The Thai tribes
The Thai tribes in their early
days some two thousand years ago or more had their home
probably in the north-west, corner of China which is now
the province of Shen-si. The word Shen-si
in Chinese means "west" of the "Shen". The word "Shen"
so far as I know cannot be translated as it is only the
name of a province (one of my Chinese friends has told me
that it means a "mountain pass"). The Chinese tribes
had their old home her too. A few scholars, both European
and Thai, have ventured to draw the conclusion that the
word "Shan" which the Burmese have given to the Thai
tribes in Northern Burma and else where, and the word "Siam"
(now Thailand) are one and the same word. These two works
no doubt derived their origin from Shen of Shen-si.
I am inclined to agree with this view because of the fact
that the name of the Kingdom of Nan-Chao of the Thai
in Yunnan in an earlier period was called "Shan
San" by the Chinese. However, I will not go further
into this intricate and purely philological question, but
will continue my story.
In view of the above fact, there was no
doubt that the Thai mixed and blended freely, whether as
friends or as foes, with the Chinese of those days. The
fortunes of the Thai were bound up with the Chinese every
now and then in the episodes of Chinese history throughout
those times. Gradually the fortune of the Thai waned and
by force of circumstances they had to emigrate further south
until they finally established themselves as the Kingdom
of Nan-Chao in Southern China. This Kingdom was
subjugated by Kublai Khan, the first emperor of the
Chinese Mongol dynasty some 700 years ago