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Laos: Luang Prabang

Temples and Markets


11th August 2014- Flight VN2905 from Hanoi, arriving at 19.50. Arrival at Luang Prabang
12th August- City Tour of Luang Prabang, visiting the Morning Market, and wats of Xieng Thong and Mai, touring the Royal Palace and Night Market.
13th August- Kuangsi Waterfall and Ban Long Lao Conservation area. A trek through the jungle, to Kuangsi Pools and Bear Rescue centre. The Royal ballet evening.
14th August- A day exploring Luang Prabang wats and cruise down the Mekong.
15th August- A drive from Luang Prabang to visit Khmu, Hmong and Akha villages, the market town of Phoukoun and Nong Tang Lake and arriving at Phonsavan.
16th August- We visited the Plain of Jars and the former capital, Muang Khoun
17th August- A flight to Vientiane, followed by a sunset stroll along the Mekong.
18th August- City tour of Vientiane to Wat Sisaket, the Royal Palace, Wat That Luang, Patouxi and Buddhaland.
19th August- flight to Saigon.

Luang Prabang 11th August

We arrived at Hanoi airport with plenty of time, more than we expected, as the traffic had been so good. As it was too early to check into our Lao Air flight we went upstairs with our guide to have a drink while waiting. The upstairs area was quiet and cool with plenty of cafes, so we ordered some iced coffee. Finally we decided it must be time so went back down- the desk was not open as the previous flight (to Vientiane) was still being boarded (by the same staff). Luckily after a short wait we could check in and go through. The flight was late, but the waiting was cool.
The plane, a twin prop ATR Turboprop 72 (French Italian made) took off in the light (just) and we touched down an hour later in Luang Prabang. The flight over northern Laos showed how little occupied the land was as we saw hardly any lights.
Luckily I’d pre-filled most of the visa documents and even remembered the passport sized photos so it was a quick process through the immigration. It had gone up to $35 each (but no exit payment, so worked out roughly the same and I’d already put all the visa money in a separate envelope). Three immigration desks later we were through- our luggage was there too so we checked it through and met our guide. I told him I was wearing a 100-elephant jumpsuit to celebrate Lan Xang (Land of a Million Elephants).
The car, a massive Hyundai, whisked us along Phetsarat Road for 15 mins to our hotel, the Le Sen Boutique Hotel (113 Manorom Rd, Ban Mano, PO Box 234, Luang Prabang, Laos Tel: +856.71.261 668). A lovely reception area, thin outdoor pool and a room with a very smelly drain just outside. A lick of paint on the concrete walls would have been a nice touch too! Still, the room was huge, the shower warm, the wifi (when we got it working) was OK. The TV choices were, well, limited (Thai TV, state-sponsored Lao which even they didn’t watch, BBC World (yawn) and some american news)- lucky we don’t watch TV! We decided not to bother going out, but got room service instead (forgetting that the Lao staff weren’t allowed in the room at the same time as us). Nice meal, cuddle, sleep!

Luang P(h)rabang (ຫຼວງພຣະບາງ), is the former capital of Laos and a UNESCO World Heritage city. It is at the confluence of two rivers that almost surround it, beneath a temple-topped Mt Phousi. Luang Prabang is a patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and French colonial architecture. Luang Prabang rose to prominence as the capital of the first Lao kingdom (Lan Xang - land of the million elephants) from 1353. The city owes its present name to the Pha Bang, a Buddha image (now in the Royal Palace Museum) brought to the city by King Visoun in the early 1500s. At the end of the 16th century, Lan Xang kingdom became a weak independent city- state paying tribute to several surrounding kingdoms. The 1887 attack by the Chinese Haw led the Luang Prabang monarchy to accept the protection of the French. The city fell into decline in the late 20th century following the withdrawal of the French, and the 1975 revolution, which brought an end to the Luang Prabang monarchy. The reopening of Laos to tourism in 1989 resulted in a turnaround in the city's fortunes.
