Thailand Recent History


The oldest period of Siam is not documented. The news is few and fragmentary. It is known, however, that in the sixth century BC it was inhabited by mon-Khmer and Burmese populations, who had founded many small statues, always at war with each other, so much so that in the seventh century after Christ they were reduced to only 4 kingdoms. Even of these there is no certain information to delineate the degree of civilization reached in that period. It is only known that in the third century BC two Buddhist missionaries sent to Siam from Asoka arrived on the scene and in the first century after Christ there was a marriage between a local Brahaman and a queen of Cambodia, and this served for the spread in the country of civilization Indian, with the supremacy of the Cambodian one, and the introduction of Buddhism starting from 638.

There were various war events between the Mon-Khmer and Burmese kings, up to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when the Europeans appeared and, as usual, the first were Portuguese. These helped the two kingdoms by supplying soldiers, ships and weapons. Indeed, in 1538, the Portuguese instructed the Siamese to use firearms to put themselves on the same level as the Burmese who, on the other hand, already knew them. And since the Siamese managed to eradicate the Burmese, the grateful king gave the Portuguese some lands along the Menam to elect their homes there and with the faculty, if they wished, to build their own church.

According to Abbreviationfinder, the Portuguese, in fact, settled there, joined indigenous women giving rise to descendants who, while maintaining the surname and religion, could no longer distinguish themselves from the original populations.

But the war with Burma had lasted about 50 years and throughout that time foreigners of other nationalities had come, essentially to trade. They were Spanish, Dutch, English and Danish. And when the East India Company removed the monopoly of trade with Siam from the Portuguese, it entrusted it to Japan and China.

The reign of Siam, two centuries after its foundation, which occurred in the mid-fourteenth century by Rama Tiboti, first invaded by the Burmese, had become the scene of European and Asian immigration; this immigration was then completed with the arrival of the French, sent by the Sun King, Louis XIV, to convert those peoples to Catholicism.

Only in 1782 did Siam manage to regain its independence, with King Rama I. During the nineteenth century, however, he made concessions to France and Great Britain.

Thailand Recent History

In 1917 he participated in the First World War alongside the Entente. In 1932 a coup d’etat forced the king to renounce absolute power and to grant the Constitution.

In 1941 Siam allied with Japan and in 1942 declared war on Great Britain and the United States. The Japanese government, in 1943, decreed the annexation of 6 Malaysian states to Siam, bringing the population to about three million inhabitants. But at the end of the war, with the defeat of Japan, Siam was also downsized and returned within the previous borders. On December 15, 1947, Siam was admitted as the first former enemy state to the United Nations.

On July 20, 1948, the Siamese Constituent Assembly decided to change the name of the state from Siam to Thailand, immediately after the entry into force of a new Constitution. On November 29, 1951, Marshal Pibul Songgram, with a coup d’etat, repealed the Constitution of 1949 reviving that of 1932. Then, having won the general elections of February 26, 1957, he formed a government which in the following September was overthrown by the commander in army chief, Marshal Sarit Thanarat. The general elections were repeated on December 16 of the same year, but without establishing a majority. Thus the weak government formed on January 2, 1958 was in turn overthrown in October, also by Thanarat. At this point the Assembly dissolved, the Constitution was repealed and all parties were abolished.

On 28 January 1959 a provisional Constitution was promulgated pending the formation of another Constituent Assembly, designated by the government, suitable for elaborating another.

Marshal Thanarat in the meantime held the position of Prime Minister and ran the government on the basis of continuous decrees. The ruler in office as early as 1950 was then Bhumibol Adulyadej.

In 1959 a Constituent Assembly of 240 members was appointed to draw up a new constitutional text. In December 1963, upon Thanarat’s death, Marshal Thanon Kittikachorn took over the government and continued the policy already in place, with an Assembly composed almost exclusively of soldiers.

