The Ethnic Geographic History of Thailand

The history of how Thailand once conquered parts of Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Thailand is the cultural, modern and international hub of Southeast Asia, with a huge history and influential base among the region of Indochina. What makes Thailand so special, is that it was never colonized by European power. In the early history of Thailand, they were once a part of the unified “Khmer Empire” in the 802–1431, that heavily influenced Thai culture, religion and beliefs. North Thailand however, became independent, and more influenced under Burmese rule.

However, by the 1400’s, when the Khmer Empire fell, that stretched as far as today’s Thailand and Laos, it was the beginning point that now gave the regional areas to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Burma and Thailand continued to be rivals, warring for hundreds and hundreds of years against one another.

By the late 1700’s, The Kingdom of Siam was established, and successfully conquering eastern borders of Burma and all parts of Laos and Cambodia today, with Vietnam as it’s next target.

By the 1800’s, the British came to Burma and Malaysia, and the French to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, making Thailand a buffer state between the two colonial forces, and forcing Thailand to give up the Thai controlled areas of Cambodia and Laos to the French and Burmese & Malaysian controlled areas to the British.

This then resulted in Thailand as a neutral country and a sanctuary for Burmese, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Chinese and Malaysian refugees from political turmoil during the three Indochina War from 1940’s and today.

Thus, resulting different cultural regions in Thailand.

Northern & Western Thailand was heavily influenced by the Burmese. Southern Thailand was part of the Malaysian state. East & Northeast Thailand is culturally and ethnically Lao and Cambodian, with Central Thailand as the homeland of the Thai people.

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