Ancient History- In 2009 an ancient skull (+46,0000) found Tam Pa Ling cave (north Laos) is the oldest modern human in Southeast Asia. Archaeological evidence suggests an agricultural society existed in the area by the 4th millennium BC. Burial jars and sepulchres show a complex society in which bronze objects appeared c1500 BC, and iron tools c700 BC. During the 4th-8th century, communities along the Mekong River began to form into townships, or Muang.

Tai-Lao migration
Hoabinhian hunter-gatherers were the ancestors of the present-day upland minorities, known as Lao Thoeng (Upland Lao), speaking Austro-Asiatic languages; the largest group being the Khamu/Khmu/Kammu of north Laos. Southern Laos is the probable birthplace of the Khmer, spreading south to establish Funan. The earliest kingdom in southern Laos in Chinese texts was Chenla, 5th century. Its capital was close to Champasak. A little later the Mon people (also Austro-Asiatic) established kingdoms on the middle Mekong; Sri Gotapura (Sikhottabong in Lao), with its capital Tha Khaek and Chanthaburi near Viang Chan (Vientiane). Tai peoples migrated from south China in the 8th century, including the Tai-Lao of Laos and Tai-Shan of Burma.
All spoke Tai languages, practised wet-rice cultivation along river valleys, and organised themselves into small principalities (meuang), presided over by an hereditary ruler (chao meuang=lord of the meuang). The Tai-Lao, or Lao for short, moved down the rivers of north Laos- the Nam Ou and Nam Khan until they arrived at the Mekong (Great River). They worshipped ngeuk, powerful snake deities believed to inhabit rivers. An early Lao legend, the Nithan (story of) Khun Borom is the creation myth of the Lao. It tells how two great gourds grew at Meuang Thaeng (Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam) from inside which sounds could be heard. Divine beings (khun) pierced one gourd with a hot poker, and out poured dark-skinned Lao Thoeng. The khun cut a knife hole in the other gourd, through which escaped the light-skinned Tai-Lao (Lao Loum, Lowland Lao). The gods sent Khun Borom to rule both groups. He had seven sons, whom he sent to found seven Tai kingdoms. The youngest son founded the kingdom of Xieng Khuang on the Plain of Jars, and the oldest, Khun Lo, went down the Nam Ou, seizing Meuang Sua from its Lao Thoeng ruler and renaming it Xiang Dong Xiang Thong (Luang Prabang).

Muang Sua (Luang Prabang) was conquered in 698 by a Tai prince, Khun Lo, who seized his opportunity when the king of Nanzhao was engaged elsewhere. Khun Lo had been awarded the town by his father, Khun Borom (Lao/ Shan creation legend). Khun Lo established a dynasty whose 15 rulers reigned over an independent Muang Sua for over a century. During the Chenla kingdom (south Laos/ north Cambodia) 6th- 8th centuries, Luang Prabang became known as Muang Sawa, the Lao rendering of ‘Java’. Possible this referred to Javanese sponsorship of Chenla. Late 8th century Nanzhao intervened frequently in the affairs of the principalities of the middle Mekong Valley, resulting in the re- occupation of Muang Sua in 709. Nanzhao prince-administrators replaced the Tai overlords. This occupation probably ended before the northward expansion of the Khmer Empire to Sipsong Panna under Indravarman I (877-889). The Khmer founded an outpost at Xayfong (Vientiane) and in 1070 Chanthaphanit, the local ruler of Xayfong, moved north to Muang Sua, threw out Nanzhao and took over. Chanthaphanit and his son had long reigns, during which the town became known by the Thai name Xieng Dong Xieng Thong. The dynasty seems to have lost to Khun Chuang, a ruler from the Khmu tribe, ruled 1128-69. Under Khun Chuang, a single family ruled a large territory and reinstituted the Siamese administrative system of