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1900 – The Prince Yukanthor Affair
8 - 30th January 2014
Bibliographie
• Pierre Lamant :

– L’Affaire Yukanthor,
autopsie d’un scandale colonial
Société française d’histoire d’out...
Prince Norodom Aruna Yukanthor
• Born in 1860, the son of Preah Neang Brah Nan or Tep Soda
Chan.
• In 1872, he was made to...
Jean Hesse’s personality
• A man with a mission (denounce colonialism),
but, like Carman, failed in most of his
enterprise...
His opinions:
• Anti-war militant & against military spirit: “I hate war
and I hate the warrior”. 1888 « We must do all we...
Why did Yukanthor sail to France?
• Certainly sent by his father in the capacity of heir
apparent to the throne to protest...
Huyn de Verneville (1889-1897)
• Nhiek Tioulong: « The popular chronicles of the time
qualify the Representative of the Pr...
Huyn de Verneville (1889-1897)
• “…Those very relationships between Huyn de Verneville and the
King seem to be highly cont...
What were those accusations?
• Memorandum addressed to the president of the
Council of Ministers & the members of the
Gove...
Yukanthor’s memorendum - 2
• The 1897 crisis with de Verneville who threatened
him to send him to Poulo Condor or treated ...
Yukanthor’s memorendum - 3
• « To the legal authorities of royal origin, you substituted the
authority of the Mi-Ruong, de...
UM (1821 - c.1898)
• Entered the service of Prince Ang Duong in 1837,
accompanying him to Bangkok. After fighting
against ...
Thiounn (1864-1946)
• From 1883, an interpreter of the Protectorate .
• 1883-86, accompanies the Franco-Khmer troops that
...
Yukanthor’s memorendum - 4
• French justice has conducted an investigation into the theft of
elephants by the household of...
A precedent: Duong Chakr (1861-1897)
Who was he ?
• Born in 1861, he is the 5th son of the King, and
3rd survivor. Mother ...
(1893)
• It was the 1st time that a high rank colonised person came
from the distant Indochina to complain against intrigu...
Duong Chakr - 3
• A young Cambodian from the Ecole coloniale serves
him as a secretary-interpreter. Helped by Emile
Pellet...
Duong Chakr - 4
• On 24 August 1893, a letter from the King to de
Verneville arrived in Paris in which, considering his
so...
Duong Chakr - 5
• Played an active rôle in the rebellion and is hostile to
direct French administration. He was an interme...
Intrigues & flight
• With the arrival of de Verneville at the end of 1889,
competition with Chakr and his mother with the ...
Letter to Le Figaro
• Two types of Frenchmen: those in the colonies,
those in the metropolis.
• The French know nothing ab...
Letter to Le Figaro - 2
• Buddhism makes the King the father of the
people and the Cambodians form a united and
happy fami...
1 - Questionable, erroneous assertions

• Aryan race. Mongolian, Dravidian: Burmese Days, G.
Orwell.
• His dynasty has rei...
2 - Realistic or prophetic perceptions
• Use of media campaign : open government
• Some colonisers or administrators thoug...
Controversial issues: yes & no (AA)
• Two categories of Frenchmen
• Idyllic description of Cambodian society
• French admi...
Fuite & fin de Yukanthor
• His half brother, Prince Pheanuvong, born en 1871
and son of Khun Than, mother of Duong Chakr
(...
Fuite & fin de Yukanthor - 2
• Disowned by his father, pawned his jewels and took
the Prinz Heinrich on 26 October and sto...
Yukanthor a hero of Cambodian history ?
• Yes, because he dared to go as far as Paris to protest against
abuse of power on...
1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard
1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard
1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard
1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard
1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard
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1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard

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Lecture 1. 30th January 2014: 1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair (See Pierre Lamant, L’Affaire Yukanthor : Autopsie d’un scandal colonial, 1989). Dr. Henri Locard

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1900, The Prince Yukanthor Affair, Dr. Henri Locard

  1. 1. 1900 – The Prince Yukanthor Affair 8 - 30th January 2014
  2. 2. Bibliographie • Pierre Lamant : – L’Affaire Yukanthor, autopsie d’un scandale colonial Société française d’histoire d’outre-mer Paris, 1989 Jean Hesse : L’Affaire Iukanthor, les dessous d’un protectorat, 1900. Paris, 1900
  3. 3. Prince Norodom Aruna Yukanthor • Born in 1860, the son of Preah Neang Brah Nan or Tep Soda Chan. • In 1872, he was made to cut his hair and become a monk. • In 1884, involved in an incident with Radisson, a French lieutenant, Yukanthor accuses him of having taken one of his concubines, who was sold to the Prince by his father who had incurred a gambling debt. Intrigues. • Married his half sister, Princess Norodom Malika (1872-1951), daughter of Norodom’s 26th wife Neak Moneang Phayu. Malika founded a private girls’ school on 11 Dec. 1911 at which both her daughters were taught. Sisowath had signed a decree making boys aged 8 compelled to attend renovated pagoda schools. • One, Princess Pingpeang Yukanthor (1894 – 1966), was to become politically active daughter was very prominent in the campaign to lobby the French in 1949 to return Cochinchina to Cambodia. She was the head of the Cambodian delegation to the
  4. 4. Jean Hesse’s personality • A man with a mission (denounce colonialism), but, like Carman, failed in most of his enterprises – except journalism. No sense of compromising with reality and megalomaniac. • Assistant doctor in the navy (1883-1888), journalist (1888-1892) and failed explorer (18923). Duc d’Uzès dies in 1893 in the Congo. Journalist of the anti-colonialist cause: West Indies, Martinique, Madagasdcar, North Africa.
  5. 5. His opinions: • Anti-war militant & against military spirit: “I hate war and I hate the warrior”. 1888 « We must do all we can to avoid war which, whatever the issue, is always catastrophic ». He campaigned for disarmament and international arbitration. • He had an undeniable and early sympathy for the fight for socialism. • He was against the political influence of religion and for the separation of Church & State. • A diehard defender of oppressed races and of the black race in particular. Racism was against science. • Shifting opinions about colonisation, but key idea: “neither exploitation, nor assimilation, but association” & “indigenous people must be citizens, allies, and not subjects”; 1895.
  6. 6. Why did Yukanthor sail to France? • Certainly sent by his father in the capacity of heir apparent to the throne to protest against the tyranny and corruption of Résidents supérieurs. • Norodom never got over the blackmailing of the 1884 Thomson Convention: very slim judicial basis for French rule. • The last straw was the 11 July 1897 decree that removed the last autonomy of the sovereign and deprived the King from revenues of gambling. He now reigned but did not rule. • Odd alliance between power hungry and traditionalist members of the royal family and antiimperialist French radicals.
  7. 7. Huyn de Verneville (1889-1897) • Nhiek Tioulong: « The popular chronicles of the time qualify the Representative of the Protectorate as an original personality. He seems to want to appear in the eyes of the public like a Khmer high dignitary, donning a Cambodian sampot on thngay-sel to make the traditional offerings of rice to the monks, invited to process in front of his residence, thus following Khmer custom. He takes as his partner a lady from the Court named Preung, well-known among contemporaries for her loathing of the royal Court and who is said to have had a certain influence on the relationships between the Résidence Supérieur and the Royal Palace.”
  8. 8. Huyn de Verneville (1889-1897) • “…Those very relationships between Huyn de Verneville and the King seem to be highly controversial. In his complaint registered with the Ministry of the Colonies in Paris against the Protectorate, and the intrigues of Huy de Verneville, in particular as regards the King, Prince Norodom Yukanthor formulated barely believable accusations”. Thus is all we hear of H. de V. in Tioulong’s book. Beautification of PPenh: canal & bridge, with 9headed Naga. 1897: Treasury. 1894, death of Queen mother. 10 Residents. • After 1887: Indochinese Union & Jan 1897, H. de V. report Norodom was dying, Doumer (1897-1902) came to PPenh & found him “completely lucid”. Decided Res. Sup. too “brusque” & his cohabitation with Neak Ruong “had diminished the authority of France”. Replaced on on 14 May 1897. • 11 July 1897, Council of Ministers without King: 5 Ministers
  9. 9. What were those accusations? • Memorandum addressed to the president of the Council of Ministers & the members of the Government in the capacity of heir apparent to the throne. 3 versions: one long one to Ministry, a shorter to Le Matin, and condensed to Le Figaro. • Freely asked and granted protectorate has become today a complete, absolute administration – stricter than in a conquered territory. • 1884 coup de force, with bayonets on the throat of the King and threat of deportation, Thomson obtained all political powers in Cambodia.
  10. 10. Yukanthor’s memorendum - 2 • The 1897 crisis with de Verneville who threatened him to send him to Poulo Condor or treated him like a lunatic. Saved by Paul Doumer. Notorious abuses of power with his mistress, the Mi-Ruong; • Our dynasty has reigned for 3,000 years and has always cared for the happiness of the people. • The Cambodian, free under the absolute authority of the King, has become the slave inside the whims of your administrators.
  11. 11. Yukanthor’s memorendum - 3 • « To the legal authorities of royal origin, you substituted the authority of the Mi-Ruong, de Verneville and the boy-interpreter Tiounne ». • Asks for the dismissal of both Um, « who ran away before the enemy » in 1885, the PM and Thiounn, the secretary of the Council of Minister and “an embezzler of public funds”. The 2 main embezzlers of the country. • “The people also suffers from the transfer of land ownership from the King to the Résidence supérieure. Previously the entire Cambodian territory legally belonged to the King. In reality, it belonged to the one who cultivated it. You have established private ownership. You have given large concessions. Thereby, you have created the poor.. And now you force the Cambodians to pay taxation for a land they freely used. »
  12. 12. UM (1821 - c.1898) • Entered the service of Prince Ang Duong in 1837, accompanying him to Bangkok. After fighting against the Vietnamese to regain the throne, Ang Duong took him as the head of pages. 1861, assistant to the Minister of War, and Minister in 1868. Later Minister of Justice. In 1888, akkamohasena=PM. … • at the time of the “Yukanthor Affair”. Joined forces with “corrupt” French officials and served French interests. (Laura Summers & Justin Corfield)
  13. 13. Thiounn (1864-1946) • From 1883, an interpreter of the Protectorate . • 1883-86, accompanies the Franco-Khmer troops that fight against the Great Rebellion and becomes Secretary-interpreter. Climbs up all the administrative echelons and in 192 becomes deputy secretary of the Council of Ministers, then in 1899, general secretary. • “This person of mixed race with a couple of $100 as a year’s salary has built a fortune in a few years that enable him to possess a real estate worth $100,000. He gets his % on all …” • By 1917, under Sisowath, by the time he has become Minister of the Palace, he is the most powerful man in the kingdom. Ministers, Princes, the King “tremble before him” (Panetier, Le C.). “Through his intelligence, is hard work, his wealth, he made himself indispensable to the passing
  14. 14. Yukanthor’s memorendum - 4 • French justice has conducted an investigation into the theft of elephants by the household of the Obbarach, the highest nobleman after the King, whom you call the Second King and style ‘Majesty’. The Government general of Indochina bases its policies on this ridiculous character who is the laughing stock of the entire population”. • “By ruining the authority of the King and by giving it to French administrators who know nothing of our customs, you abolish the protection that royalty has always granted to the people. ‘I’m going to tell the King’ has now become a joke. • Oum, this enemy of the people who raises taxes and corvées is the most cynical enemy of the King.
  15. 15. A precedent: Duong Chakr (1861-1897) Who was he ? • Born in 1861, he is the 5th son of the King, and 3rd survivor. Mother Cham Socheat Bopha Nuon was the daughter of a mandarin. In that difficult period, he is the favourite son of the King, « strong, intelligent and resourceful ». • His ambitious mother, the King’s favourite and named “the tigress”, wants to eliminate Yukanthor, the eldest son, to bring her son closer to the throne. • From 1884 to 1886: probably secret emissary between Norodom and the rebels. •
  16. 16. (1893) • It was the 1st time that a high rank colonised person came from the distant Indochina to complain against intrigues of the colonial administration. Came by boat from Singapore with his wife and could speak French. • Lived in Bangkok since 1891, but the Siamese who supported him, asked him to serve the Siamese administration. He refused. He had made complaints with Auguste Pavie, French ambassador to Siam. • When he arrives in Marseille, on 20th June 1893, France accepts to pay for his expenses as he claims he has sold his jewels to pay for the passage. After spending a couple of nights in an expensive hotel, he is moved to a cheap residential hotel 50 Rue Jacob, with a small allowance.
  17. 17. Duong Chakr - 3 • A young Cambodian from the Ecole coloniale serves him as a secretary-interpreter. Helped by Emile Pelletier, ex-headmaster of the Colonial School of PPenh and teacher of Chakr. Supposed to have discovered a pass along the Khône waterfalls. • He complained of being a victim of the intrigues of the Res. Sup. Huy de Verneville, wanted to be used by the British in Bangkok and ask the protection of France. • De Lanessan, the governor general suggest one should get rid of him by sending him to Algeria with a pension.
  18. 18. Duong Chakr - 4 • On 24 August 1893, a letter from the King to de Verneville arrived in Paris in which, considering his son as a rebel, he disowned him, refused to give him the least command and asked the French government to send him to Tunisia or Algeria so that he would not be able to escape and he would no longer hear from him. • On 26, forced by the police and Dr Hahn to take a train from Gare de Lyon to Marseille. The Princess refuses to join him.
