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Encyclopedia > Mekong Valley
View of the Mekong before the sunset
View of the Mekong before the sunset

The Mekong is one of the world's major rivers. It is the 12th-longest in the world, and the 10th-largest by volume (discharging 475 km³ of water annually). It drains an area of 795,000 km²: From Tibet it runs through China's Yunnan province, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. All except China and Myanmar belong to the Mekong River Commission. The extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of rapids and waterfalls have made navigation extremely difficult. View of the Mekong before the sunset. ... View of the Mekong before the sunset. ... The Murray River in Australia. ... Tibet (Tibetan: བོད་, Bod, pronounced pö in Lhasa dialect; Chinese: 西藏, pinyin: XÄ«zàng; older spelling Thibet) is a region in Central Asia and the home of the Tibetan people. ... Yunnan (Simplified Chinese: 云南; Traditional Chinese: 雲南; pinyin: ) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the far southwestern corner of the country. ... The Mekong River Commission (MRC) is an intergovernment body charged to promote and co-ordinate sustainable management and development of water and related resources for the countries mutual benefit and the peoples well-being by implementing strategic programmes and activities and providing scientific information and policy advice. ... For other meanings, see Rapid (disambiguation). ... A Massapequa (NY) waterfall Tower Fall in Yellowstone National Park A waterfall is usually a geological formation resulting from water, often in the form of a stream, flowing over an erosion-resistant rock formation that forms a sudden break in elevation. ... There are several traditions of navigation. ...

Contents


Course

Mekong River Delta from space, February 1996 (south is at the top)
Mekong River Delta from space, February 1996 (south is at the top)

The river's source, and therefore its exact length, is uncertain, due to the existence of several tributaries in an inaccessible environment. Chinese researchers believe that the source is located in the Jifu Mountains in Zaduo County, Yushu Tibet Autonomous Prefecture of northwest China's Qinghai Province, which is some 5,200 meters above sea level. An earlier expedition, led by Michel Peissel, placed the source at the head of the Rupsa-La pass (further west, at an altitude of 4975 meters). Figures for the river's total length therefore vary between 4350 and 4909 km. Download high resolution version (639x639, 109 KB)Mekong River Delta, Vietnam - February 1996 image description here File links The following pages link to this file: Mekong Mekong Delta Categories: NASA images ... Download high resolution version (639x639, 109 KB)Mekong River Delta, Vietnam - February 1996 image description here File links The following pages link to this file: Mekong Mekong Delta Categories: NASA images ... A tributary (or affluent or confluent) is a contributory stream, a river that does not reach the sea, but joins another major river (a parent river), to which it contributes its waters, swelling its discharge. ... Qinghai (Chinese: 青海; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ching-hai; Postal System Pinyin: Tsinghai) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, named after the enormous Qinghai Lake (Koko Nor). ...


Approximately half the river's length is in China, where it is called the Dza Chu in Tibetan in its upper course in Tibet, and more generally the Lancang in Chinese (澜沧江; pinyin Láncāng Jiāng; Wade-Giles Lan-ts'ang Chiang), meaning the "turbulent river". Much of this stretch consists of deep gorges, and the river leaves China at an altitude of only 500 meters. Pinyin (拼音, pÄ«nyÄ«n) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to HànyÇ” PÄ«nyÄ«n (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonemic notation and transcription to Roman script) for Standard Mandarin. ... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Grand Canyon, Arizona A canyon, or gorge, is a valley walled by cliffs. ...


The river next forms the border between Myanmar and Laos for 200 km, at the end of which it meets the tributary Ruak River at the Golden Triangle. This point also marks the division between the Upper and Lower Mekong. A tributary (or affluent or confluent) is a contributory stream, a river that does not reach the sea, but joins another major river (a parent river), to which it contributes its waters, swelling its discharge. ... The Golden Triangle can refer to: The Golden Triangle is one of Asia’s two main illicit opium-producing (opium) areas. ...


