Earliest known history and the founding of Lan Xang:
The official History of Laos as introduced in government textbooks, is conventionally traced to the establishment of the kingdom of Lan Xang by Fa Ngum in 1353. This is a relatively conservative date to begin the history of the nation, providing a contrast to the course taken by Thai historiography (which reaches back implausibly far into proto-history). By the 14th century, when this “official history” begins, the speakers of early Lao-related languages (“Tai-Kadai”)had probably developed a reasonable base of population among the prior inhabitants of (what is now) Laos over the prior century or two.
The earlier inhabitation of the land by peoples such as the Mon kingdom of Dvaravati and Proto-Khmer peoples was given a great deal of emphasis in the histories of Laos written during the French colonial period. However, post-colonial historiography has instead sought to represent all peoples of Laos as equally “indigenous”, relating the early history in terms of a complex interaction with the (admittedly more ancient) Cambodian kingdoms to the south, and praising the Proto-Khmer as Lao nationalists for their heroism and modern struggles against the French and Americans (see, e.g., the Ong Keo Rebellion starting circa 1902).
Both French colonial history and post-colonial (Communist) history sought to reverse the obvious racism of earlier, popular accounts that when the Lao migrated into the country, they simply conquered and enslaved the native inhabitants (viz., primarily Proto-Khmer people, described in such a context with the derogatory term “Kha-That”). This traditional view has almost no factual basis, but remains a commonly heard pseudo-history, and a special concern for teachers to address (or redress) in the classroom. Vatthana Pholsena provides a survey of the historiography on this point in Post-War Laos, 2006, Silkworm Books.
It is generally assumed that, as late as the 16th century, King Photisarath helped establish Theravada Buddhism as the predominant religion of the country. However, this aspect of official history may now have to change given recent archaeological discoveries in Cambodia and Vietnam, showing intact Pali inscriptions as early as the 9th century.
While there can be no doubt that animism and fragments of Shiva-worship were popular in ancient Laos, evidence increasingly indicates a long, gradual process leading to the ascendancy of Buddhism (rather than a single king converting the country). The reverse also did occur, as with the historical layers of statuary and inscriptions at Wat Phu Champassak; the oldest are in Sanskrit, and worship Shiva, while the later evidence is Buddhist, subsequently reverting to animism (with the most recent statues simply depicting giant elephants and lizards, with no references to the organized religions of India, and neither Sanskrit nor Pali text).
It is significant to note that all of these official histories exclude the (possible and actual) influence of Chinese religion in the region. In fact, the ancient Lao calendar and Thai calendar are both of Chinese origin (adapted from the “Heavenly Stem Branch Calendar”), and do not reflect Indian cosmology. These calendars were both part of the royal religion (preserved in epigraphy) and, apparently, part of popular religion (fortune telling) for centuries.
Before full independence in 1954:
In the 17th century Lan Xang entered a period of decline and the late 18th century Siam (now Thailand) established control over much of what is now Laos. The region was divided into three dependent states centered on Luang Prabang in the north, Vientiane in the center, and Champassak in the south. The Vientiane Lao rebelled in 1828 but were defeated, and the area was incorporated into Siam. Following its occupation of Vietnam, France absorbed Laos into French Indochina via treaties with Siam in 1893 and 1904.
During World War II, the Japanese occupied French Indochina. When Japan surrendered, Lao nationalists declared Laos independent, but by early 1946, French troops had reoccupied the country and conferred limited autonomy on Laos. During the First Indochina War, the Indochinese Communist Party formed the Pathet Lao resistance organization committed to Lao independence. Laos gained full independence following the French defeat by the Vietnamese communists and the subsequent Geneva peace conference in 1954.
The period of the Kingdom of Laos:
Elections were held in 1955, and the first coalition government, led by Prince Souvanna Phouma, was formed in 1957. The coalition government collapsed in 1958 under pressure from the United States. In 1960 Captain Kong Lae staged a coup when the cabinet was away at the royal capital of Luang Prabang and demanded reformation of a neutralist government. The second coalition government, once again led by Souvanna Phouma, was not successful in holding power. Rightist forces under General Phoumi Nosavan drove out the neutralist government from power later that same year.
A second Geneva conference, held in 1961-62, provided for the independence and neutrality of Laos, but the agreement was subverted by both the United States and North Vietnam and the war soon resumed. The government and army of Laos were generally neutral during the conflict.
The United States and North Vietnam subverted the agreement by forming private proxy armies. Growing American and North Vietnamese military presence in the country increasingly drew Laos into the Second Indochina War (1954-1975). For nearly a decade, eastern Laos was subjected to the heaviest bombing in the history of warfare, as the U.S. sought to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail that passed through Laos. The country was also repeatedly invaded by Vietnam.
Shortly after the Paris Peace Accords led to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam, a ceasefire between the Pathet Lao and the government led to a new coalition government. However, North Vietnam never really withdrew from Laos and the Pathet Lao remained little more than a proxy army for Vietnamese interests. After the fall of South Vietnam to communist forces in April 1975, the Pathet Lao with the backing of North Vietnam were able to take total power with little resistance. On December 2, 1975, the king was forced to abdicate his throne and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was established.
The period of the Communist government/contemporary period (1975-present):
The new communist government led by Kaysone Phomvihane imposed centralized economic decision-making and incarcerated many members of the previous government and military in “re-education camps” which also included the Hmongs. While nominally independent, the communist government was for many years effectively little more than a puppet regime run from Vietnam.
The government’s policies prompted about 10 percent of the Lao population to leave the country. Laos depended heavily on Soviet aid channeled through Vietnam up until the Soviet collapse in 1991. In the 1990s the communist party gave up centralised management of the economy but still has a monopoly of political power.
[Message last modified 10-10-2008 02:03pm by veayoo]
More excerpts about Laos’ wars and problems:
The Tai (also spelled Dai) are a linguistic group originating in southern China, which includes the Lao, the Siamese, the people of the Shan region of north-eastern Burma, the Zhuang people of Guangxi Province in China and the Tho and Nung people of northern Vietnam.
Under pressure from the expansion of the Han Chinese, the Tai began to migrate into South-East Asia during the first millennium AD. They displaced earlier peoples (including the iron age culture who made the great stone jars from which the Plain of Jars in central Laos takes its name).
The Mekong River, which flows through what is now Laos, was a major migration route, but the strength of the Khmer Empire (Cambodia) prevented the Tai from dominating the Mekong Valley. Instead the main area of Tai settlement was further south in the Chao Phraya Valley, where they formed a series of kingdoms ancestral to modern Siam and Thailand. .
While there can be no doubt that animism and fragments of Shiva-worship were popular in ancient Laos, evidence increasingly indicates a long, gradual process leading to the ascendancy of Buddhism (rather than a single king converting the country).
The reverse also did occur, as with the historical layers of statuary and inscriptions at Wat Phu Champassak; the oldest are in Sanskrit, and worship Shiva, while the later evidence is Buddhist, subsequently reverting to animism (with the most recent statues simply depicting giant elephants and lizards, with no references to the organized religions of India, and neither Sanskrit nor Pali text).
It is significant to note that all of these official histories exclude the (possible and actual) influence of Chinese religion in the region. In fact, the ancient Lao calendar and Thai calendar are both of Chinese origin (adapted from the “Heavenly Stem Branch Calendar”), and do not reflect Indian cosmology. These calendars were both part of the royal religion (preserved in epigraphy) and, apparently, part of popular religion (fortune telling) for centuries.
During the first millennium AD the Tai peoples were loosely organised in small entities known as muang or mandalas. They were heavily influenced by the more advanced cultures around them: the Khmer to the south-east, and the Hindu cultures of India to the west.
Most of the Tai were converted to a form of Hinduism, traces of which can still be seen in Lao religious practice today. Between the 6th and 9th centuries AD Buddhism was introduced into the Tai-speaking lands, probably via Burma, and became the dominant
As the Tai peoples became established, they divided into a number of linguistic sub-groups. These included the Tai-Lao, who during the 11th and 12th centuries AD spread along the middle Mekong Valley and across the Khōrāt Plateau (now the Isan region of north-eastern Thailand).