the 7th century. Muang Sua next became the Kingdom of Sri Sattanak, a name connected with the legend of the naga said to have dug the Mekong. Theravada Buddhism was replaced by Mahayana Buddhism. Muang Sua experienced a brief period of Khmer control 1185-91 under Jayavarman VII. By 1180 the Sipsong Panna had regained their independence from the Khmers and 1238 an internal uprising in Sukhothai expelled their Khmer overlords. Yuan Mongols, who destroyed Nanzhao in 1253 made Yunnan part of their empire. They exercised a decisive political influence in the middle Mekong Valley. 1271 Panya Lang, founder of a new dynasty headed by rulers bearing the title panya (lord), began his rule over a fully sovereign Muang Sua. 1286 Panya Lang's son, Panya Khamphong (personal name Souvanna) was involved in a coup d'état instigated by the Mongols and exiled his father. On his father's death, 1316, Panya Khamphong assumed his throne. Ram Khamhaeng (1282-4), an early ruler of Sukhothai, eliminated Khmer and Cham power in central Laos and obtained the allegiance of Muang Sua as a vassal. 1286-97 Panya Khamphong's lieutenants, acting for Ram Khamhaeng, pacified vast territories. 1297-1301 Lao troops under Mongol command invaded Dai Viet but were repulsed. 1308 Panya Khamphong seized the ruler of Muang Phuan (Plain of Jars), and made this principality a vassal state of Muang Sua. Mongol overlordship was unpopular in Muang Sua and internal feuds among members of the new dynasty resulted in family upheavals. Panya Khamphong exiled his son Fa Phi Fa (aka Chao) and wanted to leave the throne to his younger grandson, Fa Ngieo. However Fa Ngieo was involved in a coup, so in 1330 he sent his two sons to a Buddhist monastery for safety and then to Angkor in 1335 under King Jayavarman IX Paramesvara, whose kingdom had acknowledged Mongol suzerainty in 1285. The younger brother, Fa Ngum (b1319), married the king's daughter, Keo Kang Ya. 1343 Khampong died and 1349 Ngum set out from Angkor with an army. For the Khmer provided a buffer between them and the growing Kingdoms of Sukhothai, Lanna and Ayutthaya. Fa Ngum’s request for help from Vientiane went unanswered, but Prince Nho of Xieng Khouang (Muang Phouan) offered assistance and vassalage to Fa Ngum in return for help with a succession dispute of his own and to secure Xieng Khouang from the Dai Viet. Fa Ngum agreed and moved his army to Xieng Khouang, Sam Neua and several smaller cities of the Dai Viet. Continuing his conquests Fa Ngum turned along the Red and Black River valleys (Lao people), then moved down Ou River to take Muang Sua. The King of Muang Sua, Fa Ngum’s uncle, committed suicide and his elder brother stepped down. Fa Ngum was crowned king of Lan Xang at Vientiane in 1354.

Lan Xang Hom Khao

(Lao: ລ້ານຊ້າງ lâansâang - ລ້ານ million + ຊ້າງ elephant + under the White
Parasol) 1354-1707. For 350 years Lan Xang was one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. It was the precursor of Laos, and the basis for the national historic and cultural identity.
1. Fa Ngum 1353-1371 In 1353 Fa Ngum (supported by the Khmer?) was crowned, and renamed his Kingdom Lan Xang Hom Khao and Luang Prabang as Xiang Dong Xiang Thong (City of Gold). Fa Ngum secured the areas around the Mekong by taking the Sipsong Panna and King Phayu of Lanna was
curtailed by Fa Ngum. 1351 King Rama Tibodi, who was married to a daughter of the Khmer King Suphanburi, founded the city of Ayutthaya. 1356 Fa Ngum marched south to punish Vientiane for failing to support him, took Vientiane and marched south to assert Lao control over areas seized by Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya acknowledged Lan Xang’s control of the Khorat Plateau. King Rama Tibodi betrothed his daughter Nang Keo Lot Fa as a second wife to Fa Ngum.
