History of Thailand Chronology of the main events
The first settlements in stable plant date back to 2,500 BC (Et à Bronze), the period in which ethnic populations Mon and Khmer coming respectively from the west s ‘settled in’high alluvial valley of Chao Phraya and in the Plateau of Khorat ( Isan ).
These populations, Khmer in the first place, proved to be skilled farmers, in particular as regards rice cultivation (carried out “storing ” the abundant rainfall during the monsoon season in reservoirs).
From the 6th century, populations of the Tai-Yuan ethnic group, coming from Yunnan (southern China), s ‘settled in the territories of’today ‘s Northern Thailand .
In addition to their ability à in rice cultivation, populations Tai practiced martial arts, as to be defined “peasant-warriors " .
In the centuries to follow, the Tai s ‘ populationsthey settled in the fertile southern basin of Chao Phraya.
During this period, the language of the Tai peoples Capillary ì numerous words and grammatical forms typical of the Mon and Khmer culture, giving rise to a language called “Khmero-Tai ” , considered by historians to be a primordial form of’current Thai language.
Independence and expansion
Sukhothai – which literally means “Alba della Felicit à ” – was an important commercial center and outpost of the ‘Khmer empire .
In 1238, because of a prohibitive tax policy, the local population rebelled ò and proclaimed ò their independence.
The revolution was led by two noble brothers, Po Khun Phameung and Po Khun Bangklanghao . Quest ‘ the last was proclaimed sovereign of the newly-established Kingdom of Sukhothai with the name of Sri Intraditya (1238-1270) , starting the Royal Dynasty Phra Ruang .
He was born cos ì the Kingdom of Sukhothai , the historical period in question ‘beginning of civilization à Thai.
Ramkamphaeng The Great
On the death of the sovereign Sri Intraditya, sal es to the throne the eldest son Ban Mueang (1270-1279). On the death of this ‘ the last was succeeded by his brother Ramkamphaeng.
Called “Ramkampheng The Great " , Ramkhampheng groom ò the Kingdom of Sukhothai 1279-1298.
In this curious historian the kingdom reached its maximum territorial extension (from Luang Prabang to the Malay Peninsula ).
Ramkamphaeng proclaimed ò the Theravada Buddhism the official religion of the Kingdom and described the historical period through the engravings on a stone stele (called " The Stele of Ramkamphaeng " ). These engravings are considered by historians to be the basis of ‘alphabet dell’current Thai language .
The Ramkhamhaeng stele is currently kept in the National Museum of Bangkok . A copy is exposed in close proximity à the Monument of Ram Khamhaeng .
During the fourteenth century, the Kingdom of Sukhothai beginning ò a slow and inexorable decline. Many provinces rebelled and proclaimed their independence. First Uttaradit, Luang Prabang and Vientiane to the north; followed by Tak and Suphanburi in the south.
In 1378 troops from the Ayutthaya Kingdom occupied Sukhothai, who became a vassal of Ayutthaya. Subsequently, the sovereign Loethai (Phra Maha Thammaracha II, 1368-1399) proclaimed ò Phitsanoluk capital of Ayutthaya Kingdom.
In 1424, upon the death of King Sai Luethai (Phra Maha Thammaracha III, 1400-1419), the two sons Paya Ram and Paya Banmeung entered into conflict over the succession to the throne. King Borommaracha II of Ayutthaya divided the Kingdom of Sukhothai into two parts by assigning them to the two suitors.
Paya Ram and Paya Banmeung’s sister was married to Borommaracha II. From their union, Prince Ramesuan was born in 1431 .
L ‘last ruler of Sukhothai, Borommapan, mor ì in 1438 without heirs and the vacant throne was given to Ramesuan (viceroy is – Uparat – and heir to the throne of Ayutthaya). Quest ‘last, on the death of his father (1448), he was proclaimed sovereign of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya with l’nickname Boromma Trailokanat (1448-1488).
One of the first actions performed by sovereign was the unification of the two kingdoms (in fact Sukhothai became a vassal state of Ayutthaya).
Towards the end of the sixth century, populations of ethnic Taiyuan coming from Yunnan (Southern China), founded a small town along the Kok River and denominarorno Yonok .
Following a violent earthquake, Yonok was severely damaged and partially submerged in the waters. The survivors moved to the west and founded the city à of Vieng Prueksa (current Mae Sai ).
Vieng Prueksa was annexed to the Kingdom of Lavo (now Lopburi), vassal state of the Khmer empire .
With ‘ascent to the throne of the sovereign Lavachakkraj (638 AD), Vieng Prueksa was renamed Hiran .
