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By outsiders, prior to 1949 it was usually known by the exonym Siam (Thai: The word Siam may have originated from Pali (suvaṇṇabhūmi, 'land of gold') or Sanskrit श्याम (śyāma, 'dark') or Mon ရာမည(rhmañña, 'stranger').
The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word.
According to French historian George Cœdès, "The Thai first enter history of Farther India in the eleventh century with the mention of Syam slaves or prisoners of war in Champa epigraphy, and "in the twelfth century, the bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat" where "a group of warriors" are described as Syam.The Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." The signature of King Mongkut (r.1851–1868) reads SPPM (Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha) Mongkut Rex Siamensium (Mongkut King of the Siamese), giving the name Siam official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to "Thailand".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. Although nominally the country is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup, in 2014, established a de facto military dictatorship under a junta.
In 2013, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by a military junta.