Shan - History and Cultural Relations

Shan migrated from southern China around A.D. 1000, eventually establishing numerous small states in the mountainous region of northern Burma. Shan princes have been involved in the politics of the region, paying tribute to Burma, China, and Chiang Mai at various times. After the British conquest of Burma, most Shan states paid tribute to Burma, although the more easterly states were establishing relationships with Chiang Mai and Central Thailand. At this time there were eighteen major states ruled by princes and twenty-five states ruled by lesser officials. During the British period the Shan states were administered indirectly, through their ruling princes. During this period, borders were drawn administratively separating the Shan in Thailand from those in Burma. At Burmese independence the Shan states were consolidated into the Shan State. Since the 1950s Shan in Burma (now Myanmar) have been engaged in a military struggle to regain control of their area. Their goals range from forming an independent state to being federally associated with a changed Burmese state. Shan in Thai areas are not engaged in this struggle.

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