Around all ‘850, the seventh king of Hiran, Laokiang, had a new capital built along the course of the Mekong, which was called Ngoen Yang (today Chiang Saen ). From then on, the Kingdom of Hiran was called the Kingdom of Ngoen Yang .
Mengrai the Great
Mengrai (or Mangrai) was born in Ngoen Yang in 1238, son of the sovereign Lao Meng and Nang Thep Kham Khayai, a princess of the Thai-L ü ethnic group .
In 1259, his father died, he became the Mengrai 25 ° ruler of the Kingdom of Ngoenyang.
During this historical period the kingdom expanded considerably. The neighboring municipalities – meng – of the valley of the Kok river were first annexed and, subsequently, the Laotian territories of Meuang Sua and Mueang Theng, today’s Luang Prabang and Dien Bien Phu were occupied.
The Mongol hordes of Kublai Khan attacked the Kingdom of Chiang Hung (today’s Jinghong of the Chinese prefecture of Xishuangbanna, southern Yunnan) but did not occupy the area permanently. Taking advantage of this “ power vacuum " , Mengrai occup ò the territories of the Kingdom of Chiang Hung.
After marrying the daughter of the ruler of Chiang Hung, in 1262 Mengrai fond ò the city à of Chiang Rai and proclaimed ò capital of the newly formed United Lanna (which literally means " The Kingdom with a Million Rice Fields " ).
Conquered and annexed Chiang Khong , in 1275 Mengrai moved the capital to Fang, a town located 70 km west of Chiang Rai.
Influenced by the nearby Kingdom of Hariphunchai , city à -states with Lamphun capital, Ramkhamheang Mengrai rulers and proclaimed the Theravada Buddhism the official religion of their respective kingdoms.
The Kingdom of Haripunchai was annexed by Mengrai in 1283.
Since taking office in Lamphun for a period of about 2 years old, Mengrai in 1285 you moved ì to Wiang Kum Kam . Quest ‘ last, located along the course of the Ping River, near the’today Chiang Mai, was proclaimed capital of the kingdom.
PS: the constant movement of the capital of the kingdom by Mengrai vanific ò several attempts d ‘invasion by the Mongolian hordes of Kublai Khan. When the Mongols arrived in the‘goal they had set were a city a desert … It was probably thanks to this strategy that much of Southeast Asia was not overrun by‘Mongolian Empire.
Between 1288 and 1290 Mengrai undertook a series of military campaigns in the territories of ‘today’s southeastern Burma, as a result of which kingdoms of Hanthawaddy and Phukam became tributaries of the Lanna Kingdom.
Due to the repeated floods that hit Wiang Kum Kam, Mengrai decided to move the kingdom’s capital again.
The sovereign occup ò Nophaburi, an ethnic Lawa settlement located along the western bank of the Ping River.
Mengrai built a city a fortified, protected by imposing walls and an external channel.
In 1296 the city à was proclaimed the new capital of the Kingdom Lanna with the name of Chiang Mai , which literally means “The New Town " .
Chiang Mai remained the capital of the kingdom until 1884, the year in which the ruler Rama V (1868-1910) annexed the Kingdom of Chiang Mai to the Kingdom of Siam.
The fertile territories of the southern Chao Phraya basin – called “ La Conca d’Oro “- were occupied by a confederation of municipalities à autonomous (city à -states), including Suphanburi, Lopburi and Ayutthaya . Quest ‘last, named “Krung Thep Dvaravadi Sri Ayutthaya ” , which translated means"The City à Angels " , was founded in 1350 by Prince U-Thong , first ruler of the newly formed Kingdom of Ayutthaya with’nickname Uthong .
Made of a ‘ artificial island along the course of Chao Phraya, Ayutthaya quickly became an important river port ( Ayutthaya Sri Raam Thep Nakhon ), regularly frequented by Chinese, Arab, Persian, Malaysian, Japanese and Portuguese merchants.
At prosperity à United commercial, segu ì an expansionist policy. At first they were annexed the Kingdom of Sukhothai and city à -states of Kamphaeng Phet and Phitsanulok , who followed her ì Chiang Mai , the capital of the Lanna Kingdom . Subsequently, vassal states of the Khmer Empire (eastern territories) and several provinces of the Malay Peninsula (southern territories).
In a short time, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya became one of the largest and richest empires in Southeast Asia.
Given the ‘extension of the Kingdom, the administrative management of the annexed territories was carried out directly by members and relatives of the royal family (defined by historians “The Circle of Power " ).
In the second half a seventeenth century, King Narai (1656-1688) instaur ò trade relations with the major European powers of ‘epoch, including the France of King Louis XIV, Portuguese, English and Dutch.
Ayutthaya became one of the city à pi ù rich d ‘east , point d’union between West and East, with a population of over one million people (comparable to Paris of’era).
