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Kingdom of Lan Na
อาณาจักรล้านนา (Thai)
Lanna coa
Flag Coat of arms
Country, Spirit, Prosperity
The Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields
Se asia lanna
and largest city
Son Ga
Official languages Northern Thai, Thai language
Recognised regional languages Tagalog, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Malay
Ethnic groups Northern Thai, Central Thai, Tagalog
Demonym Lannese, Lannese Thai
Government Constitutional Monarchy
• Monarch
Pasan Keacham Sarawong
Khae Leeyao
Legislature Congress
House of Representatives
• Establishment on the Philippines
March, 1394
• Current constitution
June 20th, 1888
• Total
300,000 km2 (120,000 sq mi)
• Water (%)
• 2014 census
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
• Total
$1.552 Trillion
• Per capita
Gini 33.5
HDI (2013) 0.840
very high
Currency Lannese Sawk (Ѧ) (SWK)
Time zone Lannese Standard Time (UTC+8)
Date format DD/MM/YYYY
Drives on the right
Calling code +83
Internet TLD .la

The Kingdom of Lan Na (Thai: อาณาจักรล้านนา, Romanized: Anachak Lan Na), also commonly called Lan Na or simply Lanna, is a Constitutional Monarchy located on the Philippine Archipelago in the Western Pacific Ocean, south of Akitsu, north of Indonesia, and east of both North and South Vietnam. Lan Na was originally situated on the Indochinese peninsula from 1292 till 1394, as King Kue Na led an exodus of his people eastward, to the Philippine islands, which were undiscovered at the time. Even though the kingdom remained quite isolated from the rest of Southeast Asia, it still held very warm relations with several Thai kingdoms, with some of those married into the royal Lannese family.

Lan Na kept steadily developing, due to relations with the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch in the 16th century, and later the English and the French. However, even with the influence of western nations, matters like religion never gained a foothold on Lannese soil, due to the Lannese devotion toward Buddhism. In 1888, 20 years after the modernisation of Japan, which Lan Na have had very warm relations with over the course of the centuries, King Chatri Sarawong ordered a reform on the government to protect Lan Na from the Western powers and to modernize rapidly, at the cost of his own power. On June 20 in 1888, a constitution was installed and Lan Na became a Constitutional Monarchy. Lan Na is a member of the League of Nations, ASEAN, Asian Cooperation Dialogue, WTO, and the East Asia Summit.


Lan Na (อาณาจักรล้านนา) is Northern Thai for "Kingdom of Million Rice Fields".


Presence in Indochina

Lan Na had been around on the Indochinese peninsula since 1292, and came forth out of the early Shan states led by King Mangrai, who captured the Mon kingdom of Hariphunchai and swore his allegiance to the Sukhothai Kingdom. In the decennias upon, Lan Na expanded and entered a peaceful age. Theravada Buddhism prospered under the reign of his grandson in Lan Na, and he invited monks from Sukhothai to come and live in his kingdom.

It was not until 1391, when a war broke out between Sukhothai and the Shan states, with Lan Na lying inbetween. King Kue Na, who was very Buddhistic, would instead of fight off the invading forces, seek for a peaceful alternative. This decision was even more solidified when the newly formed Ming dynasty took part in the war with Sukhothai. During this period, King Kue Na ordered his advisors to seek for help from other countries. However, this failed shortly after, and Lan Na turned into a battlefield between several kingdoms. In spite of this, Kue Na proposed an extreme idea for relocating his kingdom, which came originally from his Buddhist mentor Chaisurivirat. It became clear soon enough that it was not an option to relocate somewhere near, as Lan Na was surrounded by kingdoms far greater. Lan Na also lost a great part of their army at defending their homeland.

Months later, one advisor named Nai Thim, returned to court with a map of the South Chinese Sea, which he studied and bought from Chinese traders in the kingdom of Lavo, nowadays the area of modern Bangkok. While Kue Na initially rejected the idea of trying to navigate to an island in the South Chinese Sea, he would eventually organize a small expedition to seek out new lands to settle, using the maps. In 1392, a Lannese expedition fleet consisting of six chinese junks. The currents in the South Chinese Sea eventually pushed the expedition toward the Spratly Islands, and from there toward the Philippine archipelago. They arrived after two and a half months with only five remaining ships near the modern-day Son Ga city. As soon the islands seemed habitable enough to relocate the kingdom to, two junks sailed back after three months, along the coast of modern-day Vietnam toward the Kingdom of Lavo. As soon the word reached King Kue Na, he decided to temporarily move to the kingdom of Lavo with those that wished to come along. In total, an estimated 50.000 people were willing to follow their king to the Kingdom of Lavo, while the rest stayed put in their homeland, enduring the war between two kingdoms. The King of Lavo granted Kue Na to stay in Lavo temporarily, after he pledged oath to the king of Lavo not to take over his kingdom.

The Exodus

In 1394, two years after the Philippine archipelago was set as a relocation target by Lan Na, and the arrival of King Kue Na in Lavo, the fleet of chinese junks and other ships that Kue Na ordered with the remainder of the treasury he assigned for the relocation arrived in the Kingdom of Lavo. The fleet consisted of an estimated 45 to 50 ships ranging from war junks to other southeast Asian ships. It took about 8 ferry trips between the years 1394 and 1397 to carry all the inhabitants of Lan Na to the newly settled Philippines. The people arriving would initially land at Son Ga, and be "distributed" over the island after several months of working the fields around Son Ga to ensure a steady food supply and so a growth in the population. After the main buildings and houses were built, the king ordered to build a palace based on the sketches of his Buddhistic mentor, Chaisurivirat, and also name it after him. Furthermore, he ordered the construction of a giant statue of Buddha overlooking Son Ga to show his devotion to Buddhism, which became to be known as the Great Buddha of Thung Luang.

Settling and expansion

Son Ga was the first settlement on the Philippines by the Lannese, and also became the biggest over the course of centuries. King Kue Na proposed a plan to create settlements on the coast of Makhaeng to claim the island while using the maps he obtained from Chinese traders, and to let the settlers move further inland afterwards. The native population was generally more open and friendly to the Lannese, and allowed the Lannese eventually to settle the island. Kue Na promised to leave the natives alone in their territories, and ordered all settlers not to settle anywhere near. Most settlements were created in natural coves, which would function as natural ports and protected the harbor against typhoons. While Kue Na's colonization plan was a great succes on Makhaeng, but when the colonization expedition tried to settle on the islands in Thapphaya, he encountered hostile tribes that fended off attempts to settle, usually killing inhabitants and setting houses on fire. When word of the failed attempts reached the King, he called off the colonization in Thapphaya and advised only to colonize on and around Makhaeng.

Thappaya was ignored for the upcoming decennias. The population on Makhaeng grew substantially and the plan was a huge success. King Kue Na eventually passed away in late 1428, and Chet Sun, a relative of Kue Na, took the throne in the same year. Chet Sun was generally more aggressive with colonization and aimed to subdue the natives of Thappaya and add the islands to his growing kingdom. He created a conscript militia which would be transported along with the settlers. He put the plan in motion and landed in Thappaya. The militias would track the natives and often burn their villages to the ground, and continually push them further away inland. Chet Sun's extreme measures appeared to work, and most settlements continued to be safe from natives while the militia drove them further away.

Lan Na would eventually start trading with Ming China and several Indochinese kingdoms. Lan Na also shortly traded with Brunei through the newly settled island of Palawan, but relations eventually detoriated due to the conflicting religions between Brunei and Lan Na. Later on, trade links with Japan and Korea were established, which brought some influences of these countries to Lan Na in terms of administration, food, weaponry, cloth, art, and warfare.

Lanna expansion

The expansion of Lan Na under the rule of Kue Na, Chet Sun, and Pathra Sun

With Thappaya almost fully subjugated in 1457, and the conquest of Chaiyarat yet to be staged, Chet Sun died mid-1457, leaving the conquest and throne to his son, Pathra Sun. Pathra Sun was more like Kue Na, and did not approve of the extreme measures his father took in Thappaya. He did eventually resume the conquest that his father was about to start, but he did not drive away the natives, which were almost just as hostile as the natives of Thappaya. He would compromise with the natives with great effort. Due to this, it toon Pathra Sun far longer to conquer Chaiyarat, with eventually some settlements being destroyed in the beginning. Eventually, in 1481, he had conquered all of Chaiyarat and could now concentrate on settling inland. Two years afterward, in 1483, Pathra Sun eventually died, leaving the throne to his son Chaiya Sun.


European contact

On Easter Sunday, 31 March 1521, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made landfall on the island of Phittaphian in Thappaya, to be the first European to reach the Phillipines. Magellan intended to claim the island for the King of Spain, but was greeted by the local settlers on the island. The Lannese were first very hesistant of treating the explorer, because they had never seen a western man before. They became gradually more acceptive to his presence, and treated him very hospitable. When they learnt his intentions, however, they were considerable less open, and referred him to King Praya Sun instead. Magellan set sail toward Son Ga in the weeks after using Lannese maps, and arrived there on 17 June 1521. Praya Sun was already informed beforehand about his foreign guests, and welcomed them fairly normal. Magellan asked the Praya Sun to cede a few islands to the Kingdom of Spain, and permission to let missionaries convert those that wanted to convert to the fairly alien Christian belief. In exchange, Lan Na would become a full-fledged protectorate of Spain. This was, Spain could acces the spices and resources that were found on the Philippines.

King Praya Sun however, refused Magellan's offer immediately, stating that the Philippines had been the home of the Lannese for only about 150 years, and that they would refuse to give it away. Praya Sun also viewed Christianity as a tool to subjugate the Lannese people in favor of the King of Spain. He instead proposed a trade agreement with Spain, but Spain was not allowed to convert the local population. Magellan painfully agreed to the harsh rejection of his proposal and accepted the proposal of Praya Sun, as it was better than nothing.





World War II

Lan Na held a neutral stance in the pacific theater, but tried to maintain good contact with Japan, which had been an ally and a trading partner for decennias. Like it's northern neighbour, Akitsu, it encountered great pressure from the Japanese government to join the war in the Pacific. Japan threatened with invasions and bombardments due to Lan Na's location being a key position for the Japanese invasion into Indonesia. While Lan Na produced weaponry for Japan in the beginning, the Japanese also began to claim their resources as their Empire grew bigger. Lan Na decided to conscript soldiers into the Royal Army of Lan Na, in an attempt to fend off the Japanese in a possible upcoming invasion of the Philippines.




Lan Na is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). The 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is located between 116° 40', and 126° 34' E. longitude and 4° 40' and 21° 10' N. latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Akitsu is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.

Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Bangoi. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Chaiyarat. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea. The longest river is the Hong River in northern Makhaeng. Son Ga Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Son Ga lies, is connected to Lake Amphoe Talung, the largest lake of Lan Na, by the Kuam River.

1920px-Pana Banaue Rice Terraces

Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Lan Na experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Makhaeng earthquake. There are many active volcanoes such as the Lamong Volcano, Mount Khun Ao, and Chantharat Volcano. The eruption of Mount Khun Ao in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Sahatkhan Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Geothermal energy, however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has harnessed successfully. Lan Na is the world's second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.



Lan Na has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. Temperatures usually range from 21 °C (70 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.

The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Ban Phalai at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers.


Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October, with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Ban Phalai. Nai Khaeht Raawn is the local term for a tropical cyclone in Lan Na.

Climate data for Lan Na
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 147.8
Source: Lannese Institution for Climate and Meteorology


Lan Na's rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically megadiverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in Lan Na including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. Lan Na has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for Lan Na has risen and likely will continue to rise.