Their advance down the Mekong was blocked at Champāsak by the Khmers, who built the great temple at Wat Phū.
The Lao in turn divided into further groups, based on where they lived in relation to the river. These were the Lao-Lum (Lao of the valley floor), the Lao-Thoeng (Lao of the mountain slopes) and the Lao-Sūng (Lao of the mountain tops). This latter group included various linguistic minorities only distantly related to the Tai. The Lao-Lum, having the best farming land and the best access to river transport, became the wealthiest of the Tai-Lao peoples. These divisions have haunted Lao history and still exist today, with many Lao-Thoeng and Lao-Sūng people having only a tenuous loyalty to a Lao-Lum dominated state.
The rise and fall of various early Lao states is now recorded only in myth. The earliest historically identifiable Lao leader is Khun Lô, who probably conquered the Luang Phrabāng area from non-Tai people in the 12th century. Because the Mekong is divided into three distinct navigable sections by rapids, between Luang Phrabāng and Viang Chan (Vientiane) and between Viang Chan and Savannakhēt, these three towns became the centres of three distinct Lao-Lum mandalas.
This pattern was disrupted by the Mongol invasion of 1253, when part of Kublai Khan’s army advanced down the Mekong to attack the Khmers. In the wake of the Mongol withdrawal a new kingdom were founded by the Siamese at Sukhothai, which was later succeeded by a more powerful Siamese state with its capital at Ayutthaya (founded in 1351). The kingdom of Lān Nā, based at Chiang Mai and containing both Siamese and Lao elements, was also founded at this time.
In response, the Tai-Lao rulers of Luang Phrabāng (which was then called Xiang Dong Xiang Thong) formed a new state which, while still nominally subject to the Mongol rulers of China, became the leading force among the Lao peoples. From about 1271 this state was ruled by a dynasty called the Phrayā. In about 1350 a prince of this dynasty, Fā Ngum, fled the court with his father after a dispute and sought refuge with the Khmers at Angkor, where he married a royal princess. In 1353 he returned at the head of an army (presumably with Khmer aid), captured Xiang Dong Xiang Thong and founded a new Lao state which covered the whole Lao-speaking Mekong valley. This was Lān Xāng, the Kingdom of a Million Elephants.
Laos history is full of internal and external wars .
Siamese and Vietnamese dominations
The Haw Phra Kaew temple in Viang Chan, former home of the Emerald Buddha, which was taken to Bangkok by the Siamese in 1779.
With the fall of Lān Xāng, European interest in the Lao declined, and there were few visitors during the 18th century. Little is known about the internal affairs of the Lao states during this period. In any case they were not left alone for long.
In 1763 came the greatest Burmese invasion yet seen. All the Lao lands were conquered, and in 1767 Ayutthaya fell. It appeared once again that the Tai peoples would be subjected to Burmese rule.
But the Siamese staged an almost immediate recovery. Taksin, a general of Chinese origin, organised resistance, routed the Burmese and founded a new capital at Bangkok, from where he set out to conquer the Tai world. Taksin attacked the Burmese in the north in 1774 and captured Chiang Mai in 1776, permanently uniting Siam and Lān Nā. Taksin’s leading general in this campaign was Thong Duang, known by the title Chaophraya Chakri. In 1778 Chakri led another Siamese army north. This expedition captured Viang Chan, and established Siamese domination over Laos.
The Siamese did not come to Laos as liberators. Viang Chan was thoroughly looted, and its most sacred treasurer, the Emerald Buddha, was taken to Bangkok, where it remains to this day. The King of Viang Chan escaped but died soon after, and thereafter Siamese puppets occupied the throne. Many leading Lao families were deported and forcibly resettled in Siamese lands. Champāsak was also brought under Siamese control, although some of the Lao mandalas in the eastern uplands continued to be tributary to the Vietnamese court at Hué. In 1792 the Siamese occupied Luang Phrabāng, but the ancient capital was treated more kindly than Viang Chan had been. It was not looted, it kept the Phra Bāng, and its king kept his throne after due submission to Siam.
In 1782 Chaophraya Chakri deposed Taksin as King of Siam and became King Rama I, founding the Chakri dynasty which still occupies the Thai throne. Under increasing western influence, the Chakri kings began to convert Siam from a traditional mandala to a modern state, although this was a slow and difficult process which took more than a century. At first the distant Lao kingdoms were little affected. They paid their tributes and made ritual obeisance to Bangkok, and were otherwise left alone.
Between 1795 and 1828, the kingdom became a vassal state of Annam (Vietnam). And in 1802, Vietnam devastated the Laotian city of Vientiane, annexed and took control northern Laos.
Thus when King Ānuvong of Viang Chan, who came to the throne in 1804, began to rebuild his kingdom’s strength, with covert assistance from Vietnam, Bangkok paid little attention. Ānuvong built the splendid Wat Sisakēt as a symbol of Lao revival.
By 1823 he was confident that he could expand his power to the neighbor countries. He easily gained control of the Viang Chan area, while his son had already been a ruler Champāsak (appointed by Siamese King Rama II as a reward that Ānuvong helped Siam in many battles). The Lao armies then crossed the Mekong to capture Siam’s northeast region. At that time, Ānuvong had ambition to even conquer Siam or, if cannot conquer, destroy and loot Bangkok to make sure that Siam would not be able to recover again.
The Lao warlord succeeded to capture Korat, the important city of Siam. However, the Korat’s people bravely rebelled against Lao armies and reclaimed independence in a short period. After that, the Ānuvong’s luck seemed to turn down. The King of Luang Phrabāng sided with the Siamese, Vietnamese aid did not come, and the Siamese King Rama III was able to mobilize and strike back.
The Lao were decisively defeated at a battle south of Viang Chan in 1827. The city (apart from some temples) was burned to the ground and its population deported. The following year Ānuvong was captured, and died a prisoner in Bangkok. The Viang Chan kingdom was abolished outright and made a Siamese province: this was a new development in Tai history, reflecting the increasingly strength of European ideas.
The mid 19th century was the lowest point in Lao history. In 1848, the kingdom was once again restored as a vassal state of Vietnam. The King of Luang Phrabāng retained a nominal independence by paying tribute to China and Vietnam as well as Siam.
The rest of the Lao lands were directly ruled from Bangkok in an increasingly detailed and oppressive way, as Siam developed more of the infrastructure of a modern state. The Lao lands were depopulated by forced resettlement, and the towns filled with Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants.
If Ānuvong’s revolt had showed the beginnings of a genuine sense of Lao nationalism, by the 1860s it seemed as though the Lao would soon disappear as a distinct national entity, becoming just another regional sub-nationality of the Siamese kingdom.
Laos history is full of wars. There were internal wars among Laos factions. There were mostly wars caused by other nations such as Mongolia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Portuguese, British, French, Japan etc.
With so many wars, Laos economy has been in a poverty level.
Introduction to Vietnam history:
Like Laos, Vietnam history is full of wars. Internal wars between Vietnameses were frequent.
External wars appeared devastating. Vietnam was invaded by China at least 4 times and BY the Mongols at least three times too. Vietnam fought against larger countries like France and the United States of America.
The so many wars explain why there is Vietnamese concept as “victory at any cost”, a strategy that General Vo Nguyen Giap could deploy against Westerners.
With so many wars in its history, Vietnam also learned from the China invader a strategy to conquer land by political marriage. A Chinese woman was married to a Vietnam leader and played a big role grabbing land from Vietnam. Later on, Vietnam used the political marriage to steal land from Cambodia. Vietnam got Kampuchea Krom from Cambodia by having a Vietnamese woman named Cochin married to a Cambodian King. The woman maneuvered tactics to have Cambodian King signed the land to her, thus to Vietnam.
History of Vietnam
The history of Vietnam begins around 2,700 years ago. Successive dynasties based in China ruled Vietnam directly for most of the period from 111 BC until 938 when Vietnam regained its independence. Vietnam remained a tributary state to its larger neighbor China for much of its history but repelled invasions by the Chinese as well as three invasions by the Mongols between 1255 and 1285.
A Vietnamese king later diplomatically submitted Vietnam to a tributary of the Yuan to avoid further conflicts. The independent period temporarily ended in the middle to late 19th century, when the country was colonized by France (see French Indochina).
