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TRAVEL THAILAND » NORTHERN » History of Nan
 
 
History of Nan 
 

Nan

A quiet and tranquil province, Nan is nestled in a verdant valley in northern Thailand along the border with Laos. Because of its relative proximity to Luang Prabang, the historical capital of the Laotian Lan Xang kingdom. The earliest Nan rulers allied themselves with neighbouring principalities to establish the kingdom of Lan Na. The centre of power in Nan eventually moved south to the fertile Nan River basin, where the capital of Nan exists to this day.


Nan's history, development, and architecture were greatly influenced by various neighbouring kingdoms, in particular Sukhothai, which played important political and religious roles in shaping the development of Nan. Over the centuries however, Nan alternated between being an independent principality under the control of Lan Na, Sukhothai, Burma and Siam in that order. In 1558, the town was conquered and depopulated by the Burmese. By the late 18th century Nan forged an alliance with the new Bangkok cantered Rattakosin Kingdom and existed as a semi-autonomous kingdom with a line of monarchs that ruled from 1786 until 1931. Today, Nan is still the home of numerous Thai Lue and other hill tribes who retain many of their fascinating customs and traditions.


The rural province of Nan is an attractive region of northern Thailand where there are high populations of hill tribe communities, including Hmong, N'tin, and Khamu. Much of Nan is devoted to agriculture, particularly rice and fruit cultivation.