Lān Nā was not a single country. It consisted of several countries much as a modern country is made up of districts or partly self-governing states. The basic unit was a settlement called bān "village" (modern Thai: "house"), often a cluster of houses belonging to one family. The leader of the village was the senior relative or otherwise locally elected. A number of villages formed a district, pan nā "1,000 paddy fields". An important village could be fortified by a rampart and a moat; such a settlement was called a wiang "town". If a town was inhabited by senior royalty, the wiang was called a chiang "city". Several ban with a wiang or a chiang formed a müang "country; city state". A müang was an area bordered by hills. Beyond the hills would be another müang.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Lan Na administrative structure
An excerpt from the article A brief history of Lān Nā by Hans Penth (in: Regions and National Integration in Thailand, 1892-1992) - not be confused with the same-titled book by the same author.