During the 18th century, Ayutthaya gradually lost control of the provinces annexed to the Kingdom. They took advantage of the Burmans, who after repeated attacks, in 1767 managed to penetrate all ‘ interior of the city à and they devastated. In a few days, one of the city à pi ù rich of ‘Asia was literally razed, erased.
After the fall of Ayutthaya by the Burmese (1767), the commander of theSiamese army, Phaya Taksin s’insedi ò in Thonburi, the center located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya.
During this historical period, called “Thonburi Kingdom " (1767-1782), Taksin riorganizz ò l’army and imposed the figure of the warrior-king (figure gradually decayed during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, a period of peace and prosperity à ).
For over 15 years the Thai territory was hit by furious fighting against the Burmese, Vietnamese and Laotian armies.
Following the successful military campaigns conducted by Taksin, the kingdom achieved territorial expansion even higher than the Kingdom of Ayutthaya
As often it happens, the raggunto ‘ap es ce of power, in 1782 Taksin was assassinated by his two most General ù trust: Bunma and Thongduang. Quest ‘Finally, supported by nobilit a Siamese, it was proclaimed the new ruler of the kingdom with the name of Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok .
In the following centuries, King Vajiravuch ( Rama VI , 1910-1925), semplificher à the names of members of the royal dynasty by putting the ‘name of Rama (*).
(*) Rama is the hero of the Ramakien , the Thai version of the Ramayana Indian, the main epic of Hindu religion that tells the story of Rama, loyal ruler and brave warrior, the earthly representation of Vishnu (one of the main deity à of Hindu mythology) .
Phra Phutthayotfa Chulalok, therefore, is known as Rama I, founder of the Chakri royal dynasty .
The Bangkok Foundation
It was Rama I who designed the new “City à Angels " along the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya, on’Rattanakosin island.
On April 6, 1782, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) was proclaimed new capital of the kingdom (period in which the kingdom was called “ Kingdom of Rattanakosin " ).
After completing the residence for the Emerald Buddha, Rama I had his palace built ( The Royal Palace ). Expanded over the centuries, the complex – officially called Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang – was only completed in the early 20th century (1925).
In addition to being the official residence of the sovereign, the Royal Palace complex included the main government offices of the kingdom.
Chakri, the royal dynasty
Rama I , before being crowned, USED ò for ten d ‘years l’name of Chao Phraya Chakri.
The term Chakri refers to the divine strength of the ruler, and is represented by the weapons of the gods à Shiva and Narayana: respectively, the trident and the toothed disc, symbols tutt ‘present today in’emblem of the royal dynasty.
After becoming king, Rama I decided to keep this name, giving rise to the royal Chakri dynasty .
Rama I was first and foremost a valiant fighter.
Alongside Phya Taksin, Rama I defeated the troops of the Third Burmese Empire (freeing the Lanna Kingdom), conquered ò Vientiane (Lao capital of the Kingdom), defeated the ‘Khmer Empire (razing the capital to the ground) and regained control of the Khorat Plateau region (Isan-Northeast).
At military victories, followed her ì a period of peace and prosperity à characterized by trade, particularly with China (exports in particular).
During his reign, Rama I consolidati ò the Theravada Buddhism as the official religion, calling it “… a common good, fundamental to happiness á and the welfare of the people, whose princ í more must be defended and respected " .
The reign of Rama II – Phra Loetla Nabhalai – was marked by peace and prosperity à .
Rama II, poet and artist, was the ‘author of what historians define “The Golden Age of the Kingdom of Rattakosin " .
In this historical period, in theart begins to assert itself on “realism ” : the paintings and sculptures begin to represent ordinary people, typical scenes of everyday life.
During the reign of Rama III – Nangklao – there is a marked increase in the Chinese community .
In this period the ‘activities à main economic kingdom was represented by trade with China, in particular exports of rice, timber and sugar.
The exports were handled by powerful Chinese families residing in Bangkok, called Jao S ú a ( " The Tigers of Commerce " ).
These families, rich and well integrated into the social fabric, established real dynasties (some of the 242 wives of Rama III were daughters of Chinese families).
The power and influence of the community a Chinese in this historical period is reflected by the fact that many temples were built with architectural features and decorations typical of Chinese culture (often with the roof features a dragon and not the traditional Naga). The money was changing irreversibimente l ‘ social order of the kingdom.
In addition to the large and powerful community a Chinese, in this period the capital is often frequented by Western merchants and missionaries, especially Portuguese and English.
Before his death, King Nangklao (Rama III) hereby ò " there will be no more ù wars with the Burmese, Khmer and Vietnam, now the threat to the kingdom is represented by ‘west " . On the death of Rama III, in 1851 sal es to the throne his brother, Mongkut (Rama IV) .
