The Thais migrated from Nan Chao in the Yunnan area of China in the 8th and 9th centuries. Chao Phraya Chakkri assumed the throne in 1782, thus establishing the dynasty which still heads the Thai state. Siam, as Thailand was called until 1939, remained an absolute monarchy until 24 June 1932 when a group of rebels calling themselves the People’s Party precipitated a bloodless coup. After the king tried to dissolve the newly appointed General Assembly, the army moved against him, thus becoming the dominant political force, a position it has held ever since. In 1939 Field Marshal Pibul Songgram became premier and embarked on a pro-Japanese policy that brought Thailand into the Second World War on Japan’s side.
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