Share on Facebook

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bangkok Red Shirts attacked by Army, Barricades Broken.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS:




History never dies. It is reborn every minute of every day.

The image “http://users.skynet.be/fa323971/Website%20arabisch/Alhambra.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.



DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG:
The Red Shirt occupation may be finished, but a ten year old, rural, mass populist movement determined to secure representation and reform in Thai political life is not likely to end soon. Nor is the struggle against repeated military dictatorships and coups d`├Ętat, a struggle dating back at least as far as 1968.

IN THE NEWS: ARMY BREAKS DOWN BARRICADES IN BANKGKOK, FIRES ON DIE-HARD RED-SHIRTS.

REAR VIEW MIRROR:
In 1991-1992- King Bhumipol, in response to popular demonstrations, stepped in to insure the continuation of civilian government in the face of military intervention in the electoral system with its own candiate.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, elected in 2001 by the poplar, Thai Rak Thai (Thai Loves Thai) Party was continually prosecuted for corruption by the military and its associated political base. In the 2006, while Thaksin was absent from the country attending the UN, he was ousted in a militaty coup. Since then, the People's Power Party (PPP) has carried on the cause of the outlawed Thai Rak Thai party, which has come to represent Thailand's rural poor majority. Thailand's rural poor, it appears, have not benfited from the country's half century economic boom. Increasingly disenfranchised in the face of govenrment control by military-backed groups like the New Politics Party, the `Red Shirts` as they have come to be known, have taken increasingly to demonstrations in down town Bangkok over the last three years, continuously occupying Bangkok's city centre since March.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:

In 1925, the old glory days of the Thai kingship begin to see an end as King Prajadhipok comes to power and the monarchy shows signs of backwardness and decadence. In 1932, royal intransigence and the stresses of the world Depression result in a coup d'etat bringing in a constitutional government, but also an age of coups d'etat which continues until the present day. 1938 sees the accession of military government and a new nationalist policy by which Siam is renamed Thailand- 'land of the free.'
With the onset of World War Two, the nationalist dictator Phibunsongkhram accepts help from Japan in retaking territory lost to British colonial Burma and French colonial Cambodia. Even after Japan occupies Bankok he continues to reward its support by allowing Japan to use Thailand as a staging ground for invading Malaysia and Burma before declaring war on the allies. Soon, however, a pro-allied opposition and the stresses of war result in Phibunsonkhran's resignation. As the war's end, Thailand is forced to return lands taken from Cambodia and Burma.

In the wake of World War Two a political chasm appears between the nationalists who had accepted an alliance with the Japanese- and moderates who repudiate all wartime involvement with Japan. After Thailand returns the occupied neighbouring territories, King Ananda comes back from exile to usher in a new more moderate era when he is assassinated.

In 1947 the war-time pro-Japanese leader Phibun Songkhram stages a military coup and brings in strong anti-communist rule making Thailand a Cold War ally of the US. Songkhram is brought down in another military coup in 1957 and the new government ties the country yet more securely with the West by bringing in the free market and rapid economic growth of a kind almost unique in the developing world.

By the late 'sixties, Thailand is hosting US air bases for the war in Viet Nam. From 1968 to 1973, hesitant moves toward civilian rule are interspersed with military government. In 1973 student protests help to bring in another civilian government which is promptly overthrown by the military. Military rule, with brief attempts at civilian government continue throughout the 1970s and early1980s, accompanied by astonishing economic growth approaching levels reached by the 'Asian Tigers' like Korea and Japan.

Civilian rule seems finally to take root in the 1980s under Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda and his successor Chatichai Choonhaven. The military, perhaps for the first time, fears a loss of power and in 1991, Coonhaven is overthrown by the army officers. But now King Bhumipol Adulyadej steps in to defuse the crisis and civilian government is restored. The early 90s see extensive constitutional reform expanding democracy and reducing the power of the military. The reforms backfire, however and the government falls to a party largely made up of military officers. The party wins a majority despite the officers' alleged corruption and ties to organized crime.

The Asian financial crisis of 1997 shakes the economy so severely that economic and political reform place the country back on the track toward civilian rule.

In 2001, Thaksin Shinawatra wins a majority despite rumours of corruption. Immediately, a new populist party, the Thai Rak Thai or "Thai Loves Thai" party gains considerable power, coinciding with an assassination attempt on Shinawatra. While attempting to improve relations with Burma amid border skirmishes, Shinawatra is cleared of corruption charges.

Thailand's age old conflicts with its western and eastern neighbours come to the surface again in 2002-2003. Burmese troubles with its ethnic Shan rebels spark border tensions with Thailand; at the same time, Cambodian comments about the loss of the revered Angkor Wat temple to the Thais, inflame old historical grievances.

In 2002-2004, violence erupts in the Muslim south as Islamist militants launch attacks on police stations and dozens of Muslim protestors die in police custody. This on the eve of the massive Tsunami of December, 2004 as thousands drown and the tourist trade is seriously disrupted.

2005, however, brings in a landslide electoral victory for Tahksin Shinawatra. The following year a growing cry of protest causes him to call a snap election which is promplty annulled because of a boycott by the opposition. After the discovery of an assassination plot, Shinawtra blames the army. In September, 2006, motorcycle bombs kill three in the Muslim south.

RELEVANT DATES:

Monachy overthrown followed by wartime military rule.

1925- King Prajadhipok comes to power as Thai monarchy becoming backward and decadent.

1932- economic hardships of the Depression and the rise of an educated middle class build opposition to the government. King Prajadhipok is overthrown in a non-violent military coup, bringing in consitutional, parliamentary government. "First of the Third World Coups d'etat." Parliament rules til 1938.

