Banteay Meanchey Province
Map of Cambodia highlighting Banteay Meanchey
|• Governor||H.E. Ong Oeun (CPP)|
|• Total||6,679 km2 (2,579 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 13th|
|• Rank||Ranked 10th|
|• Density||100/km2 (260/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||KH-1|
Banteay Meanchey (Khmer: ខេត្តបន្ទាយមានជ័យ, IPA: [ɓɑntiəj miən cɨj] "Fortress of Victory") is a province (khaet) of Cambodia located in the far northwest. It borders the provinces of Oddar Meanchey and Siem Reap to the east, Battambang to the south, and shares an international border with Thailand to the west. Its capital and largest city is Serei Saophoan.
Banteay Meanchey is the 13th largest province in Cambodia. With a population of 678,033, it ranks as the 10th largest in the nation. The town of Poipet in the western part of the province is an international border crossing into Thailand. Banteay Meanchey is one of the nine provinces that is part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
The area was part of the extensive Khmer empire. Its most notable remains is the Banteay Chhmar temple in the north of the province, built in 12th century towards the 13th century. Other lesser known temples are the Banteay Neang and Banteay Torp temples.
In the 1795 Siam took control over Western Cambodia, and made the area into Siamese province of Inner Cambodia with the administration capital in Phra Tabong (Battambang). This province lasted until 1907 when Siam traded Inner Cambodia for the return of Trat and Dan Sai. In the same year, King Sisowath decided to split the return Inner Cambodian Province into Battambang Province (which included Sisophon) and Siem Reap Province. When Thailand re annexed western Cambodia 1941, Sisophon was split off Battambang Province and was an administration capital of Phibunsongkram Province which lasted until 1946 when the whole region was return to the French control.
In 1988 the province Banteay Meanchey was split off from Battambang, originally consisting of the five districts Mongkol Borei, Thmar Puok, Serei Saophoan, Preah Net Preah and Phnom Srok.
During the Cambodian Civil Wars of the 1970s and 1980s Banteay Meanchey Province was on the frontlines of much of fighting and as a result it is one of the three most heavily mined provinces in Cambodia along with Pailin and Battambang.