Download e-book for iPad: A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between by Grant Evans

By Grant Evans

ISBN-10: 1864489979

ISBN-13: 9781864489972

A good written account the way it all occurred and the way and why Laos was once the catalyst for the the US Viet Nam struggle.

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Additional info for A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between

Example text

Small groups of Tai had been migrating into the region for hundreds of years, some of them fleeing wars and dynastic disputes in Lan Xang, and their contact with the Khmer in the region would inflect their cultural development in a distinctive way. Other groups migrated across the Mekong to mix with the Khmer and other peoples indigenous to the region. The scattered groups of Suai or So in the northeast of Thailand today point to a complex ethnic history which remains largely unexamined, but the region was not uniformly ‘Lao’.

Pavie wrote in 1893 that if the Siamese gave trouble, France should make a show of strength and, ‘A protectorate over Siam will be our compensation’. ’ The agreement forced on Bangkok by France’s gunboat diplomacy of 1893 secured a Mekong border along which, on the western side, the French insisted on a 25 kilometre demilitarised zone. This was a source of considerable anxiety for the Siamese. This zone, along with French extraterritorial claims over ‘French subjects’ (people born inside what was now French colonial space, such as Lao deported to Siam), ensured continued instability and provided pretexts for larger French claims.

The picture he gives in his memoirs of ‘the princes who govern this little state, and who bear the title of kings’ is of two men, the king and his ouparat, elevated on a raised platform, their subjects prostrated around them, speaking to the seated explorer. It displays little majesty and power, and clearly the kingdom now stood barely above the chiefdoms of the Sip Song Chu Tai. The lawlessness brought by the Haw weakened Luang Phrabang’s control over the various chiefdoms that were 34 Laos—PAGES 12/4/02 2:10 PM Page 35 Before Laos Image rights unavailable Henri Mouhot, a mid-nineteenth century French explorer, and the King and Viceroy of Luang Phrabang.

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A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between by Grant Evans


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