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The ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai, a name meaning dawn of happiness, was founded in the 13th century and became the kingdom's first capital — existing between the years of 1238 and 1438. During that time, the Sukhothai Dynasty saw nine kings reign, the best known of whom was the third, King Ramkhamhaeng, who has been credited with both the creation of the modern-day Thai alphabet and the introduction of Theravada Buddhism to Thailand.
At its apex, the Sukhothai Kingdom stretched over much of modern-day Thailand (excepting the northeast, much of which remained under the control of the Khmers). The territory was gained both by military campaigns as well as diplomacy, the latter of which King Ramkhamhaeng was seen to be a master of. This period is seen as a Thai golden age where the Thai arts and culture prospered under the reign of a series of benevolent rulers. Trade flourished, and, in a step that had important ramifications in Thailand's ... Read our complete Sukhothai travel guide