Thailand Encyclopedia Online

By | December 17, 2021

Thailand is a state of Southeast Asia. Located in the center of Indochina, it is limited to the W and N from Myanmar, to the North and E from Laos, to the SE from Cambodia ; to the S it touches Peninsular Malaysia (Peninsula of Malacca) on the Isthmus of Kra, thus reaching both the Indian Ocean (Andaman Sea) and the South China Sea (Gulf of Thailand).


The morphology shows the different nature of the hills of Himalayan origin (Central Range, longitudinally arranged and culminating at 2596 m with the Doi Inthanon) and the Khorat Plateau in the East. The vast basins of the Chao Phraya, to the west and in the center, where a wide alluvial plain spreads through the numerous arms of the river, and of the Mekong to E characterize hydrography. Precipitation is typically monsoonal, mitigated by the variation of latitude and altitude, reaching the maximum on the southern coastal reliefs, which are constantly rainy. Temperatures are generally high, with limited annual and daily excursions: only in inland areas there are three seasons (wet from April to November, cool until February, hot from February to April). Consequently, the vegetation changes from the mangrove formations of the coasts to the equatorial rainforest of the southern areas and the western side of the Central Range, to the mixed montane forests and to the monsoon forest of the highlands. For Thailand geography, please check


Thais represent about 80% of the population (including about 30% Lao speakers), while the descendants of more recent immigrants from China account for 14% and various minorities (including Malay) for the rest. The natural average annual growth rate dropped to 0.6% (2010) from 1.3% in 1990-95 and 3% in the 1970s. The average density of 130 residents / km2 hides the coexistence of very dense settlements in the plain and scarce population on the hills. The metropolitan region of Bangkok, with over 6 million residents, welcomes 1/6 of the population of Thailand, which for the rest includes the regional centers of Pattaya on the central coast, Nakhon Ratchasima (formerly Khorat) and Udon Thani in the E, Chiang Mai to N and Hat Yai in the peninsula, while the rural settlement still represents almost 70% of the total.

Official language is Thai; but Chinese, Lao (to E) and marginally Malay (to S) and Khmer (to SE) are also spoken. The most widespread religion is Buddhism (95%), with Muslim (4%) and Christian minorities.


Thai, or Siamese, the national language of Thailand, belongs, together with Lao, Shan and Khamti, to the southwestern subgroup of a group of genetically related languages ​​- referred to as Thai – which are currently spoken in a large area. of Southeast and East Asia. Its belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family is controversial, although it has a series of evident affinities, both phonological and structural, with several languages ​​of that family, including Chinese. The Thai writing system, which has been documented since the 13th century, consists of an adaptation of the Khmer alphabet, itself of Indian origin. Like Chinese, Thai is an isolating language inflection-free, with a large prevalence of monosyllabic morphemes, and a tonal language: each syllable can be pronounced with a medium, low, descending, high or ascending tone. The tenses and modes of verbs are rendered through the use of particles and auxiliary forms. The Thai language was greatly influenced by Sanskrit and Pāli as a consequence of the spread of Buddhism and has two transliteration systems: the first according to phonetics; the other according to the etymology, especially for the lemmas derived from Sanskrit and Pāli.


Starting from the Neolithic, the region had a privileged role in the various phenomena of interchange at the local, regional and interregional level (Ban Kao, Ban Chiang, Non Nok Tha, Khok Charoen, Sab Champa). From the site of Khok Phanom Di (2000-1500 BC) comes the first evidence of the changes that would have led to the transition from a hunting-gathering economy to an agricultural one. Numerous tombs have been found, in whose grave goods there are stone bracelets, tortoise shells and shells. In the northeastern Thailand the burials found at Ban Non Wat (2100-1400 BC) testify to the specialization and high cultural level achieved by these groups of farmers: rich burials were found with grave goods composed, among other things, of finely decorated ceramics. engraved and imprinted motifs. Between 1500 and 1200 BC, knowledge of copper and tin smelting techniques is evidenced by the finds excavated at many Bronze Age sites (Ban Chiang, Non Nok Tha, Ban Non Wat, Ban Lum Khao, Phu Lon, Khao Wong Prachan valley, Non Pa Wai, Nil Kham Haeng). During this phase, slight changes in the typology of the kits are evident. An increase in wealth and a general improvement insocial status they had during the following Iron Age: in Ban Don Ta Phet and Noen U-Loke many graves with rich grave goods have been excavated. Some jewels recall Indian prototypes, while the bronzes are not comparable to any Thai artefact of the same period; these evidences testify commercial contacts with India. In the late Iron Age there were rapid changes that would lead to the early stages of civilization.