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Thailand Old Name



Thailand Old Name

Siam is Thailand old name which was changed in the actual name o June 23, 1939.

While the country’s name was Siam, only two principal groups that were speaking Thai were recognized by the central Government:


the Lao people from the North-East Siam and Northern Siam and the Siamese from the Central – Southern Siam.


The kingdom was also divided into these groups even during the Ayutthaya period, according to the Ayutthaya Chronicles.


The ones from North were called Lao and the ones from South were called the Siamese.


The Lao kingdom was a French colony separated by Siam in 1900 and during the Laos kingdom’s creation the Lao nationalism made Siam to attempt to erase the word Lao from Siam; the Lao population made the majority of North-East Siam and of Northern Siam by transforming the name to the actual one, Thailand.


Thailand Old Name

This transformation name from Siam to Thailand was actually the beginning of the nation Thaification and of the nationalistic assimilation of all citizens inside Thailand. People were using the term Thai or Tai to identify with the place they were coming from; the same thing was available even for the Lao people. The country came back to the Siam name in 1945, the name lasting till May 1949 when it became Thailand again. The Siam term is spelled Syama, Syam or Sayam and it is usually identified with Syama – the Sanskrit word that means ‘brown’ or ‘dark’. Thailand old name, Siam, has two variants of the word: A-hom and Shan; although the origin of the word it was thought to be Syama, it seems that is only an artificial distortion.


Also, it was thought that the Thai word was derived from Tai, which means ‘freedom’ in Thai; it is actually an ethnic group’s name. This group was living in the central plains and are the Thai people. According to a well-known scholar from Thailand, Tai means ‘human being’ or ‘people’ and the word was used in rural areas as a substitute for the ‘khon’ word, which means ‘people’.


The people of Thailand use the ‘land of the free’ phrase to express their pride that their country is the only one from the South-East of Asia who was never colonized by exterior powers. There is the polite form used by Thais when referring to their country – Prathet Thai- and a colloquial form – Thai (or Mueang Thai). The mueang word means ‘nation’ in the Thai language but the most of the times is used to make reference to a town or city. ‘Kingdom of Thailand’ (Ratcha Anachak Thai) has an interesting etymology: ratcha means realm, royal, king and comes from the Sanskrit ‘raja’, ana means power, command, authority, also from Sanskrit and chak, coming from Sanskrit’s cakra – wheel.

Old Name Thailand


In the Thailand’s national anthem you can read the referring to the Thailand nation as prathet –thai. The anthem’s first line ‘prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai’ was translated by Luang Saranuprabhandi as ‘Thailand is the unity of the Thai blood and body’.



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