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Tai Dominance in Laos History

The Mongols rise to power in China in the 13th century under Genghis Khan spurred a huge migration of Tai peoples south. Described by one historian as more of an inundation than a migration, the advancing Tais gradually displaced or assimilated the indigenous Austro Burman and Austro Asiatic groups that controlled the area between Vietnam and Assam in Northwest India.

The Mongols rise to power in China in the 13th century under Genghis Khan spurred a huge migration of Tai peoples south. Described by one historian as more of an inundation than a migration, the advancing Tais gradually displaced or assimilated the indigenous Austro Burman and Austro Asiatic groups that controlled the area between Vietnam and Assam in Northwest India. This was made easier by forming alliances with other Tai peoples already in the area.

Lao legend relates how the mythical figure, Khun Borom cut a gourd open in the vicinity of Dien Bien Phu. From it issued seven sons who followed separate paths to found seven Tai kingdoms from the Red River in North Vietnam, west to the Brahmaputra, which suggests that the Tais may have originated in Northern Vietnam, not Southern China as previously believed.

Southern Laos was at the time an early center of the Mon-Funan kingdom from the first to sixth centuries, superceded by the Chenla kingdom, from the 6th to 8th centuries. Both kingdoms extended from Champasak to Northwestern Cambodia. Srigotapura (near present day Tha Kaek) and Muang Sawa (now Luang Prabang) were two other early Mon kingdoms. They were absorbed first by the Khmer empire and later by Siamese and Lao principalities.

 
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