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 Home > About Thailand > The Land and its People > The Thai tribes

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


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