The Tai Race

His Majestty the King Bhumibol Adulyadaj of Thailand

during the Coronation Ceremony on May 5 th. A.D. 1950

    The Tai race, under several local tribal names, but always one and the same people, occupies a far wider range than any other in the Indo-Chinese peninsula. In Assam, known as Ahoms, along the borders of Burma and China, it is divided into numerous and semi-independent clans bearing in Burmese the generic name of Shans. Stretching southward, the same race, under the name of Laos, occupies the country between the Salween and the Mekong rivers, while still further south, the best known and most civilized branch of the race, the Siamese, has founded a powerful maritime kingdom.
    Now Siam is the name by which the country was known to the world until 1939 and again between 1945 and 1949. On May 11, 1949, an official proclamation changed the name of the country to "Prathet Thai", or "Thailand", by which it has since been known. The word "Thai" means "free", and therefore "Thailand" means "Land of the Free." Thailand, kingdom in Southeast Asia, bounded by Burma (Myanmar) on the north and west, by Laos on the northeast, by Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand (Siam) on the southeast, by Malaysia on the south, and by the Andaman Sea and Burma on the southwest and The geographically shaped like an axe. The capital and largest city of Thailand is Bangkok.