Thailand Military History :
Military has always played a central role in the development of Thailand. According to several historians, Thai military has a history that dates back to the same period when the Kingdom of Thailand gained independence from the Khmer empire. Since then, military generals have ruled Thailand. During the early times, Thai military did not have a permanent establishment. It was mainly composed of peasants and local people who used to follow the King into war. The permanent members of the military never had any privileges or authorities.
A properly structured Thai military came into existence during the 15th and 16th centuries. Following their wars against the Khmers and the Burmese, King Trailok and King Ramathibodi II took initiatives in reorganizing the Thai military. They increased the military capabilities by introducing concepts of compulsory military service, introduction of firearms, armors, stone fortifications and cannons and a definite administrative pattern. During the 17th century, King Naresuan greatly contributed to the development of emerging Thai military with the introduction of novel warfare methods.
King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn can be considered as the pioneers of modern Thai military. With the assistance of foreign advisors and western methods, these rulers established several military and naval cadet schools. The formation of Ministry of Defense in 1894 with the army and the navy under its command can be considered as a significant milestone in the history of Thai military. Thai Air Force was established on November 8, 1931.
Thai military has always been under the control of the royal family. All the rulers have concentrated on development of a structured, full-fledged, professional, advanced and modern Thai military.