1938- Phibunsongkhram leads a coup which establishes military rule.

1940-41-with the help of the Japanese, Phibunsongkhram, takes back land lost to the British and French colonial empires.

1944- Phibunsongkhram forced to resign.

Military Rule the Norm in Post-War Years.

1947 - Military coup by the wartime, pro-Japanese leader Phibun Songkhram who brings in strong anti-communist rule. The military retain power until 1973.

1960s--the rural poor fail to share in Thailand's prosperity, sensing their increasing irrelevance to Bangkok.
1968-1971- return to civilian rule.
1971- the military takes power, revoking the constitution.

-rural poverty, loss of lands, abuse by the police, corruption in local elites and administrations and high rents result in a peasants' movement.

1973 - Student riots in Bangkok bring about the fall of the military government. Free elections are held but the resulting governments lack stability.
1976 - Military takes over again bringing some stability under General Prem Tinsualnonda.
Democratic Rule in the 1980s.

1980 - General Prem Tinsulanonda assumes power as prime minister.

1980-88- regime of Prime Minister Prem.

1988 - General Chatichai Choonhaven wins elections.

Military Rule Returns in the 1990s.

1991-the military, fearing loss of power stages a coup against President Chatchai Choonhavan, the 17th coup since 1932.

1992 - New elections in March replace Anand with General Suchinda Kraprayoon. After demonstrations against Suchina, King Bhumipol Adulyadej intervenes forcing him to resign. Anand is re-instated temporarily. Elections in September see Chuan Leekpai, leader of the Democratic Party, chosen as prime minister.
1995 - Jan 4- changes to the constitution further democratize the country.
-Government collapses. Banharn Silpa-archa, of the Thai Nation party, elected prime minister.

-election places parliamentary majority in the hands of a party of military officers led by Chart Thai many of whom are allegedly linked to organized crime.

1996 - Banharn's government resigns, accused of corruption. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh of the New Aspiration party wins elections.

Thaksin Shinawatra Elected Prime Minister.

2001 January - Elections won by Thaksin Shinawatra of new Thai Love Thai (Thai Rak Thai) party. Allegations of vote-buying force partial re-run of poll. Thaksin forms coalition government. Despite allegations of corruption against him, he wins 248 seats out 500 in parliament.

2001 August - Thaksin is cleared of assets concealment. A conviction by the Thai Constitutional Court could have meant a five-year ban from politics.

-Thaksin brings in effective polices on behalf of the rural poor including near-universal health care. His political is solidly among the poor in the north,l north east and central parts of the country.

2005 March - Thaksin Shinawatra begins a second term as PM after his party wins February's elections by a landslide.
2006 April-May - Snap election, called by the PM amid mass rallies against him, is boycotted by the opposition and is subsequently annulled, leaving a political vacuum. The PM takes a seven-week break from politics.
-The "United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship" (UDD) is formed to back Thaksin Shinawat. It will later be known as the "Red Shirt" movement.

2006 August - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra accuses several army officers of plotting to kill him after police find a car containing bomb-making materials near his house.
Thaksin Ousted in Military Coup D'Etat.

2006 19 September - Military leaders stage a bloodless coup while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is at the UN General Assembly. Retired General Surayud Chulanont is appointed as interim prime minister in October.
2007 May - Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party is banned. Thousands of soldiers are put on alert.
2007 August - Voters in a referendum approve a new, military-drafted constitution.

PPP picks up the torch for outlawed Thai Rak Thai Party.
2007 December - General elections mark the first major step towards a return to civilian rule. The People Power Party (PPP), seen as the reincarnation of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party, wins the most votes.
2008 January - An elected parliament convenes for the first time since the military seized power in September 2006.

2008 February - Return to civilian rule. Samak Sundaravej is sworn in as prime minister.
Opposition Protests Begin in Bangkok.

2008 September - State of emergency declared in Bangkok after thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators clash in the city. The clashes followed a week of mass protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, and the occupation by protesters of Bangkok's main government complex.

2008 October - Sixteen killed and hundreds injured in Thailand's worst anti-government protests in 16 years.

2008 November - Opposition grouping the People's Alliance for Democracy rallies tens of thousands for protest around parliament building in Bangkok, in what it calls a "final battle" to topple the current government.

The Red Shirts.
2009 March-April - Supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra hold mass rallies against the government's economic policies.
PM Abhisit Vejjajiva declares a state of emergency and moves troops into Bangkok to end an opposition protest sit-in. Over 120 people injured in clashes, with the government disputing opposition reports of six protestors killed. Emergency lifted on 24 April.

2009 December - Up to 20,000 'Red Shirt' Thaksin supporters rally in Bangkok to demand fresh elections. Mr Thaksin addressed them by video-link.

2010- May- Red Shirts occupying central Bangkok reject government offers of negotiation and early elections.

RECENT BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS: As Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra attends the UN in September, 2006, the military stages a coup, installing a retired general as interim prime minister. Martial law is imposed. The transition to 2007 sees mysterious bomb blasts and the lifting of martial law in most of the country. The military begins the passage of a new constitution, approved that summer by referendum. December elections bring back civilian rule as the People Power Party (PPP), a reincarnation of Shinawatra's outlawedThai Rak Thai Party rises to power, winning the greatest number of seats in parliament. After a return to civilian rule in 2008, Shanwtra's wife is tried and convicted of corruption. Meanwhile, tensions erupt with Cambodia when a the disputed Preah Vihear Buddhist temple on the border is declared a world heritage site.

