History: An ancient autocracy, it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932. In 1948, the country assumed its present name Thailand. It is the only southeast Asian country never taken over by a European power. The military took over the government in a bloody 1974 coup. In 1988, there was a democratic election but again military came to power in 1991. General elections were held in July, ’95.
Thailand was well on its way to joining the club of Asia’s ‘economic tiger’s, when crisis deepened early ’98 and the country appealed for help from G-7, and began implementing financial reforms.
On June 9, 1996 King Bhumibol, currently world’s longest reigning monarch, completed 50 years on the throne.
In 2000, the Chakri dynasty marked the 200th anniversary.
Economy: Agriculture is the mainstay of the country and engages 60 per cent of the population. The chief crop is rice and Thailand is world’s biggest rice exporter – target for 1996 was 5 m. tons. Coconuts, tobacco, cotton and teak are the other items of agricultural exports. During the last decade Thailand increased her export of manufactured and processed items. Industry: cement, processed food, textiles, wood, tin, jewelry. Minerals include tin (one of the largest producers), manganese, tungsten, antimony, lignite and lead. Since 1982 tourism has been Thailand’s largest revenue earner.
Recent Events: On Dec. 26, 2004,a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, caused a powerful tsunami in the Indian ocean that devastated 12 Asian countries. Thailand reported about 5,000 deaths. UN World Tourism Organisation opened emergency session at Phuket Thailand. PM Thaksin Shinwatra claimed a historic re-election victory.
History: The Republic of Togo, formerly Togo-land, lies on the west coast of Africa forming a narrow strip stretching from the Gulf of Guinea north to Burkina Faso. Gained independence on Apr. 27, 1960. The first multi-party elections were held in 1994. In ’98, president Edema was re-elected.
Economy: The Principal products are coffee, cocoa, cotton, palm kernels, kapok and groundnuts. Tago’s considerable natural resources are still largely undeveloped. Phosphates, now being mined in increasing quantities, form the country’s principal export. Industry: Textiles, shoes, handicrafts, agricultural processing.
The 36th summit of Organisation of African Unity was held in Lome in July, 2000.
Recent Events: Fawre Gnassingbe, son of Togo’s Gnassingbe Eyadema, was declared the country’s legitimate leader after elections in April, 2005.