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Trade Links with China

While the fall of Pagan to the Mongols in 1287 may have encouraged artisans to migrate to Chiang Mai, the establishment of a commercially motivated Muslim community in Yunnan after the Mongol conquest in the 13th century was to have another lasting effect. Till quite recently Chinese Muslims dominated the ancient "back door" trade routes, linking the southern branch of the silk road in Yunnan to South-East Asia.

In 1591 the Merchant Ralph Fitch wrote of Chiang Mai "To Jamahey come many merchants out of China, and bring great store of Muske, Gold, Silver, and many other things of China worke" (Hakluythus Posthumus).

The Muslim Haw Chinese communities near the Ping River in Chiang Mai first began as staging posts for the armed mule caravans that carried this trade.




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