History of Thailand

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The Thais moved from their ancestral home in southern China into mainland southeast Asia around the 10th century AD. Prior to this, Indianized kingdoms such as the Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms ruled the region. The Thais established their own states starting with Sukhothai, Chiang Saen and Chiang Mai as Lanna Kingdom and then Ayutthaya kingdom. These states fought each other and were under constant threat from the Khmers, Burma and Vietnam. Much later, the European colonial powers threatened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but Thailand survived as the only Southeast Asian state to avoid colonial rule. After the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand endured sixty years of almost permanent military rule before the establishment of a democratic elected-government system.

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Initial states of Thailand

Prior to the southwards migration of the Tai people from Yunnan in the 10th century, the Indochina peninsula had been a home to various indigenous animistic communities for as far back as 500,000 years ago. The recent discovery of Homo erectus fossils such as Lampang man is but one example. The remains were first discovered during excavations in Lampang province, Thailand. The finds have been dated from roughly 1,000,000-500,000 years ago in the Pleistocene. There are myriad sites in Thailand dating to the Bronze (1500 BC-500 BC) and Iron Ages (500 BC-AD 500). The most thoroughly researched of these sites are located in the country's Northeast, especially in the Mun and Chi River valleys. The Mun River in particular is home to many 'moated' sites which comprise mounds surrounded by ditches and ramparts. The mounds contain evidence of prehistoric occupation.

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