Pakse or Pakxe is the capital and most populous city in the southern province of Champasak, making it the third most populous city in Laos. It has a population of about 87,000,situated at the confluence of the Xe Don and Mekong Rivers. It also served as the capital of the Kingdom of Champasak until it was unified with the rest of Laos in 1946.
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Pakse is the capital of Champasak Province, which was part of the Cambodian Angkor empire between the 10th and 13th centuries. Wat Phu Champasak, near Champasak town, is the most striking relic of that time. Following the decline of Angkor between the 15th and late 17th centuries, this region was absorbed into the nascent Lan Xang kingdom, but broke away to become an independent Lao kingdom between the beginning of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century.Today Champasak Province encompasses Laos' southern Mekong region, including Si Phan Don and the Bolaven Plateau. The province has a population of more than 500,000, including lowland Lao (many of them Phu Thai), Khmers and a host of small Mon-Khmer groups, most of whom inhabit the Bolaven Plateau region.