Thursday, May 6, 2010

History of Thailand Culture

Now for a bit of history to complete the bird's eye view of Thailand's culture. A thousand or more years ago, most of Thailand apart from the southern area in the Malay Peninsula, was under the domination of the hinduiz ed Mon-speaking people of Dvaravati (457-657 A.D.) and the Khmer or Cambodian Empires (957-1257 AD); while the Malay Peninsula was under the suzerainty of Srivijaya, the hinduized Sumatran Empire (657-1157 A.D.). During these times the Thai, as a race, emigrated gradually from their home in Southern China into the Indo-Chinese Peninsula.

During these times many off-shoots of the Thai tribes migrated by slow degrees into the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. One of the western off-shoots became the Shans of Burma. On the other side of the Peninsula many of the Thai tribes come into Tongking, including the Laos of the Lao State who settled down in the Mekhong basin. Further west of the Lao State in a northernly direction were the northern Thai of Chiang Sen which was on the north border of Thailand. There is no doubt that the words Shan-san, the name of Nan-Chao Kingdom and Chiang Sen may be identified as one and the same work. All these Thai tribes established themselves in the Peninsula in many small independent states of principalities which engaged in s trifes and warfare not only among themselves but also with the neighbouring tribes (1117-1547 A.D.). Further South particularly in the now central area of Thailand the land was within the empire of the Mon (Dvaravati Kingdom), a race ethnologically akin to the Khmer, who subsequently became included in the Empire of the Khmer. By this time the Northern Thai of Chiang Sen had gone further south and founded a city of Chieng-mai, which means "new city", and succeeded in taking away the northern remnants of the decaying Mon empire. The frontier of the Northern Thai now touched the border of the Khmer Empire in the Northern parts or Central Thailand which was called Siam or Palized into Samadesa. There is no doubt that the Thai had been befor e that time already in the land of the Mon and The Khmer Empire but they were only a minority and formed themselves into semi-independent states under the suzerainty of these empires. Traditionally these Thai who settled in Central Thailand or Siam were called Thai Noi or Lesser Thai in contrast to Thai Yai or Major Thai who are the Shans of Burma. Traditionally the Thai Noi or Lesser Thai came from the north of Thailand. It was therefore presumed that they were the Northern Thai of Chiang-mai with the Laos or the Thai of Mekhong basin partly mixed; but to me the so-called Thai Noi or Lesser Thai had in their melting pot in no less degree the Thai Yai or Major Thai i.e. the Shan too.


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