The Development of Lan Xang Communities in the Loei-Nam Mong River Basin: Vientiane Period (1560-1779)

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Kulavadi Samackthai
Dararat Mattariganond
Wiangkum Choun-u-dom


This article investigates the development of Lan Xang communities in the Loei-Nam Mong River basin during the Vientiane Period (1560-1779) by analyzing archaeological and historical evidence. The study indicates that the riverine regions of the Loei-Nam Mong River basin were remarkable for their natural resources, including gold, copper, iron, forest products, and salt. When Vientiane was the administrative center from 1560 to 1779, six communities developed which interacted with the capital in four different ways: as border towns, resource areas, economic centers, and a religious site. Specifically, 1) Mueang Sai Khao was an outer outpost town with mineral resources and forests; 2) Mueang Nong Bua was a middle outpost town rich in forests; 3) communities surrounding Wat Phra That Bang Phuan-Mueang Wiang Khuk comprised the inner outpost and economic area of Vientiane; 4) Mueang Phan Prao was the inner outpost (along with Mueang Wiang Khuk); 5) Mueang Phan was a sacred area (for worshipping the Buddha’s footprint) with forest resources; and 6) Mueang Chiang Khan was a stopover along the Mekong River with mineral and forest resources. Both external and internal factors contributed to the development of these communities. External factors included the surveillance of Ayutthaya’s and Burma’s power expansions, and the influence of the Age of Commerce in Southeast Asia. Internal factors consisted of suitable geographical conditions, proximity to the city center (Vientiane), and the popular practice of worshipping relics and footprints (part of the Urangkhathat Legend) which came to supplant the Satta Mahasthan.


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Samackthai, K., Mattariganond, D. ., & Choun-u-dom, W. (2023). The Development of Lan Xang Communities in the Loei-Nam Mong River Basin: Vientiane Period (1560-1779). Journal of Mekong Societies, 19(1), 160–182. Retrieved from