by Max Barry

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Introduction to Suriyanakhon

Suriyanese temple founded by the Mon-Khmer in 1687 BE

The Kingdom of Suriyanakhon (นครสุริยะ) is a federal city-state in Southeast Asia. The history of the region is dated back to the early Mon-Khmer kingdoms of 918 BE who were introduced to Hinduism by Indian traders and fought with the Khmer Empire for control of the rich farmland. Around 1643 BE, the migration of the Tai peoples overran the earlier polities and established multiple new kingdoms under the control of the Chao Pha who gradually converted to Theravada Buddhism under the influence of Mon missionaries and advisors.

The ruling dynasty of the country are the Suriya dynasty and the state religion has been Theravada for almost eight hundred years, although spirit worship and esoteric practices from earlier forms of Buddhism are also common.

Besides the Tai majority, the constitution recognizes five other ethnic categories which have settled in the region historically, with discrimination or hate speech against them illegal. Critics note that the kingdom is still a Tai-centric state, and that the census often groups wildly different cultures (e.g. Catholic Filipinos and Muslim Malaysians) in one bloc.