Lan Na lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobras, saltwater crocodiles and birds of prey. Other native animals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, and the Lannese tarsier associated with Kariang. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the archipelago, Lannese rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia.

Most-threatened-forests-earth-day-small-island-forests 51891 600x450

Lannese maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life and are an important part of the Coral Triangle. The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively. However, new records and species discoveries continuously increase these numbers underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in Lan Na. The Muban Phonchira Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Lannese waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.


Politics and government



Political parties

Party Leader Senate seats
Royal Party of Lan Na Khae Leeyao 83
Federal Party of Lan Na Kittipoom Ratana 69
Lan Na Socialist Party Saruta Prasongsanti 58
Lannese Green Party Piyatat Yuvaves 22
Lannese National Front Nontawat Boonmee 10
Marxist Party of Lan Na Nipun Chaisurivirat 8


The Lannese passport has been changed to a biometric passport as of 2008 and features a non-contact readable chip. On front is the coat of arms in gold pictured, with "Kingdom of Lan Na" on top in Thai, and underneath in English.

Passport lanna

Lan Na has Visa exemption agreements with the following countries:

LGBT rights

LGBT rights in: Same-sex sexual activity Recognition of same-sex unions Same-sex marriage Same-sex adoption Allows gays to serve openly in military? Anti-discrimination Laws (sexual orientation) Anti-discrimination Laws concerning gender identity/expression
Lanna Lan Na Yes check Legal

(no laws against homosexuality have ever existed)

Yes check Yes check Legal since 2005 Yes check Legal since 2005 Yes check Yes check Bans all anti-gay discrimination, including hate speech Yes check

Administrative division

Lanna regions named

Administrative division of Lan Na


Economic history



Science and technology


In the 50s of the 20th century, Lan Na had begun to develop the infrastructure of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Aroon Nimitwanitch. As Lan Na is an island country, transport between most islands was limited to aviation and boats, which was a great disadvantage for the country's economy, reachability, and defense. Work began from both the islands of Makhaeng and Chaiyarat, with highways being built at first, and the bridges between islands in the late 50s. The project was completed in 1964, after 14 years of continuously building and developing. People were now able to move from the outermost north to the outermost south of the Philippine islands without being limited by various straits. The only islands that remained unconnected were Palawan, Sulu, and the Tanman Islands. Also, various straits that interconnected smaller islands could sometimes not be bridged due to the distance. Because most straits included smaller islets, bridges could be built much easier. This remained until 1987, when the Lannese government decided to cross the straits by using tunnels going under the seabed. These tunnels are served by shuttle trains, which carry cars and passengers back and forth.

The initial plan was to build toll booths and have fares for the shuttletrains, but this idea became very unpopular with the public opinion in Lan Na. So, the government created a tax whereby the owner of one or more cars pays a fixed tax per vehicle. This tax is used to maintain the shuttletrains and let them remain free of charge. Tourists would have to pay a fixed amount of money when renting a car, depending on the number of weeks they stay. The tunnels were all done by 1993, and were opened to public in that same year.

Most national highways consist of 8 lanes; 4 on each side.


Many of these bridges connect the various islands with eachother.

Lanna traffic

The green lines represent the highway system, the blue lines represent the shuttletrain tunnels, the red dot represents the capital city of Son Ga, and the black dots represent major cities.

Lan Na also has an extensive rail system, based on the railway system in Japan. High-speed tracks with trains driving between 250 and 300 km/h connect designated cities with Son Ga, while smaller, regional lines serve the other cities from the designated cities. The railway system also uses designated tracks in the shuttletrain tunnels and on bridges where high-speed trains can ride on. The railway system was constructed upon the completion of the highway system. Building began in 1966 and ended in 1981.



While Northern Thai or Kham Mueang has been the main language in the history of Lan Na, the Thai Language has been used alongside, probably mainly to keep contacts with the different Thai kingdoms on the Indochinese peninsula in the middle ages. About 94% of the population speaks Northern Thai as their main language with Thai language alongside. Thai languages, next to Nothern Thai, are mandatorily taught in schools. Official government documents are written in both languages.