2. King Samsenthai 1371-1416 Fa Ngum successfully led Lan Xang 1360s against the Kingdom of Sukhothai, but the court factions and war weary population deposed him in favour of his son Oun Huean. Fa Ngum became an exile in Muang Nan, where he died c1373-90. 1371 Oun Huean was crowned King Samsenthai (King of 300,000 Tai) a carefully chosen name for the Lao-Khmer prince, showing preference for the Lao-tai population over the Khmer court. Samsenthai fought back the Kingdom of Lanna in Chiang Saen 1390s. 1402 he received formal recognition for Lan Xang from the Ming Emperor. 1416, Samsenthai died and was succeeded by his song Lan Kham Daeng.
3. Lan Kham Daeng 1416-1428 The Viet Chronicles record that 1421 the Lam Sơn Uprising took place against the Ming, and they sought Lan Xang’s assistance. An army of 30,000 with 100 elephant cavalry was sent, but instead sided with the Chinese. The death of Lan Kham Daeng ushered in a period of uncertainty and regicide.
4-. Queen Maha Devi/ Nang Keo Phimpha 1428-1440 In this period 7 kings ruled Lan Xang, all assassinated by a Queen known by her title as Maha Devi. Possibly 1440-42 she ruled Lan Xang as sole queen, before being drowned in the Mekong 1442 as an offering to the naga. 1440 a Vientiane revolt was suppressed. 1448 Xieng Khouang/ Black River was annexed by the Dai Viet and skirmishes took place against the Kingdom of Lanna along the Nan River. An interregnum 1453-6 ended with the crowning of King Chakkaphat (1456-1479).
● 4a. Phommathat 1428/9, reigned 10 months, son of Lan Kham Deng. Beheaded by Nang Keo Phimpha, his paternal aunt, in her successful attempt to seize power. Succeeded by her son, Khamtum.
● 4b. Kham Teun 1429, son of Samsenthai and Nang Keo Phimpha, sister of king Samsenthai. Before he was king he was Governor of Pak Houy Luang, so Khamtum was referred to as King Pak Houy Luang. After only 5 months he was forced to abdicate. He was succeeded by Meunsai.
● Yukorn/ MeunSai 1429–30 reigned 8 months, son of Lan Kham Daeng. Governor of Muang Kabong before king. He ruled 6 months but Nang Keo Phimpha (de facto ruler) planned his removal. He committed suicide in Wat Xieng Thong instead.
4c. Khon Kham 1431/2, reigned 18 months, son of Samsenthai)
4d. Kham Tem Sa (1433, reigned 5 months, son of Sam Sen Thai) 4d. Lu Sai (1434, reigned 6 months, son of Sam Sen Thai)
4e. Khai Bua Ban 1435–38, grandson of Sam Sen Thai. At the time of his succession, governor of
Chiengkai. His reign ended after princess Nang Keo Phim Fa ordered his death
● Khong Keut/ Kham/Keul 1436–38, illegitimate son of Samsenthai and a palace slave. On his
accession 1436, he claimed to be his father’s reincarnation. His died from a fit 1438.
● Nang Keo Phimpha (1343–1438) was the sister of Samsenthai. After her nephew, Lan Kham Deng died, she seized control of Lan Xang and the next 4 kings were under her control. She sole reigned
for a few months 1438 at age of 95, before she was deposed and killed.
