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Lascars manning the yards.
View full size imageLascars manning the yards. © NMM
A Lascar was the British term for a South Asian, Arab and sometimes East African seamen in the merchant and Royal Navy.

The English term Lascar comes from the Portuguese term 'Lascarim' meaning an Asian militiaman or seaman. The Portuguese adopted the term from 'Laskar' the Persian word for a military camp and the Omani word for a guard or soldier 'Al-Askar'.

Lascars were subdivided by occupation into into Serengs, Topazes, Cooks, Curry Cooks and many other groups.

National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
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