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The Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." (Baker and Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand, 8) A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves 'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. 1851–1868) reads SPPM (Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha) Mongkut King of the Siamese, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand.Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948, after which it again reverted to Thailand.

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.

Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–15th century, the Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna, and Lan Xang (now Laos) were on the rise.

However, a century later, the power of Sukhothai was overshadowed by the new Kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-14th century in the lower Chao Phraya River or Menam area.

By outsiders prior to 1949, it was usually known by the exonym Siam (Thai: with the Sanskrit Śyāma (श्याम, meaning "dark" or "brown").

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