Chanthaburi (chäntäˌbŏrēˈ) [key], town (1990 pop. 40,049), capital of Chanthaburi prov., SE Thailand, near the Gulf of Thailand. It is an agricultural trade center in an area growing rice, pepper, and coffee. Precious gems (principally rubies and sapphires) are mined nearby. Originally part of the Khmer Empire, the town passed to Thailand in 1576. It was occupied by French forces from 1893 to 1905.