Colonial Times





In 1868, after having annexed South Vietnam as a colony and having turned Cambodia into a French protectorate, the French send an initial expedition to Laos to investigate the Mekong trade routeto China.

In 1886 France receives permission from Siam largely ruling Laos, to install a vice consulate in Luang Prabang. In 1887, Siam, anticipating French expansion, vacates large parts of Laos.

In 1893 France declares the Mekong the official border between Laos and Siam. Might is right; Siam accepts the unilateral decision of big-gun France. Laos officially becomes a French protectorate.

However, France has only limited interest in her new possession. Paris sends Vietnamese officials to Laos to set up an administration but does little to develop the Laotian economy.

In September 1940 , after France is invaded by Germany, Japanese troops occupy Indochina without meeting any resistance.

Officially the word is that the French colonial power leaves all military installation for the Japanese troops to use; in exchange the French colonial administration remains in office. Therefore the years of World War II bring less destruction to Laos than, for instance, to the fiercely contested Southeast Asian states of Burma and the Philippines.

In East Asia, World War II ends August 14, 1945, with the capitulation of Japan. Subsequently, France tries to re-establish herself as colonial power in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

On September 1, 1945, Laos declares its independence. France refuses to accept this, and retaliates by sending troops into Laos. A guerilla war against the French colonial power starts.


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