During this period Rec ò a westernization of the kingdom.
Fascinated by progress and by Western science, Rama IV (able to speak and write correctly Sanskrit, Pali, Latin and English) reformed ò the official religion, Buddhism. In particular, Rama IV Deleting ò the sacred texts every miracle, magic and popular belief, in favor of a religion " pi ù concrete, able to give a moral order to the company a " .
Not everyone, however, shared this view. Two main groups were created: the traditionalists, who considered the growing western presence a danger, and the reformists led by the sovereign.
In 1852, l ‘British Empire won the so-called “War of the‘Opium " with China and the Reformists took advantage of this to establish further commercial relations with the’West.
Rama IV invited him ò Sir John Bowring – Governor of Hong Kong, the capital of ‘opium – to define an economic agreement between the Kingdom of Siam el’British Empire.
In 1855, what historians call “The Treaty of Bowring " : a state monopoly on the’import and marketing dell’opium.
In a short time, the monopoly of ‘opium became the kingdom’s main economy resource.
“The Bowring Treaty " was important not only for’economy of the kingdom. Indeed, the Treaty rappresent ò a valid move to stave off what had become the main enemy of’epoch: colonialism.
Rama V “The Great " sal es to the throne in 1868, just fifteen.
Re Chulanlongkorn travel ò much: he visit ò Singapore, Java, Malaya, Burma and India, colonies of ‘British Empire. The young ruler wanted to become personally aware of the social status of these territories, before deciding which political and administrative model to use to advance his kingdom.
Rama V had it translated into Thai many European constitutions (historians believe that the model that best influenz ò the sovereign was the Code Napoleon).
Abolition of slavery ù
Despite strong opposition from the nobles traditionalists, the first by Rama V was the proposed reform ‘abolition of slavery ù .
King Chulalongkorn consti ì a Tax Office for the payment of taxes. The centralization of taxes collided with the interests of many noble families who, in December 1874, attempted a coup (called " The Front Palace Crisis " ).
In 1885, Rama V Nominal ò his brother at the head of Narathip ‘Tax office.
Tax revenues, as little more ù than one million Thai Baht in 1874, reached as many as 57 million in 1906!
King Chulalongkorn invest ì the proceeds of the tax revenue mainly for the establishment of the Royal Guard, a mini-army initially consisted of about 500 men, organized according to the British model (well armed and paid).
Over the years, the number of staff of the Royal Guard sal es to 4,400 men (Quest ‘the latter were mainly used to deal with the frequent phenomena of banditry and, above all, to eliminate the numerous “society a secret " of the community a Chinese).
Subsequently, the Ministry of Defense was established.
The colonial threat
In 1874, Rama V had to face the phenomenon of colonialism for the first time .
The company à dell ‘British Empire operating in Burma and specializing in timber exports, began to exert considerable pressure on the Lanna Kingdom (all’tax era of Bangkok).
Rama V took advantage ò of the situation, first paying the debts of the Lanna Kingdom creditors and subsequently entering into a treaty with ‘British Empire for the regulation of trade relations.
The treaty was, in fact, entered into to limit the expansionist aims of the British in the region.
Afterwards, Rama V sends ò a Government Commissioner in charge of managing the payment of taxes in the United Lanna all ‘Tax office in Bangkok. This became the model, similar to the British colonies in India, used for the management of the other provinces-states of the kingdom.
Government commissioners were sent to Luang Prabang, Nong Khai, Khorat, Ubon Ratchathani and Phuket.
In 1893 it was established the Ministry of ‘Internal, administrative body for the control and management of the territory and, subsequently, the Ministry of Justice.
The borders of the kingdom
Another fundamental step taken by Rama V was to define the geographical boundaries of the kingdom. Before then, the boundaries of a region or kingdom were essentially defined by the territory (a river, a mountain range etc.).
In the 1852-1853 ‘British Empire won the war with Burma. Later (1863) France consti ì the Protectorate of Cambodia .
Define the boundaries of the kingdom so it meant to safeguard its territories from the expansionist aims of ‘British Empire and, above all, of France. In this ‘optical, Rama V incaric ò an English surveyor – James McCarthy – to define the borders of the kingdom.
In 1887 McCarthy a be ò a map, but France objected and in 1893 annexed militarily the territories situated along the eastern shore of the Mekong (now Laos).
Rama V sends ò well 180,000 soldiers in the region (the century’s greatest military mobilization). France responded by sending two warships along the Chao Phraya, blocking the port of Bangkok, officially to protect the French embassy. This episode – defined
“L‘crash of the Mouth " – Ports ò the conclusion of a treaty between the Kingdom of Siam and‘French Indochina , after which France annexed the city à -states of Luang Prabang and Vientiane, as well as the northern territories of’ex-Khmer Empire.
