Bangkok, the capital, with some 650,000 inhabitants, is about one-third Chinese, while in the suburbs are to be found settlements of Mohns, Burmese, Annamites and Cambodians, the descendants of captives taken in ancient wars.
For centuries she had been distracted by wars with Cambodians, Peguans and Burmans, but the incorporation of Lower Cochin China, Annam and Tongking by the French, and the annexation of Lower and Upper Burma successively by the British, freed her from all further danger on the part of her old rivals.
Like their neighbours the Cambodians and the Chinese, the Annamese have a great respect for the dead, and ancestor worship constitutes the national religion.
In the midst of the Annamese live Cambodians and immigrant Chinese, the latter associated together according to the districts from which they come and carrying on nearly all the commerce of the country.
They formed important settlements at various points on the Mekong, notably Luang Prabang, Wieng Chan (Vien-Tiane) Ubon and Bassac; and, heading inland as far as Korat on the one side and the Annamite watershed in the east, they drove out the less civilized Kha peoples, and even the Cambodians, as the Lao Pong Dam did on the west.