With increasing wealth and power the kingdom grew south, taking parts of the Malay
Peninsula from both the Malay and Burmese
people. It also grew north at the expense of the Khmer Kingdom.
In the 1700s the city and kingdom reached their peak as the capital was home to
about one million people. However in fighting and power struggles hurt the kingdom
and in 1767 the kingdom fell to the powerful Burmese to
In 1769 the Thais fought back, but now under the rule of Taksin, who began his attacks
from Thonburi. In 1782 he became a monk and Rama I came to power as the new king,
moving the capital to the city of Bangkok. In the 1790s the Burmese were driven
out of Thailand.
Through the 1800s Siam (as the country was still called by foreigners) was approached
by numerous countries to be colonized, given protection, etc. Despite neighbors
falling to foreign powers, Thailand maintained independence for this period as the
kings generally held good relations with outside powers and worked with them.
In 1932 this relative peace ended when revolts against the government arose and
the government shifted from a monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Shortly after
the king abdicated and the government soon fell apart as numerous political groups
formed and fought for power. This led to a stronger and stricter government, in
which the military already held great power.
In 1941, during World War II, Thailand sided with the Japanese, partially because Thailand wanted to control
French Indochina (Vietnam & Laos)
and invaded at this time with Japanese support. Thailand lost and soon their support
for the Japanese waned, especially since the Japanese granted these countries independence,
instead of placing them under Thai rule. Later the Japanese wanted to use Thai lands
to gain access to Burma and again the Thais accepted in
order to avoid war. However relations between the two were always cautious as neither
seemed to trust the other.
After WWII communist movements arose so Thailand turned
to the United States to help protect them
from an insurrection. This move worked as communism never made a true threat on
the government and since then the United States and Thailand have shared very good
In 1973 the government changed hands again, although the monarchy stayed in place.
The people rose up and overthrew the primarily military government, but this didn't
lead to peace and violence broke out sporadically and military intervention stepped
in from time to time to secure peace.
In 2006 the people again revolted, this time against their prime minister who was
abroad at the time. Again the change in government was peaceful and by 2007 the
military stepped down and a new government took over. Another set of protests occurred
the following year. Fortunately, none of these protests or coups have been joined
with much or any violence and the country remains fairly stable, partially due to
the king's steady presence and the people's respect for him.