The tambon as a subdivision has a long history. It was the second-level subdivision of the area administered by a provincial town in the 19th century. The governor of the province was supposed to appoint a commune elder, kamnan or phan. (The latter also means 1000, and refers to the supposition that a tambon would have about 1000 abled-bodied men. It is also both an obsolete feudal title and current Thai military rank that may be used instead of Nai for a tambon administrator.)
In the administrative reforms started in 1892 under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the first Thai minister of Interior, the three levels of subdivision of provinces were continued, i.e. starting from district to tambon to the lowest level called muban.
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