City (pop., 2003 est.: city, 194,200; 2005 est.: urban agglom., 702,000), capital of Laos. It is located northeast of the Mekong River. Founded in the late 13th century, it was made the administrative centre of an early Laotian kingdom in the mid-16th century. In 1778 it came under Siamese (Thai) control; in 1828 it was destroyed when the Laotian king revolted against the Siamese. The French made it the capital of their colony on their takeover of the region in the 1890s; it remained the administrative centre after Laos gained independence in 1953. It is the commercial centre of the region and Laos's principal port of entry.