The current borders of Thailand were defined only in 1909, a period in which the Kingdom of Siam was officially recognized also by the European colonial powers.
Rama VI – Vajiravudh Mongkut Klao – sal es to the throne in 1910 when his father died (Rama V).
Educated in England aged 12 to 22 years (an Oxford graduate) and lover of literature and history, King Vajiravudh semplific ò the names of the Chakri Dynasty with ‘name Rama (*), listing them numerically in chronological order.
(*) Rama is the main character of Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, the Hindu epic the main religion starring Ramayana, a loyal ruler and brave warrior, earthly representation of Vishnu (one of the main deity à of Hindu mythology).
King Vajiravudh continued ò l ‘militarization work started by its predecessor.
In 1912 consti ì special departments of the Royal Guard, called “S ú a Pa ” ( Wild Tigers ).
Rama VI was convinced that the monarchy must be " an absolute and indisputable power " . Nation and Monarchy had to be the same because " the sovereign represents the nation, being faithful to the sovereign means loving the nation " .
He landscaped ò the typical sentence " God, King and Country " in " Nation, Religion and King " , according to which " the King represents and protects a nation made up of a population of Buddhist religion " .
In 1917, during World War II, Rama VI sends ò a military contingent to fight on the Allied side.
As the national flag of this contingent, a tricolor with horizontal stripes of red, white and blue color, equal to thecurrent national flag (*)
(*) White represents the purity of religion, blue the monarchy and red the blood of the Thai population, willing to die for the nation.
The crisis of the Absolute Monarchy
But not everyone thought of it as the sovereign, indeed. The newspapers of theepoch criticized this form of “Absolute monarchy " .
Rama VI initially sought ò to respond to these criticisms by real newspaper “Phim Thai " .
In 1923 he passed a law abolishing the freedom à printing, following which eight printers and as many as 17 journalists trstate were closed and the owners (publishers) imprisoned.
This form of repression increase o ò the general discontent and criticism of the monarchy. The pi ù influential journalists of ‘ vintage began wondering " if, as they say, progress is the key to the nation, because it is the Siam, compared to European states and Japan, it is still so poor? » .
Many began to wonder if the monarchy alone was able to bring progress, understood as well-being.
Begin ò to strengthen the common thought that the absolute monarchy was the main cause of poverty à and social inequality that characterized the Siam.
People and bureaucrats wanted a society à based on the principle called “Lak Vicha " (meritocracy).
The king retorted ò saying that the nation’s bureaucracy was based on “Lak Ratchakan " , that is, service and loyalty à absolute monarchy.
On the death of Rama VI in 1925, sal es to the throne King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) . Quest ‘ last, immediately removed all the trusted men of the previous ruler, considered old and inadequate for the modernization of the kingdom.
King Vajiravudh sought ò define and elevate “the Thai breed " . He def ì the community a Chinese as " the Jews d ‘east » .
The purpose of this declaration was to create a substantial difference between the Chinese who had decided to become full-fledged Thai citizens (such as the rich and well-integrated Jao Sua) and those who instead considered staying in the kingdom of Siam « only as a medium-short term job situation » .
The nationalist policy adopted previously by Rama VI and subsequently l ‘introduction of the concept of “Thai breed " by King Prajadhipok, determin ò a climate of social tension .
Many members of the community a Chinese began to strongly criticize the monarchy. At numerous community a Chinese, joined many Thai citizens who considered the absolutist policy of the sovereign a brake on the progress of the nation and, consequently, for the welfare of the population.
The Siamese Revolution
On 5 February 1927, seven men s ‘they met in Paris and over the next five days planned what historians called the Siamese Revolution
The group consisted of three students from the military college, a law student, a natural science student, a lawyer and a diplomat from the kingdom in Paris.
These founded what would later become the “People’s Party " (Khana Ratsadon). Party leader was named Pridi Banomyong, 27, a law student. Quest ‘last, after taking inspiration from French legislation, he was firmly convinced that the absolute monarchy should give way in favor of a constitutional monarchy .
With ‘advent of the Great Depression (1929), criticism and discontent with the monarchy increased significantly.
On June 24, 1932, members of the People’s Party captured the commander of the Royal Guard, arrested 40 members of the royal family and announced the end of the monarchy.
As of now, the sovereign does not reacted ì by force, but officially asked for help to the European powers, calling the action " a communist threat generated by the revolution " .
The Party of People’s consti ì a National Assembly, composed of 70 members.
The birth of the Kingdom of Siam
On December 10, 1932 the Constitution was officially presented, starting the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Siam .
