Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Songkhla (Thai สงขลา) is the one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from east clockwise) Satun, Phattalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani and Yala. To the south it borders Malaysia.
In contrast to the other provinces the capital Songkhla is not the biggest city in the province - Hat Yai with a population of 194,000 is twice as big as Songkhla. This often leads to the misconception that Hat Yai is the capital.
In the north of the province is the Songkhla lake, the biggest natural lake in Thailand. This shallow lake covers an area of 1,040 km², and has a south-north extent of 78 kilometers. At its mouth on the Gulf of Thailand near the city of Songkhla the water becomes brackish. A small population of Irrawaddy Dolphins live in the lake, but is in danger of extinction from bycatch by the local fishing industry.
Two national parks are located in the province. San Kala Khiri covers 214 km² of mountain highlands at the Thai-Malay border; Khao Nam Khang , also located at the boundary mountains, includes shelters of Chinese Communists guerilla until the 1980s.
Songkhla or in its correct Malay form Singgora was the seat of an old Malay Kingdom with heavy Srivijayan influence. In ancient times (200 - 1400 AD), Songkhla formed the northern extent of the old Malay Kingdom of Langkasuka. The city-state became a tributary of Nakhon Si Thammarat, suffering destructions at attempts to gain independence several times. Since the 18th century it has been firmly under Thai suzerainty.
In 18th century many Chinese immigrants, especially from Guangdong and Fujian, came to the province. Quickly rising to economic wealth, one of them won the bidding of the major tax farm of the province in 1769, establishing the Na Songkhla family as the most wealthy and influential one. In 1777 the family also gained political power, when the old governor was dismissed and Luang Inthakhiri (Yiang, Chinese name Wu Rang (呉譲)) became the new governor. In 1786 the old governor started an uprising, which was however put down after four months. The post was inherited in the family and held by 8 of his descendends until 1901, when Phraya Wichiankhiri (Chom) was honorably retired as part of the administrative reforms of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. The family's house is now used as the Songkhla National Museum.
|The provincial seal shows a conch shell on a tray with glass decorations. The origin of the conch shell is unclear, but the most widely adopted interpretation is that it was a decoration on the jacket of the Prince of Songkhla.
The provincial tree is the Sa-dao-thiam (Azadirachta excelsa ).
Songkhla is subdivided into 16 districts (Amphoe), which are further subdivided into 127 communes (tambon) and 987 villages (mubaan). The districts of Chana (Chenok in Malay), Thepa (Tiba), and Saba Yoi (Sebayu) were detached from Pattani and transferred to Songkhla in recent times by the Thai government.
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