Thailand
Aaliyah Newman

Changing Names

Thailand, over the centuries, has had several names. For hundreds of years it was known by the names of its dominant cities, such as Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, and Thonburi. Since the 1800s, it has repeatedly switched back and forth between the names; Siam (Sanskrit meaning dark or brown) and Thailand.

The reason why Siam was changed to Thailand on June 23, 1939, was because the government claimed that it was of higher quality to call their country the name of the majority ethnic group (Thai), in turn, distancing the country from its past and it better represents the history and diversity of the country. It has switched several times after that.

Flag Meaning

In Thailand, the national flag is raised every morning at 8:00 am. and lowered every evening at 6:00 pm. It was inaugurate in 1917 by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI). Its two horizontal red stripes represent the land and its people. The white horizontal stripes symbolize the purity of Buddhism, the nation’s main religion. The wide blue band across the center stands for the monarchy. Before 1917, the flag had a picture of a white elephant against a red background.

The design of Thailand's flag was adopted on 28 September 1917 according the royal decree about the flag in that year issued by Rama VI.

Oh my! Insulting the king?

Both the Hollywood movie and Broadway play of “The King and I” are banned in Thailand. Based on the Siamese ruler King Mongkut and a teacher named Anna Leonowens, the movie is seen as insulting to the king. While the movie portrays him as uncultured, he is believed to be the first Asian ruler to speak, read, and write English fluently. He also is considered highly intelligent, cultured, and well read. Further, he is known as the father of Thai scientists.

The King and I, is a musical, the fifth by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon.