อารยธรรมข้าวไทย

อารยธรรมข้าวไทย
  Rice has long been a fixture in the Thai society and Thai people. It has been talked about in several folk tales and many artefacts of archaeological evidence.
ข้าวไทยยุคก่อนประวัติศาสตร์
Pre-history
5,000 years ago
  Agricultural societies began in the land now called Thailand some 5,000 years ago. The archaeological evidence shows that ancient Thai people grew glutinous rice. The artefact of ancient rice chaff found as a mixture of ancient clay pot at Noan Noktha, tambon Ban Khok, Phu Wiang district of Khon Kaen is widely known that it is the oldest evidence of the existence of rice in our society.
  The rice chaffs found in Pung Hung cave in Mae Hong Son province shows the identical cracks as found in ancient milling process.
  The world’s archaeological site at Ban Chiang, rice chaffs that were a part of ancient pottery of Ban Chiang, Udon Thani, indicate that rice had always been a part of the ancient life.
3,000 years ago
  The 3,000-year-old cliff paintings discovered at Pha Taem, Ubon Ratchathani, depicts a rice field with men and buffaloes.
1,500 years ago
  Some 1,500 years ago in Suvarnabhumi, Brahmins, Buddhist monks and traders from the Indian subcontinent travelled to this part of the world, taking along with them long slender grains which, once planted here, grew well and flourished. Unlike the rice grown in India, locally grown rice turned out very tasteful and became popular among the elite, who called it Khao Jao, which meant the rice royalty ate.
Sukhothai Period (1237-1438 AD)
  The people of Sukhothai developed water management step by step. They built dams or large reservoirs called saritphong, making it possible to divert water all around the kingdom, as an ingenious irrigation system.
แหล่งปลูกข้าวขนาดใหญ่ของเมืองสุโขทัย
  Sukhothai Kingdom’s rice planting area was the plain at the town centre called “Ban Na”. The Ban Na covered the areas of Mueang district and Si Samrong district.
  The fertility and prosperity enticed outsiders to come and trade in Sukhothai, which is still famous for its chinaware. Those ceramics have unique patterns in the shapes of ears of paddy, fish, flowers, and cattle designs.They reflected the way of life of city folks which was tied closely to the rice and fish culture. It was more encompassing than mere food and in fact defined their identity. Those patterns appearing on Sukhothai chinaware provide outsiders with a clear perception of what Sukhothai was all about.
Ayudhya Period (1350-1767 AD)
The Cradle of Nourishment
  French diplomat Simon de la Loubère reported the existence of what he called “miracle rice”, a variety which had no fear of water; the more water there was, the longer its stalks grew. He noted that it might be this variety of rice which had the people settle on land flooded up to six months a year; they didn’t starve; on the contrary, they enjoyed plenty of food, so that the community had prospered and expanded into the mighty Kingdom of Ayutthaya as he saw it.
Paddy Fields as Marks of Nobility
  Paddy land in Ayutthaya was very important. Besides being a source of food bringing well-being to the kingdom, it was also instrumental in organising the social system known as feudalism.Feudalism was a social order using landholding rights as a way to divide society into castes of various status or prestige, the acreage bestowed depending on the social position. At the top, royalty owned up to 1,500 to 10,000 rai [1 rai = 1,600 m2]; noblemen and administration officials had between 400 and 10,000 rai; commoners made do with 10 to 25 rai; and slaves could own at most 5 rai. As for the king, he was the Lord of the Land and his rule extended over the entire territory.In the Ayutthaya period, nobles and officials at the service of the king had no monthly salary in currency. The king provided them with goods, money and valuables and paddy fields as pensions or rewards. The larger the paddy field, the more accrued prestige. So the rice fields of Ayutthaya were not just pieces of land for rice cultivation, they were reflections of the prestige of their owners.
Four Pillars of the Realm
  Rice in the Ayutthaya period was most important. It was considered one form of security for the kingdom, so much so that a ministry was set up for its procurement, with a nobleman at its head, as one of four ministries administering the realm, namely City, Palace, Treasury and Land. During King Narai’s reign, trade flourished as many nations entered Ayutthaya to trade and reside there. The king provided them with land for housing and for cultivation, as well as with workers, cattle and rice seedlings so that foreigners could grow rice and thus contribute to the prosperity of Siam.
Ratanakosin Period (1782-now)
  No matter how times changed, Thailand’s farmland remained layered with golden rice as before. Thai people still planted rice essentially, even though the economy of Rattanakosin was not as bright as Ayutthaya had been, because the city was under construction. Foreign trade remained, especially the junk trade with China and Southeast Asian ports, and rice was still a main staple ensuring security, a product generating revenue for the country as always.
Thailand’s Turning Point: A New Era of Free Trade
  The era of free trade began with the Bowring Treaty of 1855 signed with Britain during the reign of King Mongkut, whereby Thai and foreign merchants could trade freely, and a Thai commodity that foreigners kept purchasing as ever was rice.
  This treaty was the key that opened the door to Thailand to the global marketplace. It prompted nations from all over the world to flock to Thailand to trade. As a result, the economy expanded rapidly. The agricultural sector in particular changed dramatically, as Western nations had such a great demand for Thai rice that soon the rice grown in the country was no longer sufficient for export. Land reclamation had to be carried out to expand rice cultivation. Large canals were dug across the capital and its suburbs.
1858 AD
  The first rice miller in Thailand emerged in Bangkok. Not long after, rice millers mushroomed to cater to increasing rice trade and exports.
At present
  Thailand is ranked number one rice exporting country for almost 30 years. Thai rice is now renowned all over the world thanks to its high quality Thai Hom Mali rice.