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Thailand's history reaches back 700 years to the Sukothai and Ayutthaya. Society, organized according to the law of Ayutthaya during early Bangkok period (Rattanakosin), was characterized by a caste system. Scholars normally term this the sakdina system, consisting of chao (royal family members), khunnang (high-ranking officials), and phrai (commoners subject to corvée labor either to their feudal lords, namely the chao, khunnang, or king). Sakdina classified and marked each social category by the amount of land people could hold. With an abundance of land and a small population, issues revolved over the control not of land but of people. A patron and client relationship existed between commoners and their feudal lords. The opportunities for individuals to move up the hierarchy were extremely limited.

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