List of monarchs of Laos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
King of Laos
Royal Seal of the Kingdom of Laos.svg
Savang Vatthana.jpg
Last to reign
Savang Vatthana

29 October 1959 – 2 December 1975
StyleHis Royal Majesty
First monarchFa Ngum
Last monarchSavang Vatthana
Formation1353 (Kingdom of Lan Xang)
AbolitionDecember 2, 1975 (Lao People's Democratic Republic)
ResidenceRoyal Palace, Luang Prabang, Laos
Pretender(s)Soulivong Savang
Royal Standard of the Kingdom of Laos

The Lao People's Democratic Republic is the modern state derived from the final Kingdom of Laos. The political source of Lao history and cultural identity is the Tai kingdom of Lan Xang, which during its apogee emerged as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Lao history is filled with frequent conflict and warfare, but infrequent scholarly attention. The resulting dates and references are approximate, and rely on source material from court chronicles which survived both war and neglect, or outside sources from competing neighboring kingdoms in what are now China, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, and Cambodia.

Lao kingship was based upon the mandala system established by the example of King Ashoka. In theory, Lao kings and their successors were chosen by agreement of the king's Sena (a council which could include senior royal family members, ministers, generals and senior members of the sangha or clergy), through the validity the king's lineage, and by personal Dharma through commitment to propagating Theravada Buddhism (the king was literally a Dharmaraja- as one who led by acts of religious virtue). Kingship was not based exclusively on primogeniture or divine right as was common in other monarchies.

The monarchy traces its lineage to Chao Fa Ngum, who founded the Kingdom of Lan Xang in 1353 and beyond that to the mythical Khun Borom who was held as the mythical father of the Tai peoples and the progenitor of the Lao Loum.

Lan Xang endured as a politically unified entity for three hundred years (1353–1694), which was then split into the kingdoms of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and Champasak, only to be reconstituted as a unified constitutional monarchy under a French protectorate in 1946. At various times the kingdom Lan Xang fought off invasions from Burma, Siam and the Đại Việt.

The traditional capital of Lan Xang was at Luang Prabang until it was moved in 1560 by King Setthathirath to better administer the growing population and provide security in facing threats from Burma and Siam. Lan Xang entered a Golden Age during the reigns of Visunarat (1501–1520) and Sourigna Vongsa from (1637–94), during these times the cultural and economic power of the kingdom were at their greatest. In 1828 Vientiane was razed by the Siamese, in retaliation for the Chao Anouvong Rebellion, at which point the kingdom of Vientiane ceased to exist. During the French Protectorate, Luang Prabang was reestablished as the cultural and religious capital, while the French rebuilt Vientiane as the country's administrative capital.

Kingdom of Lan Xang (1353–1707)[edit]

The following is a list of Lan Xang kings from the founding in 1353 by Fa Ngum, to the succession disputes following the death of Souligna Vongsa, and partition of the Kingdom in 1707.