● Interregnum (1438–41, rule by Sena and members of Sangha)
270_66fb3f50-6e21-11eb-a483-bb670121c7cc.jpg Wat Manorum
5. Chakkaphat 1438-79 He was Sai Tia Kaphut, Governor of Nongkai before his accession. In 1471 Lê Thánh Tông of the Dai Viet destroyed the Kingdom of Champa and Xieng Khouang revolted from Dai Viet. 1478 the Dai Viet prepared an invasion of Lan Xang, in retribution for the rebellion in Xieng Khouang and for supporting the Ming in 1421. At the same time a white elephant was captured and brought to King Chakkaphat. The elephant was a symbol of kingship in Southeast Asia, and the Vietnamese king, Lê Thánh Tông ‘requested’ the animal as a ‘gift’. The request was seen as an affront, and a box filled with dung was sent instead. A Viet force marched to subdue Xieng Khouang, and met a Lan Xang force led by the crown prince. The Dai Viet won and went north to Muang Sua. Chakkaphat and the court fled to Vientiane. The Dai Viet took the capital of Muang Sua/ Luang Prabang, and then divided- one branch continued west taking Sipsong Panna and threatening the Kingdom of Lanna; the other headed south to Vientiane. King Tilok (Kingdom of Lanna) destroyed the Dai Viet army. The forces around Vientiane rallied under King Chakkaphat’s younger son Prince Thaen Kham and destroyed the Dai Viet army, which fled to Xieng Khouang, which they destroyed before returning to Vietnam. Chakkphat abdicated in favour of his son Prince Thaen Kham, who was crowned as Suvanna Balang (Golden Chair) in 1479. 48885145618_ecf9b4fbf6_o.jpg
6. Suvanna Balang/ Theng Kham 1479-85 (son of Chakkaphat)
7. La Sen Thai 1485–95, 6th son of Chakkaphat, Laasaenthai Bouvanaat succeeded his older brother King Suvarna Banlang. He enjoyed peaceful relations with neighbours Annam and Ayudhya, spending much of his time contemplating religious matters, spreading Buddhism and building. Succeeded by his only Son Prince Sompou.
● ● ● ●
8. Som Phou (Samphou) (1496–1501, son of La Sen Thai. Succeeded on the death of his father King La Sen Thai Puvanart 1495 under the regency of his uncle, Prince Laksana Vijaya Kumara [Louxé Phe Sai], until he came of age and assumed sovereign powers, 1497. Deposed by his uncle Visoun in 1500.
9. King Visoun 1500-1520 Vixun (Visoun, Visunarat) (son of Chakkaphat) 1st Golden Age of Lan Xang. He was a major patron of the arts and classical literature. Theravada Buddhist monasteries became centres of learning. The Nithan Khun Borom (Story of Khun Borom) first appeared in written form, along with the Lao version of the Ramayana (Pra Lak Pra Lam). Lao court music was sponsored and the classical court orchestra took shape. King Visoun sponsored major temples/ wats throughout the country. He chose as an icon the Phra Bang (a standing image of Buddha), which had been brought by Fa Ngum’s Khmer wife Keo Kang Ya from Angkor. It is traditionally believed to have been forged in Ceylon, the centre of Theravada Buddhism. The Phra Bang had been kept in Vientiane partly due to the strength of traditional animist beliefs in Muang Sua. The Phra Bang image was so revered that the capital city was renamed in its honour from Muang Sua to Luang Prabang. King Visoun, his son Photisarath, his grandson Setthathirath, and his great grandson Nokeo Koumane provided Lan Xang with a succession of strong leaders.
270_48885152583_9dfc1d5c11_o.jpg Wat Wisunalot (Watermelon stupa wat)
10. Photisarath 1520-50 was a great king of Lan Xang. He took Nang Yot Kham Tip from the Kingdom of Lanna as his queen as well as lesser queens from Ayutthaya, and Longvek. He was a devout Buddhist, and made it the state religion. 1532 peace ended when the rebuilt Xieng Khouang rebelled, which took Photisarath 2 years to suppress. 1539 Photisarath accepted a Thai noble seeking asylum from King Chairacha of Ayutthaya for a failed rebellion. This resulted in an invasion of Lan Xang, which was defeated at Sala Kham in 1540. 1545 Lan Xang dispatched reinforcements to support the Kingdom of Lanna against Chairacha of Ayutthaya, who was defeated and forced to retreat. In recognition for his assistance against Ayutthaya, and his strong family ties to Lanna (he was married to the only child of the King of Chiang Mai= Lanna), King Photisarath was offered the throne of Lanna for his son Prince Setthathirath, and 1547 Setthathirath was crowned King of Lanna in Chiang Mai. Setthathirath took possession of the Emerald Buddha as his personal palladium (later the palladium of Vientiane) and married the princesses Nang Thip and Nang Tonkham. 1548, Photisarath was approached by Burma with offers of an alliance against Ayutthaya. He neither accepted, nor rejected. 1550 he returned to Luang Prabang, but was killed in an accident while riding an elephant.