During World War II, Imperial Japan expelled the French to occupy Vietnam, though they retained French administrators during their occupation. After the war, France attempted to re-establish its colonial rule but ultimately failed. The Geneva Accords partitioned the country in two with a promise of democratic election to reunite the country.
However, rather than peaceful reunification, partition led to the Vietnam War, a civil war and a major part of the Cold War. During this time, the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union supported the North while the United States supported the South.
After millions of Vietnamese deaths and the American withdrawal from Vietnam in March 1973, the war ended with the fall of Saigon to the North in April 1975.
The reunified Vietnam suffered further internal repression and was isolated internationally due to the continuing Cold War and the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. In 1986, the Communist Party of Vietnam changed its economic policy and began reforms of the private sector similar to those in China. Since the mid-1980s, Vietnam has enjoyed substantial economic growth and some reduction in political repression, though reports of corruption have also risen.
I hate Vietnamese language:
As I compose this text, the Vietnamese names and words embedded inside English text screw up my work. For instance, as I saved the mixed English and Vietnamese document in text, my software gives me the following:
“ Evidence of the earliest established society other than the ?ông S?n culture in Northern Vietnam was found in C? Loa, the ancient city situated near present-day Hà N?i.” (Hà N?i = Hanoi).
I do not want to deal with this crazy character translation when I work in English. Why can’t they (the Vietnameses) leave the English spelling alone. Why trying to inject the weird language in English text.
Vietnameses are famous about getting hated everywhere because of their foolist need of national identity!
I hate the Vietnamese language in English text!
According to traditional legends, Viet Nam was formed when King Lac Long Quan (also known as the “Dragon Lord of Lac” or the “Dragon Lord of the Seas”) married Princess Au Co (a Chinese immortal and descended from the High Mountains). She bore him 100 eggs, out of which 100 sons were born. They soon established a nation that stretched from southern China to northern Indonesia.
However, the King and the Princess became convinced that their different origins would ultimately make them unhappy, so they separated. Princess Au Co took 50 of the sons with her back into the mountains while King Lac Long Quan took the other 50 sons and ruled over the lowlands. After the King died in 2879 B.C., his eldest son, Hung Vuong established the Hung dynasty, and he is regarded as the real founder of the Vietnamese nation and of the first Vietnamese dynasty.
This legend symbolizes the importance of uniting the two main geographic and cultural areas of Viet Nam — the mountains (representing the north) and lowlands (representing the south) in forming one united country. It is a theme that gets played out repeatedly in Viet Nam’s history and is also symbolized by the spelling of “Viet Nam” as two words, rather than one.
The Hung dynasty produced 18 kings, each of whom ruled for 150 years. At this time, the nation was named Van Lang. This dynasty was then overthrown by a neighboring king in 258 B.C. He established the new kingdom of Au Lac and built his capital at Phuc An, whose remains still exist today in the village of Co Loa, located west of Hanoi.
Fifty years later, a Chinese general, Trieu Da, conquered the kingdom and formed the new nation of Nam Viet. Many scholars and Vietnamese consider this to be the end of historical legend and the true beginning of modern Vietnamese history. The next 100 or so years saw much conflict between King Trieu Da and the Han emperors of China. Finally, in 111 B.C., Nam Viet was conquered and incorporated into the Chinese empire.
A Tradition of Resistance is Born:
Thus began the Vietnamese people’s tradition of fighting to remain free and independent. For the next 19 centuries, the people of Viet Nam continually struggled against the Chinese for their independence. The first Vietnamese rebellion occurred in 39 A.D. and was led by the legendary Trung sisters. They successfully drove out the Chinese and the nation lived free from Chinese rule until three years later when Viet Nam was reconquered. This next period of Chinese domination lasted until 539, when a Vietnamese scholar, Ly Bon again drove out the Chinese rulers, only to have Viet Nam reinvaded a few years later.
The Vietnamese people would continue to resist the rule of China (which renamed the nation An Nam). The Chinese introduced many important and beneficial agricultural, technical, and educational innovations to benefit of the Vietnamese people. However, the imposition of Chinese culture, customs, language, political institutions, and at times cruel oppression and exploitation of the nation ultimately crystallized the Vietnamese people’s fierce desire to be free and independent, at all costs.
This desire was finally realized in 939, as the Tang dynasty in China was falling into decline. The Vietnamese used this as an opportunity to again fight for their independence. General Ngo Quyen successfully drove out the Chinese rulers and established the first of the “Great Dynasties” of Viet Nam that managed to remain largely independent of all foreign powers for the next 944 years.
Dynasties of Viet Nam:
Ngo Dynasty (939-967)
Even after the Chinese were driven out, King Ngo had to deal with constant revolts by feudal lords.
Dinh Dynasty (968-980)
Established by the dominant feudal lord who finally unified the country.
Early Le Dynasty (980-1009)
Pronounced “Lay.” Incorporated the northern Champa kingdom into southern Viet Nam. During this dynasty, Buddhism was established as the dominant religion of Viet Nam.
Ly Dynasty (1009-1225)
Pronounced “Lee.” According to tradition, the first Emperor Ly had a dream of a dragon rising out of the ground and ascending into heaven. This inspired him to move the capital to where he dreamt the dragon first rising out from the ground, in the city of Thang Long, which was later renamed “Hanoi.” This is also why Viet Nam is sometimes called the Land of the Rising Dragon.
Tran Dynasty (1225-1400)
This dynasty successfully fought off the invasion attempts of the larger Mongol army, led by Kubali Khan. Marco Polo also briefly traveled through Viet Nam in 1295.
Ho Dynasty (1400-1428)
Toward the end of this dynasty, Ming invaders from China again briefly occupied the country.
Late Le Dynasty (1428-1776)
Under the leadership of Le Loi, a resistance movement was formed and successfully used guerrilla warfare tactics to again drive out the Chinese invaders. This strategy involved using brief but frequent surprise attacks targeting the enemy’s weakest points and avoiding direct combat against superior enemy forces — a tactic that would be used successfully throughout Viet Nam’s early and modern history. This period is also considered to be the “golden era” of Viet Nam.
Trinh and Nguyen Rulers (1543-1776)
The nation was divided in half in 1600 after numerous civil wars. The Trinh lords ruled northern Viet Nam while the Nguyen lords controlled southern Viet Nam. During this period, the Le emperors had little real power. The Nguyen lords also incorporated the remaining Champa and eastern Khmer empires into Viet Nam, as the nation reached its present size and shape by 1757 (except for the southernmost Soc Trang province).
Nguyen Dynasty (1792-1883)
Despite continuing revolts, the nation was again unified. The capital was moved to Hue and gained its current imperial splendor. This is also when the political influence of French missionaries became more prominent. However, the Nguyen rulers became increasingly suspicious of the French and ultimately became hostile toward French interests. As you’ll read in the next section, this would have very serious consequences.
This is a sample of what a Thai says about Thailand. This Thai says he is from Texas, USA.
I read and summarize the document for further understanding, not for arguing for its validity or truthfulness. This is an attempt to hear a Thai claim the first time. I grew up in Cambodia and heard only what the Cambodians said.
I. WHAT A THAI SAYS ABOUT THAILAND:
•Thailand’s avoidance of colonialism & hegemony allowed the Thai culture to flourish unimpeded
And the Thai Land of Smiles Society has resulted.
LIFE Magazine July, 1939. “On June 24, 1939 the Government of Siam, the only free nation (= the only non-European colony) in Southeast Asia, changes its name to Thailand, which means ‘Free Land’ “.
Sayam, from which Siam came, was the name for Thailand in the Szechwan dialect of Chinese.
•The Chinese T’ai of Southwestern China, Szechwan, began traveling down the Mekong River into Southeast Asia or Indochina in about 600 B.C, I.E. 2600 years ago.
•Thailand History: Bronze Age – 1511
•Thailand History: 1511 – 2007.
•September 19, 2006. Thailand Military Coup D’ Etat. The Army was actually greeted with flowers!
About King Rama:
King Rama IX is the most powerful man in Thailand.
• King Rama IX is held to the esteem of a deity & is truly loved by the Thai people.
