LASCAR, the name in common use for all oriental, and especially Indian, sailors, which has been adopted in England into the Merchant Shipping Acts, though without any definition. It is derived from the Persian lashkar = army, or camp, in which sense it is. still used in India, e.g. Lashkar, originally the camp, now the permanent capital, of Sindhia at Gwalior. It would seem to have been applied by the Portuguese, first to an inferior class of men in military service (cf. " gun-lascars "), and then to sailors as early as the lyth century. The form askari on the east coast of Africa, equivalent to " sepoy," comes from the Arabic 'askara,imy, which is believed to be itself taken from the Persian.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)