Name Birth Reign
Death Relationship
with predecessors
Fa Ngum 1316 1353 1373 1393 [1]
(Oun Huan)
1357 1372 1417 Son of Fa Ngum [2]
Lan Kham Deng 1375 1416 1428 Son of Samsenethai [3]
Phommathat 1428 1429 Lan Kham Deng's oldest son Reigned 10 months[4]
1429 1430 Younger brother of Phommathat Reigned 8 months[5]
Khon Kham 1430 1432 Son of King Samsenthai Reigned 18 months[6]
Kham Tam Sa
(Kham Teun, Khamtum)
1429(?); 1432 Son of Samsenthai Reigned 5 months[7]
Lusai 1432 1433 Son of Samsenthai Reigned 6 months
Khai Bua Ban 1433 1436 Grandson of Samsenthai [9]
Kham Keut
(Kham-Kert, Kham Keul)
1436 1438 Illegitimate son of Samsenethai [10]
Nang Keo Phimpha 1343 1438 [11]
Interregnum (1438–1442, rule by Sena and members of Sangha)[12]
Chakkaphat Phaen Phaeo
(Sai Tia Kaphut or Xainyachakkaphat)
1415 1442 1480 1481 Son of Samsenthai [13]
Souvanna Banlang 1455 1479 1486 Son of Chakkaphat Phaen Phaeo [14]
La Sen Thai
(La Sen Thai Puvanart)
1462 1485 1496 Youngest brother of Suvarna
Somphou 1486 1496 1501 Son of La Sen Thai [16]
(also Vixun or Visunarat)
1465 1500 1520. Son of Sai Tia Kaphut [17]
Photisarath I
(also Phothisarath, Phothisarat, or Potisarat)
1505 1520 1548 Son of Visoun [7]
(also Xaysettha, Chaiyachettha,
Chaiyaset or Jayajestha)
1534 1548 1571 Son of the Photisarath Also King of Lanna
Sen Soulintha
(also Saen Surintha or Sen Sourintha,
born Chane Tian)
1511 1571 1575 1582 Not of royal descent First reign.
Voravongsa I 1575 1579 Son of Photisarath Burmese vassal[20]
Sen Soulintha
(also Saen Surintha or Sen Sourintha,
born Chane Tian)
1580 1582 1582 Not of royal descent Second reign
Nakhon Noi 1582 1583 Son of Sen Soulintha.
Not of royal descent.
Interregnum (1583–1591)[23]
Nokeo Koumane 1591 1598 Son of Setthathirath [24]
Voravongsa II
1598 1622 Nephew of Setthathirath [25]
Oupagnouvarath 1622 1623 Son of Voravongsa [26]
Photisarath II 1623 1627 Son or grandson of Sen Soulintha
Not of royal descent
Mon Keo
1627 Son of Voravongsa [28]
Tone Kham 1627 1633 Son of Mon Keo [29][30]
Vichai 1633 1637 Son of Mon Keo [31][30]
Souligna Vongsa
1618 1637 1695 Son of Tone Kham 2nd Golden Age of Lan Xang
Tian Thala 1694 or 1695 Not of royal descent. Senior minister who usurped the throne
reigning for 6 months.[33]
Ong Lo 1694 1698 Nephew of Souligna Vongsa [34]
Nan Tharat 1699 Grandson of Vichai [35]
Setthathirath II
(Sai Ong Hue)
1700 1707 1735 Nephew of Souligna Vongsa
(whose father was exiled to Vietnam)

Kingdom of Vientiane (1707–1828)[edit]

Flag of the Kingdom of Vientiane (1707–1828)

Kingdom of Vientiane was formed in 1707 as a result of the succession dispute between Sai Ong Hue with his backing from the Vietnamese court at Huế and Kingkitsarat (a grandson of Souligna Vongsa) who was backed by the Tai Lü kingdom of Sipsong Panna. From 1707 until the annihilation of Vientiane in 1828, the kingdom would at various times be in rivalry with the kingdoms of Luang Prabang and Champasak, although they remained loosely confederated by cultural and historic affinity. By the mid-eighteenth century, the individual Lao kingdoms were simultaneously paying tribute to Burma, China, Siam and Vietnam. Following the Rebellion of Chao Anouvong in 1828, Vientiane was destroyed and both the kingdoms of Vientiane and Champasak falls to the Siamese in 1828. The kingship of Vientiane ends and all territories are annexed to Siam.[37] General Ratchasuphawadi oversees the depopulation of the kingdom and forced relocation to Isaan. The city itself was leveled leaving only Wat Si Saket standing, along with the partial ruins of the Ha Pra Keo, That Dam Stupa, and That Luang Stupa. In 1867, Louis de Carne a part of the Francis Garnier exploratory mission noted that:

“A flourishing capital has been annihilated in our own days, and an entire people has, in some sort, disappeared, without Europe even having suspected such scenes of desolation-without even a solitary echo of this long cry of despair having reached her.”[38]

