See also: Lancang
The Mekong is a Fleuve of Southeast Asia, the fourth river of the Asia by the flow - after the Yangzi Jiang, Gange-Bramahpoutre and Ienissei - and the tenth of the world, its flow being of 475 km water per annum. The figures concerning its length vary: 4350 with: 4909 km, setting up it 10th, and its catchment area drains: 810000 km ².
Born in the Eastern Tibet (on the heights of the the Himalayas), Mekong sprinkles successively the China (the province of the Yunnan), the Myanmar, the Laos, the Thailand, the Kampuchea and the Vietnam.
Approximately 70 million inhabitants lives directly in his Bassin pouring, located on countries adding up 242 million inhabitants. It is in particular used for the Irrigation, like receptacle of systems of drainage and waste water, for the fishing and the Pisciculture, the hydroelectric production (thanks to the Barrage S like that with the Yunnan), the water transport and supply for industry and the private individuals. It is also known for its floating dwellings and markets.
An international commission is devoted to a management transrégionale conflicts and problems involved in the river, from the point of view posted for Sustainable development signed by the Thailand, the Laos, the Kampuchea and the Vietnam.
NamesThe river in the beginning is called Mae Nam Khong by the ethnos group Taï, distributed in all the basin; to shorten, they say Mae Khong , meaning Mother of all the rivers or Kong river . This name was adopted by the Chinese, who modified a little the pronunciation, which gives Méigông He (zh 湄公河); the name is redundant, meaning River Kong river , redundancy which exists in almost all the languages today.
For most of its length in China it is called the river Lancang (Chinese simplified: zh 澜沧江, traditional Chinese: zh 瀾滄江, pinyin: Láncâng Jiâng ), meaning turbulent river (all the river, including the part in Southeast Asia, is called Meigong (Chinese simplified: zh 湄公河, pinyin: Méigōng He )), and with the Tibet Dza-chu (zh 扎曲, Pinyin Zá Qū ). In Burmese it is called Mae Khaung, in Thai Mae Nam Khong (HT แม่น้ำโขง), in lao Mènam Khong (lo ແມ່ນ້ຳຂອງ), in Khmer Mékôngk or Tonle Thom ( large river ), and in Vietnamese VI Cửu Long Giang (for the section running in the country), or VI Me Kông (in entirety).
In Thai kong (HT โขง) is a species of Crocodile; some think that this word evolved/moved from kod (HT คค) or kong (HT โค้ง), being both of the adjectives to describe the meanders and curves of a river or a road.
GeographyThe source river, and thus its final length, is unknown because of the existence of several affluents in a difficult environment of access (very broken ground). The estimates go from: 4350 with: 4909 km.
According to the statement of the Clouded Science Exploration Association , the source is Lasagongma , located at an altitude of: 5224 meters. It is on the Guozongmucha mount in the province of Qinghai and off forms Zayaqu, recognized by the Chinese Academy Sciences like the source of Mekong. An older forwarding carried out by Michel Peissel had identified Zanaqu, more in the west with the collar Rupsa it (: 4975 m), like source of Mekong.
About half the overall length runs in China, where this section of the river is called turbulent river because of its throats and chasms. It leaves the country at an altitude from only 500 Mr.
The river forms then the river Frontière between Myanmar and Laos on 200 km, at the end of which it joined its affluent the Ruak with the Triangle of gold. This place marks also the separation top and low Mékongs.
The river then divides Laos of Thailand before starting a section running only in Laos which is characterized by throats, rapids and a depth of hardly a half-meter during the dry season. It is extended to the south of Luang Prabang, where it has flooded the area up to 100 meters of depth and on a radius of 4 km; its course is very variable. Famous the giant Siluriforme of Mekong was traditionally fished in this area once per annum, following rites establish by the royal family.
The river becomes again the border between Laos and Thailand in the section which passes close to Vientiane (capital of the first), and passes by again then only in Laos, where it forms the area of If Phan Don ( four thousand islands ) before the Falls of Khone close to the border with Kampuchea. One can see there Dauphin S of fresh water in danger of extinction. The falls of Khone are practically not navigable.
