Diogo Veloso

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Diogo Veloso was an explorer from Portugal who, along with Blas Ruiz, were the first Europeans to ever set foot in Laos. Veloso's journey to Laos started in Cambodia. In Cambodia, Veloso met and befriended King Satha of Lovek and Ruiz of Spain. When Lovek was invaded by Ayutthaya, Satha was overthrown by his son and other nobles who allowed Ayutthaya to take control, forcing Veloso to flee to Portuguese Malacca, the place where he began his adventure in Southeast Asia. Eventually Veloso returned with Ruiz, who had fled to the Spanish colony of the Philippines, to Lovek. When they arrived they learned Satha had fled to Lan Xang, an empire centered in modern-day Laos and consisting of Isan, Stung Treng, and small areas of Southern China and Vietnam. Veloso and Ruiz decided to journey to Laos and bring back Satha to restore his reign over Lovek. They arrived in Vientiane, Lan Xang's administrative capital, in the summer of 1596. They were met with a procession showing off the city's immense wealth consisting of Asian elephants, gold, jewels, silk, exotic snakes, bouquets of tropical flowers, chanting monks, Buddhist treasures and relics, music, and beautiful women. Veloso and Ruiz were also received with a great feast. But while they were in Vientiane they learned Satha had died from an illness he caught on his way from Cambodia to Laos. Saddened and angered by the news, Veloso and Ruiz returned to Lovek and started a rebellion to put one of Satha's political allies on the throne and free Cambodia from Ayutthaya. They managed to drive out Ayutthaya forces from parts of Cambodia and create a new state but led the new Cambodian state into a brief period of chaos. Eventually Veloso returned to Malacca. It is not sure whether he died there, Portugal, or somewhere else.