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A people indigenous to south east Asia, also formerly referred to as the Talaing, who established some of the earliest urban centres in the region of lower Burma.the Chao Phraya delta and north-eastern plateau of Siam (now Thailand). The Mons were one of the earliest literate peoples in the region and the Mon language is one of the earliest recorded vernaculars along with Pyu (now extinct), Cham, and Khmer. The language was written in the Indian Pallava script, and Sanskrit andPāli were also in use. The Theravāda form of Buddhism was present among the Mon and Pyu people from the 5th century, and perhaps earlier. The first datable archaeological finds of the Mon civilisation stem from the Mon kingdom of Dvāravatī in the south of Thailand. They consist of a Roman oil lamp and a bronze statue of the Buddha which are believed to be no later than the 1st or 2nd century ce. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Hsüan-tsang, who travelled to India in about 630 ad, describes a single Mon country stretching from Prome to Chenla in the east and including the Irrawaddy and Sittang deltas. The Mons were influential in Siam until the 13th century when they were eclipsed by the rise of Chiang Mai and other Tai states, although they remained a political force in Burma until the 18th century. Today the Mons have no independent political status and the Mon language is dying out.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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