Despite rule by the PPP, attempts to destroy Shinawatra continue. In August, 2008 as he is charged with corruption. He seeks refuge in Britain. In September, pro- and anti-government groups stage rival demonstrations in the middle of Bangkok. During a state of emergency, protesters occupy a government building. Then the Prime Minister himself is dismissed for corruption. As shooting flares up on the Cambodia-Thailand border over the disputed Preah Vinear Temple and violent counter demonstrrations rock the centre of Bangkok, Thaksin Shinawatra is given a two year sentence, in absentia. In November, the umbrella organization of opposition groups, People's Alliance for Democracy blockades government buildings and air terminals.

In December, the PPP prime minister is turfed from office and PPP leaders are barred from politics by a constitutional court ruling accusing them of electoral fraud. As 2009 begins, an opposition-led coalition takes power but the People's alliance for Democracy, still backing the absent Shinawatra continues its mass demonstrations. Another state of emergency ensues and protestors are killed and injured. Meanwhile, the military is suspected in an attack on a mosque in the south in which 10 people are killed.

June sees the inauguration of the anti-Shinawatra New Politics Party. Counter demonstrations by pro-government "Yellow Shirts" continue in Bangkok as Thailand accuses Cambodia of hosting Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser. In December, as his "Red Shirt" supporters rally in Bangkok to demand new elections, Shinawatra addresses them by video-link.

2010 opens with the court stripping the Shinawatra family of assets deemed to have been acquired through corruption. The prime minister rejects demands by the "Red Shirt" protestors, that he resign and call new elections. King Bhumipol, once seen as the transcendant father of Thailand who intervened to settle political stalemates in 1973 and 1992, was disappointingly absent, believed to be ill. In May, the government offers to negotiate provided the Red Shirts disperse from their compound in down town Bangkok. But the Red Shirts reject the conditions and continue their occupation. As hard core rebels arm themselves and dig in the military dismantles barricades and occasionally opens fire killing the occasional demonstrator. On May 18, the military finally moves in to clear out the protestors with several killed and injured, as the last of them hold out in a Buddhist temple.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE EVENTS:
By the time of the Bronze Age, the Thais, a Sino-Tibetan people from southwest China have begun to migrate and occupy the region of present day Thailand and Burma. In the early years of the Common Era (1-500 AD) trade brings the powerful cultural influence of India and the ideology of Devaraja according to which the king governs by divine right as a manifestation of a god, politically expressed in the construction of temple cities dedicated to the god-king. In 600, the Hindu Kingdom of Dvaravati flourishes in the heart of what is later to become Siam. By the following century, the region has converted to Buddhism.

King Jayavarman (802-850) founds the Khmer (Cambodian) kingdom of Angkor which occupies southern Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. In 860, migrating Thais displace the Hindu kingdom of Dvaravati to found the Thai kingdom of Haripunjaya. A century after the building of the great Angkor temple of Angkor Wat (circa 1140) the Mongol Invasions destroy the entire civilization of the region. Rule by Thai vassals of the Mongols and the collapse of the old Devaraja state system bring a dark age. Out of the rubble rises the Thai kingdom of Ayuthia in 1350, named for the new capital city. Wars begin with Ayuthia's eastern neighbours, Cambodia and Laos, which will sputter on for 400 years. In the 14th and 15th centuries, Siam and Angkor capture and recapture the temple city of Angkor Wat.

Around 1470 the great Ayuthian king, Trailok, creates the first efficient state system in the region. As Portugal makes trading contacts with Ayuthia, the war of attrition with Angkor continues. By 1560, Ayuthian conquests occupy much of Cambodia and Laos. With the Japanese and the Dutch already trading with Ayuthia, English traders make contact in the early 17th century but the Portuguese manage to hold on to a monopoly. With the growth of European trade rivalries, nowever, Ayuthia's capital city becomes a Dutch trading possession in 1650 and France joins the fray late in the century. Forced out of Aythia by relgious conflicts, France settles with Cambodia, to the west, as a French protectorate.

In the 18th century, Ayuthia, (now Siam) and other kingdoms in the region undergo political, religious and cutlural consolidation in the an early nationalist attempt to resist domnation by the great English, Dutch and Chinese trading powers. The mid-century sees a war between Siam and Burma ending with the Burmese destroying Ayuthia in 1767.

By 1800, the British are beginning to dominate the Siamese economy from their foothold in Malaya. The Siamese attitude toward the British remains passive though at the same time strategic. In the early 19th century, China, crippled by the British-led opium wars fades as the dominant economy of the region and Britain comes to dominate the Siamese economy from its possessions in Malaya and Burma. In the latter half of the century, however, Kings Mongkut and hios successor King Chulalongkorn bring in enlightened, westerm style government.

By 1890, Siam is the only independent nation in the region- with Malaya on its south and Burma on its west British colonies; and Cambodia on the east, a colony of France. However Britain, the dominant power in the region keeps Siam independent as a buffer against French Cambodia. In 1893, France seizes Siamese territory along the Mekong river for Cambodia and the occupation is confirmed by a treaty with Britain in 1896. By the turn of the century Siam maintains a considerable trading relationship with several European nations and Japan. In 1909, Siam trades its southern, Malayan region to Britain in return for an end to various British rights inside Siamese territory

In 1920, as Siam joins the League of Nations, a new nationalist movement minimizes foreign interests and influence inside the country. With the ascent of King Prajadhipok to the throne in 1925, however, the evident decadence of the monarchy signals the arrival of an age of parliamentary government alternating with military dictatorship.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY


TIMELINE FOR THE HISTORY OF THAILAND:
(thanks in part to items from BBC.uk)


ANCIENT SIAM

-50,000 BC- hunter-gatherers appear in Southeast Asia.

