AHOM, or Aham, a tribe of Shan descent inhabiting the Assam valley, and, prior to the invasion of the Burmese at the commencement of the 19th century, the dominant race in that country.
In the time of Aurangzeb the Ahom kings held sway over the entire Brahmaputra valley from Sadiya to near Goalpara, and from the skirts of the southern hills to the Bhutia frontier on the north.
In the census of 1901 the total Ahom population in Assam was returned at 178,049.
The Ahom language is the oldest member of the Tai branch of the Siamese-Chinese linguistic family of which we have any record.
Their language, the most distinctively Lao-Tai attribute which they have, plainly shows their very close relationship with the latter race and its present branches, the Shans (Tai Long) and the Ahom of Assam, while their appearance, customs, written character and religion bear strong evidence of their affinity with the Khmers.
Although the whole of Kamrup appears from time to time to have been united into one kingdom under some unusually powerful monarch, it was more often split up into numerous petty states; and for several centuries the Koch, the Ahom and the Chutia powers contested for the Assam valley.
Grierson, "Notes on Ahom," in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, vol.
(contains grammar and vocabulary, with specimens), and "An Ahom Cosmogony, with a translation and a vocabulary of the Ahom language," in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1904, pp. 181 ff.
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