Lan Xang - Fa Ngum

Fa Ngum

Prince Fa Ngum of Muang Sua (modern Luang Prabang) is listed first on the historical list of monarchs of Laos. Fa Ngum went as a youth to the Khmer Empire (present-day Cambodia,) where he married a daughter of a Khmer emperor. In 1349 with the empire in disarray, the prince set out from Angkor at the head of a 10,000-man army, to establish his own country by claiming the crown of his uncle. In June 1354, at the site of the victory celebrated in the epic, Phra Lak Phra Lam, (present-day Vientiane,) and accompanied by an army of more than 50,000 soldiers, he was crowned ruler of Lan Xang. The "million elephants under the white parasol" of the kingdom's name alludes to his formidable war machine.

King Fa Ngum organized conquered principalities into Muang under subservient lords styled Chao Muang. Although the term "border" is an anachronism in the Mandala (Southeast Asian history) model, the Kingdom of Lan Xang extended from the borders of China south to Sambor below the Mekong rapids at Khong Island, and from the Dai Vietnamese border to the western escarpment of the Khorat Plateau. It was thus one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia.

Fa Ngum's campaign started in southern Laos, taking the towns and cities in Central Laos, moving up into Xieng Khouang where he helped another exiled prince of Xieng Khouang take the throne, from Xieng Khouang Fa Ngum took his army into Vietnam taking many Vietnamese towns until the king of Vietnam agreed to a peace treaty establishing the boundary between them, from Xiengkhouang FaNgum began to take Northern Lao principalities and finally his initial goal of taking his home town of Loungprabang where he crowned his father. After establishing himself in Loungprabang, Fa Ngum's ambition continued to grow he then began a campaign into Northern Thailand taking the cities of Chiangrai and Chiangsaen; he turned his army towards Chaingmai but his cousin the King of Chiangmai sent a letter offering troops to Fa Ngum if he ever requested them. From Northern Thailand, Fa Ngum went south into Sukothai, taking the townships of the eastern Sukothai Kingdom, and the towns that were under the governance of Ayutthaya. The King of Ayutthaya, King Uthong who was currently in a conflict with Angkor, had very little choice but to grant Fa Ngum the lands he requested, the King of Ayutthaya thus offering his daughter to Fa Ngum to avoid any conflict and gain favor with King Fa Ngum. From there, he arrived on the western bank of the Mekong across from Vientiane with an army that started with 10,000 Khmer soldiers to an army that grew to 50,000 troops and more than 6,000 war elephants. When Fa Ngum conquered Vientiane, he proclaimed the establishment of the new Kingdom of Lanxang, crowning himself the lord of all the lands.

Read more about this topic:  Lan Xang

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Military History Of Laos - Early History
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