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Current environmental issues include air pollution from vehicle emissions, water pollution from organic and factory wastes, deforestation, and soil erosion.Wildlife populations are threatened by illegal hunting. The Buddhist Sukhothai kingdom, established by Pho Khun Si Indrathit in 1238, is considered the first Siamese/Thai state.The "heartland," Central Thailand, is a natural self-contained basin often termed "the rice bowl of Asia." The complex irrigation system developed for wet-rice agriculture sustained the development of the Thai state from the thirteenth century, the Sukhothai kingdom, to contemporary Bangkok.The south consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula.By 2007, over 700,000 Thais were living with the sexually transmitted diseases HIV or AIDS, approximately two percent of adult men and 1.5 percent of adult women.Thailand was a representative democratic constitutional monarchy until the coup on September 19, 2006.During the winter months in the north, the temperature is cool enough to cultivate lychees and strawberries.Steep river valleys cut into these high mountains and upland areas bordering the central plain.
The first ruler of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, King Ramathibodi I, who took the throne in 1351 , established Theravada Buddhism as the official religion and compiled the Dharmashastra, a legal code based on Hindu sources and traditional Thai custom.The larger Siamese kingdom of Ayutthaya, established in the mid-fourteenth century, overshadowed Sukhothai's power.In 1431, the armies of Ayutthaya sacked Angkor, the site of a series of capital cities of the Khmer empire.The northeast consists of the dry Khorat Plateau, bordered on the east by the Mekong river.The soils are poor, and the short monsoon season brings heavy flooding in the river valleys. The center of the country features the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand.