The first migration of Shan was said to be taken place in 1st century BC when wars in central China drove many Tai people from that
area. Those people moved South founded ancient Shan cities such as “MuongMao ” (rldif;rm0f;) “MuongNai ” (rldif;eBm;) “HsenWi "HsenWi"
” (oFefj0D) and “HsiPaw "HsiPaw" ” (oDDbayMU). All of them are in Burma today. The second migration took place in 6th century AD from
the mountain of Yunnan. They followed “Nam Mao River” (erfhrm0f;) (ShweLi River) to the South and settled in the valleys and regions
surrounding the river. Some continued west into Thailand. A second branch went north following the Brahmaputra River into Northern
Assam, India. These three groups of Tai migrants were; Tai Ahom (Assam), Siam (Thailand) and Shan (Shan State ), came to regard themselves
as “Free People.”
Shan live in Burma, China, India, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam under different names but always one and the same people
in different countries. Tai people in Burma are called Shan . There are five million Shan in Burma. Their land is called Shan State
. Shan people in Burma are also known as Tai Lone, Tai Lai,Dai Nua, Dai Mao , Tai Dome, Tai Ding, Tai Sa, Tai La, Tai Wan, Tai Hume,Tai Lamm, Tai Kwan, Dai Lu, Tai Sam Tao, Tai An, Tai Khun,Tai Ngam, Tai Hai Ya, Tai Yang, Tai Loi, Tai Leng, Tai Khamti.
In China about
ten million Shan live in Yunnan, Hainan and Canton. They are known as Dai . There are three main Tai groups in China such as Dai Nua,Dai Mao and Dai Lu. Other Tai groups in China are known as Dai Yangze, Dai Nam (Sue Dai) or Dai Nung, Dai Lai, Dai Lone, Dai Chaung,Dai Doi, Dai Lung, Dai Kai Hua Jen, Tuo Law or Pa Yi,Pu Tai, Pu Naung, Pu Man, Pu Yu, Pu Chia, Pu En, Pu Yai, Pu Sui, Dai Ching, Dai Pa,Dai Tu Jen, Dai Doi, Dai Tho, Dai Hakkas, Dai Ong Be,Dai Li or Dai Lo.
In India Tai live in Assam State. They are known as Tai Ahomor Tai Assam or Tai Khamti.
In Lao they are known as Lao-Tai, include local groups such as Black Tai (Tai Dam) (Dai Lum) and Red Tai
(Tai Deng) (Tai Leng) and Tai Nua.
In Thailand they are known as Tai Yai, literally means Great Tai.
In Vietnam they are known as
Black Tai (wB;vrf@) and White Tai (Tai Khao) (wB;cm0f) numbering about five hundred thousand. Some other Tai in Vietnam are; Tai Tho
(wB;xl0fb), Tai Nung (wB;ekif;) Tai To Tis (wB;xl0fbwdwfh), Tai Yang or Tai Nhang (wB;,mif;? WB;emif;), Tai Leng (wB;vFif@), Tai Pong
Toa (wB;z.if;xl0fh), Dai Lu (wB;vkd0fh).
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the estimate total number of Tai in the late 20th century
is about 75,760,000 (including 45,060,000 Thai in Thailand, 3,020,000 Laotians in Laos, 3,710,000 Shan in Burma, 21,180,000 Dai in
China, and about 2,790,000 Tai in Vietnam.) (Tai in India, Assam State, are not included in this statistic)