• Yellow ribbons on the Coup d’Etat’s tanks signify loyalty to the king.
King Bhumibol, aka Rama IX, is the richest monarch on the planet with assets totaling over us$35 billion. King Rama IX is richer than the Royal families of the Persian Gulf yet lives a relatively modest lifestyle.
In 1932 Thailand became, & remains, a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute monarchy.
• In the past 75 years Thailand has had 17 constitutions & 18 Coups!
• King Rama IX is the longest reigning monarch on the planet, he has held on to his throne for 60 years, through 15 constitutions & 20 prime ministers.
June, 2006 was Rama IX’s 60th anniversary as King. Rama IX celebrated his 80th birthday in 2007.
Ban Chang is reputed to be the world’s oldest Bronze Age culture.
• The Bronze Age community, 3600 BC, of Ban Chang covered a hill & was continuously occupied for more than 3000 years.
• Graves dated to 3600 B.C. have produced bronze bracelets, bells and spearheads.
• Thai bronze was made with tin (lots of tin in SE Asia) & was actually superior to the Mesopotamian bronze that required the use of toxic arsenic.
• There is a comprehensive museum at the Ban Chang site. The hamlet of Ban Chang is near Udon Thani, Issan. In the northern part of the Eastern Region of Thailand.
• Early Chinese people learned how to make bronze from the Thai.
• The word for copper in several dialects of Chinese is “tong”, the same word used in the oldest Southeast Asian languages.
Rice farming and Iron:
The world’s first domestic cultivation of rice was in Issan near today’s Korat, Issan.
• The indigenous Thai discovered rice cultivation for the world.
• The Thai words for meal & rice are the same, ‘kow’.
• 2006: Thailand is the world’s leading exporter of rice. Vietnam is #2.
o Thailand exported slightly over 8 million tons of rice in 2006.
• 2007: Many traditional varieties of rice have disappeared in favor of higher yielding, globalized & mostly tasteless varieties.
o The ultra fragrant Pin Kaew variety that was named the best rice in the world in 1966 is no longer cultivated & no seeds were preserved.
o Since 1982, over 17,000 varieties of traditional Thai rice have been preserved by the Thai National Rice Seeds Storage Laboratory for Genetic Resources which was initially financed by Japan. A seed bank in Manila has preserved over 100,000 varieties of Asian rice.
The indigenous Southeast Asians had agriculture and pottery at the same time as the city-states of ancient Mesopotamia.
• History books generally attribute the first iron age culture to the Hittites of ancient Turkey / Mesopotamia.
• Thai iron objects are just as old as anything the Hittites produced.
Water buffalo was domesticated to pull plows in about 1600 BC.
The buffalo remains a primary beast of burden in Issan (North East).
Very often you will hear a Lao or Khmer (of Issan) in Bangkok speak of buying their Issan family another water buffalo.
Warfare seems to have been unknown, no pre 1000 BC burial sites contained any weapon of war, no skeleton found to date shows signs of a violent death, and no settlement shows evidence of having been destroyed by fire or force of arms.
• Many graves of the pre 1000 BC era have been found with burial artifacts indicating a leader or hunter but no weapons of war!
********** The Khmer (Cambodia) Empire dominated the area south & east of the Chao Praya River, the Korat plateau east, for several hundred years.
• The first independent Thai Kingdom, Sukhothai or “Dawn of Happiness”, was established in 1238 in North Central Thailand.
Thai city states flourished from the 12th – 17th centuries.
Cambodia lands: (This Thai accepts that Thailand was part of the Khmer Mohanokor)
The Khmer (Cambodia) Empire dominated the area south & east of the Chao Praya River, the Korat plateau east, for several hundred years.
The first Europeans to reach Thailand were the Portuguese in 1511.
• Followed in rapid succession by the Dutch, the English, the Spanish, and the French traders.
• Thailand is the only country in Indochina (FRENCH Indochina ) to escape French colonialism.
. The rest of SE Asia was 100% colonies: British ruled Burma & Malaysia, Dutch ruled Indonesia and both Spain & US ruled in the Philippines.
. Thailand is the only sovereignty in an area covering 1/3 of the globe to avoid brutal colonial domination.
. Quite amazing that Thailand was able to avoid being some Empire’s colony.
• & 500 years later Thailand remains the only stable democratic government in that entire region
A brilliant ‘chess game like strategy’ (small sacrifice for ultimate gain) executed by the Thai Kings kept the realm & thus the culture mostly intact.
Today’s Thailand represents ‘the evolutionary progression of a contiguous societal hierarchy’ with an archeological record dating back over 6000 years.
The Thai heritage is a documented continuous linage of language, art, religion, architecture… unimpeded natural progressions and adaptations. Societal evolution unimpeded by colonialism’s hegemony.
The indigenous South East Asian Thai have a documented record 6000 years old.
The chain of events that resulted in today’s Thai people:
• Today’s Thai population is comprised of a mixture of indigenous SE Asians, Chinese T’ai, Chinese Lao and Indian.
• The Chinese / T’ai emigration followed by the Indian / Hindu immigration followed by the Chinese Lao, diverse immigrants mixing with the indigenous people.
• T’ai immigration from the north & east (China). The T’ai began following river valleys into Southeast Asia in about 600 BC.
• & the Hindu immigration came from the north & west (India) in the early 1st century AD.
• The Chinese Lao also came down the Mekong, 2000 years after the T’ai in about 1500.
The T’ai also settled Burma and Vietnam & remained a dominate ethnic group in southwestern China, south of the Yangtze River (3 Gorges Dam).
• There is ongoing discussion as to whether the T’ai originated in southern China or northern Vietnam.
• Pre modern geopolitical boundaries this area was not divided.
• South of the Yangtze River 2 rivers flow from south-central China to the sea, the Mekong & Salween.
. The Indian / Hindu immigration began in about the 1st century. 01 AD.
• The Indian / Hindu immigration followed the coast of the Andaman Sea south down the Malay Peninsula (to Indonesia) & east along the coast of the Gulf of Thailand (to Cambodia) into the southern region of Issan.
• The Khmer of south eastern Issan are heavily influenced by Hindu genetics & culture.
Chinese Lao settled along the Mekong beginning in about 1500 AD.
• The Lao immigration was during the same period as initial contact with Europeans.
• The Lao of Chinese decent melded into the indigenous population, did not try to dominate or colonize.
• The Lao remain an important part of Thai culture in Issan.
• Around Udon, eastern Issan, the Lao are the dominated ethnic group.
• The far eastern regions of the Korat Plateau / Issan are more of ‘Lao’ culture.
• In the Udon area a “Lao dialect” is common.
The immigrants from 2 distant geographic regions melding with the indigenous people of a third distinct geographic region.
• The spread and natural convergence of people with extremely diverse genetic, cultural, lingual and religious backgrounds.
• By the tenth century the Mons, from what is today Burma, had established themselves in Central Thailand and had established small Buddhist kingdoms in an area from Nakhon Pathon to Chiang Mai.
. Along the northwestern side of the Central Valley, north of the Chao Praya River, adjacent to Burma.
. Mon is spoken by Burmese hill tribes. Ethnic Mon tribes continue to live in the hills of Southern Burma.
. The Mon (Burmese) influence (genetic & cultural) remains more dominate in the north, Chiang Mai / Golden Triangle.
. The Mons (along with the Karen) are currently involved in a civil war against the ruthless Myanmar Communist government.
• The Buddhism introduced by the Mons has melded with indigenous beliefs and thus evolved into today’s Thai version of Buddhism.
. Thai Buddhism is a unique form of Buddhism & many Hindu practices are present in the Thai culture.
• The Khmer influence remains more dominate (genetic & cultural) east of the Central Valley on the Korat Plateau nearer the Cambodian & Lao borders.
. Historically the Khmer dominated from Central Valley east & south to Eastern Laos & Northern Cambodia.
. Along a line from Korat to Buri Ram to Surin to Ubon, southwestern Issan. The Khmen are the dominate ethnic group. The Khmer influence continues on the Korat Plateau near the borders with southwestern Laos & eastern Cambodia.
. Khmen language is very common in Surin and Buri Ram.
. Thai script is a combination of Khmen & Mon script.
. Khmen is spoken in southwestern Issan today.
