By Grant Evans
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Additional resources for A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between (A Short History of Asia series)
Lan Xang within two decades had dissolved into three, sometimes four, separate small kingdoms. They were centred on Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and intermittently the Plain of Jars, while a new kingdom named Champasak came into being in the far south, led partly by aristocratic refugees from the strife in Vientiane. The division between Luang Phrabang and Vientiane, imposed by the intervention of the King of Ayudhya, reduced them to petty vassal states on the periphery of the Ayudhya’s mandala. Although Ayudhya was destroyed by the army of the King of Ava (Burma) in 1767, with the royal family being either killed or carried off, the resilience of the social and political structures that had been 24 Laos—PAGES 12/4/02 2:10 PM Page 25 Before Laos created in the Siamese region was demonstrated by the speed with which one of the Ayudhyan generals, Taksin, could rally the mandala’s forces and reconquer within a few years what had been lost.
Anou’s retreating army compelled as many people as they could to march with them to the north, and slaughtered those who resisted. The uprising, however, ended in a fiasco. His son was soon captured, and Anou himself fled to Hue in Vietnam. Siamese forces entered Vientiane and began to destroy the city. The Siamese commander Phrarajwang Bovon reported to Rama III: The people of Vientiane have fled to Muang Lakorn, Muang Chiang Mai, Muang Lamphun, Muang Phrae, Muang Nan and Muang Luang Phrabang in great number.
Anou’s flight to Hue had underlined the latter’s role in the affairs of its neighbour. The rulers of muang Phuan were considered tributary rulers of the emperor in Hue, and they were removed and executed in Hue for their role in handing Anou over to the Siamese troops. Muang Phuan polarised into a faction that wished to place itself under Luang Phrabang and one which leaned towards Hue. Bangkok’s alarm at this can be seen in an edict of the Interior Ministry in 1836: Vietnamese are sending men to inspect and demand taxes from Phuan officials and from households in every village.