| Xam Neua|
Houaphanh province (Laotian: ???? ?????? ) is a province of eastern Laos. As of 2004 it had a population of 322,220 people. Its capital lies at Sam Neua.
Houaphanh Province covers an area of 16,500 square kilometres (6,400 sq mi). The province is bordered by Vietnam to the north, east and southeast, Xiangkhouang Province to the south and southwest, and Luang Prabang Province to the west. The terrain is rugged, with dense mountainous forest forming much of the province, particularly on the western side. The main road running through the province is Route 6. The principal rivers are the Song Ma, which flows from and into Vietnam, passing the village of Ban Muang-Et, and the Nam Sam, which the town of Sam Neua lies on.
The province is the home to the Viengxay caves, an extensive network of caves used by the Pathet Lao, and the Hintang Archaeological Park, one of the most important pre-historic sites in northern Laos, dotted with standing megaliths. Houaphanh is one of the poorest areas of Laos, but has dramatic scenery and fine textile traditions.
The province was home of the B?n Man Kingdom (Muang Phuan Kingdom) since the 14th century. Following a Vietnamese invasion in 1478 led by Vietnamese King Lê Thánh Tông, it became Tr?n Ninh Territory of the ??i Vi?t Kingdom with the capital at Sam Chau (present-day Sam Neua). The area was known as Hua Phan Tang Ha Tang Hok, "the fifth and the sixth province", and listed by Auguste Pavie as "Hua Panh, Tang-Ha, Tang-Hoc."
It remained a Vietnamese outpost territory until 1893 when ownership was switched by French colonial authorities back to Laos during the French Colonial period. Under the French spelling of the province was usually Hua Phan.
The province is the home to the Viengxay caves, an extensive network of caves used by the Pathet Lao. Numerous caves in the province served as hideouts for important figures in the Laos in the 1950s and 1960s. Tham Than Souphanouvong Cave was the hideout of the revolutionary leader and later the President, Souphanouvong, who built a base there in 1964. Revolutionary leader and later the President Kaysone Phomvihane hid out in Tham Than Kaysone Cave from 1964, and later President Khamtay Siphandone hid out at Tham Than Khamtay Cave from 1964 and he established a base there, with meeting rooms, reception rooms and a research room.
Houphanh Province was noted for its samana camps. The Lao Royal Family were believed to have been taken to one such camp near Sop Hao in 1977. Crown Prince Say Vong Savang allegedly died at the camp in May 1978, followed by his father King Savang Vatthana from starvation, 11 days later.
Religious minorities often face persecution in the province, and at the end of 1999 numerous minorities were arrested.
Houaphanh Province, one of the provinces of Laos, covers an area of 16,500 square kilometres (6,400 sq mi). The province is bordered by Vietnam to the north, east and southeast, Xiangkhouang Province to the south and southwest, and Luang Prabang Province to the west. The terrain is rugged, with dense mountainous forest forming much of the province, particularly on the western side. Notable settlements in the province include Sam Neua, Muong U, Houamuang, Chomsan, Muang Pan, Muang Hom, Muang Peu, Muang Xon, Ban Muang-Et, Ban Nampang, Muong Vene, Xamtai, Muang Na, and Poungthak. The main road running through the province is Route 6. The principal rivers are the Song Ma, which flows from and into Vietnam, passing the village of Ban Muang-Et, and the Nam Sam, which the town of Sam Neua lies on.