|10,000 (est. 1999)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand|
Khorat Thai or Korat Thai (Thai: ไทยโคราช) people refers to an ethnic group named for their main settlement area in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, unofficially called "Korat". Korat Thai people call themselves Tai Berng (ไทยเบิ้ง), Tai Derng (ไทยเดิ้ง), or Tai Korat (Thai: ไทยโคราช; RTGS: thai khorat). Other tribes in northern Thailand also refer to them by those names.
Theories of the origin of the name Tai berng are:
- From its meaning, berng means some or few. Thai Khorat people lived in three major kingdoms: central Thai kingdoms (Ayutthaya, Thonburi, and Bangkok), Lao Kingdom, and Cambodia Kingdom. People who live in the Khorat area are of different origin, e.g., Thai, Lao, Khmer, Kui, and blended their cultures and beliefs together into their own culture.
- It may be from their commonly used word, berng is a word unique to the Thai Khorat people, and it is frequently used in their conversation.
Thai Khorat people have their own traditions and cultures called Khorat culture, which is similar to the culture of Thai people on the central plain, but their own unique words, dialect, costumes, songs, and beliefs are different from the rest of the Tai-speaking peoples. In spite of their Isan domicile, populated by northeast Thai speakers, the Khorat Thai speak Central Thai. Their fluency in the official Thai language means has meant that the group does not appear on official lists of ethnic groups in Thailand.
In 1999, an estimated 10,000 Khorat Thai lived in Thailand.:8 The population mainly inhabits two villages, Ban Nung Thap Prang and Ban Nong Samrong, both in the Chok Chai District about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the provincial capital. About 4,000 Khorat Thai live in each village. A few thousand Khorat Thai live in smaller villages in and around Nakhon Ratchasima City.
In addition to Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thai Khorat also inhabit adjacent provinces:
- Nakhon Ratchasima Province: all districts, except for the northern part, e.g., Non Sung District, Bua Yai District.
- Saraburi Province: Wang Muang District
- Lopburi Province: Phatthana Nikhom District, Chai Badan District, Khok Samrong District and Sa Bot District
- Phetchabun Province: Si Thep District and Wichian Buri District
- Chaiyaphum Province: Chatturat District and Bamnet Narong District
- Buriram Province: Mueang Buriram District, Nang Rong District, Lahan Sai District, Nong Ki District, Chamni District and Lam Plai Mat 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.
- "Peoples of the Buddhist World; Khorat Thai" (PDF). Asia Harvest. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Thai, Khorat in Thailand". Joshua Project. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- Schliesinger, Joachim (2001). "Chapter 2: Khorat Thai". Tai Groups of Thailand, Vol 2: Profile of the Existing Groups (eBook by BooksMango ed.). Bangkok: White Lotus Co, Ltd. pp. 7–12. ISBN 9781633232358. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- LePoer, Barbara Leitch, ed. (1987). "The Thai and Other Tai-Speaking Peoples". Thailand: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved 9 July 2017.