Thailand; key historical events
Page last modified 2/2/2021
For events of World War Two in Pacific, S E Asia, see China-Japan-Korea
13/10/2016, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand died, aged 88, after a 70-year reign. He was succeeded by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, after a period of mourning.
17/8/2015, A terrorist bomb exploded at the Erawan Buddhist shrine in central Bangkok, killing over 20 and injuring more than 120. No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
1/2/2014, Violent protests in Bangkok.
11/4/2009, Civil unrest in Thailand; state of emergency declared.
2/9/2008, Unrest continued in Bangkok; Prime Minister Sundaravej declared a State of Emergency.
19/9/2006, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand declared a State of Emergency as the Thai Army staged a bloodless military coup. Thaksin was overthrown and went into exile.
5/1/2004, Thailand declared a State of Emergency as Muslim insurgency in the southern provinces, Narathiwat, Pattani and Yaia increased.
2001, Thai Rak Thai, led by Thaksin Shinawatra, won a large majority in elections.
2000, Bangkok was reported to be sinking at up to 5 cm a year. The city is built on what was a swamp, and there has been considerable removal of ground water.
2/7/1997. The Thai Baht abruptly fell 25% overnight, as the East Asian Crisis got underway. This financial crisis precipitated the fall of the Chaovalit Government. Chuan Leekpai, Prime Minister, now led the Democratic Party in government.
1996, Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth of the New Aim Party won elections.
1995, The Thai Nation Party won elections.
10/5/1993, An explosion at a doll factory in Bangkok, Thailand killed 187.
1992, General Suchinda became Prime Minister. However following demonstratuions against him, the Thai King forced Suchinda to step down and Anand became PM again.
23/2/1991, Thai Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda was ousted in a bloodless coup by the military. General Suchinda Kraprayoon took power. Civilian Anand Panyarachun was installed as caretaker Prime Minister.
17/11/1990, A mass grave, believed to be from World War Two, was discovered near the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai, Thailand.
1988, The Right wing Thai Nation Party took power, with General Chatichai Choonhaven as leader.
1980, General Prem Tinsulanonda became Prime Minister. Democracy in Thailand was partially restored.
21/7/1977, Cambodia and Thailand fought in a border war.
1/2/1977, Khmer Rouge incursion into Thailand killed 30.
1976, Military government took power in Thailand.
1971, The Thai Army suspended the Constitution.
1968, Thailand gained a new Constitution, with an elected parliament.
1965, Thailand allowed the US Navy to use its naval bases during the Vietnam War.
8/12/1963, Sarit Dhanarajata, Prime Minister of Thailand, died.
20/10/1958, Military coup in Thailand.
17/9/1957, Military coup in Thailand, The Constitution was suspended, and Prime Minister Pibul Songgram fled, and was replaced by Pote Sarasin, Secretary-General of SEATO.
29/5/1954, Thailand complained to the United nations Security Council that the activities of the Communists in south east Asia threatened its security.
28/7/1952, King Maha Vajiralongkorn of Thailand was born.
1951, The US gave considerable aid to Thailand, seeing it as a loyal ally in the Cold War. Infrastructure was improved and the military strengthened;
11/5/1949. Siam again changed its name to Thailand.
1947, A military coup restored former dictator Phiburi to power.
13/10/1946, Thailand accepted a UN ruling that it return the provinces of Indo-China that it had acquired in 1941 as an ally of Japan.
9/6/1946, King Rama VIII was assassinated, aged 21, after an 11-year reign. His brother Phumiphon Aduldet now reigned as Rama IX, after 5/5/1950 when he left school in Switzerland.
1945, Exiled King Anaada returned to Thailand.
1944, Pro-Japanese Prime Minister and pre-war military dictator Phibun was voted out of office.
21/12/1941, Siam (Thailand) signed a treaty with Japan permitting the entry and transit of Japanese troops. This facilitated the Japanese invasion of Burma.
1939, Siam changed its name to Thailand, but reverted to Siam again in 1946.
2/3/1935, King Rama VII of Siam abdicated after a 10-year reign during which absolute royal power was abolished. He was succeeded by his 10-year-old nephew who ruled ass Rama VIII (Ananda Mahidol) until he was assassinated in 1946.
20/6/1933, Army coup in Siam (Thailand).
24/6/1932, Radicals captured King Rama VII and held him prisoner until he agreed to reforms and the creation of a Senate, and a Parliament elected by universal suffrage.
1925, King Prajadhipok began a period of absolute rule.
1918, The image of the sacred White Elephant was removed from the flag of Siam.
23/10/1910, Vajiravudh (1881-1925) was crowned Rama VI, King of Thailand. He succeeded Rama V Chulalongkorn (1853-1910) who ruled 1873-1910.
1902, Thailand annexed the Sultanate of Pattani, on its southern border with Malaysia. The Muslim Malays of Pattani launched a resistance movement against Thai Buddhist rule.
15/1/1896. Britain and France signed an agreement on their spheres of influence in S.E. Asia. Both countries guaranteed the independence of Siam (Thailand).
3/10/1893. Siam (Thailand) gave up all its territory east of the Mekong Rover, and recognised Laos as a French protectorate.
11/11/1868, Phra Paramindr Maha Chulalongkorn was crowned King of King of Siam,
1/10/1868, Mongkut (Rama IV), King of Siam, died aged 64. In his 17-year reign he made considerable reforms, with Western help. His decision to roll back centuries of isolation was taken during his travels as a Buddhist monk for 27 years. In 1863 France had forced him to relinquish his vassal state of Cambodia, which became a French protectorate.
11/8/1863, A French Protectorate was established in Cambodia, after continued attacks by Thai and Vietnamese forces.
1855, King Mongkut siged the Bowring Trade Treaty with Britain. This guaranteed the independence of Siam from European colonisation.
21/9/1853, Phra Paramindr Maha Chulalongkorn, King of Siam, eldest son of King Maha Mongkut, was born (died 1910).
1/4/1851, Rama IV (Mongkut) (1804-68) took the Thai throne.
1826, King Rama III resisted UK demands made by the Burney Mission,
6/4/1782, Chao P’ya Chakri founded the Chakri Dynasty in Siam (endurng until 1932), ruling as King Rama I, reigning until 1809. He made Bangkok the capital.
11/7/1688, Narai, King of Siam, died.
1767, Burmese forces occupied Thailand, this time permanently ending Ayutthaya rule.
1680, The French established trading posts in Siam.
1569, Burmese forces conquered Thailand, defeating the Ayutthaya and ruling the country for 15 years.
1350, The Thai kingdom of .Ayutthaya succeeded the Sukhotai State.
1296, Chiang Mai founded as capital of the Lan Na Kingdom.
501, Rise of the Mon State of Dvaravati in what is now Thailand.