After a series of (failed) negotiation attempts, King Prajadhipok flew to Europe, officially for health reasons.
In March 1935, even in Europe, the sovereign ads ò l ‘abdication to the throne.
After ‘Prajadhipok’s abdication in 1935, considering that quest’last had no sons, l’National Assembly chose as legitimate successor one of the sovereign’s grandchildren: Prince Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) , a 10-year-old boy residing in Switzerland.
The reign of Siam for 16 years had no resident monarch .
The People’s Party
In such a situation, the People’s Party took full control of the kingdom.
All ‘epoch, the party was made up of 2 factions: one consisting essentially of the military, led by Plaek Phibunsongkhram (Phibun), el’another with leader Pridi Banomyong. Quest’the last, law student, had a cultural background based on European socialism .
Pridi had a following composed of men d ‘business and politicians strongly convinced that the nation-state had to progress through the creation of primary structures and services, essential for the well-being of citizens (the state as a central element).
In 1933, Pridi present ò an economic plan – The Outline Economic Plan – according to which the territory of the kingdom was owned à the state, which, using the intr ó iti in tax revenue, must ensure completion of industrial and commercial areas to revive l ‘economy.
In 1935 he went Pridi ò to London to negotiate foreign loans with rate d ‘subsidized interest.
The Party del Popolo start ò to invest in the training sector, in particular in the construction of primary schools: from 1931 to 1939, the number of pupils pass ò from 700,000 to 1,700,000.
For the formation of new post-monarchy bureaucrats, it was a university established a specification for “Political and Moral Sciences " (Thammasat University).
Monks and teachers began to explain to people the ‘ importance of the constitution.
Over the years, roads, hospitals, government offices were built and the national electricity grid was expanded.
The military in government
In conjunction with the construction of infrastructure and primary services, the faction constituted by the increas military ò progressively influence and power to ‘party interior.
In 1934, Phibun, the undisputed leader of the military faction, was appointed Minister of Defense.
Soon we hereby ò the concept that " the progress and welfare of the population can only be achieved in peace and security " .
On the basis of this concept, despite the economic restrictions imposed by the crisis of the period, in 1937 the expenditure for the militarization of the kingdom reached 26% of the national budget.
Phibun stared ò the four basic elements for the development and growth of the kingdom: the monarchy, parliament, army and bureaucracy, where only quest ‘last factor and to be considered permanent.
In 1938, Phibun is autoproclam ò Prime Minister and subsequently Minister of Defense, Minister of ‘Internal and Foreign Affairs.
In parliament – National Assembly – 90% of the members were military or sympathizers of Phibun. Quest ‘Finally, in 1942, begins ò to define itself"The Leader ” (Than Phu Nam).
Nazism and Fascism
Critics of ‘epoch affirmed that the political models of Phibun were represented by Nazi Germany and, above all, by Mussolini’s fascism.
As Goebbels in Nazi Germany, Phibun Nominal ò Luang Wichit Wathakan (Wichit) “Minister for Propaganda " .
Using the media of ‘era, Wichit start ò to perform a’work of convincing and involving people. Characters such as Napoleon, Bismark, Mussolini and Hitler were systematically exalted as " patriots and heroes, capable of dying for the homeland " .
Maximizing “Thai breed “
The Thai breed had to be a distinctive breed, better than the others, Chinese in particular. In this ‘ Optical is sought ò to realize"a Thai economy for the Thai population " : in the main economic sectors (energy, textiles and food) self-sufficient industries were created, capable of producing independently from China, historically the main trading partner of the kingdom.
Like the Nazi Germany, all ‘Fascist Italy and annex’Japanese Empire, proclamations were made that inebriated and deluded the population: “in order not to succumb and become an insignificant state in the service of the world powers, the Kingdom of Siam must become the heart of the Golden Peninsula, The Great Thai Empire " .
In 1939 Wichit and ò to Paris and present ò the French a map of ‘Indochina with specified geographical areas with populations speaking the Thai language.
The Party of the leaders of the people tried to riannettere the territories lost during treaties d ‘ turn of the century, especially parts of Cambodia and Laos.
Seven were later published “Cultural Mandates " or"State Edicts " ( Ratthaniyom ).
World War II
After Hitler’s capture of Paris (1940) and theinvasion of the’Indochina by’Japanese Empire, Phibun seized l’opportunity to occupy the northern territories of Cambodia (att’French Protectorate era).
Informed of ‘imminent landing of Japanese troops in Thailand, he accepted Phibun ò , in hopes of becoming in effect an ally of’Japanese Empire and, consequently, to be able to annex other territories.
The Japanese troops landed at various points along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand ‘December 8, 1941.
Thailand dichiar ò war on ‘England and the United States d’America in January 1942 (although l’Thai ambassador to Washington refused to hand over the declaration of war).
But the reality à was completely different than projected by Phibun and Wichit. L ‘ Japanese Empire, in fact, tratt ò Thailand right now as an occupied country, and not as an ally.
According to the expansionist aims of the Japanese hierarchy, Thailand accounted for only a passing area, needed in logistics, in order to defeat (and drive) l ‘British empire from Southeast Asia. See The Death Railway(Kanchanaburi)
Seri Thai, movement alongside the Allies
During ‘Japanese occupation, Pridi was expelled from the party and then cre ò a resistance movement called Seri Thai (Free Thai).
At the beginning of 1944, the movement could count on numerous members and equipment of various kinds supplied by the Allies.
In July 1944, together with the defeat of ‘Japanese Empire by Allied forces, Pridi brought down the military government (dictatorship) of Phibun and start ò to negotiate the surrender of Thailand with the Allies.
At the end of hostilities à , despite ‘opposition from the British (who demanded exemplary punishment el’occupation of Thailand), the United States d’America decided to consider Thailand “an occupied enemy territory ” .
On the basis of what has been defined by the USA, no sanctions of any kind were imposed on Thailand and the territorial borders of the kingdom returned to the pre-conflict situation.
At the end of the Second World War, the ‘economic and political balance of Thailand spost ò definitely in favor of the Western powers, the US in the first place.
The 1949 Communist Revolution in China, led by leader Mao Tse-tung , and subsequently the direct involvement of the USA in the Korean War since 1950, made Thailand a strategic ally, geographically fundamental to counteract " the rampant and worrying phenomenon of Communism » .
Leveraging that was often known as the National Security, the US created an economic and political system ruled by one is lite of generals and bureaucrats that serve them.
At the end of the conflict, General Phibun (ex-fascist dictator) and socialist Pridi (one of the founders of Seri Thai) returned to the top of the People’s Party.
L ‘former Thai ambassador to Washington, Seni Pramoj (who refused ò to deliver the declaration of war to’America), returned to Thailand fond ò the Democratic Party, in opposition to the People’s Party.
The political class of ‘era was included military hierarchies, the liberal-socialists of Pridi and the Democratic Party, quest’the latter consisting largely of monarchists, who returned from’exile previously imposed by General Phibun.
On June 6, 1946, King Ananda Mahidol was found dead in his residence, assassinated with a shot. The younger brother of the king, Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej, anch ‘ he residing in Switzerland, was proclaimed new ruler of the kingdom with l ‘title of Rama IX.
The military in power
Taking advantage of this situation, the ‘November 8, 1947 the military hierarchs led by Phibun carried out a new coup (it seems, with the favorable opinion of the sovereign). Pridi was forced to flee all’abroad for the second time.
In February 1949, Pridi torn ò at home and, with the ‘help of former members of the Free Thai Movement, sought ò in turn to carry out a coup, barricading all’interior of the Grand Palace (defined by historians “The Palace Rebellion " ).
The military did not hesitate to cannonade the palace; Pridi and his men were forced to flee again.
It cre ò a political situation (much like the current condition) characterized by members of Parliament in the Democratic Party, and the military hierarchy to manage the power behind, in ‘shadow.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej torn ò in Thailand for ‘official coronation and wedding celebration (1950).
In 1951 the Democrats created a constitution that significantly increased the monarchy’s powers.
Based on the provisions of this constitution, the sovereign could appoint the members of the Senate, issue decrees, modify the constitution itself and, above all, control of thearmy.
The day before King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s return to Thailand – November 26, 1951 – the military carried out a new coup (called the “Silent Strike " ) which led to’exclusion of the Democratic Party from Parliament and, above all, annex’annulment of the constitution .
L ‘America and the Fight against Communism
The military, supported by the USA, remained in power for over two decades.
In 1954, France was defeated and driven out of the territories in Indochina. Consequently, the USA created the SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) and self-proclaimed “defenders of the Kingdom of Thailand " . The Americans sent 9 battalions of Marines to Thailand.
In this situation of total militarization, General Sarit Thanarat was appointed commander of the Thai armed forces and the CIA begin ò arming the Thai Police (commanded all ‘epoch from General Phao).
In late 1954, Sarit and Phao returned from the United States with $ 25 million and $ 37 million respectively!
In 1957, General Sarit, supported by the US, effettu ò l ‘umpteenth coup: generals Phibun (Army) and Phao (Police) were forced to’exile. Sarit unific ò the armed forces and annexed the police force as a subject at’army.
