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After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, established by the various Tai peoples, Mons, Khmers, Chams and Ethnic Malays, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artefacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape.Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist Sukhothai Kingdom, which was founded in 1238.According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "A quarter to a third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries." This has been ascribed to the long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who exploited the rivalry and tension between the French and British Empire.In 1896, Britain and France guaranteed of the Chao Phraya valley as their buffer state (not the whole of Siam), while the remaining parts of Southeast Asia were colonized by the western powers.According to George Cœdès, "The Thai first enter history of Farther India in the eleventh century with the mention of Syam slaves or prisoners of war in" Champa epigraphy, and "in the twelfth century, the bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat" where "a group of warriors" are described as Syam.Additionally, "the Mongols, after the seizure of Ta-li on January 7, 1253 and the pacification of Yunnan in 1257, did not look with disfavor on the creation of a series of Thai principalities at the expense of the old Indianized kingdoms." The Menam Basin was originally populated by the Mons, and the location of Dvaravati in the 7th century, followed by the Khmer Empire in the 11th.Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.), is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens.
Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia.
Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century and major concessions, most notably the loss of a large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French and the step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Shan and Karen people areas and Malay Peninsula.
As part of the concessions which the Chakri dynasty offered to the British Empire in return for their support, Siam ceded four predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces to the British Empire in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has switched between parliamentary democracy and military junta for decades, the latest coup being in May 2014 by the National Council for Peace and Order. It is bordered to the north by Myanmar 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 Myanmar.
Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.