By Grant Evans
A good written account the way it all occurred and the way and why Laos was once the catalyst for the the United States Viet Nam warfare.
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Additional info for A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between
The picture of Luang Phrabang drawn in mid-century by the French explorer Henri Mouhot gives some idea of its dimensions. He described it as ‘a delightful little town, covering a square mile of ground, and containing a population . . of 7,000 or 8,000 only’. 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.
Most of Champasak’s royal family fled to Bangkok, apart from Chao Nhouy who was made governor, with its new capital in Paksé (after 1908), but his small kingdom was not 41 Laos—PAGES 12/4/02 2:10 PM Page 42 A Short History of Laos restored. In 1907 a final Franco-Siamese agreement conceded a small amount of territory in southern Luang Phrabang, down to Danxai, to Siam. The French renounced their right to ‘protect’ French ‘Asiatic’ subjects in Siam, in exchange for the ‘lost’ provinces in Cambodia (Siem Reap and Battambang).
The central contradiction of colonialism in the twentieth century was its spreading of nationalist and democratic ideas to the colonies. Colonial racism in the early twentieth century would produce a modification of the early assimilationist goal into one of association in which ‘native traditions’ would be respected and colonies would evolve in their own way towards modernity. The most ardent proponent of French colonial expansion into Laos was Auguste Pavie. He was supported by the Parti Colonial in Paris, whose fortunes waxed and waned with the ups and downs of French domestic politics.
A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between by Grant Evans