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Laos Table of Contents


Table A. Chronology of Important Events

Period                        Description

ca. 2,000-500 A.D.            Early pottery and bronze culture,
                              middle Mekong Valley.

First century B.C.-           Early mandala (see Glossary)
fifth century                 formed in middle Mekong Valley.
Mid-sixth century             Zhenla established, centered on

Early eighth century          Zhenla divided into "Water Zhenla"
                              and "Land Zhenla."

717                           First tributary mission from Land
                              Zhenla to Tang China.

Eighth-twelfth centuries      Mon mandala of central Mekong
                              region fall under Khmer domination;
                              Theravada Buddhism spread by Mon

Tenth-twelfth centuries       Muang Sua (Louangphrabang), renamed
                              Xieng Dong Xieng Tong;
                              mandala infiltrated by Lao
                              descending the Nam Ou.

Twelfth century               Candapuri mandala in
                              Vientiane region absorbed within
                              Khmer Empire.

1271-72                       Panya Lang rules Xieng Dong Xieng

1279                          Tai mandala of Sukhotai
                              founded by King Ramkhamhaeng; Xieng
                              Dong Xieng Thong and Muang Vieng
                              Chan Vieng Kham (Vientiane) briefly
                              incorporated into Sukhotai

1353-73                       Reign of Fa Ngum, king of Lan Xang;
                              beginning of recorded Laotian

1373-1547                     Successors of Fa Ngum continue to
                              organize Lan Xang; Phetsarath (r.
                              1520-47) involves Lan Xang in
                              battles against Burma and Siam
                              lasting two centuries.

1574-78                       Lan Xang reduced by Burma to vassal

1603                          Lan Xang renounces tributary ties to

1621-1713                     Succession struggles for throne of
                              Lan Xang result in accession of King
                              Souligna Vongsa (r. 1633-90); his
                              death engenders succession struggle
                              among his nephews, culminating in
                              division of Lan Xang into kingdoms
                              of Louangphrabang and Vientiane;
                              south further divides into Kingdom
                              of Champasak in 1713.

Eighteenth century            Lao states of Louangphrabang,
                              Vientiane, and Champasak try to
                              maintain independence from Burma and
                              Siam but eventually come under
                              Siamese control.

1772                          Suryavong seizes throne of

1778                          Beginning of Siamese domination of
                              Champasak, Vientiane, and

1867-87                       Mekong expedition of Doudart de
                              Lagrée and Francis Garnier arrives
                              in Louangphrabang, 1867; Siam
                              contends with France, which
                              established protectorate over
                              Vietnam, to extend influence in
                              Indochina; France eventually
                              installs Auguste Pavie in
                              Louangphrabang as first vice consul,
                              February 1887.

1890                          French colonial rule begins, lasts
                              until 1953.

May 1893                      French military occupation of Lao
                              territories east of the Mekong.

July 1893                     "Paknam incident" gives France
                              excuse to demand cession of east
                              bank territories.

October 1893                  Treaty concluded on October 3, 1893,
                              between the Government of the French
                              Republic and the Government of His
                              Majesty the King of Siam formalizes
                              Siamese acceptance of French seizure
                              of east bank territories.

1895                          Laos, as French protectorate,
                              divided into Upper Laos and Lower

January 15, 1896              Anglo-French Convention defines
                              British and French spheres of
                              influence in mainland Southeast

April 19, 1899                Laos reorganized under
                              résident supérieur in

1902-07                       France pacifies unrest in Bolovens
                              Plateau; Sisavang Vong becomes king
                              (r. 1904-59); annexation of Laotian
                              territories completed by treaties
                              with Siam (1904, 1907), acquiring
                              borders of contemporary Laos.

1925-26                       Further treaties and agreements
                              finalize border questions and
                              establish permanent Franco-Siamese
                              High Commission of the Mekong.

June 5, 1930                  Laos designated French colony by
                              French Legislative Council.

1931-32                       Louangphrabang confirmed as
                              protectorate of France.

