History of Laos

Statue of Buddha in LaosHistory

Laos, or as was called upon its foundation “Lan Xang” (Million Elephants), has an ancient, varied and very interesting past.

Prehistory

Laos actually has the oldest, modern human found in Southeast Asia, in the mountainous Northern regions, dated at 46,000 years old and archaeologists date an agricultural society in Laos from at least the 4th millennium BC.

There is a famous location in the North East region of Laos called the Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang Provence, dating back to around the same time as Stonehenge.

Lan Xang

The actual borders of Laos were not truly established until the 14th Century, when a Lao prince by the name of Fa Ngum, came into changed Laos in a whirlwind of fury and ruthlessness. In fact, the Kingdom was called Lan Xang, Million Elephants because his power was thought to be as unstoppable as a million elephants.

Under Fa Ngum, Laos prospered and expanded to the East, towards the city of Vientiane, a major trading city. Once captured by Ngum, his riches and power were heightened.

He made the state religion Theravada Buddhism, the dominant religion today, and made the Capital city in Lunag Prabang where he created this golden city in the middle of the jungle.

However, the ruthlessness that thrust him into power, ultimately became his undoing. His entourage were unable to tolerate and unwilling to accommodate him and threw him into exile in modern day Thailand, where he spent the rest of his days.

Upon his exile, his eldest son, under the name of Samsenthai, claimed the throne and under his rule, Lan Xang became a powerful trading nation, strategically linking other nations together.

When Samsenthai finally passed away, Lan Xang fell into 100 years of warring factions which proved to be the undoing of Fa Ngum”s work

However, in the 1500′s, a man by the name of Photisarath brought some order to the chaos and sat himself on throne. AHowever a Burmese invasion force was on its way to the Capital of Luang Prabang and in order to maintain a strategic advantage, Photisarath ordered the Capital be moved to Vientiane, where it has stayed as such ever since.

When Photisarath was killed in 1548, his son became the king and oversaw the construction of the That Luang Stupa, the great golden temple, dedicated to his father.

Then he was lost in the jungle during a military expedition into Cambodia against the weakening Khmer Empire, and Lan Xang once again fell from prominence.

It was only in 1637, when a new king came to power, would Lan Xang regain its reputation as a powerful country. However, this was short lived and after the new kings death, Lan Xang splintered into three kingdoms.

The North and Luang Prabang was claimed by the Burmese, and the West coming under the dominion of the Siamese. This lasted for for around 100 years until the Siamese began a large scale military campaign to take the resource rich lands of the now battered and bruised Laos.

Colonial rule

During the 19th Century, Luang Prabang was sacked by the Chinese Black Flag Army. France, who already had Laos surrounded with their dominion over Vietnam and Cambodia as French Indochina, used their military power to put Luang Prabang under the protection of France.

Soon, the majority of Laos slowly seeped into French Indochina and became a full colony of France. However, Laos was never an important part of France’s heart, only providing basic raw materials and compared to the other countries France had.

After being briefly invaded by the Japanese during World War II, Laos decided the time was right to declare independence, and it did so on 12 October 1945. Nonetheless, France wanted to reassert itself as a colonial power in the world and so regained dominion.

Then, on 22 October 1953, France granted Laos full independence, possibly due to lack of resources and rising troubles with Algeria closer to home. Laos became an independent constitutional monarchy.

USA and Vietnam

With France gone and a perceived worry about communism entering Southeast Asia, the Americans attempted to prop up the Royal Lao Army against the Vietnamese supported Pathet Lao. This was unfortunately unsustainable, and a full civil broke out between the two forces. To the outside observer this was a proxy battle between Russia and America, but in Laos, it was a battle for their country.

When the Vietnamese stepped up their support for the Pathet Lao and sent in armed divisions into the North of Laos, America responded with massive aerial bombardment.

In 1975 the Pathet Lao became the governing party and has stayed ever since.

On 2 December 1975, the Pathet Lao government under Kaysone Phomvihane declared Laos as the Lao PDR, or the Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos.

Present day

Flags_part1-52With its application to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and an increasing liberalization , Laos is looking to become more economically independent and is actively encouraging investment, which it is largely succeeding to do.

There are many companies now operating in Laos which have become highly profitable and with access to the internet and a steady political system, Laos in starting to becoming a great place to invest.

KK Consulting & Real Estate was set up to take advantage of this state of affairs, and to help others to invest wisely and securely.

So contact us today for initial contact and see what we can do for you.

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