-3,000 BC- wet rice farming by indigenous peoples.

-2,200 BC -Sino-Tibetan peoples begin to migrate to Southeast Asia.

-Pyus and Mons settle in Burma and western Thailand.

-region settled by a Sino-Tibetan people, the Thais.

-500 BC- Bronze introduced to Southeast Asia.


INDIAN CULTURAL INFLUENCE.


-1 AD- rapid expansion of trade with India, followed by Indian cultural contact and Hindu and Buddhist priests and missionaries and religious practice. Local rulers hire Indian scholars, artisans and soldiers.

-practice of Shaivite hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism.

450 (circa) -the Devaraja ideology imported from India: the divine right of kings; the king as a manifestation or descendent of a god. Temple cities built in honor of kings incarnated as gods.

-Lao-Thai people merging with Khmer people.

-the Hindu kingdom of Dvaravati in the heart of pesent day Thailand.

550-650- Khmer kingdom of Chen-la grows from a small state on the Mekong river to cover most of the region, save Dvaravati.

750- Siam mostly Buddhist.

KINGDOM OF ANGKOR

802-850- Jayavarman II founds the (Cambodian) kingdom of Angkor- covering most of Cambodia, Thailand and Malaya..

-Thai peoples migrating southward from their homeland in Yunan, China.

860- Thais displace Dvaravati and found the state of Haripunjaya, north on the Chao Phraya River (northern present day Thaland) with its capital at Sukhothai.


MONGOL INVASIONS.

1250- Lao-Thai people of southwest China expelled by Mongols into Southeast Asia.

1253- Thai-Shan peoples of northern Burma and Thailand flee onslaught of Mongol invasions.

1280-1287- Mongol-Chinese invasion of Southeast Asia destroys the kingdom of Pagan.

THAI VASSALS OF MONGOLS BRING A DARK AGE.

-Thai warlords left by Mongols rule Burma.

-Thai-Shan people become Mongol Vassals.

1290-1310 (circa)- collpase of the Devaraja tempty-state system of divine right due to economic and social stresses imposed by massive temple construction.

-Mongol invasions divert sea-borne trade to the silk road, bringiing economic depression.

-rise of Theraveda Buddhist Kingdoms which replace the old Devaraja kingdoms.


RISE OF THE KINGDOM OF AYUTHIA


Thai warlords establish Kingdom of Ayuthia in the Chao Phraya river valley of Thailand.

1275-1317- Thais under Kemheng the Brave establish a kingdom from city of Sukhotai.

-Saim invades Cambodia and takes 90,000 captives.

1350- Thai capital shifted to Ayuthia. Thais expand their empire to lower Burma and much of the Malay peninsula.

-Thais fights wars against Cambodia and Laos which will sputter on for 400 years.

1369- after a series of wars, Angkor sacked by Thais.

1431- Khmer kingdom invades Siam and captures Angkor.

KING TRAILOK`S UNIQUELY EFFICIENT STATE SYSTEM.

-King Trailok (1448-1488) of the Thais establishes stable administrative and legal system for Ayuthia with clear cut responsible ministries. In Siam alone the common people are included in a hierarchical administration where every class has priveleges and duties.

-Siam invaded on several occasions by Burma and Peguan.

-Theravada Buddhism adopted as state relgion.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE PORTUGUESE.

1511-Portuguese establish contact with Siam after conquest of Malacca.

1550- (circa) Portuguese traders carrying Indian cloth to Siam.

1550- (circa) Khmer Kingdom recovers but Siam defeats it again.

1555- Siam, though aided by Portuguese mercenaries, loses Angkor to Burma.

1560 (circa)- Phra Naret revives Siam, retakes Laos and Cambodia and conquers Pegu.

1592-1632- Siam and Japanese open commercial relations. Japanese troops employed in Siam, gaining a powerful presence.

1607- Ayuthaya is a Dutch possession.

ENGLAND MAKES CONTACT WITH SIAM.

-English traders present in Siam. James I corresponds with King of Siam. English envoys hospitably received; English import tin, varnish and drugs.

1630s- Japanese sea trade with Siam.

1636- Japanese residents anmd soldiers massacred in Siam for gaining too much influence.

1639- trade with Japan ends as the Japanese, enacting a policy of cultural purity, cut off all trade with foreign countries

1650- Portuguese monopoly on trade with Siam.


FRANCE ATTEMPTS TO OPEN A MISSION IN SIAM.

1660- three French missionaries arrive in the Siamese capital. The establisment of a mission there and the help of a Greek advisor Constantin Phaulcon in the Siamese court of King Phra Narain result in Siam opening relations with France.

1684- France's Louis XIV receives ambassadors from Siam.

1685- France opens diplomatic and military missions in Siam. French ambassador intrigues with Jesuits and Phaulcon for conversion of King Phra to Christianity. Phaulcon is killed, Christians are persecuted and relations with France sour.

-France forces Siam to respect Cambodia as a French protectorate.

FRENCH AND ENGLISH CONTACT WITH SIAM ENDS ABRUPTLY.

1687- they East India company, outraged at Siamese employment of other Englishmen attack the Siamese. Siamese retaliate with a massacre of English at Mergui.

1688- English abandon their factory at Ayuthia.

-French relations with Siam end aburptly with a Siamese civil war.

