Protests and coups: Is Thailand still the 'land of smiles?' Take our quiz.

Sakchai Lalit/AP
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Thailand’s beaches, temples, and nightlife attract millions of foreign tourists. Few stay long enough to learn the language or engage with the country’s complex political history and spicy popular culture. Are you the exception?

By , Staff Writer

1. Prior to 1939, Thailand was known by what name?

In 1939, dictator Field Marshal Pibul Songkram, influenced by European nationalism and fascism, dropped the name Siam in favor of Thailand. Thais are the largest ethnic group; Thai also means free, so the name can be translated as land of the free. Lanna is the name of a kingdom in what is now northern Thailand. Isaan refers to the northeast of Thailand, which was formerly under the control of a Lao kingdom. Angkor is a name given to the kingdom that ruled ancient Cambodia and built Angkor Wat, a temple complex in present-day Cambodia.

In 1939, dictator Field Marshal Pibul Songkram, influenced by European nationalism and fascism, dropped the name Siam in favor of Thailand. Thais are the largest ethnic group; Thai also means free, so the name can be translated as land of the free. Lanna is the name of a kingdom in what is now northern Thailand. Isaan refers to the northeast of Thailand, which was formerly under the control of a Lao kingdom. Angkor is a name given to the kingdom that ruled ancient Cambodia and built Angkor Wat, a temple complex in present-day Cambodia.

In 1939, dictator Field Marshal Pibul Songkram, influenced by European nationalism and fascism, dropped the name Siam in favor of Thailand. Thais are the largest ethnic group; Thai also means free, so the name can be translated as land of the free. Lanna is the name of a kingdom in what is now northern Thailand. Isaan refers to the northeast of Thailand, which was formerly under the control of a Lao kingdom. Angkor is a name given to the kingdom that ruled ancient Cambodia and built Angkor Wat, a temple complex in present-day Cambodia.

In 1939, dictator Field Marshal Pibul Songkram, influenced by European nationalism and fascism, dropped the name Siam in favor of Thailand. Thais are the largest ethnic group; Thai also means free, so the name can be translated as land of the free. Lanna is the name of a kingdom in what is now northern Thailand. Isaan refers to the northeast of Thailand, which was formerly under the control of a Lao kingdom. Angkor is a name given to the kingdom that ruled ancient Cambodia and built Angkor Wat, a temple complex in present-day Cambodia.

Rich Clabaugh/The Christian Science Monitor

Lanna

 

Isaan

 

Siam

 

Angkor

 
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