Daily Almanac for Wednesday, May 11, 2022

On this date in 1949, Siam changed its name to Thailand. This is the Flag for Thailand


Thailand[a] (/ˈtaɪlænd, ˈtaɪlənd/ TY-land, TY-lənd), historically known as Siam (/saɪˈæm, ˈsaɪæm/) and officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia spanning 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi), with a population of almost 70 million. It 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 Myanmar. Thailand also shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the southeast, and Indonesia and India to the southwest. Thailand has experienced multiple coups and military dictatorships. Since 2019, Thailand has been nominally a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. In practice, however, structural advantages in the constitution have ensured the military’s hold on power. Bangkok is the nation’s capital and largest city.

Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Indianised kingdoms such as the MonKhmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as the Kingdoms of NgoenyangSukhothaiLan Na and Ayutthaya, which also rivalled each other. 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, gradually declining thereafter until being ultimately destroyed in the Burmese–Siamese WarTaksin quickly reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom. He was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, 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 colonization by foreign powers, although it was often forced to cede both territory, trade and legal concessions in unequal treaties. The Siamese system of government was centralised and transformed into a modern unitary absolute monarchy in the reign of Chulalongkorn. In World War I, Siam sided with the Allies, a political decision made in order to amend the unequal treaties. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, it became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to Thailand, which was an ally 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 an anti-communist role in the region as a member of the failed SEATO, but since 1975, had sought to improve relations with Communist China and Thailand’s neighbors.

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 series of bitter political conflict between supporters and opponents of Thaksin Shinawatra, which culminated in two coups (in 2006 and 2014), along with the establishment of its current constitution, a nominally democratic government after the 2019 Thai general election and ongoing pro-democracy protests that began in 2020.

Thailand is a middle power in global affairs and a founding member of ASEAN, and ranks high in the Human Development Index. It has the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia and the 22nd-largest in the world by PPP. Thailand is classified as a newly industrialised economy, with manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism as leading sectors.


Three Chilly Saints

May 11, 12, and 13 are the feast days of Saints Mamertus, Pancras, and Gervais. These three are known as the Three Chilly Saints not because they were cold during their lifetimes, but because these days are traditionally the coldest of the month. English and French folklore (and later American) held that these days would bring a late frost. In Germany, they were called the Icemanner, or Icemen Days, and people believed it was never safe to plant until the Icemen were gone. Another bit of folklore claimed, “Who shears his sheep before St. Gervatius’s Day loves more his wool than his sheep.”

Question of the Day

I heard on a radio program that you can keep your drainpipes open with a combination of baking soda and another ingredient that’s a common household product. What is it, and what are the amounts you use?It’s vinegar. Pour a cup of baking soda into your clogged drain, then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.

Advice of the Day

For long-lasting blooms, pick flowers in the late afternoon, when the leaves and stems contain the most sugar.

Home Hint of the Day

To remove white marks from wooden furniture, rub on a little toothpaste (not the gel type) with your finger.

Word of the Day

CivviesCivilian garb as opposed to a military uniform.

Puzzle of the Day

What sound do porcupines make when they hug?Ouch!


  • Chang and Eng Bunker (original Siamese” twins”) – 1811
  • Irving Berlin (composer) – 1888
  • Margaret Rutherford (actress) – 1892
  • Martha Graham (dancer) – 1894
  • Salvador Dali (artist) – 1904
  • Richard Feynman (physicist) – 1918
  • Sheila Burnford (author of The Incredible Journey) – 1918
  • Bernard Fox (actor) – 1927
  • Doug McClure (actor) – 1935
  • Boyd Gaines (actor) – 1953
  • Natasha Richardson (actress) – 1963
  • Jonathan Jackson (actor) – 1982
  • Cory Monteith (actor) – 1982
  • Matt Leinart (football player) – 1983


  • Sir John Herschel (astronomer) – 1871
  • Lex Barker (actor) – 1973
  • Lester Flatt (musician) – 1979
  • Bob Marley (Reggae musician, founding member of The Wailers) – 1981
  • Douglas Adams (science fiction author) – 2001
  • Joseph Bonanno (gangster) – 2002
  • Doris Eaton Travis (last of the Ziegfeld Follies chorus girls) – 2010
  • Norman Lloyd (actor; died at 106 years old) – 2021


  • First known dated printed book, Wang Jie’s copy of the Diamond Sutra published– 0868
  • Prime Minister Spencer Perceval assassinated by John Bellingham in the lobby of the British House of Commons– 1812
  • A new dance called The Waltz arrived in English ballrooms– 1812
  • President James Monroe rode on The Savannah to inspect the harbor defenses of Savannah, Georgia, making him the first U.S. president to ride on a steamboat– 1819
  • Minnesota admitted as the 32nd state– 1858
  • Pullman strike ended in defeat for organized labor– 1894
  • Glacier National Park in Montana established– 1910
  • A 20-ton meteor fell to the ground near Blackstone, Virginia– 1922
  • Siam changed its name to Thailand– 1949
  • Linda McCartney became the first woman photographer to shoot a Rolling Stone cover– 1968
  • The first heart-lung transplant took place in Baltimore, Maryland– 1987
  • After taking off from Miami, FL, a fire started by improperly-handled oxygen canisters in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Flight 592, and caused the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades killing all 110 on board– 1996


  • A tornado hit Newark, New Jersey– 1865
  • A strong 2-day dust storm removed massive amounts of topsoil from the Great Plains in one of the worst dust storms of the Dust Bowl– 1934
  • The Waco Tornado (registering at F5) hit downtown Waco, Texas– 1953
  • Spring snowstorm hit western part of South Dakota. In some areas the snow was accompanied by thunder, lightning, sleet, and hail– 1983

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