|Regions with significant populations|
Khorat Thai or Korat Thai (Thai: ไทยโคราช) people refers to an ethnic group named by their main settlement area which is in Nakhon Ratchasima province, unofficially called “Korat”, of Thailand. Korat Thai people call themselves Tai Berng (ไทยเบิ้ง), Tai Derng (ไทยเดิ้ง), or Tai Korat (ไทยโคราช). Other tribes in Northern Thailand also refer to them by those names.
The proposed theories of the origin of the name Tai Berng are:
- From its meaning, Berng means some or few. Tai Korat people live in three major Kingdoms; the Kingdoms of Central Thai (Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Bangkok), Lao Kingdom and Cambodia Kingdom. People who live in the Korat area are from different origins; e.g. Thai, Lao, Khmer, Kui, etc., and blend their cultures and beliefs together into their own culture.
- It may be from their commonly used word, Berng is a word unique to the Tai Korat people, and it is frequently used in their conversation.
Tai Korat people have their own traditions and cultures called Korat Culture, which is similar to the culture of Thai people in Central plain, but their own unique words, dialect, costume, songs and beliefs are different from the rest of the Tai-speaking peoples. Some say Tai Korat people speak a dialect which is halfway between Thai and Isan (Lao.)
Tai Korat people settlement areas are in Nakhon Ratchasima and adjacent provinces:
- Nakhon Ratchasima province: all districts, except for Northern part e.g. Non Sung, Bua Yai, etc.
- Sara Buri province: Wangmuang district
- Lop Buri province: Pattana Nikom, Chai Badal, Kok Samrong and Sra Bot district
- Petchaboon province: Srideph and Vichianburi district
- Chaiyabhum province: Chaturat and Bamnej Narong district
- Buriram province: Meung, Nang Rong, Laharn Sai, Nong Kee and Lam Plai Mart district
The Khorat Thai can be traced back at least to the late 18th Century, when King Narai of the Ayutthaya Kingdom ordered a new city built as the eastern fortress of his kingdom. This was the origin of Nakhon Ratchasima city. The city thus marked the boundary between Ayutthaya and the Lao regions.