The river then divides Laos and Thailand, before a stretch passing through Laos alone. It is known as Mènam Khong in both Lao and Thai (แม่น้ำโขง). The Lao stretch is characterised by gorges, rapids and depths of as little as half a meter in the dry season. It widens south of Luang Prabang, where it has been known to flood to 4 km in width and reach 100 meters in depth, although its course remains extremely inconsistent. The endangered Giant Mekong Catfish was traditionally caught in this region once yearly, following auspicious rites officiated by the quondam royal family. For other meanings, see Rapid (disambiguation). ... Royal palace museum of Luang Prabang. ... Binomial name Pangasius gigas Chevey, 1931 The Giant Mekong Catfish (Pangasius gigas (Chevey 1931), formerly Pangasianodon, also known as Pangasius paucidens (Fang & Chaux 1949)) is one of the largest (by weight) freshwater fish in the world. ...


The river again marks the Lao-Thai border in the stretch which passes Vientiane, followed by a short stretch through Laos alone. This includes the Si Phan Don (four thousand islands) region above the Khone Falls near the Cambodian border, where endangered dolphins can be viewed. The falls are all but impassable to river traffic. Pha That Luang temple. ... The Khone Falls is a waterfall on the Mekong River in Laos in the Ban Hang Khone province near its border with Cambodia. ...


In Cambodia, the river is called the Mékôngk or Tonle Thom (great river). The Sambor rapids above Kratie are the last to impede navigation. Just above Phnom Penh is the confluence with the Tonle Sap, the main Cambodian tributary. Below Phnom Penh, it divides into the Bassac and the Mekong proper, which both flow into the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, near Ho Chi Minh City. In Vietnamese it is the Sông Lớn (great river), Cửu Long (nine dragons river) or Mê Kông. Categories: Southeast Asia geography stubs | Provinces of Cambodia ... City motto: No motto City proper Province Phnom Penh Mayor Kep Chuktema ( ) Area 290 km² Population 862,000 Density 3446. ... NASA satellite image of the Tonle Sap (the Great Lake) The Tonlé Sap (meaning Large Fresh Water River but more commonly translated as Great Lake) is a combined lake and river system of huge importance to Cambodia. ... Mekong River Delta from space, February 1996 The Mekong Delta is the region in Southeast Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. ... Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành Chí Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam, located near the delta of the Mekong River. ...


About 90 million people rely on the river.


History

A map of 1715, incorrectly showing the Chao Praya river as a branch of the Mekong
A map of 1715, incorrectly showing the Chao Praya river as a branch of the Mekong
The members of the French Mekong Expedition of 1866
The members of the French Mekong Expedition of 1866

The difficulty of navigating the river has meant that it has divided, rather than united, the people who live near it. The earliest known civilisation was the 1st century Indianised Malay culture of Funan, in the Mekong Delta. Excavations at Oc Eo, near modern Rach Gia, have found coins from as far away as the Roman Empire. This was succeeded by the Khmer Chenla state by around the 5th century. The Khmer empire of Angkor was the last great Indianized state in the region. From around the time of the fall of the Khmer empire, the Mekong was the frontline between the emergent states of Siam and Vietnam, with Laos and Cambodia torn between their influence. Download high resolution version (500x700, 53 KB)Scan by User:Markalexander100 of 1715 map in Description de lunivers, incorrectly showing the Chao Praya river as a branch of the Mekong. ... Download high resolution version (500x700, 53 KB)Scan by User:Markalexander100 of 1715 map in Description de lunivers, incorrectly showing the Chao Praya river as a branch of the Mekong. ... Download high resolution version (1000x500, 86 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (1000x500, 86 KB) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... (1st century BC - 1st century - 2nd century - other centuries) The 1st century was that century which lasted from 1 to 100. ... ... Malays (Dutch, Malayo, ultimately from Malay: Melayu) are a diverse group of people living in the Malay archipelago and Malay peninsula in South East Asia. ... Funan was the pre-southern Chinese inhabitant in SEA (the Mongoloid-southern Chinese), which is today became Thai-Lao-and Vietnam. ... The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ... Khmer can refer to, the: Khmer people, the ethnic group to which the great majority of Cambodians belong to Khmer language Khmer script Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Indochina from the 9th to the 13th centuries. ... Chenla was an early kingdom of Cambodia. ... // Events Romulus Augustus, Last Western Roman Emperor Rome sacked by Visigoths in 410. ... The Khmer empire was a powerful kingdom based in what is now Cambodia. ... Angkor was the site of a series of capital cities of the Khmer empire for much of the period from the 9th century to the 15th century CE. Their ruins (13°24N, 103°51E) are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonle... For the country formerly called Siam see Thailand SIAM is an acronym for Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. ...


