Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents


The French Protectorate and Direct Administration

The territory of Laos thus consisted of the Kingdom of Louangphrabang, under French protection, and the provinces south of the Nam Kading, which were administered directly by a résident supérieur in Vientiane. The latter had direct authority over the provincial résidents, who were on an equal footing with the Lao chao khoueng (provincial governors). The résident supérieur also acted as the representative of the French state to the king of Louangphrabang and supervised the administration of the kingdom through provincial commissioners. The affairs of the kingdom were conducted by a four-member council headed by the viceroy. The résident supérieur also coordinated the activities of the public services of the Indochinese Federation, which operated in both the north and the south, and employed French, Vietnamese, and Lao civil servants.

The treaty also reinstituted the position of viceroy, which had been abolished by the French at the death of Boun Khong in 1920. Boun Khong's son, Prince Phetsarath, became one of the major figures of modern Laos. Among his accomplishments were the establishment of the system of ranks and titles of the civil service, promotion and pension plans, the organization of a Laotian consultative assembly consisting of district and province chiefs, the reorganization of the king's Advisory Council along functional lines, and the establishment of a school of law and administration. Phetsarath also reorganized the administrative system of the Buddhist community of monks and novices, the clergy (sangha), and established a system of schools for educating monks in which the language of instruction was Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism.

Data as of July 1994