Sip Song Chau Tai (Twelve Tai Principalities)
The original country of the Tai Dam was Sip Song Chau Tai or the Twelve Tai Principalities. In 1888, this ancient country was colonized and annexed to Tonkin of Vietnam by the French. In 1948, it was established as a semi-independent state called the Tai Federation under the rule of France. Since 1954, and under the Communist Vietnamese, it has completely lost its identity as a nation, absorbed into the northwestern region of Vietnam.
When the French and Tai forces were defeated by the communist Vietnamese at Muong Theng (Dien Bien Phu) in 1954, the Tai administration and their families who opposed the communist insurgents were forced to flee to Laos and some to South Vietnam. Those who resettled in Laos lived there peacefully through 1975 and became known as Tai Dam.
Tai Dam Worldwide
In 1975, when the Communists took over Laos, the Tai Dam fled to Thailand to seek asylum. From Thailand, 12,000 Tai Dam were resettled in France, Canada, Australia, and the United States.
Led and encouraged by Governor Robert D. Ray, the citizens of Iowa sponsored 1500 Tai Dam as refugees in 1975-76. Since then, our population in the United States has grown to 10,000. Eighty percent of us remain united in the state of Iowa.