The first European to discover the Mekong was the Portuguese Antonio de Faria in 1540; a European map of 1563 depicts the river, although even by then little was known of the river upstream of the delta. European interest was sporadic: the Spaniards and Portuguese mounted some missionary and trade expeditions, while the Dutch Gerrit van Wuysthoff led an expedition up the river as far as Vientiane in 1641-42. World map showing location of Europe When considered a continent, Europe is the worlds second smallest continent in terms of area, with an area of 10,600,000 km² (4,140,625 square miles), making it larger than Australia only. ... Events January 6 - King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves, his fourth Queen consort. ... Events February 1 - Sarsa Dengel succeeds his father Menas as Emperor of Ethiopia February 18 - The Duke of Guise is assassinated while besieging Orléans March - Peace of Amboise. ...


The French took a serious interest in the region in the mid-19th century, capturing Saigon in 1861, and establishing a protectorate over Cambodia in 1863. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh) is the largest city in Vietnam and, as Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn), was the capital of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1976. ...


The first systematic exploration began with the French Mekong Expedition led by Ernest Doudard de Lagrée and Francis Garnier, which ascended the river from its mouth to Yunnan between 1866 to 1868. Their chief finding was that the Mekong had too many falls and rapids to ever be useful for navigation. The river's source was located by Pyotr Kuzmich Kozlov in 1900. Ernest Doudart de Lagrée, from Voyage dexploration en Indo-Chine Ernest Marc Louis de Gonzague Doudart de Lagrée (March 31, 1823 - March 12, 1868) was the leader of the French Mekong Expedition of 1866-1868. ... Francis Garnier on a 1943 stamp of Indochina Marie Joseph François (Francis) Garnier (25 July 1839 - 21 December 1873) was a French officer and explorer known for his exploration of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. ... Yunnan (Simplified Chinese: 云南; Traditional Chinese: 雲南; pinyin: ) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the far southwestern corner of the country. ... 1866 is a common year starting on Monday. ... 1868 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... There are several traditions of navigation. ... Pyotr Kuzmich Kozlov (October 3, 1863 near Smolensk - September 26, 1935, Peterhof) was a Russian explorer who continued the studies of Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskiy in Mongolia and Tibet. ... 1900 is a common year starting on Monday. ...


From 1893, the French extended their control of the river into Laos, establishing French Indochina by the first decade of the 20th century. This lasted until the First and Second Indochina Wars ended French and American involvement in the region. French Indochina was a federation of French colonies and protectorates in Southeast Asia, part of the French colonial empire. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... The First Indochina War (also called the French Indochina War) was fought in Southeast Asia from 1946 through 1954 between the nation of France and the resistance movement led by Ho Chi Minh, called the Viet Minh. ... The Vietnam War or Second Indochina War was a conflict between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN, or North Vietnam), allied with the National Liberation Front (NLF, or Viet Cong) against the Republic of Vietnam (RVN, or South Vietnam), and their allies—notably the United States military in support of...


After the Vietnam War, the tensions between the US-backed Thai government and the new Communist governments in the other countries prevented co-operation on utilisation of the river. Communism - Wikipedia /**/ @import /w/skins-1. ...


The story of the film Apocalypse Now is based around a fictional journey up the Mekong River into Cambodia. The film uses the journey up the river as a metaphor for a journey into the darkness of humanity. Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script by John Milius (rewritten by Coppola) which was inspired by Joseph Conrads classic novella Heart of Darkness. ...


Issues

The two most controversial current issues are the building of dams and the blasting of rapids. Scrivener Dam, Canberra Australia, was engineered to withstand a once-in-5000-years flood event A dam is a barrier across flowing water that obstructs, directs or retards the flow, often creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment. ...


A number of dams have already been built on the river's tributaries, notably the Pak Mun dam in Thailand. This has been criticised on grounds of cost as well as damage to the environment and to the livelihoods of affected villagers. The Pak Mun dam is located 5. ...


