The only country in Southeast Asia to never have been colonized, Thailand was known for centuries as Siam until 1939 and again between 1945 and 1949. On May 11, 1949, an official proclamation changed the name of the country to ‘Thailand’ or ‘Prathet Thai’ (in Thai language), by which it has since been known. The word ‘Thai’ means ‘Free’, and therefore ‘Thailand’ means ‘Land of the Free’.