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(198,000 sq mi), Thailand is the world's 50th-largest country.It is the 20th-most-populous country in the world, with around 69 million people.According to George Cœdès, "The Thai first enter history of Farther India in the eleventh century with the mention of Syam slaves or prisoners of war in" Champa epigraphy, and "in the twelfth century, the bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat" where "a group of warriors" are described as Syam.Additionally, "the Mongols, after the seizure of Ta-li on January 7, 1253 and the pacification of Yunnan in 1257, did not look with disfavor on the creation of a series of Thai principalities at the expense of the old Indianized kingdoms." The Menam Basin was originally populated by the Mons, and the location of Dvaravati in the 7th century, followed by the Khmer Empire in the 11th.Thailand retained a tradition of trade with its neighbouring states, from China to India, Persia, and Arab lands.Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia.
The Burmese–Siamese War (1765–1767) left Ayutthaya burned and sacked by King Hsinbyushin Konbaung.The Thai economy is the world's 20th largest by GDP at PPP and the 27th largest by nominal GDP.It became a newly industrialised country and a major exporter in the 1990s.According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "A quarter to a third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries." This has been ascribed to the long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who exploited the rivalry and tension between the French and British Empire.In 1896, Britain and France guaranteed of the Chao Phraya valley as their buffer state (not the whole of Siam), while the remaining parts of Southeast Asia were colonized by the western powers.
Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, Thailand was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the Kingdom of Funan around the 1st century CE to the Khmer Empire.