China is engaged in an extensive program of dam-building on the river itself: it has already completed one at Manwan, a second is under construction at Dachaoshan, and another twelve are under consideration. It is widely feared that these will prevent sediment from flowing, which would seriously harm agriculture and fishing downstream. The evening out of seasonal fluctuations in water volume could affect the Tonle Sap, which depends on this differential. NASA satellite image of the Tonle Sap (the Great Lake) The Tonlé Sap (meaning Large Fresh Water River but more commonly translated as Great Lake) is a combined lake and river system of huge importance to Cambodia. ...


Dams are also planned by the Cambodian and Lao governments. Some groups oppose them.


The Chinese government has also carried out work clearing rocks and sandbars from its stretch of the river, in order to aid navigation, and it has encouraged Laos to do the same. Environmentalists fear that this will mean an increased flow of water, which in turn would cause increased erosion, as well as damaging fish stocks. Look up Erosion on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Severe soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University, USA. Erosion is the displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock, and so forth) by the agents of wind, water, ice, movement in response to gravity, or living organisms (in the case...


Unusual Phenomena

Balls of light are observable from time to time rising from the water's surface in the stretch of the river near Vientiane or Nong Khai. These are sometimes referred to as Naga fireballs. The locals attribute the phenomenon to Phaya Naga, Mekong Dragons. Pha That Luang temple. ... Nong Khai (หนองคาย) is a city in North-East Thailand, capital of the Nong Khai province. ... The Naga fireballs (Thai บั้งไฟพญานาค, bangfai payanak) are a phenomenon seen in Nong Khai province, Isan, Thailand and Laos, in which glowing balls rise from the Mekong river. ... Photograph circulated in Laos supposedly depicting a phaya naga captured in Laos by U.S. servicemen in 1968 The Phaya Naga or Naga are serpent-like creatures believed by locals to live in the Laotian stretch of the Mekong river. ...


According to researchers the river houses more species of giant fish than any world river[1], most notably the Giant Mekong Catfish. Binomial name Pangasius gigas Chevey, 1931 The Giant Mekong Catfish (Pangasius gigas (Chevey 1931), formerly Pangasianodon, also known as Pangasius paucidens (Fang & Chaux 1949)) is one of the largest (by weight) freshwater fish in the world. ...


The low tide level of the river in Cambodia is lower than the high tide level out at see, and the flow of the Mekong inverts with the tides throughout its stretch in Vietnam and up to Phnom Penh. The very flat Mekong Delta area in Vietnam is thus prone to flooding, especially in the provinces of An Giang and Dong Thap (Đồng Tháp), near the Cambodian border. Mekong River Delta from space, February 1996 The Mekong Delta is the region in Southeast Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. ...


References

  • Milton Osborne. 1976. River Road to China: The Mekong River Expedition 1866-1873. George Allen & Unwin.
  • Milton Osborne. 2000. The Mekong, Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future Atlantic Monthly Press, New York. ISBN 0871138069

External links

  • Outline of the Mekong River
  • Locating the source of the Mekong
  • Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, Singapore "China in the Mekong River Basin: The Regional Security Implications of Resource Development on the Lancang Jiang" by Evelyn Goh, Working Paper No. 69
  • Mouth to Source Follow The Mekong, in QuickTime VR, from the mouth in Viet Nam to the border with China in Northern Laos

  Results from FactBites:
 
Muang Sua - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (862 words)
In the second half of the eighth century, Nanzhao intervened frequently in the affairs of the principalities of the middle Mekong Valley, resulting in the occupation of Muang Sua in 709.
Chanthaphanit, the local ruler of Sayfong, moved north to Muang Sua and was accepted peacefully as ruler after the departure of the Nanzhao administrators.
Lan Xang extended from the border of China to Sambor below the Mekong rapids at Khong Island and from the Vietnamese border to the western escarpment of the Khorat Plateau.
Laos - Power Centers in the Middle Mekong Valley (762 words)
In the seventh century, a northwesterly migration of Thais from their region of origin in northwestern Tonkin brought to the Ta-li region in what is present-day Yunnan, China, a successor state to the Ai Lao kingdom.
In the second half of the eighth century, Nan-chao intervened frequently in the affairs of the principalities of the middle Mekong Valley, resulting in the occupation of Muang Sua in 709.
Canthaphanit, the local ruler of Xay Fong, moved north to Muang Sua and was accepted peacefully as ruler after the departure of the Nan-chao administrators.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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