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 Udon History

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PostSubject: Udon History   Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:53 pm

Udon Thani first marked its name in the Bangkok era's history when Anuwong staged an uprising and marched the Laotians' troops to Nakhon Ratchasrima during 1826 to 1828. Met with fierce resistance from the local troops led by Lady Mo, wife to Nakhon Ratchasrima Governor, Anuwong was forced to move the troops back to Nongbua Lampoo, the city close to the present-day Udon Thani, and the Laotians eventually lost to Siam’s troops and the local Nongbua Lampoo’s militia.

Formerly known as Ban Mak-kaeng, Udon Thani was first settled as a military base led by Prince Prachak to crack down on minority uprising in then north eastern state of Lao Puan. Ban Mak-kaeng has evolved from a rural city eventually into what is known as the present-day Udon Thani, literally the northern city.

The province is most famous for the archeological site Ban Chiang with its remains of the Bronze age dating 3400-7500 BC, located in what is now a hamlet about 85 miles east of Udon.

Udon is one of the more bustling markets for agricultural goods in the relatively dry northeast of Thailand, and received its biggest economic boost in the 1960s when the US built the Udon Royal Thai Air Force Base as a joint-force military base during the Vietnam War.

Udon Thani was also the largest base in the region for CIA's anti-communism campaign.

The U.S. turned the base over to the Thai military in 1976, but there were three significant after effects of the base's US presence. First, a number of the local population in the area, were paid well and learned English, which helped them become more marketable to the outside world (a significant percentage of the more educated group now work in the Middle East oilfields). Second, the base created ties, including a US Consulate in Udon which was closed in 1995, and a VFW (veterans of foreign wars) Post. Finally, the base and the consulate caused the city to be viewed as a regional hub, and this impression has continued, in some respects.

In recent years the province population has grown to 1.6 million, and received international attention due to the discovery of a large potash deposit in the area,as well as natural gas.

Some anticipate that the region will become a major exporter of the discoveries. The expedition process of gaining licensee has been substantially delayed due to public opposition to the discoveries.

Many of the occupants who live directly above the proposed sites have expressed concern that the company and its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) have not adequately addressed concerns of desalinization of groundwater and soil or land subsidence.

Both would threaten the economic stability of local communities that rely primarily on income derived from rice farming.
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