| Muang Phon-Hong|
Vientiane Province (also known as rural Vientiane) (Lao ??????) is a province of Laos, located in the northwest of the country. As of 2004 the province had a total population of 373,700 people. Vientiane Province is a large province, covering an area of 15,927 square kilometres (6,149 sq mi) with 10 districtsin mid north-western Laos. The province borders Luang Prabang Province to the north, Xiangkhouang Province to the northeast, Bolikhamxai Province to the east, Vientiane Prefecture and Thailand to the south, and Xaignabouli Province to the west. The principal towns are Vang Vieng and Muang Phon-Hong. Several kilometres to the south of Vang Vieng is one of Laoss largest lakes, Nam Ngum. Much of this area, particularly the forests of the southern part, are under the Phou Khao Khouay National Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. The principal rivers flowing through the province are the Nam Song River, Nam Ngum River and the Nam Lik River.
In the mid-16th century, Vientiane under King Setthathirats rule became prosperous. It became a major centre of Buddhist teachings and many wats were built. In 1989, the province was split into two halves — the Vientiane Prefecture containing the city Vientiane itself, and the remaining province.
Since 2000, tourism in the region has rocketed, with many thousands visiting Vientiane and Vang Vieng every year. In recent years, new investment has gone into the suburbs of Vientiane.
The great Laotian epic, the Phra Lak Phra Lam, claims that Prince Thattaradtha founded the city when he left the legendary Lao kingdom of Muong Inthapatha Maha Nakhone because he was denied the throne in favor of his younger brother. Thattaradtha founded a city called Maha Thani Si Phan Phao on the western banks of the Mekong River; this city was said to have later become todays Udon Thani, Thailand. One day, a seven-headed Naga told Thattaradtha to start a new city on the eastern bank of the river opposite Maha Thani Si Phan Phao. The prince called this city Chanthabuly Si Sattanakhanahud; which was said to be the predecessor of modern Vientiane.
Contrary to the Phra Lak Phra Ram, most historians believe that the city of Vientiane was an early Khmer settlement centered around a Hindu temple, which the Pha That Luang would later replace. Khmer princes ruling Say Fong were known to have made pilgrimages to the shrine near Vientiane. In the 11th and 12th centuries, the time when the Lao and Thai people are believed to have entered Southeast Asia from Southern China, the few remaining Khmers in the area were either killed, removed, or assimilated into the Lao civilization, which would soon overtake the area.
In 1354, when Fa Ngum founded the kingdom of Lan Xang, Vientiane became an important administrative city, even though it was not made the capital. King Setthathirath officially established it as the capital of Lan Xang in 1563, to avoid a Burmese invasion. In the following several centuries Vientianes position was not stable; at times it was strong and regional centre but many times it came under the control Vietnam, Burma and Siam.
When Lan Xang fell apart in 1707, it became an independent Kingdom of Vientiane. In 1779, it was conquered by the Siamese general Phraya Chakri and made a vassal of Siam. When King Anouvong tried to assert himself as an independent kingdom, and raised an unsuccessful rebellion, it was obliterated by Siamese armies in 1827. The city was burned to the ground and was looted of nearly all Laotian artifacts, including Buddha statues and people. The Siamese routed Anouvong and razed the city leaving only the Wat Si Saket in good shape, shifting all people. Vientiane was in great disrepair, depopulated and disappearing into the forest, when the French arrived in 1867. It eventually passed to French rule in 1893. It became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos in 1899. The French rebuilt the city and rebuilt or repaired Buddhist temples such as Pha That Luang, Haw Phra Kaew, and left many colonial buildings behind. By a decree signed in 1900 by Governor-General Paul Doumer, the province was divided into four muang, these being Borikan, Patchoum, Tourakom, and Vientiane. Two years earlier, men from these four muang were responsible for building a house for the first administrator of Vientiane, Pierre Morin.
During World War II, Vientiane fell with little resistance and was occupied by Japanese forces, under the command of Sako Masanori. On 9 March 1945 French paratroopers arrived, and "liberated" the Vientiane on April 24, 1945. As the Laotian Civil War broke out between the Royal Lao Government and the Pathet Lao, Vientiane became unstable. In August 1960, Kong Le seized the capital and insisted that Souvanna Phouma, become Prime Minister. In mid-December, General Phoumi then seized the capital, overthrew the Phouma Government, and installed Boun Oum as Prime Minister. In mid-1975, Pathet Lao troops moved towards the city and American personnel began evacuating the capital. On August 23, 1975, a contingent of 50 Pathet Lao women, symbolically "liberated" the city. In December 2, 1975, the communist party of the Pathet Lao took over Vientiane and defeated the Kingdom of Laos which ended the Laotian Civil War, but the ongoing Insurgency in Laos began in the jungle, with the Pathet Lao fighting the Hmongs, Royalist-in-exile and the Right-wings.
In the 1950s and 1960s during the French-Indo China War and Vietnam War, thousands of refugees arrived in the province. By 1963, some 128,000 at arrived, especially Hmong people from Xiengkhouang Province. Some 150,000 more arrived in the early 1970s. Many of the refugees arrived were addicted to opium. In 1989, the province was split into two parts, the Vientiane Prefecture, which contains the capital, Vientiane, and the remaining area, the Vientiane Province.
In late 2006, 13 ethnic Khmu Christians were arrested in the village of Khon Kean. One was released in April 2007, and on May 16, nine others were released after being held at a police detention facility in Hin Heup. Vientiane hosted the 25th Southeast Asian Games in December 2009 celebrating the 50 years of SEA Games.
Vientiane Province, one of the provinces of Laos, is a large province, covering an area of 15,927 square kilometres (6,149 sq mi) with 10 districtsin mid north-western Laos. The province borders Luang Prabang Province to the north, Xiangkhouang Province to the northeast, Bolikhamxai Province to the east, Vientiane Prefecture and Thailand to the south, and Xaignabouli Province to the west. The principal towns are Vang Vieng and Muang Phon-Hong. Vang Vieng is connected to Vientiane, roughly 170 kilometres (110 mi) by road to the south and Luang Prabang to the northwest by Route 13, the most important highway in the province, followed by Route 10. Most of the population of the province is situated in the towns and villages along and near Route 13; from the south to the north these include Ban Phonsoung, Ban Saka and Toulakhom (along Route 10 east of Route 13), Ban Nalao, Ban Nong Khay, Ban Keng Kang, Ban Vang Khay, Ban Houay Pamon, Ban Namone, Vang Vieng, Ban Nampo, Ban Phatang, Ban Bome Phek, Ban Thieng, Muang Kasi and Ban Nam San Noi near the border with Xiangkhouang Province.
Several kilometres to the south of Vang Vieng is one of Laoss largest lakes, Nam Ngum. Much of this area, particularly the forests of the southern part, are under the Phou Khao Khouay National Bio-Diversity Conservation Area. To the east is the highest peak of Laos, Phou Bia, a heavily forested hilly area, east of Ban Thamkalong. The principal rivers flowing through the province are the Nam Song River, Nam Ngum River and the Nam Lik River.