Name Birth Reign
Death Relationship
with predecessors
Setthathirath II
(Sai Ong Hue; Trieu Phuc)
1685 1707 1735 Nephew of Souligna Vongsa
Ong Long 1735 1760 Son of Sai Ong Hue Burmese vassal, 1765–1768
Ong Boun
1760 1778 Son of Sai Ong Hue 1st reign. Burmese vassal)[39]
Interregnum (1778–1780).
Phraya Supho appointed governor by Siamese, led by General Taksin. Vientiane falls and is sacked by the Siamese (1779)
Ong Boun
1780 1781 Son of Sai Ong Hue 2nd reign, returns as vassal to Siam
Nanthasen 1781 1794 Son of Ong Boun Returns Pra Bang to Vientiane, vassal to Siam,
but recalled for plotting a rebellion
(Intharavong Setthathirath III)
1795 1805 Son of Ong Boun Vassal to Siam
Anouvong 1767 1804 1828 1829 Brother of Inthavong Led the Lao rebellion (1826–1828) against Siam

Kingdom of Champasak (Bassac) (1713–1904)[edit]

Flag of the Kingdom of Champasak (1713–1904)

The Kingdom of Champasak declared itself independent from the Kingdom of Vientiane in 1713. The Kingdom of Champasak comprised the area south of the Xe Bang River as far as Stung Treng together with the areas of the lower Mun and Xi rivers on the Khorat Plateau (now the Isaan area of modern Thailand). The Kingdom was annexed by Siam in 1829 following the Chao Anouvong Rebellion, and subsequent kings were confirmed in Bangkok. From 1893 French took administrative control over parts of the kingdom, in 1904 the kingdom was reduced to a provincial governorship but still included the political involvement of the Na Champasak royal family. From 1941–45 Thailand exploited France's weakness during World War II to acquire Champasak and other Lao lands on the right bank of the Mekong. In 1946 Champasak was ceded back to France and Chao Boun Oum remitted all claims to an independent kingship in order to unify Laos. The Kingdom of Laos (1946–75) was then formed under the Luang Prabang line of kingship.

Name Birth Reign
Death Relationship
with predecessors
(Soysisamut Phutthangkun)
1693(?) 1713 1737 1738 Grandson of Sourigna Vongsa

(Pha Photi Chao)

1737 1791 Son of Nokasat
Fay Na 1791 1811 Not of royal descent Appointed by Siam
No Muong 1811 1813 Son of Sayakumane
Manoi 1813 1819 Nephew of Sayakumane
Nho 1819 1827 Son of Anouvong, King of Vientiane Chao Yo house of Vientiane
1829–93 Siam annexes Champasak following the Chao Anouvong Rebellion and confirms subsequent kings
Huy 1780 1828 1840 Great grandson of Nokasad
Nark 1841 1851 Brother of Huy
Boua 1853 Son of Huy Regent: 1851–1853
Interregnum (1853–1856)
Kham Nai 1830 1856 1858 Son of Huy
Interregnum (1858–63)
Kham Souk 1839 1863 1899 Son of Huy France divided the kingdom in 1893
1874 1900 1904 1945 Son of Kham Souk King under protectorate of French Indochina;
Had the title of regional governor between 1904–1934
Boun Oum 1911 1946 1980 Son of Ratsadanay Prince
ceded all hereditary claims to reinforce the Kingdom of Laos

Kingdom of Luang Prabang (1707–1893) & French Protectorate of Laos (1893-1947)[edit]

Flag of the Kingdom of Luang Prabang (1707–1893)
Flag of Laos as a French Protectorate (1893–1952)

With the division of Lan Xang, the city of Luang Prabang recovered its prestige as a royal city, since the capital had moved to Vientiane with Setthathirath in 1560. The city was a growing center for religion and trade, but remained politically weak and would be sacked by the Burmese in 1764. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the Kingdom endured as a vassal to China, Siam, Burma, and Vietnam. In 1828 following Chao Anouvong's Rebellion the kingdom was annexed by Siam. Despite their vassal status the Kings of Luang Prabang exercised a degree of autonomy, but lacked the security apparatus to effectively defend the kingdom (which may have been used in rebellion, as had been done in the kingdoms of Vientiane and Champasak). As a result, throughout the mid-19th century Haw pirates from China were able to invade.