11. Setthathirath I 1550-71 (King of Lanna 1546-51) 1548 Setthathirath (as King of Lanna) took Chiang Saen as his capital. Chiang Mai (Chiang Saen was the old capital, replaced by Chiang Mai) nobles were powerful at court, and the threat from Burma and Ayutthaya were growing. On the death of his father, Setthathirath left Lanna with his wife as regent and was crowned as King of Lan Xang. The rival factions 1551 crowned Chao Mekuti as king of Lanna. 1553 Setthathirath sent an army to retake Lanna but was defeated. 1555 he retook Chiang Saen. 1556 King Bayinnaung of Burma invaded Lanna. Chao Mekuti surrendered Chiang Mai and was reinstated as a Burmese vassal. 1560 Setthathirath moved the capital of Lan Xang from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. A building programme included a massive formal palace- the Haw Phra Kaew to house Emerald Buddha, and renovations to That Luang. In Luang Prabang, Wat Xieng Thong was constructed. 1563, a treaty between Lan Xang and Ayutthaya was to be sealed by the betrothal of Setthathirath to Princess Thepkasattri of Ayutthaya. However, her father, King Chakkraphat tried to exchange her for Princess Kaeo Fa, which was rejected. In the midst of the disagreement, Burma invaded Ayutthaya and Chakkraphat sent Princess Thepkasattri to Lan Xang along with a dowry to buy back the alliance. She died en route. King Chakkraphat became a vassal of Burma. The Burmese deposed King Chao Mae Ku (Mekuti) of Lanna. King Setthathirath, realising Vientiane could not be held against Burma, ordered the city evacuated and organised guerrilla attacks, forcing King Bayinnaung (Burma) to retreat 1565 leaving Lan Xang the only remaining independent Tai kingdom.
● As King of Lanna: Aka Chaiyachettha/ Chaiyaset(thathirath)/ Jayajestha, he was crowned King of Lanna after the death of his grandfather, King Ketklao, who died without a male heir. His daughter Princess Yotkamtip was Settathirath's mother, which made Settathirath heir to the throne of Chiang Mai. After Chaiyasettha assumed rule of Chiang Mai, his father, King Phothisarath (of Lan Xang) died in Luang Phrabang. Concerned that he might be prevented from returning to Chiang Mai, he took the Emerald Buddha with him to Luang Phrabang 1547. The nobles of Lanna felt that Chaiyasettha had stayed away too long, and sought another descendant of the Mangrai dynasty to take the throne; a distant relative, a Shan Prince known as Mae ku/ Mekuti. However, the Burmese took Chiang Saen, north-east of Chieng Mai, and attacked down the Mekong. After 12 years of moving his capital between Chiang Rai and Luang Prabang, he finally moved to Vientiane in the 1560s.
● As King of Lan Xang: After the death of Photisararath, the nobles of Lan Xang divided, one group supporting Prince Tarua, another Prince Lanchang (whose mother was an Ayudhya princess). Tarua and Lanchang split the Kingdom between them while Settathathirath was in Chiang Mai. He returned to Lan Xang leaving the affairs of Chiang Mai under his grandmother, Princess Chiraprabha. Settathathirath subdued Tarua in Luang Phrabang, and Lanchang was arrested, but pardoned. Setthathirath united Lanna and Lan Xang under his rule. Setthathirath, hearing of the heroic Queen Suryothai of Ayudhya, requested the marriage of her daughter Princess Tepkasatri. 1572, a conspiracy between Lord Phya Nakhon and the abbot of Wat Maximavat, led to the king's murder.