In the Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai area some incredible Lanna Thai style houses are available for short term rental. Quite marvelous houses built from 100% teak. The house above rents for 17, 000 Thb (US$400, Euro 325 per month)
The most famous Archeological Site is Angkor Wat, 1150 AD, covering rai & rai (acres & acres) in northern Cambodia.
• Many consider Siem Rep / Angkor Wat to be part of Thailand based on the 1941 Tokyo Convention.
. An international court returned to Thailand territory ‘forcefully taken’ by colonial French Cambodia in the early 20th century.
. The French colonialist ignored the international court’s decision and Siem Rep is in today’s Cambodia, not in Thailand as it belongs.
For the past 800 years Thailand has remained relatively free of colonial or regional domination. 1238 the first independent Thai state. The “Dawn of Happiness”, Sukhothai, was established in North Central Thailand.
[Message last modified 10-17-2008 01:52pm by veayoo]
Several months ago, I expressed my frustration on reading Buddhist Vipassana. There were three books in Khmer (and Pali). As I finished the first two books, I did not see anything new except the mundane repetition of the 5, 8 and 10 precepts of the Buddhism doctrine. While disappointed, I went ahead to finish the third book any way. As I was about to finish the book (and about to throw them away), I found something that catches my attention.
The catching aspect of the third book was the Buddha lights and powers. Buddha got them after his enlightenment. The Pali/ Khmer word for the powers/ lights are Nhean.
I had difficulty understanding the word Nhean for quite some time. One day though, my divine father Mokot Pich came and explained that the word Nhean means light.
The more I think about Buddha’s powers and lights, I came to an understanding that the word light makes sense. This is because a normal human being is in the dark. Human cannot see any further than what our 20/20 eyesight allows us. Buddha’s enlightenment though allowed him to see a lot more, including his tens of thousands lives that he went through before finally getting enlightened and nirvana. The logic I have found is that once you get the light, it would allow you to see. Once you see how something works, you may act accordingly to realize the thing or things you wish for.
For example, you want to fly. As a human, you cannot fly like a bird. You, however, could probably fly if you can EXACTLY see what would make you flyable! The word exactly here calls for its absolute meaning, more precisely, a divine meaning, and not regular human meaning. In another word, if you know exactly the mechanism of making yourself flyable, you would be able to follow the fly mechanism and fly! Once you can fly, you’ll have that power (to fly).
Similarly, if you know exactly how to make fried rice or sweet and sour soup, you may be able to make them too! Personally, I still have to acquire the power to make these yummy Khmer foods. I only have the power to gorge them with my teeth now
Myself, a human being like almost everyone, I cannot see the light yet and surely I cannot fly. The flying skill has been on my wish list! What’s for? Just to try it, so I will not have to keep wondering!
The Buddha’s 5 lights/ powers:
Usual Buddhist books or teaching do not mention the lights. The lights/ powers aspects of Buddhism could be interpreted easily as superstition, even by Buddhist themselves. This is because no living Buddhist I know can do all these. The powers/ lights are not ordinary. The lights/ powers matters are very advanced in any religion. I got to be interested in the aspects only because they overlap with Khmer Brahmanism/ Hinduism that has been part of my personal research. Many Borameys of mine do some or all of the powers/ lights.
The Buddha 5 powerful lights:
1. Divine manifesting powers, ability to manifest a variety of powers (10 powers below). Ethi Vitha Nhean.
2. Divine ears, ability to hear human or heaven sounds/ voices. Tippa Sotha Nhean.
3. Divine psychic, ability to know other people minds. Cheto Pareya Nhean.
4. Divine past lives eyes, ability to see past lives. Boppe Niveasa Nusate.
5. Divine life telling, ability to know birth and reincarnation of lives. Satta Nichoppa Pata Nhean.
The manifesting divine powers were listed as comprising of the following 10. Power here means the true realization of wish.
a) Power to get one’s wish coming true. Example: Wishing to be seen as one thousand people, and get that.
b) Power to be other beings. Example: Wishing to be a dinosaur, and get it.
c) Power to draw a mind/ soul away from a body. Example: a Boramey pulls a Roop/ Rup mind out and get in the body to communicate to humans.
d) Power to use divine powers to protect lives. Example: Borameys divine mantra to protect me.
e) Power to use divine powers of the yogis or the powerful monks to avoid dangers.
f) Power to use the enlightener’s power to help protect lives.
g) Power of a specie from its karma. Example: a bird can fly. It is a bird because of past deeds, karma.
h) Power of the divine being. Example: Indra can fly because he is a high divine being.
i) Power that come from mantras.
j) Power generated from being tenacious in what we do.
[i]Originally posted by veayoo[/i]
Divine Eyes and Nirvana:
The moment he got his enlightenment, Buddha could see all his past lives as well as his future. His divine eyes power to see his past lives was called “ Bope Niveasa Nusati Ngean”. He went to nirvana after the enlightenment and the divine eyes power.
By my understanding, nirvana is a state that soul can finally rest in peace. No more rebirth (no samsara) thus no more suffering that comes automatically with life.
Getting divine eyes power does not necessarily brings one to nirvana. The nirvana business is a lot more than being able to see things! Even if my eye sight will pass 20/20, I still have to keep building and saving merits for my hopeful nirvana status!!
First Thai Kingdom without Khmer (Cambodian) domination:
• Sukhothai, in the North Central region of present Thailand.
• Sukhothai is at the outer northern region of the Khmer Kingdom.
• Sukhothai is at the outer southeastern region of the Mon Kingdoms.
• Sukhothai is now a ‘sleepy rural city’, ‘that could be visited’ on your way to Chiang Mai. Well off the beaten path.
• A few small historical / archeological sites are preserved. “Dawn of Happiness”, pretty cool name for a country!
• Language contains concepts that are not translatable.
• The Thai concept expressed by the sound Sukhothai is not literally translatable into English. Thai language, like Chinese & Vietnamese, has pitches or is multi-tonal (same enunciation w/ different pitch = different word).
Khmen language is mono-tonal.
• Farangs learning Thai say the funniest things, wrong choice of pitch can result in a drastically different meaning.
• My Texas drawl often does terrible things to the Thai language… Imagine George Bush speaking Thai .
• Remember, English written words representing Thai script are generally ‘British English’ phonic representations of the spoken Thai language say the Thai you read with a British accent, but, please, not cockney.
The archeological sites at Ayutthaya & Chon Buri are nice day trips from Bangkok.
Ayutthaya ( 90+ minute taxi ride from Bangkok, taxis available for 3000 BT for the day ) is beautiful & awesome, but ( in my humble opinion ) more represents Khmer architecture.
• At it’s zenith the city state of Ayutthaya, 1350 – 1767, was among the largest & most cosmopolitan cities in the world.
• The Burmese plundered / burned Ayutthaya in 1767, so there are more ruins than complete temples / governmental palaces.
. It must have been quite a city before the events of 1767.
• Stone( all that was not stone burned ) Ayutthayan temples are scattered over a very large area, throughout most the small modern city of Ayutthaya.
. Driving down many streets in Ayutthaya you pass incredible ruins of what were once magnificent temples.
. Scattered amongst current homes are ancient stone ruins!
• The most famous of the Ayutthaya sites is 110% commercialized & is the site of King Rama IX’s summer palace.
. This primary Ayutthaya site / park is huge, scattered & fully commercialized. Beautifully landscaped & maintained. In 1767 the Thai capital was moved to Thon Buri, across the Chao Praya River from today’s Bangkok.
• It was determined that the Ayutthaya location, easily accessed from the ocean via the Chao Praya River & transversed by the planned & functional transportation canals, was not easily defended!
• The canals worked for the society & commerce but not for military defense.
During the period from 1350 (Ayutthaya) to 1769 ( Thon Buri ) the Thai society & architecture distanced itself from the Khmer influence. You will see architectural similarity between the Ancient Site at Chon Buri Sukhumvit & temples in Bangkok Sukhumvit!
• Thon Buri is the site that the Thai capital was moved to after the Burmese destroyed the City State of Ayutthaya in 1769.
• Bangkok was founded when King Rama I moved the city across the Chao Praya River from Thon Buri in 1782.
