Wikipedia article on lascars, sailors or militiamen from South Asia or other countries east of the Cape of Good Hope, employed on European ships from the 16th century until the middle of the 20th century. The word (also spelled lashkar, laskar) derives from Persian لشکر laškar, meaning military camp or army, and al-askar, the Arabic word for a guard or soldier. The Portuguese adapted this term to lascarim, meaning an Asian militiaman or seaman, especially those from the South Asia.View Source
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