-Siam carries on trade with English, Dutch and Chinese.

1719- after an attack on Siamese by the governor of Madras, trade with England declines.

-1750-1800- (circa) war between Siam and Burma.

1752- Siam establishes relations with Ceylon.

-Siam and the entire region undergo a political renaissance with a renewed culture of Theraveda Buddhism and Conficianism. Minorities are subjugated to a new, more powerful state.

-growth of Chinese-run revenue farms and commercial monopolies.

-acquisition of western military technology.

SIAM THREATENED BY BURMA AND THE BRITISH.

1760- Burma's Auanghaya fails in an attempted attack on the Siamese capital of Ayuthia, to the east. He dies of wounds incurred during the assault.

1764-1767- Burma invades Siam and captures and destroys Ayuthia.

1768-1824- the British infringe on Siam's sovereignty by acquiring foooholds in Malaya through treaties with local Muslim princes. Buddhist leadership and culture in Siam tends toward indifferecne to British inroads.

-General Phaya Takh Sin rallies remains of the army, retakes Siam and establishes the capital at Bangkok. He is executed for insanity and succeeded by Phaya Chakri.

FOUNDING OF THE PRESENT CHAKRI DYNASTY.

1782- Siam: founding of the Chakri dynasty by Phaya Chakri; dyansty rules to the present day. Founding of Bangkok.

-Siamese kings ruled with wisdom- though seen as demigods, were considered protectors, teachers, guides to their own officials, students of Buddhist monks. In Thai society, inferiors and superiors regarded one another with mutual respect and deference.

-Siam, alone in Southeast Asia, remains free of colonial rule.

1792- Siam seizes Tenaserim and Tavoy in Burmese territory.

-Siamese recognition of Chinese regional supremacy declines.

1811- Siam takes Battambang from Cambodia.

1822- John Crawford sent by England to establish relations but the attempt fails.


BRITISH ATTAIN REGIONAL SUPREMACY.

-Siam a tributary state of China's Manchu Empire.

1824- by a treaty with the Dutch, the British attain supremacy in the Malay Peninsula and Siam.

1826- Captain Burney establishes formal commercial relations between Siam and Britain.

1833- Siam establishes commercial relations with the United States.

1840- Siam ends trade with China due to new Chinese tax policies and the economic crippling of China by the Opium Wars.

1855- Siam agrees to a formal British embassy in Bangkok with privileges for British residents.

-Siam and Annam (Viet Nam) fighting over thhe remnants of the Khmer empire.

1863- Norodon of Annam asks for French protection from Siam.

KINGS MONGKUT AND CHULALONGKORN BRING IN WESTERN-STYLE FINANCIAL AND ADMINSTRATIVE REFORM.

-King Mongkut brings in western-style financial reforms involving coinage, taxation etc. His strategy in dealing with Europe places discretion, tactics and stealth over national pride. Characteristic Thai deference was never without its strategic side.

1868-1910- during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Siam takes on western advisers for commerce and industry and a raliway is built. Abolishes slavery and imposes judicial reform.

SIAM BECOMES A BUFFER STATE BETWEEN BRITISH AND FRENCH COLONIES.

-Siam remains weak and faces imperial designs from France. But Britain keeps Siam independent as a buffer state to protect its possessions in Burma and Malaya.

-Siam`s disputes with eastern frontier tribes lead France to claim Siam is trespassing on France`s protectorate, Annam.

1892-France proposes to Britain a division of spheres of influence along the Mekong River, with everything east of the Mekong going to France.

1893- Britain hesitates over France's Mekong declaration and France claims Laos, then part of Siam.

FRANCE USES MILITARY FORCE TOM EXACT TERRITORIAL CONCESSIONS FROM SIAM.

-France demands the evacuation of Siamese outposts on the lower Mekong. The French lose an officer captured and 3 soldiers killed.

-France sends a military force from Saigon up the Menam river to Bangkok where they demand control of Laos and the return of Angkor and Battambang to Cambodia. Britain and Siam give way to France. Siam loses its lands east of the Mekong and is forced to pay an indemnity. France gains control of Laos.

1896- Britain and France conclude a treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of the Menam river basin which contains the bulk of resources and population.

SIAM THE SOLE INDEPENDENT STATE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

-Siam's independence recognized if only because it is a buffer state between British colonial possessions to the west and French possessions to the east.

1898- Siam establishes formal relations with Japan.

-Britain, German, Denmark, Italy, Belgium and Japan compete over trade with Siam.

1899- Siam establishes formal relations with Russia.

-Siam remains the only independent kingdom in Southeast Asia.

1901- Siam opens a 165-mile railway, taking 8 years to build at the cost of 7,000 lives.

1904- Franco-Siamese treaty confirms Siam as a buffer state against British possessions.

1907- Siam returns Battambang to France in return for the the maritime province of Krat and the Dansai disrict -both ceded by Siam in 1904.

1909- Anglo-Siamese treaty cedes suzerain rights over its southern states in Malaya to Britain- in return for and end to elements of British jurisdiction inside Siam; it also confirms Siam as a buffer state against France.

1910-1925- King Vijaravudh continues the reforms of King Chulalongkorn.

1914- Siam, Japan and Ethiopia alone remain autonomous in a world dominated by Europe.

1917- Siam comes in on Britain's side in World War I.

1920- Siam joins league of nations. Moderate nationalist movement brings about the suspension of extraterritorial rights for foreigners, national control over customs duties and measures against Chinese domination in the Siamese economy.

1922- King Vijaravudh brings in complusory education.

