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A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. December 2007 elections saw the pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government that took office in February 2008. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD, aka yellow-shirts) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister's office in August and Bangkok's two international airports in November. After an early December 2008 court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations, the Democrat Party formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN fled abroad in advance of an abuse of power conviction and has agitated his followers from abroad since then. THAKSIN supporters under the banner of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, aka red-shirts) rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Pattaya. Following a February 2010 court verdict confiscating half of THAKSIN's frozen assets, the UDD staged large protests between March and May 2010, and occupied several blocks of downtown Bangkok. Clashes between security forces and protesters, elements of which were armed, resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. These protests exposed major cleavages in the Thai body politic that hampered the government and led to a general election in July 2011. THAKSIN's youngest sister, YINGLAK, led the Puea Thai party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government in August. YINGLAK's leadership was almost immediately challenged by historic flooding in late 2011 that had large swathes of the country underwater and threatened to inundate Bangkok itself. At the beginning of 2012 the Puea Thai-led government began fulfilling one of its main election promises, the pursuit of constitutional reform, which could lead to the nation's 19th Constitution since 1932. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces continued the campaign of violence associated with their cause.


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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 World Ranking: 51
Total 513,120 sq km
Land 510,890 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

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

Tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

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
64,150 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


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  Thailand (Bangkok):

  GPS points from Thailand (Bangkok)

Ban Phai Ko Changwat Lop Buri

Ban Na Dok Mai Changwat Sakon Nakhon

Koh Rangkwian Chon Buri

Ban Ton Chot Changwat Trang

Ban Kai Kiang Changwat Kanchanaburi

Sieb Yuan Changwat Chumphon

Ban Mae Tha Changwat Phrae

Ban Wan Yao Lang Changawat Chanthaburi
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