Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province, and was a former capital of the Kingdom of Lanna (1296–176, which became a tributary state of the Kingdom of Chiang Mai from 1774–1939. It is 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok, among the highest mountains in the country. The city sits astride the Ping River, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River. Chiang Mai means "new city" and was so-named because it became the new capital of the Lanna kingdom when it was founded in 1296, succeeding Chiang Rai, the former capital founded in 1262.
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