The Malay-speaking Muslims live near to the border with Malaysia. There are communities of Korean- and Urdu-speaking peoples in Bangkok, and there is a small population of Mon in central Thailand.Various peoples, commonly designated as hill tribes, inhabit the northern mountain areas.Most of the Chinese in the country speak dialects of Min Nan Chinese.There are twenty-four Mon-Khmer-speaking groups, whose languages can be subdivided into four groups: Monic, Aslian, Eastern Mon-Khmer, and Northern Mon-Khmer.As part of a trend toward devolution of authority, the democratic governments of the 1990s adopted more liberal policies with regard to ethnic minorities.However, members of ethnic minorities continue to face many problems in regard to political rights and economic security. The Kingdom of Thailand has an area of 198,114 square miles (513,115 square kilometers).Other major ethnic groups include Chinese (about 12 percent of the population), Malay-speaking Muslims (about 3 percent), and Khmer (about 2 percent).
The Thai (also known as the Central Tai) live mainly in the central region, with closely related groups of Tai-speaking peoples occupying most of the remainder of the nation.
Smaller ethnic groups are scattered throughout the country, especially in the north and the northeast.
Bangkok has been the capital since the late eighteenth century, when it replaced the earlier capital of Ayutthaya, which was sacked by Burmese invaders in 1767.
Seven Austronesian languages are spoken, all of which belong to the Malayic Malayo-Polynesian group.
The main Austronesian language is Pattani Malay, which is spoken by about 2.5 million people in the southern region.
Three Hmong-Mien languages are spoken in the north.