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Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand with a population of almost 1,000,000), was the capital (1296-1768) of the former kingdom of Lan Na, which became the tributary kingdom of Chiang Mai (1774-1899) and then the seat of a merely ceremonial prince until 1939. It was founded in 1296 by chao (king) Mengrai on the site of an older city of the Lawa people called Wiang Nopburi; its name means "new city" and was chosen when it replaced Chiang Rai as the Lan Na capital (founded in 1262). The city was occupied by Nawrahta Minsaw (known as Saravadi in Thai) in 1556, and the Burmese remained in charge until king Taksin of Siam helped expel them, whereupon chao Kavila recognized Thai suzereinty; however, due to continued Burmese attacks the city was abandoned between 1776 and 1791.
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