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Nanchao Period (650-1250 A.D.)



Nanchao's significance for the Thai was twofold. First, is blocked Chinese influence the north for many centuries. Had Nanchao not existed, the Thai, like most of the originally non Chinese people south of the Chang Jiang, might have been completely assumilated into the Chinese cultural sphere. Second Nancho stimulated Thai migration and expansion. Over several centuries, bands of Thai from Yunnan moved steadily into Southeast Asia, and by the thirteenth century they had reached as far west as Assam (India). Once settled, they became identified in Burma as the Shan and in the upper Mekong region as the Lao. In Tonkin and Annam, the northen and central portions of present day Vietnam, the Thai formed distinct tribal groupings: Thai Dam (Black Thai), Thai Deng (Red Thai), Thai Khao (White Thai), and Ning. However, most of the Thai settled on the northen and western fringes of the Khmer Empire.

A flood of migration resulting from Kublai Khan's conquest of Nanchao furthered the consolidation of independent Thai states. Thai warriors, fleeing the Mongol invaders, reinforced Sukhothai against the Khmer, ensuring its supremacy in the central plain. In the north, other Thai war parties conquered the old Mon state of Haripunjaya and in 1296 founded the kingdoom of Lan Na with its capital at Chiang Mai.

The Thai people founded their kingdom in the southern part of China, which is Yunnan, Kwangsi and Canton today. A great number of people migrated south as far as the Chao Phraya Basin and settled down over the Central Plain under the sovereignty of the Khmer Empire, whose culture they probably accepted. The Thai people founded their independent state of Sukhothai around 1238 A.D., which marks the beginning of the Sukhothai Perio.


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