Thailand, in long-form the Kingdom of Thailand (in Thai: Prathet Thai, ประเทศไทย or Ratcha Anachak Thai, ราช อาณาจักร ไทย), is a country in Southeast Asia. Before 1939 it was called the Kingdom of Siam. It is bordered by Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos. Its capital is Bangkok (in Thai: กรุงเทพฯ, Krung Thep, "City of Angels"). The official language is Thai and the currency is Baht.
Siam has never been colonized by the Western powers which in the 19th and 20th centuries were installed in all the surrounding countries. It has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932 in which the King is officially the Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, a supporter of the Buddhist religion, and defender of all faiths. On a political level, Thailand has seen 19 attempted or successful coups d'état by the military since 1932, the most recent of which took place on May 22, 2014.
The country is ranked 51st country in order of area (514,000 km2) and 21st most populous country in the world with 68,299,099 inhabitants in January 2017, an area and population very close to that of metropolitan France. It is made up of a large mainland extended to the south for nearly a thousand kilometers by the Malay Peninsula that it shares on the west side with Burma and in its south with Malaysia. About 75% of the population are of Thai ethnicity, 14% are Chinese, and 3% are Malays, the remainder being made up of minority groups: Mon, Khmers, and various hill tribes.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995. It is one of the newly industrialized countries, counting among the Asian Tigers. Its economy is based in particular on tourism, with well-known tourist destinations such as the region of Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya Park, the seaside resort of Pattaya, the capital Bangkok, the southern provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, and many islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, such as Ko Samui and Koh Phi Phi. Exports also contribute significantly to the economy. The country has around 2.8 million legal and illegal immigrants in Thailand, including several expatriates from Western countries.
The cumulative fortune of the 50 richest Thais stands at more than 160 billion dollars in 2019. The benefits of the growth and industrialization of the last decades have been mainly captured by the traditional aristocracy and the new economic elites. and financial.
Thai families of Chinese descent, who number only about 6% of the population, control most of the country's economic sectors.
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