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Missionary Spotlight – Fact File

March 2003

Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam)

 

 

Area

:

198,115 square miles.

 

Neighbours

:

Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.

 

Environment

:

Thailand has a moist, tropical climate. Mountain ranges run from north to south, while the barren Khorat Plateau lies to the east, bordered by the Mekong River.There is a central alluvial plain of rich agricultural land, which is densely populated.

 

Population

:

62.3 million.

 

Life expectancy

:

69 years. AIDS is increasing rapidly due to an extensive ‘sex industry’.

 

Capital and seaport

:

Bangkok (10 million).

 

Other cities

:

Chiengmei (1 million); Khorat (235,000).

 

Urbanisation

:

34%.Literacy:94%.

 

Ethnic groups

:

Thai (80%); Chinese (10%); Malay (4%); others, including indigenous tribal, Cambodian (Khmer) and Vietnamese (6%).

 

Languages

:

Thai (official); English (education and government); Malay; Chinese; many ethnic.

 

Natural resources

:

Thailand is rich in natural resources, including tin, tungsten, coal, gold, lead, manganese, zinc, precious stones, rubber, natural gas, timber and fish. It has abundant arable land and a wide diversity of plants and animals. Its forests have ebony, rosewood, teak, oak, mangrove, banana, mango and coconut trees.

 

Economy

:

Thailand had the world’s fastest growing economy during the 1980s, but crashed in the 1990s along with other ‘tiger’ economies. Exports include electronic goods, fish, clothing, sugar and rice. Thailand is plagued by corruption, prostitution, AIDS, alcohol abuse, and drug trafficking (it is part of the ‘Golden Triangle’).

 

Religion

:

Buddhist (92%); Muslim (5%); Protestant (0.5%); others, including Roman Catholic, Hindu, cultic and animist (2.5%).

 

Protestant denominations

:

Many profess to be Evangelical. As well as unaffiliated mission churches in the mountains, there are nearly 2,000 churches, most of which belong to three large denominations — the Church of Christ in Thailand (Presbyterian), the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand, and the Thailand Baptist Churches Association.

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Thailand