Bangkok is Thailand's largest city and a leading city in Southeast Asia. Stretching across the Chao Phraya River, it includes both industrial and shipping sections comprising the bulk of Thailand's trade. During World War II, the city was occupied by the Japanese and was a target of Allied bombing raids. Today, it is home of the regional headquarters of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Known as Siam until 1939, a unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the United States in Vietnam.
The current ruling party, Puea Thai Party, is struggling to fulfill some of its 2012 election promises (including constitutional reform and political reconciliation). Thailand is slightly larger than twice the size of Wyoming, with an estimated population of 67,497,151 (July 2013). Its tropical climate includes a rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon season (mid-May to September); a dry, cool northeast monsoon season (November to mid-March); while the southern isthmus is usually hot and humid. The natural resources of Thailand include: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, and fluorite. Thailand also suffers from droughts and land subsidence in the Bangkok area, resulting from the depletion of the water table.
CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazeteer, 2/2014; 2/2014
This map has also been used:
- Thailand, December 2013