MONARCHY OUT OF STEP: BEGINNING OF AN AGE OF COUPS D'ETAT.

1925- King Prajadhipok comes to power as Thai monarchy becoming backward and decadent.

1932- economic hardships of the Depression and the rise of an educated middle class build opposition to the government. King Prajadhipok is overthrown in a non-violent military coup, bringing in consitutional, parliamentary government. "First of the Third World Coups d'etat." Parliament rules til 1938.

1933- failed aristocratic counter-revolution. Rama VII abdicates.

1935-1946- King Rama VIII Ananda Mahidol.

DAWN OF THAI NATIONALISM.

1938- Phibunsongkhram leads a coup which establishes military rule.

1939- In a move inspired by nationalism Phibunsongkhram renames Siam 'Thailand'- land of the free.

1940-41-with the help of the Japanese, Phibunsongkhram, takes back land lost to the British and French colonial empires.

WORLD WAR TWO: THAILAND ACQUIESCES TO JAPAN.

1941- Dec. 8- invasion by Japan which seizes Bankok; Phibunsongkhram allows Japan to advance toward the British-controlled Malay peninsula, Singapore and Burma.

1941- French tolerate Japanese domination of Siam.
1942 - Siam declares war on Britain and US, but Thai ambassador in Washington refuses to deliver declaration to US government.

-due to shortages and stresses of war, a resistance movement develops against Phibunsongkhram.
THAILAND REPUDIATES SUPPORT FOR JAPAN IN WAR.

1944- Phibunsongkhram forced to resign.

1945 - End of World War II. Thailand compelled to return territory it had seized from Laos, Cambodia and Malaya. Exiled King Ananda returns.
-Thailand repudiates its alliance with Japan and returns areas occupied with Japanese help.

1946 - King Ananda assassinated.

THAILAND ALIGNED AGAINST COMMUNISM.

1947 - Military coup by the wartime, pro-Japanese leader Phibun Songkhram who brings in strong anti-communist rule. The military retain power until 1973.

-Thailand still maintains independence by playing the British and the French off against one another. Thais still benefit from an attitude of acceptance toward unequal power relations with the west; their attitude is adaptable rather than brittle and defensive.

-Thailand benefits economically and commercially from proximity to Singapore.
1950 -Thailand's anti-communist policy brings US aid money and a Cold War alliance with Washington.

1954- Thailand included in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
1957- Phibun Songkhram brought down in a bloodless coup. Sarit Thanarat suspends constitution, outlaws political activity and declares martial law.

THALAND'S FREE MARKET ECONOMIC BOOM.

1958- pro-market government takes power in Thailand.

1960s- Thailand experiences an economic boom with growth rates of 9%.
1963- Thanarat is succeeded by Thanom Kittakachorn who continues miliary rule.

-of developing countries, Thailand alone maintains an advantage in agricultural exports. It does so by raising productivity 1.5% per anum and clearing land for production.

THAILAND PROVIDES U.S. WITH AIR BASES FOR VIET NAM WAR.

1965 and onward - Thailand permits US to use bases there during the Vietnam War. Thai troops fight in South Vietnam.

-Thailand remains an ally of the west. Burma, on its western flank remains non-aligned. On the east, Cambodia is also neutral while neutral of Laos receives strong communist influence.

-the rural poor fail to share in Thailand's prosperity, sensing their increasing irrelevance to Bangkok.

1967- compulsory education extended from 4 to 7 years.
1968-1970. Thiland deals with a communist insurgency.

STRUGGLE BETWEEN MILITARY RULE AND CIVILIAN OPPOSITION.

1968-1971- return to civilian rule.
1971- the military takes power, revoking the constitution.

1973 - Student riots in Bangkok bring about the fall of the military government. Free elections are held but the resulting governments lack stability.
1976 - Military takes over again bringing some stability under General Prem Tinsualnonda.
-Japan investing heavily in Thailand.

1978 - New constitution promulgated.

1979- Thailand's per capita income is four times that of Burma.

THAILAND RACES AHEAD ECONOMICALLY AS IT STRUGGLES WITH MILITARY RULE.

1980 - General Prem Tinsulanonda assumes power as prime minister.

1980-88- regime of Prime Minister Prem.

-Thailand, growing at 10% per year is approaching economic power on a par with the 'Asian Tigers'.

1983 - Prem gives up his military position and heads a civilian government. He is re-elected in 1986.
1988 - General Chatichai Choonhaven replaces Prem after elections.

1990- Thailand appoaching evels of economic decvelopment attainted by the 'Asian Tiger' economies.
-with Burmese heroin laboratories established on its northern border, and poppies grown on both sides of the frontier, the cross-border region has become known as the Golden Triangle whose capital and drug bazaar is the northern Thai town of Chiang Mai.

1991 - the military, fearing loss of power stages a coup against President Chatchai Choonhavan, the 17th coup since 1932. King steps in to defuse crisis. A civilian, Anand Panyarachun, is installed as prime minister.

KING BHUMIPOL INTERVENES IN DISPUTED ELECTIONS.

1992 - New elections in March replace Anand with General Suchinda Kraprayoon. After demonstrations against Suchina, King Bhumipol Adulyadej intervenes forcing him to resign. Anand is re-instated temporarily. Elections in September see Chuan Leekpai, leader of the Democratic Party, chosen as prime minister.

-Chuan Leekpai carries out extensive, controversial land reform.

1995 - Jan 4- changes to the constitution further democratize the country.
CORRUPTION SETS IN DESPITE DEMOCRATIC REFORMS

Voting age lowered from 21 to 18. Equal status of men and wmen enshrined in constitution. Prime minister must be an elected member of the lower house of representatives. Power of the Senate, largely made up of army officers, kis reduced.

