Cham People In Thailand
- Whilst only 4000 Cham live in Central Thailand with half that number in Bangkok their presence is a reminder, like that of the Mon, of the great heritage of the Cham Empire which was founded in 192 C.E. until 1471 when it was finally conquered by the Southward moving Vietnamese in Vietnam. The Cham ruins of Vietnam are a major tourist attraction in that country and visitors to Angkor will see depicted on the walls of the Bayon, battle scenes of the wars between the Khmer and the Cham.
- The Champa Kingdom disappeared by the 17 th century. Many Cham left Vietnam to settle in Cambodia, only to be slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge in the later part of the 20 th century. Cham language is the Chamic branch of the Austro-Asiatic language group. However the Cham have their own script based on Indian san script.
- Originally the Cham were Hindu as is reflected in their art and architecture. Today they are Sunni Muslim of the Shafi school, an Islamic lineage complemented by the beliefs and rituals of Hindu-Buddhist origin and widely followed by the Malay Muslim. Islam came to Champa about 1030. The Cham also worship an ancestral cult. Traditionally the Cham followed a matrilineal system following the line of descent through the woman's family but now with Muslim orthodox influences a patrilineal structure is evident.