1940-45                       August 30, 1940, Matsuoka-Henry Pact
                              ending Franco-Thai War gives all Lao
                              territories west of the Mekong to
                              Thailand; May 9, 1941, Peace
                              Convention between France and
                              Thailand; August 29, 1941, Treaty of
                              Protectorate between France and the
                              Kingdom of Louangphrabang; Laos
                              occupied by Japan, March 9, 1945;
                              Laos "independent"; after surrender
                              of Japan, Sisavang Vong proclaims
                              continuation of Laos as a French
                              protectorate; Lao Issara (see Glossary) activists seize power in
                              Vientiane, Savannakhét, andother
                              Laotian towns, establish provisional

1946                          Sisavang Vong deposed; French begin
                              reoccupation of Laos, March;
                              Sisavang Vong reinstated as king by
                              Lao Issara government; French retake
                              Vientiane, and Lao Issara government
                              flees to Thailand; Franco-Lao modus
                              vivendi establishes unity of Kingdom
                              of Laos; Thailand returns former
                              Laotian territories of Xaignabouri
                              and Champasak to Laos.

1947                          Constitution promulgated, making
                              Laos a constitutional monarchy;
                              elections held for National
                              Assembly; Prince Souvannarath forms
                              government of Kingdom of Laos.

1949                          Kaysone Phomvihan forms Latsavong
                              detachment, armed forces of Pathet
                              Lao, the genesis of Lao People's
                              Liberation Army (LPLA); Franco-Lao
                              General Convention grants Laos
                              limited self-government within
                              French Union; Lao Issara government-
                              in-exile dissolves, and members
                              return to Laos or join newly formed
                              Pathet Lao on Vietnam border.

February 1950                 United States and Britain recognize
                              Laos as an Associated State in
                              French Union.

August 1950                   Pathet Lao form "resistance

February 1951                 Indochinese Communist Party
                              dissolves; separate parties
                              established in Laos, Cambodia, and

October 22, 1953              Franco-Lao Treaty of Amity and
                              Association transfers remaining
                              French powers to Royal Lao
                              Government (RLG)--while retaining
                              control of military affairs--and
                              completes independence of Laos.

May-July 1954                 Laos participates in Geneva
                              Conference on Indochina; under
                              armistice agreements signed by
                              French and Viet Minh on July 20,
                              Viet Minh agree to withdraw from
                              Laos, and Phôngsali and Houaphan
                              provinces are designated regroupment
                              areas for Pathet Lao; RLG pledges to
                              integrate Pathet Lao fighters;
                              International Control Commission
                              established to implement agreements.

March 1955                    Phak Pasason Lao (Lao People's Party
                              --LPP) established; first congress

December 14, 1955             Laos admitted to the United Nations.

1956-57                       Negotiations between RLG and Pathet

January 1956                  Pathet Lao congress establishes Lao
                              Patriotic Front (LPF).

September 1956                Constitution amended to allow
                              formation of coalition government.

November 1957                 First coalition government formed.

May 1958                      LPF and allies win partial elections
                              for National Assembly.

July 1958                     Souvanna Phouma government resigns
                              following cabinet crisis caused by

August 1958                   Rightist government of Phoui
                              Sananikone formed, excluding LPF.

July-August 1959              Fighting breaks out in northern
                              Laos; UN subcommittee investigates
                              charges of North Vietnam's
                              involvement; LPF deputies arrested.

October 1959                  King Sisavang Vong dies; Savang
                              Vatthana succeeds to the throne,
                              rules until 1975.

January 1960                  Kou Abhay forms provisional
                              government following coup attempt by

April 1960                    Elections for National Assembly
                              believed rigged.

August 9, 1960                Kong Le carries out successful
                              Neutralist coup d'état against
                              rightist government of Prince
                              Somsanith; General Phoumi Nosavan
                              forms countercoup committee in
                              Savannakhét and declares martial
                              law; Kong Le hands over power to
                              Souvanna Phouma's third government.

December 1960                 Phoumi Nosavan captures Vientiane;
                              Soviet airlift begins to Kong Le and
                              Pathet Lao troops.