• The Chon Buri Sukhumvit Ancient Site sculptures & temples are well preserved. Khmer sites, 1000 AD, in southern Buri Ram province / Issan ( near the Cambodian border ) are far from the beaten path. 2 hours west of the Korat – Buri Ram City – Surin railway / highway on red dirt roads are scattered ancient fort / temples, mostly un-restored & very near the Cambodian border.
• Elaborate sites are scattered all the way to Angkor Wat, Cambodia (no easily accessed border crossing or ‘improved’ roads)
[Message last modified 10-18-2008 07:26am by veayoo]
[Message last modified 10-18-2008 07:31am by veayoo]
Relation with colonialists:
Beginning in the early 16th century the European competition for colonial Empire left the Thai in conflict with the European Colonialists & Hegemonists.
Relatively unique globally Amazing Thailand avoided being an European colony.
The Dutch were negotiated out, the French were thrown out, the British were bought out, the Japanese were nuked out & the Americans voted themselves out
… but they’re all back on vacation now .
There were also sporadic continuations of on going disputes ( err, wars ) with Vietnam & Burma during this period.
Vasco de Gama rounded the (South African) Cape of Good Hope and sailed across the Indian Ocean in 1498.
• The fate of the entire non European world became one of conflict with the Europeans and their dreams of colonial empire.
• Colonial economic and political policy was designed to milk ( = steal / rob / plunder ) the colony of it’s resources & enrich the ‘mother country’.
• The first Europeans to reach Thailand were the Portuguese in 1511.
• Followed in rapid succession by the Dutch, the English, the Spanish, and the French traders.
• From that first Farang step forward, things became complicated for the Thai Kings
• The Spanish made the Philippines their regional capital, the French focused on Indochina, the Dutch were occupied with Indonesia while the Brits ruled over Malaysia & ‘most’ everything west of Thailand all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
• Thailand was an island of sovereinty in an area spanning 1/3 of the globe.
• & Thailand remains an island of sanity in that huge geographic region today! The historical record of the last 500 years shows a brilliant ‘chess game like strategy’ executed by Thai kings. The Thai kings choose to loose selected ‘small battles’ but win the larger societal war. If the reader should choose .. this “Thailand History” page has now been divided into 3 sections. Thai proverb, “the tree that bends with the wind is the tree that survives the storm”
King Narai: The ever so wise Thai kings of the Ayutthayan period offered small trade concessions & grants to avoid all out colonial hostilities.
• From 1600 – 1941 the Thai Kings were engaged in constantly increasing & shifting demands from the European builders of world colonial empires. Even though the Dutch had a generous trade agreement they wanted to dominate & control Thai imports / exports.
• Apparently deer & cow hides were hot items
• The Dutch had been allowed to set up a processing plant in Thailand but that was not enough.
• The Thai King was resistant to paying homage to the Dutch King.
• Thankfully, King Narai stood up to the colonialist.
• The Dutch then took ‘war like action’ capturing a Thai merchant vessel in the Gulf of Thailand & blockading the mouth of the Chao Praya River. When King Narai resisted the ‘standard European colonial style armed robbery’ the Dutch upped the threat.In 1688 King Narai developed a desperate relationship with the French (Thankfully short lived!), the French helped control the Dutch aggression.
• The bar at the Narai Hotel Silom is one of my favorite stops. 1st it was the Dutch whose demands became unreasonable (more & more generous trade agreements) & King Narai finally resisted the increasing Dutch colonial demands for domination of the Thai trade options.
• The ‘quick’ 7 month dangerous sea voyage around Africa to communicate with the French meant that events happened in slow motion compared to today’s millisecond communication.
• Rounding the cape of Good Hope, where the Atlantic Ocean & Indian Ocean currents collide presents some of the most violent ‘ocean swell action’ on this planet. Modern hull 1000′+ oil tankers bounce like corks, cannot imagine what a 100′ rounded wooden hulled top heavy sailing vessel was like.
. OK, I’ll stop complaining about the 14 hours in tourist (cattle car?) class.
• The purpose of Ambassador Kosapan’s mission to Versailles was to offer a trading post to Louis XIV in Singor (now Songkhla) in southern Siam, where the Compagnie des Indes Orientales and a handful of troops would establish themselves and provide a counterweight to the all-powerful Dutch.
• King Louie XIV dispatched 1400 troops to Ayutthaya.
• The ever so gracious Dutch politely agreed to return to the originally negotiated agreement.
• Thank goodness the French had their eye on the colonial-ization of Thailand.
Score: Thailand 1 Colonialist 0.
The Thai then severed relations with the French to avoid becoming the last piece for a 100% French Indochina.
Score: Thailand 2 Colonialist 0
• King Louie’s attempt to Christianize King Narai was perceived as subversive by the Thai people.
• The Thai people revolted against the ‘French dependant’ Thai government’s position.
• The 21st century Thai name for western foreigners is Farang, an abbreviation of the original Farangse – the Thai word for the French (François in French). The term Farang had a negative connotation until after World War II.
• King Narai was a displaced ruler when he died 2 months after the ‘revolt’.
• 1688, Sep 30 – All French troops leave Siam after negotiations with the new Siamese king, Phra Petraja. Phra Petraja takes European missionaries as hostages, pending the safe return of a Siamese embassy still in Europe.
• 1689, Dec – The Siamese embassy to Europe returns & the honorable King Phra Petraja releases all his European hostages and restores religious freedom but implements a policy of eliminating foreign political influence in the kingdom.
• 1698, Oct – A French envoy is sent to Ayutthaya with the offer of a new treaty, but the offer is declined by King Phra Petraja. France gives up her political interest in Ayutthaya.
King Phra Petraja closed Thailand’s doors to the west for over 100 years.
Score: Thailand 3 Colonialist 0
• Between 1824 & 1884 there were 3 Anglo-Burmese wars.
• Significant that none of these wars occurred in ‘Anglo land’.
. This is one reason I am offended by the current usage of ‘Anglo’ in 21st century America.
. The silly Burmese resisted brutal British colonial domination.
• The ever so wise Thai King immediately granted the British Empire land concessions on the Malay Peninsula & the land hungry colonialists were gratified.
• A few million rai sacrificed for good of the realm.
• Thailand could easily have been devastated by brutal British colonialism .. but the wisdom & foresight of the King kept the realm intact!
• Again the wisdom of the Thai King kept the realm mostly intact! By granting land to the colonialist the Thai King avoided war. In American baseball it’s called a ‘sacrifice bunt’… run scores.
Score: Thailand 4 Colonialist 0
• Thailand had actually declared war on the British Tea Company, British National Opium Distribution, 100 years earlier.
. The British Government’s “Tea Company” was the first international drug cartel. Spreading opium from one milked colony to their other ‘valued colonial possessions’.
. The first international drug lord was the British King.
. Seems I’ve read that opium poppies are ‘milked’ of the opium .. & The British Empire was certainly for any colonial milking it could achieve.
. Keeping the British Empire at bay was like controlling 21st century hooligans at the World Cup!
• Much like modern day fast food, the immediate gratification of the ‘Thai Fast No War Land Lane’ quickly satisfied the Empires land hunger.
. The “super sized colonial edict land order” was transmitted through an extremely functional British cannon barrel.
. Unfortunately, more traditional Burma only offered ‘sit down land’. & please no “After Thai Land, colonialist will be land hungry again in hour..” jokes!
• But… actually the Brits did slowly, seemingly insatiable kingdom that it was, consume more & more Burmese territory.
• Bit by bit from 1823 til 1886, when the Brits occupied the entire country and there was no more Burma.
• The Brits gave up on the Burmese colony in 1935.
• 112 years ..3 wars fought… then Milk & Run diplomacy ..
• & historically significant Burma / Myanmar remains a society destroyed by colonialism, a country controlled by a cut throat junta until today.
• 2005: US Secretary of State Condi Rice includes Myanmar in the US Axis (now the Quadal of evil?) of Evil.
• As a direct result of British colonial policy Burma / Myanmar remains a ruined country until today.