Meanwhile, in the north-east and south regions, inhabited almost entirely by populations of Laotian origin, autonomistic movements were starting. And in fact in 1965 the National Liberation Front arose whose first point of the program was to remove the Americans from the country, although Thailand has always professed a pro-western policy. Then the abolition of the dictatorship and finally, with the liberation from American dependence, continue economic and social development.

The first to move, as usual, were the students who in 1973, with a bloody riot, forced Marshal Kittikachorn to resign and exile.

With the advent of Nixon as president of the United States, with the collapse of the regimes of Cambodia and southern Vietnam, Thailand had to completely review its foreign policy and demanded the complete evacuation of American forces.

In January 1975 the elections, even in the midst of episodes of corruption, were won by the democratic party chaired by Prince Seni Pramoj. A coalition government was made, but it did not last long, because it was considered too “left”. And on October 6, 1976, another coup d’├ętat marked the end of democracy, the repeal of the Constitution and the parties. Only point of the program: fight against communism.

In November 1978, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping visited the country and signed a trade agreement there, thus making a significant return to China. In December 1979 a Constitution was passed which assigned broad powers to the executive. In internal affairs there were slackening in guerrilla actions and there was a split in the ranks of communists.

In April 1979 the elections, made with a very low percentage of voters, allowed the formation of an almost exclusively military government, chaired by General Kriangsak Chamanad, who urgently found himself facing the dramatic situation of Cambodian refugees.

General Chamanad resigned in 1980 leaving the government to General Prem Tinsulanod, former Minister of Defense, who remained there for eight years.

As the guerrilla front broke and weakened, Thailand was able to enjoy some improvement in the conomic situation. However, two coups took place in 1981 and 1985, but they were thwarted. Early elections took place in 1988, which brought the Thai National Party to the government, chaired by Chatichai Choonhavan. During this period, exports improved and a certain wealth entered the country but it was poorly distributed. For this there were discontent and unrest everywhere; moreover, corruption cases greatly weakened the government which in February 1991 was forced to resign with another military coup. An interminable ballet of generals in government led to martial law in August of the same year, shortly thereafter repealed.

The 1992 legislative elections were won by the Justice and Unity Party and when a member from outside the Parliament was elected to the office of Prime Minister, other protests arose and, after adverse and mixed affairs, in January 1995 the government was finally approved. And finally, the problem of Cambodian refugees who were able to return home was also solved.

Efforts were made to decentralize administrative powers and to implement serious economic and social reforms; but this program encountered serious impediments due to rampant corruption. The political situation also suffered, and in fact the government of Chuan Leekpai suffered a crisis in May 1995.

The early elections held in July 1995 assigned the victory to the Nationalist Party which formed a corrupt, center-right government that lasted only one year.

Elections were repeated in November 1996 and this time they were won by conservatives. Their leader, General Chaovalit was the premier.

For foreign policy, Thailand maintained good relations with the United States, Russia and China; developed an agreement with Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia for the exploitation of the waters of the Mekong and in April 1997 signed various commercial agreements with China.

But during that year a serious economic crisis swept Thailand along with all the other countries of Southeast Asia.
The government had just approved a new constitution that allowed to increase the representatives of the House, to elect 200 senators and to establish an Electoral Commission for the control and protection of each consultation.

In November 1997 Chaovalit left the government, replaced by Chuan Leekpai. To overcome the crisis, he turned to the International Monetary Fund to obtain the necessary aid. He developed a recovery plan that included cuts in public spending in order to reduce the state deficit; a substantial financial and banking reform that could stem the worrying withdrawal of foreign capital from the country; the possibility of repatriating foreign workers and indeed of favoring the emigration of Thais themselves.

These rules then expanded, in August 1998, with the authorization to increase the possession of property to foreigners and, moreover, in March 1999 a rule was introduced that allowed foreigners themselves to also buy land properties,

Chaovalit, in the following April, already outside the government, also left the Party, called the New Aspiration, which had presided for some time.

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