Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma.
- The country is a constitutional monarchy, headed by King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who, having reigned since 1946, is the world’s longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history.
- The Thai use the phrase “land of the free” to express pride in the fact that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power.
- Ratcha Anachak Thai means “Kingdom of Thailand” or “Kingdom of Thai”.
- Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the Kingdom of Funan around the 1st century CE to the Khmer Empire.
- Thailand retained a tradition of trade with its neighbouring states, from China to India, Persia and Arab lands.
- In 1932, a bloodless revolution carried out by the Khana Ratsadon group of military and civilian officials resulted in a transition of power, when King Prajadhipok was forced to grant the people of Siam their first constitution, thereby ending centuries of absolute monarchy.
- The politics of Thailand is currently conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state.
- When East Timor gained independence from Indonesia, Thailand, for the first time in its history, contributed troops to the international peacekeeping effort.
- The Royal Thai Armed Forces constitute the military of the Kingdom of Thailand.