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By outsiders prior to 1949, it was usually known by the exonym Siam (Thai: with the Sanskrit Śyāma (श्याम, meaning "dark" or "brown").
The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word.
The Thai National Anthem (Thai: ), written by Luang Saranupraphan during the extremely patriotic 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as: prathet Thai (Thai: ประเทศไทย).
The first line of the national anthem is: prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai (Thai: There is evidence of human habitation in Thailand that has been dated at 40,000 years before the present, with stone artifacts dated to this period at Tham Lod Rockshelter in Mae Hong Son.
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.
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.
In 1287, three Thai chiefs, Mangrai, Ngam Muang, and Ram Khamhaeng formed a "strong pact of friendship".
After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various states thrived there, established by the various Tai peoples, Mons, Khmers, Chams and Ethnic Malays, as seen through the numerous archaeological sites and artefacts that are scattered throughout the Siamese landscape.
Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist Sukhothai Kingdom, which was founded in 1238.
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.