The Annamite Range or the Annamese Mountains (French: Chaîne Annamitique; Lao: ພູ ຫລວງ Xai Phou Luang; Vietnamese: Dãy Trường Sơn) is a mountain range of eastern Indochina, which extends approximately 1,100 km (680 mi) through Laos, Vietnam, and a small area in northeast Cambodia. The mountain range is also referred to variously as Annamese Range, Annamese Mountains, Annamese Cordillera, Annamite Mountains and Annamite Cordillera.
The highest points of the range are 2,819 m high Phou Bia, 2,720 m high Phu Xai Lai Leng and Ngọc Linh (Ngoc Pan), 2,598 m (8,524 ft). The latter is located at the northwestern edge of the Triassic Kontum Massif, in central Vietnam. Important passes are the Nape Pass and the Mụ Giạ Pass.
The Annamite Range runs parallel to the Vietnamese coast, in a gentle curve which divides the basin of the Mekong River from Vietnam's narrow coastal plain along the South China Sea. Most of the crests are on the Laotian side. The eastern slope of the range rises steeply from the plain, drained by numerous short rivers. The western slope is more gentle, forming significant plateaus before descending to the banks of the Mekong. The range itself has three main plateaus, from north to south: Phouane Plateau, Nakai Plateau and Bolaven Plateau.
Laos lies mostly within the Mekong basin, west of the divide, although most of Houaphan Province and a portion of Xiangkhoang Province (where the famous Plain of Jars is located) lie east of the divide. Most of Vietnam lies east of the divide, although Vietnam's Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) region lies west of the divide, in the Mekong basin.
"An-nam" means in Chinese "to pacify the south", referring to the region's location relative to China.
The Annamite mountains now form an important tropical seasonal forest global ecoregion, the Annamite Range Moist Forests Ecoregion, which consists of two terrestrial ecoregions, the Southern Annamites montane forests and the Northern Annamites moist forests.
Most of the highlands like the Annamite Range and the Central Highlands were populated by ethnic minorities who were not Vietnamese during the 20th century's start. The demographics were drastically transformed with the mass colonization of 6 million settlers from 1976 to the 1990s, which led to ethnic Vietnamese Kinh outnumbering the native ethnic groups in the highlands.
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