Name Birth Reign
Death Relationship
with predecessors


1707 1713 Grandson of Souligna Vongsa
Ong Kham 1713 1723 Cousin of Kingkitsarat and Inthasom Co-ruled with Inthasom who then deposed him in 1723.
Ong Kham was later crowned King of Lan Na (r.1727–1759)

(Thao Ang)

1723 1749 Brother of Kingkitsarat and
grandson of Souligna Vongsa
Vietnamese invasion repelled (1749)
Inthaphom 1749 Son of Inthasom
Sotika Koumane 1749 1764 Son of Inthasom Burmese vassal, 1765–1768
Burmese invasion (1764, aided by Vientiane)
Sotika Koumane 1764 1771 Son of Inthasom Vassal to Burma, abdicated in 1771
Suriyawong 1771 1779 Brother of Sotika Koumane
and son of Inthasom,
Rebelled against Burma. In 1779, following the sack of Vientiane,
Suriyawong becomes a vassal of Siam
Anourouth 1791 1817 Son of Inthasom
Mantha Tourath 1817 1836 Son of Anourouth Sought vassalage with Vietnam against Siam
Provinces of Luang Phrabang in rebellion against Siam (1835)
Soukhaseum 1838 1851 Son of Mantha Tourath
Tiantharath 1851 1870 Son of Mantha Tourath
The Pra Bang is returned to Luang Pra Bang by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand having been brought to Bangkok during the destruction of Vientiane in 1828. Until 1865, Thai King Chantharath ruled Luang PraBang, and relinquished the power to Laos King Oun Kham. Transition occurred during/after the French Auguste Parvie visits.
Oun Kham 1811 or
1865 1895 Son of Mantha Tourath Fled to the Haw pirates in 1887 with Auguste Pavie and would later
pursue protection from France
(Sakharine, Sackarindr)
1895 1904 Son of Oun Kham Was crowned after the French could establish security
Sisavang Vong 1904 1945 Son of Sakharine Last king of Luang Prabang and first king of Laos

Principality of Xiang Khouang (Muang Phuan) (1707–1899)[edit]

The Muang of Xiang Khouang was a semi-autonomous region in Laos in what is now Xiang Khouang province. The Phuan (Pu’on) monarchy claims descent from Khun Borom and were part of the Lan Xang mandala. Geographic isolation and frequent warfare produced periods where the Phuan kings tried to assert more authority, but the region remained only a key vassalage for surrounding kingdoms. The region features prominently in the 18th and 19th century as valuable coalition piece for the rival kingdoms of Vientiane and Champasak. Xiang Khouang was a trade frontier, and also frequent point of invasion, and so has more cultural influences from China and Vietnam.

Name Birth Reign
Death Relationship
with predecessors
Kham Sanh 1651 1688
Kam Lan 1688 1700 Son of Kham Sanh
Kham Sattha 1723 1751 Grandson of Kam Lan Tributary to Vietnam, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane)
Ong Lo 1751 1779
Somphou 1779 1803
(Southaka Souvanna Koumar)
1803 1831 Nephew of Somphou Executed by Emperor Minh Mạng of Vietnam
Xiang Khuoang annexed as Tran Ninh province in Vietnam (1832)
Po 1848 1865 Son of Noi Vassal to Siam and Vietnam
Ung 1866 1876 Son of Noi Haw pirates invade Xiang Khouang in 1874
Khanti 1876 1880 Son of Ung Vassal to Siam
Kham Ngon 1880 1899 French protectorate ends autonomy

Kingdom of Laos (1947–75)[edit]

Flag of the Kingdom of Laos (1952–1975)

The Kingdom of Laos created in 1947 marked the first time the kingdoms of Laos had been unified since the division of Lan Xang in 1707. The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953, gave Laos independence and the Royal Lao Government took control of the country. This treaty established a constitutional monarchy, with Sisavang Vong as King and Prince Souvanna Phouma as Prime Minister. In 1959, after the death of his father King Sisavang Vong, Savang Vatthana ascended the throne and was crowned King. On December 2, 1975, King Savang Vatthana was forced to abdicate by the Pathet Lao, after its victory in the Laotian Civil War.