-Government collapses. Banharn Silpa-archa, of the Thai Nation party, elected prime minister.

-election places parliamentary majority in the hands of a party of military officers led by Chart Thai many of whom are allegedly linked to organized crime.

1996 - Banharn's government resigns, accused of corruption. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh of the New Aspiration party wins elections.
-improved realtons with China.

THAILAND SUCCUMBS TO 1997 ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS.

1997 - Asian financial crisis due to cheap credit, speculation and lax financial supervision. The baht falls sharply against the dollar, leading to bankruptcies and unemployment. The IMF steps in. Chuan Leekpai becomes prime minister.

-economic discontent salved by constitutional reforms democratizing the Thai party system.

1998 - Tens of thousands of migrant workers are sent back to their countries of origin. Chuan involves the opposition in his government in order to push through economic reforms.
1999 - Economy begins to pick up again. Thai media highlight high cost of drug treatments for Aids and HIV. Thailand begins to pressure drug companies to find ways to make the drugs cheaper.

THAKSIN SHNAWATRA OF THAI RAK THAI PARTY WINS ELECTION.

2001 January - Elections won by Thaksin Shinawatra of new Thai Love Thai (Thai Rak Thai) party. Allegations of vote-buying force partial re-run of poll. Thaksin forms coalition government. Despite allegations of corruption against him, he wins 248 seats out 500 in parliament.
-defections soon lead to a Thai Rak Thai majority.

2001 March - A plane Thaksin is due to board explodes. Police say a bomb is to blame.
2001 June - Prime Minister Thaksin visits Burma to discuss drugs and border tensions. He says relations are now back on track. Within days the Mae Sai-Tachilek border crossing is opened again after clashes between Thai and Burmese troops in February.

THAKSIN'S POPULISM MARRED BY CORRUPTION ALLLEGATIONS.

2001 August - Thaksin is cleared of assets concealment. A conviction by the Thai Constitutional Court could have meant a five-year ban from politics.
2002 May - Burma closes border with Thailand after Thai army fires shells into Burma during battle between Burmese army and ethnic Shan rebels. Border reopens in October.
-Muslims of the Patani region of south Thailand resist 'attempted ethnocide'

2003 January - Serious diplomatic upset with Cambodia over comments attributed to a Thai actress that Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex was stolen from Thailand. Angry crowds attack the Thai embassy in the Cambodian capital. More than 500 Thai nationals are evacuated.
GOVERNMENT SUSPECTED OF MMURDERING CRIMINAL GANG SUSPECTS.

2003 February - Controversial crackdown on drugs starts; more than 2,000 suspects are killed by late April. The government blames many killings on criminal gangs; rights groups say extra-judicial killings were encouraged by the authorities.

ISLAMIC MIITANTS LAUNCH ATTACKS IN MUSLIM SOUTH.

2004 January-March - More than 100 are killed in a wave of attacks in the largely-Muslim south. The government blames Islamic militants. Martial law is imposed.
2004 April - More than 100 suspected Islamic insurgents are killed after launching coordinated dawn attacks on police bases In the south.
2004 October - 85 Muslim protesters die, many from suffocation, while in army custody following violence at a rally in the south. An enquiry concludes that they were not killed deliberately.
THE TSUNAMI,

2004 December - Thousands of people are killed when massive waves, caused by a powerful undersea earthquake off the Indonesian coast, devastate communities on the south-west coast, including the resort of Phuket.
THAKSIN WINS LANDSLIDE; TAKES ON ISLAMISTS IN SOOUTH.

2005 March - Thaksin Shinawatra begins a second term as PM after his party wins February's elections by a landslide.
2005 July - As violent unrest continues in the south, Prime Minister Thaksin is given new powers to counter suspected Muslim militants in the region. In November the death toll in violence since January 2004 tops 1,000.
2005 October - Thailand redoubles efforts to fight bird flu as fresh outbreaks of the disease are reported.

THAKISN'S ATTEMPTED RE-ELECTION IS ANNULLED; ACCUSES ARMY OF PLOTTING.

2006 April-May - Snap election, called by the PM amid mass rallies against him, is boycotted by the opposition and is subsequently annulled, leaving a political vacuum. The PM takes a seven-week break from politics.

2006 August - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra accuses several army officers of plotting to kill him after police find a car containing bomb-making materials near his house.
2006 September - Six simultaneous motorcycle bombs kill three people and wound more than 60 on a busy street in the southern town of Hat Yai.
THAKSIN EXILED AFTER BLOODLESS COUP. MILITARY TAKES CONTROL.

2006 19 September - Military leaders stage a bloodless coup while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is at the UN General Assembly. Retired General Surayud Chulanont is appointed as interim prime minister in October.
2006 31 December - Series of bomb blasts in Bangkok kills three people. No-one claims responsibility.

2007 January - Martial law is lifted in more than half of the country.
2007 April - First draft of a new constitution is approved by a committee appointed by the military administration.

THANKSIN'S THAI RAK THAI PARTY IS BANNED; GRADUAL RETURN TO CIVILIAN RULE.

2007 May - Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party is banned. Thousands of soldiers are put on alert.
2007 August - Voters in a referendum approve a new, military-drafted constitution.

THAI RAK THAI PARTY TRANSFORMED INTO PEOPLE POWER PARTY (PPP) WINS MOST VOTES IN ELECTION; DEMOCRACY RESTORED.

