When Siam became Thailand

History Siam Thailand Passport

Around a thousand years ago, people who spoke a language from the Tai group settled in what is now Thailand. The Sanskrit word syam is where the name Siam originated. The Portuguese used it starting in the sixteenth century, and it eventually became a widely used geographical term. Kingdoms came and went, but starting in the 1780s, the Bangkok-based Chakri dynasty reigned over all of Siam. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they expanded their dominion into portions of current Laos, Cambodia, and Malaya, but they were compelled to cede those lands to the French. Siam Thailand Passport

A radical People’s Party was founded in 1927. One of its founders was an army officer by the name of Phibun (full name Luang Phibunsongkhram), who in 1932 assisted in leading a coup against the Chakri king and installed a government with a parliament that was more like western democracy. The monarchy continued, but Phibun became the dictator in 1938. He renamed the nation Thailand and was a fervent nationalist and modernizer.

Phibun’s resolve to modernize his people while also highlighting their distinctive individuality led to the transformation. The motto “Thailand for the Thai,” was an anti-Chinese action. There were many profitable Chinese enterprises and a large number of Chinese people living there, but Phibun reduced Chinese immigration and established Thai firms with government support while restricting the use of Mandarin in Chinese schools to just two hours per week. Phibun mandated that Thais dress in Western-style, including caps, and Thailand adopted the Western calendar while also creating a new flag and national anthem. Siam Thailand Passport

In the Second World War, Thailand was allied with Japan, and Phibun was forced to retire in 1944. However, in 1948, he came back to power with the support of the military, and the army ruled Thailand with assistance from the US. In 1957, opponents eventually forced out Phibun. He withdrew to Japan, where he passed away in 1964 at the age of 66.

The Passport

As Siam was officially renamed Thailand on 23 June 1939, this passport is a curious case as the document was issued in 1947 in Bangkok to a couple. The passport was valid for two years and has a hardcover. I have seen 2-3 Siam types and all had a softcover.
Siam Thailand Passport

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