12. Sen Soulintha (Saen Surin) (1571/2, regent) (1572–75, crowned king of Lan Xang) 13. Tha Heua/Tarua (1575–79, son of Photisarath, Burmese vassal)
12. Sen Soulintha (1579–82, reinstated)
14. Nakhon Noi (1582–83, son of Sen Soulintha)
● Interregnum (1583–91) Because Setthathirath left a toddler prince, Noi Hno Muang Keo Koumane, the child's grandfather, Saensurin (or Sene Soulintha), declared himself king. This began a period of turbulence, with different kings ruling for short periods, which ended with conquest by the Burmese under King Bayinnaung in 1574, and the prince taken to Burma.
15. Nokeo Koumane 1591–1598 (son of Setthathirath). For 9 years Lan Xang had no king and Burma effectively ruled Laos for 18 years. Prince Noi Hno Muang Keo Koumane (Nokeo Koumane) was recognised as rightful King by the people of Laos. 1590 he was released from captivity in Burma by King Nanda Bayin, and returned to Vientiane where he was crowned 1591 and declared his independence from Burma 1593.
16. Voravongsa/ Thammikarath 1598–1622 nephew of Setthathirath
17. Oupagnouvarath 1622/3 son of Voravongsa
18. Photisarath II 1623–27 son or grandson of Sen Soulintha, not of royal descent
19. Mon Keo/ Mongkeo 1627 son of Voravongsa
20. Tone Kham 1627–33 son of Voravongsa
21. Vichai 1633–37 son of Voravongsa
22. Sourig(y)na Vongsa 1637-1694 son of Tone Kham. Second Golden Age of art and architecture. The new legal codes applied to the nobility and peasantry equally (when the crown prince committed adultery Vongsa ordered his death). When Vongsa died 1694, he left two young grandsons (Princes Kingkitsarat and Inthasom) and two daughters (Princesses Kumar and Sumangala) with claims to the throne. A senior minister, Tian Thala briefly usurped the throne (6 months) 1694/5. Nan Tharat (1699) briefly took Vientiane. The king’s nephew Prince Sai Ong Hue claimed the throne and Vongsa’s grandsons fled into exile in the Sipsong Panna and Princess Sumangala to Champassak. In 1705, Prince Kingkitsarat took a small force from Sipsong Panna to Luang Prabang. Sai Ong Hue’s brother, the governor of Luang Prabang, fled and Kingkitsarat was made crowned as rival king Ong Lo 1694-98. In 1707 Lan Xang was divided and the kingdoms of Luang Prabang and Vientiane emerged. Suriya Vongsa had only been on the throne three years when there arrived in Viang Chan the first European, Gerrit van Wuysthoff of the Dutch East India Company, who wanted to open a Mekong trade route. He was entertained in the Lao capital. A year later the Jesuit missionary, Leria, stayed in Viang Chan for five years. He liked the Lao people and left a wonderful description of the palace. Four years later a French expedition sent to explore and map the Mekong River arrived in Luang Prabang, then the largest settlement upstream from Phnom Penh. 1880s the town became caught up in a struggle that pitted Siamese, French and roving bands of Chinese brigands (Haw) against each other. 1887 Luang Prabang was looted and burned by a mixed force of Upland Tai and Haw. Only Wat Xieng Thong was spared. The king escaped and with him a French explorer, Auguste Pavie, who offered him the protection of France.
23. Setthathirath II (Sai Ong Hue) 1700–07 (nephew of Souligna Vongsa whose father was exiled to Vietnam)

Posted by PetersF 17:40 Archived in Laos Tagged temples market buddhism laos prabang luang lao

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