Laotian Rebellion

The Laotian Rebellion of 1826-1828, or Anou's Rebellion in Laos 1826-1828, was an attempt to expel Siam from Laos by Chao Anouvong (Chaiya Sethathirath V Thai: ไชยเชษฐาธิราชที่ ๕) of the kingdom of Vientiane. Successive Burmese and Siamese interventions involved Vientiane and Louangphrabang in internecine struggles. In 1771 the king of Louangphrabang attacked Vientiane, determined to punish it for what he perceived to be its complicity in a Burmese attack on his capital in 1765. The Siamese captured Vientiane for the first time in 1778-79, when it became a vassal state to Siam. Vientiane was finally destroyed in 1827-28 following an imprudent attempt by its ruler, Chao Anou, to retaliate against perceived Siamese injustices toward the Lao.

After an unpleasant stay in Bangkok in 1825 for the funeral of King Rama II, which included his son, Rama III, rejecting Anou's request for repatriation of Lao ethnic families captured some half century earlier, Chao Anou returned to Vientiane and organized for rebellion. Believing (or starting or taking advantage of) a false rumor that the British were preparing to attack Siam, he dispatched one and led other army toward Bangkok. The first managed to get within three days of the Siamese capital in present day Saraburi by cajoling provincial rulers along the route that, on orders of the king, they were rushing to evacuate Lao captives prior to the defense of Bangkok against the British. Anuvong's plans for Lao independence may have betrayed, but in any case the Siamese were quickly prepared for battle.

After initial taking the fortress of Korat, but receiving inadequate assistance from other Lao royalty and the Vietnamese, Anou fled into the forests. He was captured by a second Siamese expedition and brought to Bangkok, where he was displayed in an iron cage and punished before he succumbed.

The Siamese, in a counterattack, captured and sacked Vientiane and transported most of the population of the central Mekong region across the river into what was later to become northeastern Thailand, or Isan. By 1828 the rebellion had been quelled. An estimated 24,000 Laotians perished as did some 7000 Siamese. With the collapse of Anu's rebellion, the independence of Vientiane came to an end.

Victorious Siamese general Chao Phraya Bodindecha (เจ้าพระยาบดินทรเดชา — Sing Singhaseni สิงห์ ต้นสกุลสิงหเสนี) erected a nine-spired chedi as a victory monument at Wat Tung Sawang Chaiyaphum (วัดทุ่งสว่างชัยภูมิ field of bright victory) in the town of Yasothon, which had been established in 1811 by Chao Racha Wong Sing, a son of Champasak King Wichai. The doorway of the chedi faces Bangkok, and the northeast corner contains the image of a dejected captive.

Several accounts of the Siamese-Lao fighting are recorded by various historians and authorities, many in direct conflict with one another. In particular are accounts of legendary Thai heroines (Khun Ying Mo or Thao Suranaree, and Khun Ying Boonleu). While some Thai historians cite Lao references that the two women actually played a part in Anu's defeat, the Department of Fine Arts of the Ministry of Culture (Thailand) is of the opinion that they are only legend.

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