Name Portrait House Birth Death Succession right
Sisavang Vong
23 April 1946

29 October 1959
13 years, 189 days
Sisavang Vong roi de Luang Prahang 05362.jpg Khun Lo 14 July 1885
Luang Phrabang
29 October 1959
Luang Phrabang
aged 74
Son of Zakarine
Savang Vatthana
29 October 1959

2 December 1975
16 years, 34 days
Savang Vatthana.jpg Khun Lo 13 November 1907
Luang Phrabang
13 May (?) 1978 or 1984
Xam Neua
aged 70 or 77
Son of Sisavang Vong

Monarchy of Laos in exile (1975–present)[edit]


Lao monarchs' family tree[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simms, Peter and Sanda, The Kingdoms of Laos: Six Hundred Years of History, Curzon Press, Surrey. 1999. ISBN 0-7007-1531-2. (pg. 217); Le Boulanger, Paul, Histoire du Laos Francais: Essai d'une Etude chronologique des Principautes Laotiennes, Plon, Paris. 1931 (pg.31); Dommen, Aurthur, J., Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization, Pall Mall Press, London. 1964. (pg. 64); Hall, D.G.E., A History of Southeast Asia (4th ed.), Macmillan, London, 1994. ISBN 978-0333241646 (pg. 81)
  2. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Sila, 64; Manich, 67; Hall, 81; Stuart-Fox, 93)
  3. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Hall, 81)
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0033 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ Simms, 99; Sila, Maha Viravong, History of Laos (trans), Paragon, New York. 1964.
  6. ^ (Simms, 99; Sila, 64)
  7. ^ a b (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31)
  8. ^ (Simms, 99; Sila, 64; Manich, 71; Le Boulanger, 31)
  9. ^ (Simms, 99; Sila, 64; Manich, 71)
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0032 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ Stuart-Fox, Martin “Who was Maha Thevi?" Siam Society Journal, Vol 81. 1993.; ---, The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang: Rise and Decline, White Lotus Press, 1998. ISBN 974-8434-33-8. (pgs. 62-64).
  12. ^ (Simms, 99; Manich, 71)
  13. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Dommen, 64)
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0102 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Hall, 81; Wyatt, David K. & Aroonrut Wichienkeeo (Ed.), The Chiang Mai Chronicle (trans), Silkworm, Chiang Mai, 1995. ISBN 9747100622
  16. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Hall, 81; Wyatt, 84)
  17. ^ (Simms, 99; Sila, 64; Coedes, George, The Making of Southeast Asia (trans) Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1966.; Stuart-Fox, 93)
  18. ^ (Simms, 218; Manich, 67; Saveng, 87; Wyatt, 84)
  19. ^ (Sila, 64; Saveng, Phinith, Contribution a l'Histoire du Royaume de Luang Prabang., École Française d'Extrême-Orient, Vol. CXLI, Paris, 1987.)
  20. ^ (Sila, 64; Manich, 67; Saveng, 87)
  21. ^ (Simms, 99; Hall, 81; Saveng, 87)
  22. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Sila, 64; Hall, 81)
  23. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0052 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Coedes, 66; Hall, 81; Saveng, 87
  25. ^ (Sila, 64; Saveng, 87)
  26. ^ (Simms, 99; Le Boulanger, 31; Sila, 64)
  27. ^ (Simms 99, Le Boulanger, 31; Sila, 64)
  28. ^ (Sila, 64)
  29. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0242 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  30. ^ a b Simms, Sanda (2013-10-11). The Kingdoms of Laos. Routledge. ISBN 9781136863370.
  31. ^ Cite error: The named reference ref0243 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ (Coedes, 66; Le Boulanger, 31; Dommen, 64; Saveng, 87; Stuart-Fox, 93)
  33. ^ (Simms, 99, Le Boulanger, 31; Hall, 81)
  34. ^ (Manich, 67)
  35. ^ (Saveng, 87)
  36. ^ (Wyatt, 84; Le Boulanger, 31; Dommen, 64; Hall, 81)
  37. ^ (Stuart-Fox, 98; Simms, 99; Sila, 84, Le Thanh Khoi, Histoire du Vietnam, Le Boulanger, Wyatt)
  38. ^ (Stuart-Fox, Martin. Naga Cities of The Mekong.)
  39. ^ Tarling, Nicholas. The Cambridge history of South East Asia: From c. 1500 to c. 1800. 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-521-66370-0. ISBN 0-521-66370-9.