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Throughout her long history, Thailand has absorbed immigrants. Many were skilled as writers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, and architects. These immigrants helped to enrich Thailand's indigenous culture.

Minorities of Thailand include the Chinese, Thai Malays, and the Laotian. Anything between 9% - 15% of Thailand's population is thought to be Sino-Thai (depending on how Chinese is defined). In the early 19th and 20th Century, Chinese immigrants came and settled down here. They married Thai women, took Thai names, most of them adopted Buddhism (although they were not required to renounce their ancestor worship) and learnt Thai. As elsewhere in the region, these Chinese immigrants proved to be remarkably adept at money making and today control a disproportionate slice of businesses.

The Thai Malays are found mostly in the southern region. They speak Malay rather than Thai and the majority are Muslims instead of Buddhists. The Laotian of the northeastern region, though constituting nearly one-third of the nation's population, are the least visible. Known better as the "Isan", they are often regarded by the central Thais as being equivalent to "country bumpkins".

Today, the people of Thailand share a rich ethic diversity - mainly of Mon, Khmer, Tai, Chinese, Malay, Laotian, and Indian stock - with the result that there is no typically Thai physiognomy or physique. There are petite Thais, statuesque Thai, round faced Thais, dark-skinned Thais, and light-skinned Thais.

About 80% of all Thais are connected in some way with agriculture, which (in varying degrees) influences and is influenced by the religious ceremonies and festivals that help make Thailand such a distinctive country.

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