British Map of Indochina, 1885. shows both Angkor Wat & Prasat Preah Vihear in Siam. 1886 French Map of Colonial French Indochina. 1880s French & British maps shows both Preah Vihear & Angkor Wat to be in Siam. Colonial French Indochina expansion by year. Colonial demands continued into the 20th century!
In the 1893 Paknam Incident, French and Siamese ( Thai ) gunboats engaged in a gun battle that set the stage for the Franco-Siamese Treaty Convention of October 1893.
Under a ‘colonial kangaroo court’ French Colonial Cambodia forced the Thai to abandon part of it’s soverngnty: Battambong, Siam Reap ( Angkor Wat ), Champasak and Lanchang
Score: Thailand 4 Colonialist 1
LIFE Magazine, July 1939. Only the canny rule of King Chulalongkorn in the late 19th Century saved Siam from being swallowed by Britain and France like the rest of the peninsula.
In May 1941 an international court returned to Thailand the same territories taken in the 1893 French land grab.
• A series of incidents between French colonial forces in Indochina and Thailand escalated into open war in late November, 1940
• During the Franco-Thai war, 1940-1941, Japan supported Thailand .. supplying bomber aircraft.
• The war ended on January 28, 1941, after Japanese diplomatic intervention.
• France was forced to cede a considerable amount of previously taken territory back to Thailand.
. The Thai only wanted back what the French Colonialist had taken in 1891.
. Or, Thailand kicked France’s butt & took the stolen property back.
. Before Vietnam in the 50s booted the Colonial French, the Thai had done it 20 years before!
• This last colonial land / territory / border dispute with French Colonial Cambodia was settled in Thailand’s favor by the 1941 Tokyo Accord.
. An international court ruled the 1893 land grab by French Colonial Cambodia to be illegal & invalid.
Score: Thailand 5 Colonialist 0
previous Colonialist point ruled invalid & disallowed.
International boundaries were arbitrarily reassigned by the French colonialist as they abandoned their dream of world empire & abruptly abandoned their dependant colonies after World War II..
• The French Colonialist needed to make an arrogant declaration of score:
• A quick border relocation as they “turned out the lights”.
Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh was burned in Feb
Preah Vihear Temple:
2008: The Thai – Cambodian Border issue … is again / remains an issue
July 17, 2008. Thai & Cambodian military forces are now deployed along the border as tensions escalate over the 11th century Prasat Preah Vihear site.
• The location of the Thai Cambodian border remains an area of ‘negotiation’ between Cambodia & Thailand until today.
• A recent, 2003, incident in Phnom Penh: Cambodians demonstrated in front of / stoned / burned the Thai Embassy after a Thai movie star stated Siem Reap ( Angkor Wat ) should be in Thailand.
• Thailand’s fans of soverngnty are insisting on a review of this questionable and typically arrogant colonialist edict.
• The Thai Cambodian border disputes have been ruled on by international courts and border lines redrawn in 1903, 1938, 1962 and now 2008.
• None of the agreements have agreed on the same boundaries .. all close but none same.
• June, 2008. Cambodian riot police are again protecting the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. At issue is a redraw of the Thai-Cambodian to allow access to the Preah Vihear Temple on the Cambodian side so that it can listed as a World Heritage Site & tourist destination.
• Built in 1053 Preah Vihear Temple predates Angkor by 100 years..
The temple sits atop a cliff at the natural geographic border between Thailand & Cambodia on the Thai side as determined by the water shed line. The 1962 court decided to ignore the water shed line in this instance
• In 1962 An International Court in Hague determined that the temple complex was Cambodian & ruled it was in Cambodia.
• The court ruled that the temple is Cambodian & the land it occupies is in Cambodia
• .. the (dopey) European court left the surrounding land in Thailand. DOH!
The traditional water shed line border places the Temple in Thailand.
• The mountainous terrain means the only access to the ancient Hindu temple was through Thailand’s Kantharalak district’s province of Si Sa Ket .. Buri Ram & Surin
• In 2008 the government of Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has conceded about 650 sq KM to Cambodia.
• The border map was redrawn to allow road access / tourism to the proposed World Heritage site at the Preah Vihear Temple site.
• July7. 2008: The Thai courts have now issued an injunction against the border redraw.
• July 7, 2008: The site was officially listed as a World heritage site despite the international controversy.
Hindu Temple on Thai – Cambodia border.
• Preah Vihear Temple was built in 1053.
• 100 years before Angkor.
• To complicate issues a Thai Company has built a museum at Angkor to reeducate the Cambodian people about Cambodian history .. from a Thai perspective. !!
• Huge demonstrations in Bangkok during May & June 2008 are calling for newly elected Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to step down over the Thai concessions to the new border that is 100% redrawn in the favor of Cambodia.
2008 Thai newspaper editorials are calling Prime Minister Samak a traitor over the border concessions.
Score: Thailand 5 Colonialist 1
Interesting, that the Japanese ( Tokyo Accord ) were assisting the Thais resist European Colonialism 6 months before Pearl Harbor.
Bangkok newspaper Thai Mai, 1939: ” What can small nations situated in the battle zone do? If Siam takes the side of Japan and the predicted troubles in the British and French colonial empires do not come off, then Siam would be in an unpleasant position.”
• Thailand is so placed on the map as to be a natural steppingstone for Japan in a drive against the great British base of Singapore at the end of the Malay peninsula.
. Thailand desired to be completely neutral. Thailand was caught in-between global military powers.
On the 8th of December 1941 the Japanese Imperial Army invaded Thailand.
The Thai forces resisted as best they could, but were overwhelmed by the numerically superior Japanese forces.
• Thailand was controlled by the Japanese during WW II but is historically considered to be part of the Allied efforts.
• The first Japanese forces entered Thailand on December 8.
. Due to the international date line Thailand was on the 8th & Pearl Harbor was on the 7th .. Actually Thailand was invaded a few hours before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
• The Japanese invasion force landed at four different places along the Thai coastal provinces, including Samut Prakarn south of Bangkok.
• Japanese controlled Thailand was bombed by the Allies during WW II.
. Bangkok was a regular target of allied bombs.
. WW II era ‘dumb bombs’ were very accurate, they hit the ground 100% of the time.
• Most major cities ( civilian population centers, there were few military targets ) in Thailand were bombed during the war.
The Japanese brutality in Asia is infamous.
• Japanese atrocities in Thailand building the Siam Burma Railroad were among the worst of WW II.
• Post WW II military courts, 1946-47, in Japan returned several ‘SE Asian’ war crime convictions.
• 12,000 Allied troops died on the Siam Burma railroad.
• 50% of Thai citizens that were Japanese prisoners of war died. Less than 10% of German military POWs died in captivity!
The infamous “Bridge on the River Kwai” ( Japanese war atrocity movie fame ) is a popular tourist day trip from Bangkok.
2005: A sunken Japanese World War II-era train train complete with steam engine & caboose has recently been located next to a current Thai bridge, Chulalongkorn Bridge over the Mae Klong River in Ratchaburi.
• Local Thai were used as slave labor by the Japanese to build a bridge, part of the Japanese Siam Burma Railroad network.
• Local lore has it that the Thai workers made the bridge weak intentionally.
. The intentionally weak bridge collapsed with the fully loaded train.
. Japanese soldiers ‘tested’ the load-bearing capacity of the Mae Klong Railway Bridge by having a fully crewed & loaded train run over it.
• Excavation depends on the current bridge structural integrity.
. The Mae Klong is 10m / 30′ deep at this point.
• If you are into WW II Siam Burma Railway history, Ratchaburi is a short drive down highway 3274 from the River Kwai site, on the way back to Bangkok.
WWII, 1941, was the beginning of the end for the era of European colonial domination of SE Asia.
Unique in an area spanning 1/3 of the globe, since the 13th century Thailand has always remained free.
Thank goodness Thailand’s Kings have kept the realm intact.
Summary/ Thailand history by Thai:
As we have seen, even a Thai national writes that Thailand was a Khmer land. Thailand is a newer nation compared to the Khmer Kingdom of Mohanokor.
First new Thais moved south from China and started to expand Thailand territory from the Khmers.
In its history, Thailand faced internal wars between Thais to control the country, wars with neighbors like Cambodia, Laos, and Burma, as well as external invading wars from the China, Portuguese, French and Japan.
