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small map of ThailamdThai History

Before there was a Thai civilization the Mon, the Khmer and the Malay ruled the region now known as Thailand. Historians believe that, beginning in the 10th century, Thais began moving in from southern China.

first king of ThailandSukhothai

In 1238 AD Pho Khun Si Indrathit established Sukhothai which is regarded by historical tradition as the “first Thai kingdom”. During the later reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, Sukhothai and the cities it ruled became centers of Buddhist art and learning. (This king established the Thai alphabet!)


After the death of King Ramkhamhaeng the city of Ayutthaya quickly Buddhismbecame powerful, politically and economically. King Ramathibodi I (Ayutthaya's first king) established and promoted Theravada Buddhism as the official religion and he oversaw the compilation of Dharmashastra (an important legal code). Beginning with arrival of Portuguese ambassador in 1511 Ayutthaya became known as “the Kingdom of Siam”.


In 1767, after more than 400 years, Siam was brought down by invading Burmese and its capital was burned. Subsequently General Taksin managed to reunite Siam from his new capital of Thonburi. (He declared himself king in 1769.)

King Rama 1 of ThailandBy 1782 King Taksin had become insane and General Chakri was forced to succeeded him as Rama I (the first king of the current Chakri dynasty). Upon taking power Rama I founded Thailand's present capital of Bangkok across the river from the old capital of Thonburi.

Modern Thailand

In 1932 King Rama VII was forced into a constitutional monarchy after a coup d'éta and in 1939, to further promote national unity, Siam renamed itself Thailand.


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