Jimmy G. Harris

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There is excellent documented evidence from the 17th century that a small Persian trading colony was already well established in Siam.1 These Persian traders were so influential in both trade and politics that some of them, by winning the favor of the king, became high officials in the government of the kingdom.2 Additional evidence from the same source leads us to believe that Persian traders probably arrived in Siam as early as the 16th century. A Persian connection could have, in fact, taken place much earlier. We know, for example, that Persian trading communities were in India as early as the 8th century and that beginning in the 13th century Muslim rulers governed India for more than six hundred years. By the 16th century, during the Mughal (Persian for Mongol) Empire of India (1526-1761), the official language of India was Persian and over half of the educated men in Indian government service were from Persia.8



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