The Thais managed to get easy with colonialists by practicing a saying that “a tree that bends, resists storm”.
Because Thailand has not been through wars like in Cambodia, Vietnam or Laos, its economy is better than all its neighbors of the Mohanokor.
The Thai war and economy case should be looked at by other Mohanokor countries.
INTRODUCTION TO MORE WAR HISTORY REVIEWS
We have reviewed wars history of 3 countries in the Mohanokor. Laos, Vietnam and Thailand all showed that wars are pretty much common in their history. Again, there have been three kinds of wars at least:
1. Internal wars between citizens of a country.
2. External wars with neighboring countries.
3. International invading wars from super powers.
We have not reviewed the central Mohanokor country of Cambodia history yet. This is what we are going to do next.
Reviewing the four Mohanokor countries may not be enough to understand the dynamics of its possible peace and prosperity. More country history review may be needed as my personal research goes.
In my research, I came across reading confirming what I read since I was a little boy. I knew then that part of today Malaysia belonged to the Khmer Mohanokor too.
Beyond these five countries, the Mohanokor is situated in South East Asia. The Mohanokor peace and prosperity is linked to the South East Asia peace and prosperity as well. We may have to spend time reviewing what is going on in this region of the world too.
Furthermore, the Mohanokor is part of Asia. Many invading wars initiated by China and Japan (in WWII). We may have to visit China war history too.
As part of the world we live in, the Mohanokor relates to world history as well. We may not spend too much time reviewing all countries history though. A quick look at today world power politics and relations should suffice.
There are a whole lot for me to review. Please do not worry. I have good grip of all these things though. I can handle any info that comes to my face! I crunch them all.
I need to review the wars history because I put History aside for a while. In the last few decades I spent my time mainly in the high tech areas. It is time to crunch the low tech history of war. I need to know more about war to understand more about how to set a long lasting peace, from a human perspective.
I’d like to thanks all of you for following for thread. I’d like to thank Khmer Connection for allowing me to post my personal research here too. I hope all of us could somehow benefit from this posting.
Cambodia History is next!
Archaeological evidence indicates that parts of the region now called Cambodia were inhabited from around 1000-2000 BCE by a Neolithic culture that may have migrated from South Eastern China to the Indochinese Peninsula.
By the first century CE, the inhabitants had developed relatively stable, organized societies which had far surpassed the primitive stage in culture and technical skills. The most advanced groups lived along the coast and in the lower Mekong River valley and delta regions in houses constructed on stilts where they cultivated rice, fished and kept domesticated animals.
Recent research has unlocked the discovery of artificial circular earthworks dating to Cambodia’s Neolithic era.
The Khmer people were one of the first inhabitants of South East Asia.
They were also among the first in South East Asia to adopt religious ideas and political institutions from India and to establish centralized kingdoms surrounding large territories.
The earliest known kingdom in the area, Funan, flourished from around the first to the sixth century AD. This was succeeded by Chenla, which controlled large parts of modern Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
THE KHMER EMPIRE:
The golden age of Khmer civilization, however, was the period from the ninth to the thirteenth centuries, when the kingdom of Kambuja, which gave Kampuchea, or Cambodia, its name, ruled large territories from its capital in the region of Angkor in western Cambodia.
Under Jayavarman VII (1181–ca. 1218 ), Kambuja reached its zenith of political power and cultural creativity.
Jayavarman VII gained power and territory in a series of successful wars against its close enemies; the Cham and the Vietnamese.
Following Jayavarman VII’s death, Kambuja experienced a gradual decline. Important factors were the aggressiveness of neighboring peoples (especially the Thai, or Siamese), chronic interdynastic strife, and the gradual deterioration of the complex irrigation system that had ensured rice surpluses.
The Angkorian monarchy survived until 1431, when the Thai captured Angkor Thom and the Cambodian king fled to the southern part of the country.
[Message last modified 10-26-2008 08:25pm by veayoo]
Cambodia during the dark ages:
The fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries were a period of continued decline and territorial loss.
Cambodia enjoyed a brief period of prosperity during the sixteenth century because its kings, who built their capitals in the region southeast of the Tonle Sap along the Mekong River, promoted trade with other parts of Asia. This was the period when Spanish and Portuguese adventurers and missionaries first visited the country.
However, the Thai conquest of the new capital at Lovek in 1594 marked a downturn in the country’s fortunes and Cambodia. Becoming a pawn in power struggles between its two increasingly powerful neighbors, Siam and Vietnam. Cambodia remained a protectorate of Siam.
Vietnam’s settlement of the Mekong Delta led to its annexation of that area at the end of the seventeenth century. Cambodia thereby lost some of its richest territory and was cut off from the sea. Because of current king’s brother, prince Ang whom allowed the Vietnamese to settle and take over the last portion which was left of Cambodia’s soil to the sea.
Such foreign encroachments continued through the first half of the nineteenth century because Vietnam was determined to absorb Khmer land and to force the inhabitants to accept Vietnamese culture.
[Message last modified 10-26-2008 08:40pm by veayoo]
French colonial period:
In 1863, King Norodom signed an agreement with the French to establish a protectorate over his kingdom. The state gradually came under French colonial domination.
During World War II, the Japanese allowed the French government (based at Vichy) that collaborated with the republican opponents and attempted to negotiate acceptable terms for independence from the French.
Cambodia’s situation at the end of the war was chaotic. The Free French, under General Charles de Gaulle, were determined to recover Indochina, though they offered Cambodia and the other Inchochinese protectorates a carefully circumscribed measure of self-government. Convinced that they had a “civilizing mission,” they envisioned Indochina’s participation in a French Union of former colonies that shared the common experience of French culture.
Sihanouk’s “royal crusade for independence” resulted in grudging French acquiescence to his demands for a transfer of sovereignty. A partial agreement was struck in October 1953. Sihanouk then declared that independence had been achieved and returned in triumph to Phnom Penh.
First administration of Sihanouk:
As a result of the Geneva Conference on Indochina, Cambodia was able to bring about the withdrawal of the Viet Minh troops from its territory and to withstand any residual impingement upon its sovereignty by external powers.
Neutrality was the central element of Cambodian foreign policy during the 1950s and 1960s.
By the mid-1960s, parts of Cambodia’s eastern provinces were serving as bases for North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong (NVA/VC) forces operating against South Vietnam, and the port of Sihanoukville was being used to supply them. As NVA/VC activity grew, the United States and South Vietnam became concerned, and in 1969, the United States began a fourteen month long series of bombing raids targeted at NVA/VC elements, contributing to destabilization.
Prince Sihanouk, fearing that the conflict between communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam might spill over to Cambodia, steadfastly opposed the bombing campaign by the United States along the Vietnam-Cambodia border and inside Cambodian territory. Prince Sihanouk wanted Cambodia to stay out of the North Vietnam-South Vietnam conflict and was very critical of the United States government and its allies (the South Vietnamese government).
The United States claims that the bombing campaign took place no further than ten, and later twenty miles (32 km) inside the Cambodian border, areas where the Cambodian population had been evicted by the NVA.
Prince Sihanouk, facing internal struggles of his own, due to the rise of the Khmer Rouge, did not want Cambodia to be involved in the conflict. Sihanouk wanted the United States and its allies (South Vietnam) to keep the war away from the Cambodian border. Not only did Sihanouk try to keep the communist North Vietnamese soldiers from entering Cambodia territory, but he also did not allow the United States to use Cambodian air space and airports for military purposes. This upset the United States greatly. The United States saw Prince Sihanouk as a North Vietnamese sympathizer and a thorn on the United States, and using the CIA, it began plans to get rid of Sihanouk.
Throughout the 1960s, domestic Cambodian politics became polarized. Opposition to the government grew within the middle class and leftists including Paris-educated leaders like Son Sen, Ieng Sary, and Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot), who led an insurgency under the clandestine Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK). Sihanouk called these insurgents the Khmer Rouge, literally the “Red Khmer.”
But the 1966 national assembly elections showed a significant swing to the right, and General Lon Nol formed a new government, which lasted until 1967. During 1968 and 1969, the insurgency worsened. In August 1969, Lon Nol formed a new government. Prince Sihanouk went abroad for medical reasons in January 1970.