Thailand Post (ไปรษณีย์ไทย, praisani thai), formerly part of the Communications Authority of Thailand until 2003, is a state enterprise that provides postal services in Thailand.
The Post and Telegraph Office was first established in 1883 by King Chulalongkorn (จุฬาลงกรณ์, Rama V). Its first post office was in a large building by the Chao Phraya River, on the north side of the Ong-Ang Canal. In 1898, by merging with the Telegraph Department, its name was changed to Department of Mail and Telegraph. The department was abolished in 1977 and the country’s mailing and telegraphing was assumed by the new government-owned company, Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT). In 2003, the government separated the communications authority into two companies, Thailand Post and CAT Telecom.
Prior to the operation of Thailand Post, there was limited mail service, mainly for the royal family. Traditionally, messages between the government in Bangkok and provincial outposts had been carried by “pony express” or by fast boat. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn (reigned 1868–1910), the Ministry of Interior maintained a schedule which specified that messages between Bangkok and Nong Khai took 12 days, between Bangkok and Ubon Ratchathani, 12 days, and between Bangkok and Luang Prabang, 17 days outbound and 13 days inbound. Domestic mail traveled by messengers while international mail traveled by steamboat to post offices in nearby countries, such as the Straits Settlements.
The earliest recorded mail from Bangkok dates back to 1836 when American missionary Dan Beach Bradley sent a letter to his father in a stampless cover. The British Consular Post Office in Bangkok was established by Great Britain in 1858 as a consequence of the Bowring Treaty signed between Great Britain and Siam (now Thailand) on 18 April 1855, in response to a demand by expatriate merchants and missionaries. It ceased to provide service on 1 July 1885, the day Siam joined the Universal Postal Union and started its own international postal service. During that time most of the mail from Bangkok was sent by diplomatic pouch to Singapore for forwarding. On 4 August 1883, the first stamp was issued in Siam.
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Kingdom of Thailand
ราชอาณาจักรไทย (Ratcha-anachak Thai)
The Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country in Southeast Asia. Located at the center of the Indochinese Peninsula, it is composed of 76 provinces, and covers an area of 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi), and a population of over 66 million people. Thailand is the world’s 50th-largest country by land area, and the 22nd-most-populous country in the world. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Nominally, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy; however, in recent history, its government has experienced multiple coups and periods of military dictatorships.
Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century; the oldest known mention of their presence in the region by the exonym Siamese dates to the 12th century. Various Indianized kingdoms such as the Mon kingdoms, Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as the Kingdoms of Ngoenyang, Sukhothai, Lan Na and Ayutthaya, which rivalled each other. Documented European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, which became a regional power by the end of the 15th century. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai’s reign (1656–1688), gradually declining thereafter until being ultimately destroyed in the 1767 Burmese–Siamese War. Taksin (r. 1767–1782) quickly reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom. He was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (r. 1782–1809), the first monarch of the current Chakri dynasty.
Throughout the era of Western imperialism in Asia, Siam remained the only nation in the region to avoid being colonized by foreign powers, although the Siamese government was often forced to cede both territory and trade concessions in unequal treaties. The Siamese system of government was centralized and transformed into modern unitary absolute monarchy in the reign of Chulalongkorn (reigned 1868–1910). Siam joined World War I siding with the allies, a political decision to amend the unequal treaties. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to “Thailand”. Thailand was a satellite of Japan in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup under Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat revived the monarchy’s historically influential role in politics. Thailand became a major ally of the United States, and played a key anti-communist role in the region as a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. Since the 2000s, Thailand has been caught in a bitter political conflict between supporters and opponents of Thaksin Shinawatra, which culminated in two coups, most recently in 2014 and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution and faces the ongoing 2020 Thai protests.
Thailand is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Despite comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia, and the 20th-largest in the world by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy; manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.
The flag of the Kingdom of Thailand (ธงไตรรงค์, thong trai rong, meaning ‘tricolor flag’) shows five horizontal stripes in the colours red, white, blue, white and red, with the central blue stripe being twice as wide as each of the other four. The design was adopted on 28 September 1917, according to the royal decree issued by Rama VI. Since 2016, that day is a national day of importance in Thailand celebrating the flag.
The colors are said to stand for nation-religion-king, an unofficial motto of Thailand, red for the land and people, white for religions and blue for the monarchy, the last having been the auspicious colour of Rama VI. As the king declared war on Germany that July, some note the flag now bore the same colors as those of the UK, France, Russia and the United States.
The National Emblem of Thailand depicts a dancing Garuda with outstretched wings. The Garuda is a legendary bird or bird-like creature in the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain faiths. He is variously the vehicle mount (vahana) of the Hindu god Vishnu, a dharma-protector and Astasena in Buddhism, and the Yaksha of the Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha. The Brahminy kite is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda.
The Garuda symbolizes the government and people of Thailand, as Lord Vishnu symbolizes the King of Thailand.