Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only country in southern Asia that was never under colonial rule. It dates its history as a national kingdom to 1238. The constitutional monarchy was established in 1932. During World War II, Thailand was loosely allied with Japan. The latter half of the 20th century was marked by a number of military coups. In 1995, a new democratic government was elected. Thailand is a Buddhist country. The king is the protector of Thai Buddhism and a symbol of national identity and unity. The population is majority Thai, with smaller groups of Lao, Chinese, tribal people, and Malays, who are Muslim. Tensions with some Islamic groups in the south erupted in 2004 and 2005. Thailand has built a modern and performing economy, based on the production and export of rice, rubber, jewelry, textile, electronic and other manufactured goods, and tourism. In the rural areas subsistence farming is still the main source of livelihood. Thailand was one of the countries hit by the tsunami of December 2004. Catholic missionaries began working in Siam in the 17th and Protestants in the 19th century. Many other churches and groups came after World War II. In spite of these efforts, Christians remain a tiny minority. The Church of Christ in Thailand and the Karen Baptist Convention are the largest Protestant churches. The Church of Christ and the Catholic Church have a joint committee. The Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand regroups a large number of Pentecostal and other churches and groups, and is affiliated with the WEA.