January 1961                  Souvanna Phouma government
                              recognized by communist bloc; Prince
                              Boun Oum's Vientiane government
                              recognized by West; heavy fighting
                              breaks out; North Vietnamese troops

May 1961-June 1962            Second Geneva Conference on Laos;
                              agreements among Neutralist, Pathet
                              Lao, and rightist factions prepare
                              way for second coalition government.

July 1962                     Declaration on the Neutrality of
                              Laos and its Protocol signed in

1963-May 1964                 Laos increasingly linked with
                              developments in Vietnam; North
                              Vietnamese troops fail to withdraw;
                              Ho Chi Minh Trail expanded; second
                              coalition government collapses;
                              Pathet Lao offensive against
                              Neutralists on Plain of Jars
                              succeeds; International Control
                              Commission proves ineffective;
                              bombing by United States begins.

1968-74                       Fighting escalates between Pathet
                              Lao's LPLA and Royal Lao Army; Hmong
                              under Vang Pao resist Pathet Lao -
                              North Vietnamese advances; Second
                              Party Congress held, 1972; LPP
                              renamed Lao People's Revolutionary
                              Party (LPRP); RLG and Pathet Lao
                              begin negotiations for cease-fire in
                              1972, resulting in Vientiane
                              Agreement signed in February 1973;
                              cease-fire proclaimed, bombing by
                              United States ends; protocol forming
                              third coalition government signed
                              September 1973; government takes
                              office by royal decree April 1974 as
                              Provisional Government of National

August 1974-November 1975     Fighting resumes; Vang Pao flees to
                              Thailand; senior rightist ministers
                              and generals leave for Thailand;
                              LPLA "liberates" provincial
                              capitals; reeducation centers or
                              "seminar camps" opened;
                              "Revolutionary Administration" takes
                              power in Vientiane; elections held
                              for local people's councils.

December 1975                 Provisional Government of National
                              Union dissolved; King Savang
                              Vatthana abdicates; Lao People's
                              Democratic Republic (LPDR)
                              proclaimed; Souphanouvong becomes
                              first president (in power until
                              1991); Kaysone Phomvihan, first
                              prime minister.

May 1976                      LPRP Central Committee passes Third
                              Resolution, guidelines for
                              establishing the socialist

July 1977                     Twenty-Five-Year Lao-Vietnamese
                              Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation

February 1979                 Lao Front for National Construction
                              established; replaces LPF.

January 1978                  Interim three-year economic
                              development plan begins.

January 1981                  First Five-Year plan begins.

April 1982                    Third LPRP Congress held.

May 1984                      Constitution drafting committee

March 1985                    First national population census

January 1986                  Second Five-Year Plan begins.

November 1986                 Fourth LPRP Congress held; Kaysone
                              Phomvihan general secretary LPRP;
                              New Economic Mechanism formalizes

1988                          First elections since 1975 held; at
                              district level in June, provincial
                              level in November.

1989                          National elections held in March;
                              delegates elected to first Supreme
                              People's Assembly; opening session
                              held May-June; last Vietnamese
                              troops reportedly leave Laos.

April 1990                    LPRP approves draft constitution for

March 1991                    Fifth LPRP Congress held,
                              Secretariat abolished; Kaysone
                              Phomvihan chairman, LPRP;
                              Souphanouvong retires.

August 1991                   New constitution endorsed by Supreme
                              People's Assembly and adopted;
                              Kaysone Phomvihan becomes president
                              of LPDR; Khamtai Siphandon, prime

1992                          Kaysone dies in November; replaced
                              as president by Nouhak Phomsavan;
                              Khamtai becomes chairman, LPRP, and
                              prime minister, LPDR; elections to
                              National Assembly (renamed from
                              Supreme People's Assembly) held in

1993                          Nouhak and Khamtai reelected as
                              president and prime minister in
                              February; Council of Ministers

1994                          Phoumi Vongvichit, former acting
                              president and high-ranking party
                              figure, dies in January.

Data as of July 1994

Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents