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Prior to the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, such as the various Tai, Mon, Khmer and Malay kingdoms, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artifacts 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 kingdom of Sukhothai, which was founded in 1238.As with many of the developing nations during the Cold War, Thailand then went through decades of political transgression characterised by coups d'état as one military regime replaced another, but eventually progressed towards a stable prosperity and democracy in the 1980s.In 1997, Thailand was hit with the Asian financial crisis and the Thai baht for a short time peaked at 56 baht to the US dollar compared to about 25 baht to the dollar before 1997.For example, the year AD 2008 is called 2551 BE in Thailand.Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E Map references: Southeast Asia Area: total: 514,000 sq km land: 511,770 sq km water: 2,230 sq km Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming Land boundaries: total: 4,863 km border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km Coastline: 3,219 km Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm exclusive economic zone: 200 nm continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation Climate: tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid Terrain: central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere Elevation extremes: lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land Land use: arable land: 27.54% permanent crops: 6.93% other: 65.53% (2005) Irrigated land: 49,860 sq km (2003) Total renewable water resources: 409.9 cu km (1999) Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%) per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000) Natural hazards: land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts Environment - current issues: air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea Geography - note: controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore The politics of Thailand currently take place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state.Thailand retains a tradition of trade with its neighboring states, and the cultures of the Indian ocean and the South China sea.European trade and influence arrived to Thailand in the 16th century, beginning with the Portuguese.
In practice, Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism as well as ancestor worship.
During World War II, Thailand became an ally of Japan while at the same time maintaining an active anti-Japanese resistance movement known as the Seri Thai.
After the war, Thailand emerged as an ally of the United States.
Thailand is currently facing separatist violence in its southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces.
The region known as Thailand has been inhabited by humans since the paleolithic period, about 10,000 years ago.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislative branches.