Posts Tagged ‘Han’

Brief Introduction to Tai Kingdoms

August 14, 2008
Sukhothai ruins

Sukhothai ruins

The Tai people were moving southwards into Laos and Thailand from northwest China, probably being squeezed out by the Chinese Han people. They had mastered upland rice agriculture so they started to settle in the northern hill country of both these lands. This was a fairly recent migration and we don’t really pick up their story much until the 11th. Century and the Sukhothai Kingdom.

By the 12th. Century we see the movement of Tais further south and the founding of what would be the Thai kingdom’s capital of Ayutthaya. The ethnic groups which would have been there originally were Mons and Khmers but we can suspect there was quite heavy Tai integration with these peoples.

Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and the capital of Siam moved south, first to Thonburi and later to Bangkok. The southern movement of the Tais into the central plains of Thailand was probably supported by their ability to farm rice in these lowlands. Irrigation and drainage became the tools of the Tais as they bought more land into cultivation and this can be seen at Ayutthaya and even more so in the Bangkok area.

Han Chinese

April 22, 2008

It would be a mistake to just use Chinese as almost all the ethnic groups in Thailand have migrated from or through China sometime in the past. The more recent large scale Chinese migration into Thailand has been the Han ethnic group. This group forms about 92% of China’s population and 19% of the world’s population. The Hans have many sub-groups and do not all have a common language.

The massive influx of Hans is relatively new, coming in the 19th. and 20th. centuries. They probably formed about 10% – 12% of the Thai population at one time. Unlike in many neighbouring countries the Chinese married and assimilated easily into Thai culture although one still sees the Chinese heritage in the majority of successful businessmen here.

Many Thai Chinese were out in the streets for the Olympic flame’s run through Bangkok waving Chinese flags but I doubt many have much in common with those that still live in China, but I could be wrong.