Mueang were historical semi-independent city-states or principalities
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

 in present-day Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, parts of northern Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 and the Shan State
Shan State
Shan State is a state of Burma . Shan State borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south, and five administrative divisions of Burma in the west. Largest of the 14 administrative divisions by land area, Shan State covers 155,800 km², almost a quarter of the total...

 of Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

. Smaller Mueang were subordinate to more powerful neighboring Mueang, which in turn were subordinate to the central king, as described in Mandala (Southeast Asian history)
Mandala (Southeast Asian history)
Mandala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". The mandala is a model for describing the patterns of diffuse political power in early Southeast Asian history when local power was more important...

. The more powerful Mueang, sometimes called kingdom
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

s, occasionally tried to liberate themselves from their suzerain and sometimes enjoyed times of independence. Mueang large and small often shifted allegiance
An allegiance is a duty of fidelity said to be owed by a subject or a citizen to his/her state or sovereign.-Etymology:From Middle English ligeaunce . The al- prefix was probably added through confusion with another legal term, allegeance, an "allegation"...

, or paid tribute
A tribute is wealth, often in kind, that one party gives to another as a sign of respect or, as was often the case in historical contexts, of submission or allegiance. Various ancient states, which could be called suzerains, exacted tribute from areas they had conquered or threatened to conquer...

 to more than one powerful neighbor.

In the thesaphiban reforms of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab
Damrong Rajanubhab
Ditsawarakuman Damrong Rajanubhab was the founder of the modern Thai education system as well as the modern provincial administration...

, city-states under Siam were organized into Monthon
A monthon |]], literally "circle") was a country subdivision of Thailand in the beginning of the 20th century. The Thai word 'monthon' is a translation of the word Mandala. These were created as a part of the thesaphiban bureaucratic administrative system, introduced by Prince Damrong Rajanubhab...

 (Thai translation of Mandala
Maṇḍala is a Sanskrit word that means "circle". In the Buddhist and Hindu religious traditions their sacred art often takes a mandala form. The basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point...

,) which was changed to Changwat in 1916. Mueang still can be found as the term for the capital districts of the provinces (amphoe mueang), as well as for a municipal status equivalent to town (thesaban mueang). A few districts also contain Mueang as part of their name, such as Don Mueang District, home to Don Mueang International Airport, and Pattaya
Pattaya is a city in Thailand, located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 165 km southeast of Bangkok located within but not part of Amphoe Bang Lamung in the province of Chonburi....

 (Thai: ; RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

: Mueang Phatthaya,) a self-governing municipal area. Also, Thailand is colloquially known as Mueang Thai.

In Laos, the provinces
Provinces of Laos
Laos is divided into provinces and 1 prefecture plus the Vientiane Capital city municipality...

 are now subdivided into Muang
Districts of Laos
Laos is divided into 16 provinces and 1 prefecture plus capital city municipality . Furthermore, 1 so-called special administrative zone existed between 1994 and 2006, when it was re-merged into its surrounding provinces...

, commonly translated as districts. Also, Laos is colloquially known as Mueng Lao.
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