An example of the Northern Thai script at the left, and the Thai script at the right.

Other languages spoken in Lan Na are Tagalog, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Malay. Tagalog has been the language of the native Tagalog people near Son Ga, which have spread over the whole archipelago when other tribes disappeared. Japanese, Chinese, and Korean languages are spoken by immigrants from these countries who are new in Lan Na, or have lived there for generations. These languages, especially Japanese, experience a rise of speakers since the 90s mainly by the youth and young adults, due to the Japanese and Akitian pop culture, and the increasing chance of being hired by a Japanese or Akitian company. Vietnamese has seen been introduced to Lan Na in the 60s and 70s, when groups of Vietnamese people fled for the violence in their countries.

Since the industrial and economical growth of Lan Na, English language has been essential as a key to the western world, and learning English has been encouraged by the Lannese government. English is only mandatory in the primary- and highschool, and is voluntary in college or at the university.


The people from Lan Na have predominantly been Northern Thai or Tai Yuan (ไทยวน), with the minority consisting of ethnic Central Thai (ภาษาไทย or Phasa Thai) and Tagalog (แม่น้ำอยู่อาศัย or Maenaam Yoo-Aasai, rather than ภาษาตากาล็อก in Thailand thai). Ethnic groups from other east asian countries make up even a smaller percentage. Northern Thai are ethnically more related to the Chinese and Shan peoples than the Central Thai are, and do therefore resemble them more. Only a small percentage of the population is mixed with other ethnicies, mostly asian, and an even smaller percentage is mixed with western ethnicies. These people are often called Thai Khreung or ไทยครึ่ง.


A Northern Thai girl.


While Lan Na has freedom of religion, the official religion is Theravada Buddhism and about 85.6% of the population follows the religion. About 10.3% irrelegious, 3,7% Hinduist, 0,1% Catholic, and 0,3% follow other beliefs.


Moeang Fang temple near Wa Ngam city.

Religion in Lan Na
Religions percentage



Lannese culture has been heavily influenced by Chinese, Thai, and Shan cultures, while Tagalog culture plays a minor role in Lannese culture. Buddhism has been the foundation of the Lannese culture and mostly remains that foundation into the current day.





Military, Police force, and Foreign policy


Lan Na maintains a full-time, professional army called the Lan Na Armed Forces, consisting of the Royal Army of Lan Na, Royal Navy of Lan Na, Royal Airforce of Lan Na, Royal Guard of Lan Na, Royal Marines of Lan Na, and the Special Forces of Lan Na. Lan Na has an active force of 180,000 and a reserve force of about 340,000. The Lan Na Armed Forces exist on a voluntary basis and has an active military age of 18 - 50.

Lannese army 1

The Royal Army of Lan Na during a military exercise in 2012

The Lan Na Armed Forces has been founded in 1888, when the Constitution of Lan Na was adopted. The armed forces are mainly focused on homeland defense due to the fact that the forces have to cover a multitude of islands, and have participated in international conflict for only a few times. Each island an region has one or more military bases and installations, and every province has a provincial headquarter. The national headquarters for the Lan Na Armed Forces is located in Son Ga.

Police force

The Police force in Lan Na consists of the Royal Police of Lan Na, Special Police of Lan Na, and the Lannese Tactical Police Force, and was formed in 1888 when the Constitution of Lan Na was adopted. The Police force and Armed forces of Lan Na are independent of eachother, but do co-operate on many levels. Also, the Armed forces may be called in during great civil unrest. The police force also maintains a full-time special Gurkha contigent. Gurkhas that are accepted, are also given a permanent residence in Lan Na and may bring their family over.

Lannese police 1

Lannese police in standard uniform

Lannese gurkha contigent 1

Lannese Gurkha contigent

Due to the increase of tourism, international investments, and international co-operation, police officers are encouraged to learn the English language and special programs have been set up for this cause.

Foreign policy

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