General information: The united Thai kingdom was formed in the middle of the 14th century; until 1939 it was known as Siam. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been under European rule. The bloodless revolution of 1932 ended with the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan in World War II, in subsequent conflicts, Thailand acted as an ally of the United States.
Location: Southeast Asia, coast of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand southeast of Myanmar.
Geographical coordinates: 15° 00′ N. latitude, 100° 00′ E
Reference map: Southeast Asia.
Area: total: 514,000 km2 land surface area: 511,770 km2; water surface area: 2,230 km2
Comparative area: slightly more than double the area of Wyoming.
Land borders: total: 4,863 km; with neighboring states: with Myanmar 1,800 km, with Cambodia 803 km, with Laos 1,754 km, with Malaysia 506 km.
Coastline: 3,219 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: up to 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical rainy warm cloudy; rainy warm cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-March to September); dry cold northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); the southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
Terrain: central plain; the Korat plateau in the east; somewhere mountains.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m; highest point: Mt. Doi Inthanon 2,576 m.
Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 34%; cultivated land: 6%; pastures: 2%; forests and plantations: 26%; others: 32% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 44,000 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: subsidence in Bangkok due to depleted groundwater; drought.
Actual problems of the environment: air pollution by industrial enterprises; water pollution by organic and industrial waste; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife is threatened by poaching.
International agreements on environmental protection: contributor: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Waste, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Biodiversity, Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea.
Geography Note: Controls the only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore.
Population: 61,797,751; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 23.43% (male 7,380,273; female 7,099,506); 15 to 64 years old: 69.95% (male 21,304,051; female 21,921,383); over 65: 6.62% (male 1,796,325; female 2,296,213) (2001 est.)
Population growth: 0.91% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 16.63 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 7.54 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.97 male/female; over 65: 0.78 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 30.49 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 68.86 years; men: 65.64 years; women: 72.24 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.87 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 2.15% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 755,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 66,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Thai; adjective: Thai.
Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%.
Believers: Buddhist 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christian 0.5%, Hindu 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991).
Language(s): Thai, English (second language of the elite), ethnic and local dialects.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 93.8%; men: 96%; women: 91.6% (1995 est.).
Common long form: Kingdom of Thailand;
conventional short form: Thailand.
State structure: constitutional monarchy. See politicsezine.com to know more about Thailand Political System.
Administrative division: 76 provinces (changwat): Amnatcharen, Angthong, Buriram, Ka-lasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kankhanaburi, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Khonburi, Khonken, Khumpon, Lampang, Lamphum, Lei, Lopburi, Mahasarakham, Maekhongson, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhonsawam, Nakhon Si Tham Marat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nongbualamphu, Nongk-hai, Nonthaburi, Pattani, Pathumthani, Prachin-buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phayao, Phangnga, Phat-thalung, Phetchabuki, Phetchabuki,, Phichit, Phranakhonsiyauthya, Phre, Phuket, Rai-ong, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Royet, Sakaeo, Sakon-nkhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samutsongk temple, Saraburi, Satun, Singburi, Sisaket, Son-gkhla, Sukhothai, Suphanburi, Suratthani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udont-hani, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chachoengsao, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai,Yala, Yasothon.
Independence: since 1238 (traditionally observed date; the country was never a colony).
National holiday: King’s birthday, 5 December (1927).
Constitution: New constitution signed by King BHOOMIPON on October 11, 1997
Legal system: Based on civil law system with common law influence; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal and mandatory.
chief of state: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946)
head of government: Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat (since January 2001);
government: Council of Ministers; note: there is also a Privy Council; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the Prime Minister is elected from among the members of the House of Representatives; after the election of the House of Representatives, the prime minister is usually the leader of the party that was able to form a majority coalition.
Legislature: the bicameral National Assembly (Rathasapha) consists of the Senate (Wuthisapha) (200 members elected by popular vote for a four-year term) and the House of Representatives (Sapha Phuthaen Ratsa-don) (500 members elected by popular vote for a four-year term); elections: Senate – last held 4 March, 29 April, 4 June, 9 and 22 July (next to be held March 2004); House of Representatives – last held 6 January 2001 (next to be held January 2005); election results: Senate – distribution of votes between parties – no data; distribution of seats among parties – no data; House of Representatives – distribution of votes between parties – no data; distribution of seats among parties – TRT 248, DP 128, TNP 41, NAP 36, NDP 29, others 18.
Judiciary: Supreme Court (Sandika), judges are appointed by the monarch.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party (DP, Prachathipat Party) (CHUAN Lik-phai); Liberal Democratic Party (LDP, Seri Tham) (PHINIT Charu-sombat); Mass Party (MP) (CHALERM Yoobamrung, SOPHON Petchsavang [CHALERM Yoobamrung, SOPHON Petchsavang]); National Development Party (NDP, Chat Phattana) (KORN Dabbaransi [KORN Dabbaransi]); New Hope Party (NAP, Khwamwang Mai) (CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut [Gen. CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut]); Phalang Dharma Party (PDP, Phalang Tham) (CHAIWAT Sinsuwong); Social Action Party (SAP, Kitsangkhom Party) (leader position vacant); Solidarity Party (SP, Ekkaphap Party) (CHAIYOT Sasomsap); Thai Civic Party (TCP, Prachakon Thai) (SAMAK Sunthonwet [SAMAK Sunthonwet]); Thai Nation Party (TNP, Chat Thai Party) (BANHAN Sinlapa-acha [BANHAN Sinlapa-acha]);
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ARES, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, BIS, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador TEJ Bunnag; office: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone:  (202) 944-3600; fax: [C (202) 944-3611; consulates general: Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Richard HECKLINGER; embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok; postal address: ARO AR 96546; phone:  (2) 205-4000; fax: [6&] (2) 254-1171; consulates general: Chiang Mai.
Description of the flag: five horizontal stripes of red (top), white, blue (double width), white and red.