In 1983 the Mon (Mun, Peguan, Talaing, Taleng) numbered about 835,000 in Myanmar (Burma) and between 70,000 and 100,000 in Thailand, with smaller numbers in Cambodia and Vietnam. A more recent estimate places their number at 1.3 million in Myanmar alone. If these figures are accurate, they suggest that the Mon population has nearly doubled since the 1930s. The Mon have evidently been in Burma for at least 1,000 years, with villages in Thailand established within the last 400 years. They live primarily in villages located in monsoon-climatic areas roughly between 13° and 17° N. Mon is classified as an Austroasiatic language in the Mon-Khmer Group. Today, most Mon are bilingual, with Burmese becoming the primary language for many, reflecting a long process of assimilation into the dominant Burmese culture. The Mon were politically independent until 1757, when they were defeated by the Burmese. Today the Mon are involved in the insurgency movement against Myanmar's military government. The economy rests primarily on wet-rice agriculture and fishing, both for consumption and sale. Yams, sweet potatoes, pineapples, and sugar cane are also grown. Mon fishing along the coast has declined in recent years because of competition from Thai commercial vessels, which are allowed there by the Myanmar government. The Mon are Theravada Buddhists, with religious practices similar to those of their Burmese and Thai neighbors.

See also Burmese


"Burma: In Search of Peace." (1989). Cultural Survival Quarterly 13.

Halliday, Robert (1917). The Talaings. Rangoon: Superintendent of Government Printing and Stationery.

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