Built on a foundation of ancient kingdoms, dynasties, and warring city-states, Thailand has been undergoing a transformation into a modern nation striving for democratic rule since the early 1900s.
Thailand as we know it today did not exist as a nation until the early 1900s. Prior to the 1900s, various kingdoms vied for power across the land, creating a rich and fascinating historical saga. Thailand was referred to as the Kingdom of Siam up until 1939, when its name was officially changed to Thailand. The country went through another brief name change from 1945 to 1949, when its name was reverted to Siam and then back to Thailand on May 9, 1949.
The most conspicuous features of Thailand’s terrain are high mountains, a central plain, and an upland plateau. Mountains cover much of northern Thailand and extend along the Myanmar border down through the Kra Isthmus and the Malay Peninsula.