2007 December - General elections mark the first major step towards a return to civilian rule. The People Power Party (PPP), seen as the reincarnation of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party, wins the most votes.
2008 January - An elected parliament convenes for the first time since the military seized power in September 2006.
Corruption trial of Pojaman Shinawatra, the wife of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, begins two weeks after her return from exile.
2008 February - Return to civilian rule. Samak Sundaravej is sworn in as prime minister.
THAKSIN RETURNS; IS TRIED FOR CORRUPTION; WIFE IS CONVICTED.

Ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra returns from exile.
2008 July - Thaksin Shinawatra's corruption trial begins.
Thaksin's wife is found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three years in jail. She is granted bail pending an appeal.
Cambodia and Thailand move troops to disputed land near ancient Preah Vihear temple after decision to list it as UN World Heritage Site fans nationalist emotions on both sides. Officials from both states start talks to resolve standoff.

THAKSIN FLEES TO BRITAIN TO AVOID TRIAL; STATE OR EMERGENCY DECLARED AMID PRO-AND ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS.

2008 August - Thaksin flees to Britain with his family after failing to appear in court to face corruption charges.
2008 September - State of emergency declared in Bangkok after thousands of pro- and anti-government demonstrators clash in the city. The clashes followed a week of mass protests calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, and the occupation by protesters of Bangkok's main government complex.
Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej dismissed by Constitutional Court for violating a conflict of interest law by hosting two television cooking shows while in office.
Somchai Wongsawat chosen by parliament as new prime minister, but the street protests against the government continue.
PROTESTORS SHOT.

2008 October - Sixteen killed and hundreds injured in Thailand's worst anti-government protests in 16 years.
Thai troops shoot dead two Cambodian soldiers in an exchange of fire on the disputed stretch of the two countries' border, near the Preah Vihear temple.
THAKSIN CONVICTED IN ABSENTIA.

Thai Supreme Court gives fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra a two-year jail sentence after finding him guilty of corruption over a land deal.
PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY OR 'RED SHIRTS' GAINS MOMENTUM.

2008 November - Opposition grouping the People's Alliance for Democracy rallies tens of thousands for protest around parliament building in Bangkok, in what it calls a "final battle" to topple the current government.
Flights from Thailand's main airports are suspended after anti-government protesters blockade terminal buildings. Thousands of foreign visitors are left stranded.
PPP PRIME MINISTER FORCED FROM OFFICE. PPP BANNED FOR ELECTORAL FRAUD.

2008 December - Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is forced from office by a Constitutional Court ruling that disbands the governing People Power Party for electoral fraud and bars its leaders from politics for five years.
OPPOSITION HEADS COALITION IN PARLIAMENT.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva secures a coalition within parliament to become Thailand's new prime minister, the third new leader in three months.
2009 March-April - Supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra hold mass rallies against the government's economic policies.
2009 April - Continuing unrest forces the cancellation of an ASEAN summit after anti-government protesters storm the summit venue in the resort of Pattaya.
OPPOSITION P.M. ENDS PROTESTS BY FORCE.

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva declares a state of emergency and moves troops into Bangkok to end an opposition protest sit-in. Over 120 people injured in clashes, with the government disputing opposition reports of six protestors killed. Emergency lifted on 24 April.
2009 June - The Thai army denies responsibility for an attack on a mosque in Narathiwat in the south, in which at least 10 people died. Most observers accused Islamist militants, but some local people suspected army involvement.
Leaders of the protest group that helped topple Thaksin Shinawatra apply to register themselves as the New Politics Party.
2009 July - Thailand sends heavily-armed troops to reinforce positions along the Burmese border after an influx of thousands of ethnic Karen refugees fleeing a Burmese army offensive.
2009 July-September - Thousands of pro- and anti-Thaksin protestors hold regular rallies in Bangkok and elsewhere.

ROW WITH CAMBODIA OVER CAMBODIAN SUPPORT FOR THAKSIN.

2009 November - Row with Cambodia grows over the appointment of Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser to the Cambodian government. Cambodia takes over Thai-owned air traffic control firm and arrests a Thai employee for allegedly telling Thailand about a visit to Phnom Penh by Mr Thaksin.
2009 December - Up to 20,000 Thaksin supporters rally in Bangkok to demand fresh elections. Mr Thaksin addressed them by video-link.
Thailand deports about 4,000 ethnic Hmong back to communist-ruled Laos, deeming them to be economic migrants. The UN and United States expressed concern about their possible reception in Laos, where some Hmong have been fighting against the government since 1975.
2010 January - Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says Thailand hopes to see 4% growth in 2010.
2010 February - Thailand drops charges against crew of a plane suspected of carrying weapons from North Korea. The crew from Kazakhstan and Belarus were held after a refuelling stop in Bangkok in December revealed 30 tonnes of weapons.

'RED SHIRT' PRO-THAKSIN PROTESTS INCREASE AMID MORE ANTI-CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AGAINST THAKSIN

Supreme Court strips Mr Thaksin's family of half of its wealth in verdict deeming that $1.4bn was acquired illegally through conflict of interest during his time as prime minister. Security forces placed on high alert amid fear of clashes with Thaksin supporters.
2010 March - Prime Minister Abhisit rejects a demand by mass pro-Thaksin "red-shirt" protesters in Bangkok to quit and call elections. Protesters pour donated blood under the gates of Government House.
2010 April - PM Abhisit declared state of emergency in Bangkok as anti-government "red shirt" protests continue.
May- Red Shirts occupying central Bangkok reject government offers of negotiation.
Post a Comment