Following the Civil War in Laos in 1960, Thailand became the front line against Communism. Troops of ‘ Thai army were secretly sent to Laos to fight the Communists alongside the CIA.
In December 1964, Americans began air raids on North Vietnam and Laos. 75% of the air raids carried out from 1965 to 1968 left from American bases in Thai territory.
The Americans built a new massive embassy in Bangkok and subsequently an ex-marine of the Second World War, Bill Donovan (named “Wild Bill " ).
The number of Westerners (farang), especially Americans, in Bangkok increase o ò considerably (45,000 in 1967), who followed her ì a real boom of ‘politically supported sex industry with over 300,000 prostitutes in the capital alone.
Bangkok starts ò to change irreversibly, not only from an urban point of view, but also, and above all, moral. The US created a generation of bureaucrats who systematically supported the American cause and policies.
About thirty families “well placed " in the political fabric of the capital, took advantage of this situation to enrich themselves further, diversifying its activities à in various sectors, creating real dynasties.
This economic boom, comport ò an exodus from rural areas to the capital.
Over the years ’60, the population of Bangkok pass ò from 1.8 to more than 3 million people.
The ruler of the people
Unlike the General Phibun, General Sarit encourage ò greatly reintegration of the King in the social scene and, above all, the country’s politics.
Re Bhumidol Adulyavej start ò to conduct periodic visits to most areas ù poorest and most remote of the kingdom.
He undertook numerous works and activities a key to the country’s development , especially in the agricultural sector over the years dams, hydro-electric power plants were built, water supplies and systems d ‘irrigation.
The cultivation of ‘opium in the northern regions of the country was gradually abandoned, in favor of alternative crops.
Rama IX undertook a number of social projects, aimed primarily at improving the living conditions of most classes ù poor.
Many wealthy families began to make donations to the sovereign, especially rampant entrepreneurs looking for recognition in the social (status).
The economic development of the country – over the years ’60 is Rec ò an annual increase of GDP in’order of 7-8% – port ò the creation of a middle class. Kingdom students increased significantly: from 18,000 in 1961 to over 100,000 in 1972.
The massacre of Thammasat University
Newspapers, even politicians, began to proliferate.
Students of universities à began to discover leftist ideologies of Western culture.
In 1972, students from Thammasat University published a booklet called “Phai Khao “- literally"The White Danger ”- a political essay against l’American imperialism. L ‘the following year, university students (to which many other people joined later) organized a protest demonstration against the ruling ruling class and, above all, asked for a new constitution. However, the military junta refused ò to negotiate and arrest ò protest leaders.
In theIn October of 1973, pi ù than half a million people protested in the streets of Bangkok demanding a new constitution.
The generals released leaders arrested during the June demonstration, but refused to change the constitution. Students in the afternoon went to the Grand Palace to ask for a mediation work by the king. A meeting was agreed with the sovereign, but the following morning the military began to open fire on the crowd: 77 people were killed and 857 wounded.
The political and social reaction was such as to authorize the sovereign to exile the three responsible military hierarchies – defined as “The Three Tyrants ” : Thanom, Praphat and Narong – and to appoint a new Prime Minister (Sanya Thammasak). Subsequently a new constitution was drawn up which excluded the military from political power and elevated the King to a position of guarantor, “above-the-parties " .
Following the defeat in Vietnam (1974), American troops in Thai territory were reduced to the minimum terms.
The following period was marked by numerous debates, changes and further coups.
On October 6, 1976, the military opened fire (using rockets and grenades) again against the students barricaded at theinterior of Thammasat University (see photo): 43 students and 2 policemen died; over 3,000 people were arrested on the same day, another 5,000 in the following days.
The massacre at Thammasat University was a shock for the ‘world public opinion. Following the numerous violence perpetrated by the military, numerous students and activists of the CPT (Thai Communist Party) left the capital and took refuge in the jungle.
With the end of the Cold War (1989-1991) and the progressive affirmation of the “global market or globalization ” , what were previously considered gods"dangerous communist countries ” turned into business partners.
China, in particular, after decades spent in the dark of the recession, hasagain imposed as the largest trading partner of the kingdom.
The growing Asian market was defined by the operators of the sector " The Tiger " . In the period from 1993 to 1996, a Japanese factory opened every three days in Thailand.
The growing tourism substitution ì gradually the massive US presence in the territory, feeding back the ‘sex industry.
Thailand divent ò in a short time an industrialized nation, characterized by strong exports.
Rama X (current ruler of the kingdom)
King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), revered by the citizens of the kingdom, has represented a social and political landmark for over half a century.
With the death of Bhumibol Adulyadej (13 October 2016), Vajiralongkorn , second child and only son, has been proclaimed ruler of the kingdom with ‘name of Rama X .