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(198,000 sq mi), Thailand is the world's 50th-largest country.

It is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 69 million people.

Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century and major concessions, most notably the loss of a large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French and the step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Shan and Karen people areas and Malay Peninsula.

As part of the concessions which the Chakri dynasty offered to the British Empire in return for their support, Siam ceded four predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces to the British Empire in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909.

After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, established by the various Tai peoples, Mons, Khmers, Chams and Ethnic Malays, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artefacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape.

Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist Sukhothai Kingdom, which was founded in 1238.

In 1287, three Thai chiefs, Mangrai, Ngam Muang, and Ram Khamhaeng formed a "strong pact of friendship".Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has switched between parliamentary democracy and military junta for decades, the latest coup being in May 2014 by the National Council for Peace and Order. It is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar.Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.The word Śyâma is possibly not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion.Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century.

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