The History of Thailand
Sukhothai is generally considered the origin of the Thai civilization, termed by the people as "the dawn of happiness". The two hundred years that followed the founding of Sukhothai is considered the "golden age," where art and culture flourished in what was then known as the kingdom of Siam. The smiling Buddhas and the multi-layered temples of this period are symbolic of many developments in artistic expression. Trade and contact with other civilizations contributed to this growth of culture, with artisans arriving from China and Buddhist monks from Ceylon bringing their knowledge and ideas.
Perhaps the paternal rule of the kings of Sukhothai was responsible for the thriving culture. During their rule, food was plentiful, as typified by the saying of the period: "In the water, there are fish. In the fields there is rice," and people were content. On the few occasions that they weren't, king heard their grievances personally. Legend has it that King Ramkhamhaeng, the most renowned of the eight kings ruling this period, hung a bell by the palace gate, which citizens would ring in order to get the king's audience.