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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring interesting facts that you must know about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 21: Ram Khamhaeng the Great
Pho Khun Ram Khamhaeng or in Thai พ่อขุนรามคำแหง was born sometime between 1237 and 1247. He ruled what is today known as modern Thailand between the years of 1279 and 1298, the kingdom's most prosperous period.
Khamhaeng became king after his brother died, but had been active in the country's affairs throughout his whole life. At just nineteen years old, he helped establish what is today the nation of Thailand, gaining independence from the Khmer Empire which covered much of the area where Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Vietnam are today. During this war, he earned the nickname Ram the Bold or in Thai พระรามคำแหง
Khamhaeng is credited with many developments in Thai history, including the creation of the Thai alphabet, or อักษรไทย, and establishing Buddhism, or พระพุทธศาสนา , as the kingdom's religion. Historians are unsure about the accuracy of these credentials, however, as there is evidence that these details may have been falsely conjured up during the nineteenth century in an effort to establish the country’s legitimacy when colonists began encroaching.
One of the undisputed aspects of Khamhaeng’s rule, however, was his alliance with the Yuan Dynasty, or in Thai อาณาจักรญวน. This alliance allowed his people to learn how to make ceramics. He also fostered relationships with other nearby nations, solidifying international rapport.
Today, most of the information we know regarding Khamhaeng’s life comes from the King Ramkhamhaeng's stone inscription or ศิลาจารึก. However, the authenticity of this stone has been called into question, with some historians believing that it isn't authentic because some of the letters seem to have been influenced by European alphabets.
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