Thailand has a wide variety of fauna and flora and boasts wide ethnic diversity as well. Thanks to its abundant resources and fertile land, it has attracted peoples of many lands, who have settled and thrived here.

The origin of the Thais is not agreed on among academics. Three decades ago it could be said with presumed certainty that the Thais originated in northwestern Szechuan in China about 4,500 years ago and later migrated south to their present homeland. However, this theory has been altered by the discovery of remarkable prehistoric artifacts in the village of Ban Chiang in the Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in the Northeast of Thailand. These include evidence of bronze metallurgy dating back 3,500 years, as well as other indications of a culture far more sophisticated than previously believed by archaeologists. It now appears that Thais might have originated here in Thailand and later scattered to various parts of Asia, including some parts of China.

"Siam" is the name by which the country was known to the world until 1939 and again between 1945 and 1949. On May 11, 1949, an official proclamation declared that the country would henceforth be known as "Thailand." The word "Thai" means "Free," and therefore "Thailand" means "Land of the Free."

Source: Thailand into the 2000s
The population of Thailand was 65.44 million in 2010 (2010 census).
Approximately 20 percent are under the age of 15.
This core population includes the central Thai (36% of the population), Thai-Lao (32%), northern Thai (8%), and southern Thai (8%).

Age Structure

0-14 years: 19.9% (male 6,779,723/female 6,466,625)
15-64 years: 70.9% (male 23,410,091/female 23,913,499)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 2,778,012/female 3,372,203) (2011 est.)
Life Expectancy at Birth
Total population: 73.6 years
male: 71.24 years
female: 76.08 years (2011 est.)
Capital: Bangkok
Main urban areas by population: Bangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Samutprakan (2010 census)
Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Languages spoken: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
Climate: Tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Sources: The National Statistical Office of Thailand, CIA World Factbook