Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai (jyängˈ mĪˈ) [key] or Chiengmai jyĕngˈ–, city (1990 pop. 164,902), capital of Chiang Mai prov., N Thailand, on the Ping River, near the Myanmar border. It is the economic, cultural, and religious center of the northern provinces. The terminus of a railroad from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is also linked to the capital by air and highway. The city is a shipping point for the agricultural products of the surrounding region. Long the center of Thailand's teak industry, Chiang Mai also produces silver and wood articles, pottery, and silk and cotton goods. Tourism is a growing industry, and the city has also become a design center. Chiang Mai's population is mainly Lao.

The city, a center of a Lao kingdom from the 11th cent., became after the 14th cent. a target of dispute between the Burmese and the Siamese. The Burmese invasions ceased in the 19th cent., and Chiang Mai was fully incorporated into Thailand. The city consists of an 18th-century walled town on the right bank of the Ping and a new town on the left bank that developed around the railroad station. The Univ. of Chiang Mai (1963), a teachers college, and a technical institute are in the city.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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