a pair of short but substantial road bridges. Regions:
| Western Phuket (Bang Thao, Kamala, Karon, Kata, Laem Sing, Mai Khao, Nai Thon and Nai Yang, Patong, Surin) This region is what Phuket is known for the world over. There is a wide variety of beaches, some calm, some totally ruined by millions of visitors each year. Patong is...