To Kampuchea the river passes by the rapids of Sambor above Kracheh, the last falls to prohibit navigation. Right before Phnom Penh, the capital of Kampuchea, is located the junction with the Tonle Sap, its most important affluent in this country. After the capital it is divided into two, the Bassac and Mekong itself; they finish both in the Mekong delta.
In Vietnam the river is divided into two principal branches which are called the VI Tiền Giang ( river with the front one ) and the VI Hậu Giang ( river with the back ); those enter at sea from southernmost China by nine estuaries, thus explaining the Vietnamese name for the river, VI Sông Cửu Long ( river of nine dragons ).
Approximately 90 million people depends on the river. The area in which they live, the under-area of the Large Mekong, includes Yunnan in China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Kampuchea and Vietnam. The principal production of the area is the Riziculture; approximately: 140000 km ² of rice are cultivated there. A great number of varieties of rice is cultivated there. Approximately: 100000 cultivars of the Rice Gene Bank of the International Rice Research Institute , approximately: 40000 come from the area.
- Tonle Sap
Mekong separates with Phnom Penh (Kampuchea) in two branches: Mekong itself and Bassac. The two branches run out towards Vietnam or they ramify and form a dense hydraulic network whose current is reduced and who alluvionne, forming in Vietnam a very fertile, very rich pole of agricultural production and in particular rice delta.
The Mekong delta covers: 55000 km ² and lodges 18 million inhabitants. Its main cities are Can Tho ( Cần Thơ ), Chau Doc. ( Châu Đốc ), My Tho ( Mỹ Tho ).
Hydrographic networkWhile arriving to Vietnam, Mekong takes the name of Long Cuu ( VI Long Cửu , nine dragons), supposed to represent the nine branches which are thrown at sea of southernmost China.
In practice, at the beginning of the 21e century, the delta comprises four great rivers:
- Bassac ( VI Hậu Giang , or second river), which carries a big part of the flow of Mekong, and which passes to Can Tho ( VI Cần Thơ );
- Tien Giang ( VI Tiền Giang , or first river), which takes several names along its course, of which Song Ho ( VI Sông Hổ , the river tiger), in the area of Dong Thap ( VI Đồng Tháp ), and who also separates him in several branches, of West in East:
- the river Co Dog ( VI Cổ Dog ), at the town of Long Vinh ( VI Long Vĩnh );
- the river Ham Luong ( VI Hàm Luông ), which crosses the province of Ben Tre ( VI Bến Tre );
- the river My Tho ( VI Sông Mỹ Tho ).
The amplitude of the tides is very important in the Mekong delta, which has a very weak slope. The high tide in southernmost China Sea is generally higher than the low tide on Mekong in Kampuchea, and thus the current is reversed almost with each cycle of tide.
Medium flow of Mekong east about: 15000 m ³ /s, but its peak output, with downward tide, can reach ten times the average in period of raw (October). With rising tide, the salted corner can go up Mekong up to sixty kilometers of the mouth.
This cyclic inversion of the current is accompanied by intense aggradation, which takes part in the fertilization of the ground and fact of the Mekong delta the “attic with rice” of Vietnam.
HistoryDifficult navigation on river implies that this one separates the people from the area instead of linking them.
The known oldest establishments go back to approximately 2100 av. J. - C., with Ban Chiang, excel example of the traces of the Âge of iron. The first known civilization of the area is the indianized culture khmère of Insane-nan, in the Mekong delta. Excavations led to Oc Eo, close to the modern city of Year Giang, updated coins of the Roman Empire, between other civilizations of the time.
Civilization Insane-nan is followed by that, khmère, of Chenla, around the 5th century. The Khmer empire of Angkor was the last great state indianized of the area. As of the fall of this empire, Mekong becomes the border between the emergent states of Siam and Tonkin; the Laos and the Kampuchea are ballottés between these two great capacities.
The European first to see Mekong was the Portuguese Antonio de Faria in 1540; a European chart going back to 1563 watch the river, although at that time one knew it very little beyond the delta. The interest of Europeans on the river is sporadic: the Spanish and the Portuguese made some forwardings of exploration and sent missionaries to it, while the Dutch Gerrit van Wuysthoff carried out a forwarding on the river until Vientiane in 1641 - 1642.
