Background of Thailand

Background

Officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand (ราชอาณาจักรไทย), previously known as Siam, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. King Rama IX is the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history as well as the longest-serving head of state in the world.

Being situated somewhat in the middle of Southeast Asia, Thai culture has been greatly influenced by traditions from surrounding nations and empires in history. These include Cambodia, China, and India, among others.

The oldest known mention of the Thais’ existence by the term Siamese is in an inscription at the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, dating back to 12th century A.D.

Aside from the majority Thai ethnic group (approximately 75%), there are quite a number of minority ethnic groups living in Thailand. Most notably, the large overseas Chinese ethnic group which has largely blended into Thai society. Other ethnic groups are spread out over different regions and overlap into neighbouring countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia.

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