The first systematic explorations are those of the French Expédition of Mekong, carried out by Ernest Doudart de Lagrée and Francis Garnier, which assembled the river since its mouth until the Yunnan between 1866 and 1868. Their principal conclusion was that Mekong had too many rapids and jumps to be navigable. The source of the river was found by the Russian Pyotr Kozlov in 1900.
As of 1893, the French extend their control of the river to Laos, establishing the French Indo-China as of the first decade of the 20th century. This situation will last until the wars of of Indo-China and the Vietnam put an end to French control and American on the area.
After the end of the war of Vietnam, the tension between the Thai government (which had the support of the US government), and the new communist governments of the countries of the area prevented the co-operation in the use of the river.
The Pont of the friendship lao-inhabitant of Thailand binds the towns of Nong Khai and Vientiane. Length of: 1170 meters, the Pont comprises two 3,5 m broad ways each one and an incomplete railway in the medium. March 20th, 2004 the governments Thai and lao agreed to extend the railway to the lao city of Tha Nalaeng.
The Second bridge of the friendship lao-inhabitant of Thailand binds Mukhadan to Savannakhet. It measures: 1600 meters length and 12 broad and comprises two ways. It is opened with the public since January 9th, 2007.
There exists a third bridge, nonfrontier, in Laos. It measures: 1380 meters and was completed in 2000. Kampuchea has a two-track bridge close to Kompong Cham on the road connecting Phnom Penh with the provinces isolated from Rattanakiri and Mondolkiri, and further Laos. High Mekong, in China, is also crossed by several bridges.
The two most discussed subjects are those of the construction of Barrage S and the destruction of jumps.
Several stoppings were already built on affluents of the rivers, in particular that of Pak Mun in Thailand. It is a strategy criticized on the level of the cost like because of the damage inflicted with the environment and to the villagers.
China has a great project of construction of stoppings on the river; was already built in Manwan, and second is in the course of construction with Dachaoshan. Twelve others are being studied.
Kampuchea, country devastated by the war, is completely depend on the river to nourish its inhabitants and to carry out his economy. The annual Inondation S provide water, if invaluable in a dry country, and fill the lake Tonle Sap. All the principal cities of the country are prone to the floods. The Commission on Mekong showed China not to be concerned with its neighbors downstream with its projects of stoppings on the river. Since the construction of the first Chinese stopping, much of species are in danger of extinction, whose Dauphin and Lamantin of Mekong, the level of the river dropped, the fished fish are smaller and fewer, the port of Chiang Rai functions with a quarter of its normal activity, and navigation between Chiang Rai and Luang Prabang lasts two days because of the insufficient water level.
The new stoppings being studied will once have an impact even more negative on the river completed construction. All the countries downstream will suffer from a increased Pollution (due to the development and the weak application of the laws concerning pollution in China). The Pesticide S and heavy industry will pollute the reserves of vivres and will encourage the efflorescences algales Organophosphate S of the Agriculture, driving with invasions of Eichhornia . They also will block the migrations of fish species.
Other problems emerge: too strong currents at certain places while China destroys rocks, sand banks and throats and slows down water by containing it between stoppings to flood section after section. The inhabitants of the area will be moved. Kampuchea is the country more at the risk, dependant on currents and quite precise floods; one fears Famine S there, as that which would have decimated the civilization of Angkor 700 years ago. All the big cities of Laos are on the river, as well as largest and important city of Vietnam, Ho-Chi-Minh-City, which will be affected by the insufficient currents and pollution.
OtherOne can observe balls light to assemble surface of the river close to Vientiane and Nong Khai; they are sometimes called the Fireballs of Naga . The natives allot this phenomenon to the Phaya Naga, the dragon S of the river.
The river would shelter more species of giant fish than no one another river, in particular the giant catfishes of Mekong.
The level of the low tidal river in Kampuchea is lower than the high tide at sea. The currents of Mekong are reversed with the tides over its length in Vietnam and until Phnom Penh. The very flat Mekong delta in Vietnam east thus very sensitive to the floods, in particular provinces of Year Giang and Dong Thap, close to the border with Kampuchea.
- List of rivers in the world
- Mekong and international law: selective bibliography, Library of the Palate of Peace
- '' Outline off the Mekong To rivet ''
- a multinational forwarding recalling the steps of the French forwarding of 1866
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