  19. 19. Duong Chakr - 5 • Played an active rôle in the rebellion and is hostile to direct French administration. He was an intermediary between the rebel groups, the King and the Queenmother a fierce enemy of French presence. He seems to have created a reign of terror in the palace. The complicity of the King is obvious. Support of merchant Marrot. Confessed to the press he was involved in the rebellion and obeyed his father. He had authority over the insurgents in war and in peace. • De Verneville wanted to get rid of him. Once the war was over, he was granted the Légion d’honneur. Résident Piquet (1886-87) wanted him pardoned.
  20. 20. Intrigues & flight • With the arrival of de Verneville at the end of 1889, competition with Chakr and his mother with the new Résident. In early 1890, he writes DC is clever, overambitious, intriguing and convinced the crown will be his. He would have behaved improperly with “Madame de Verneville” (Mi-Rong) and the King had him chained. De V. denounces Princess Khun Socheat Bopha “as the main enemy of the Protectorate”. A favourite of the old King Ang Duong, she had been abducted by the young Norodom and was involved in corruption. Associated with Caraman by Gregory Muller (p. 192)
  21. 21. Letter to Le Figaro • Two types of Frenchmen: those in the colonies, those in the metropolis. • The French know nothing about Cambodians and believe they are barbarians. • « My family has ruled over the kingdom for thousands of years. » France wants to impose its civilization. • In the tropics, nature saves the population from the struggle for life: labour is not a punishment for sins.
  22. 22. Letter to Le Figaro - 2 • Buddhism makes the King the father of the people and the Cambodians form a united and happy family. • We have our “slaves”, but your workers have the freedom to starve. • You make ostentatious display of items of destruction in universal exhibitions. • When Norodom asked for French protection, he asked neither for administration nor civilisation.
  23. 23. 1 - Questionable, erroneous assertions • Aryan race. Mongolian, Dravidian: Burmese Days, G. Orwell. • His dynasty has reigned since several millennia : “audacious”, but in accordance with “the imagination of Court genealogists”. • Ignorance of both Asian and European history. • Perfect harmony and love between rich & poor. Immutability of history, like in Middle Ages frame of mind. • Kh. “slaves” live much better than workers in France who have only the freedom to starve. • Strong support for an absolute monarchy and a multi-party democracy is of no use.
  24. 24. 2 - Realistic or prophetic perceptions • Use of media campaign : open government • Some colonisers or administrators thought Cambodians were barbarians. (CT, H de V, B) • Use of force rather than persuasion & diplomacy; • Dialectics of subjects & citizens. Exploitation & association. • Nature under the tropics is more generous. • Denunciation of the place of weapons in Exhibition. • Treaty of Protectorate – not colonisation • All empires have tottered to their fall.
  25. 25. Controversial issues: yes & no (AA) • Two categories of Frenchmen • Idyllic description of Cambodian society • French administrators created nothing: 1863-1997: whose fault ? 1884-1897 • In Europe, work seen as a malediction after the Fall from paradise. Place of work: kitchen gardens. • Place of Buddhism as reinforcing the model of benevolent and paternalistic absolutism. Violence? • Condition of the working classes in France in 1900. • Hypocrisy of Lberté, Egalité, Fraternité in colonies.
  26. 26. Fuite & fin de Yukanthor • His half brother, Prince Pheanuvong, born en 1871 and son of Khun Than, mother of Duong Chakr (99, 6 persons: 2 princes, one mandarin & 3 servants), takes the boat at Marseille, unbeknown to the French police, while Yukanthor has fled to Bruxelles. (Lamant: his son) • P. 112 : Hess “managed to substitute the son to his father” at Marseille on 23 September 1900. • Yukanthor refused to return to Phnom Penh until he had obtained satisfaction for his demands.
  27. 27. Fuite & fin de Yukanthor - 2 • Disowned by his father, pawned his jewels and took the Prinz Heinrich on 26 October and stopped at Singapore. Regular contact with Neak Phyam, his mother-in-law wo sent him money through businessmen. • 27 September 1901, father requested him to return home to beg his pardon. Refusal. Governor General granted him a small pension in 1926. Died in Bangkok, aged 74, in 1934. • A spiritual father for Norodom who used the same tactics: refusal to return to the capital until he had obtained independence and huge media campaign in 1953.
  28. 28. Yukanthor a hero of Cambodian history ? • Yes, because he dared to go as far as Paris to protest against abuse of power on the part the French administration • Because the likes of Huy de Verneville were behaving like veritable tyrants and intriguers. • Because France had in a way reneg(u)ed on the Treaty of Protectorate and the legal basis for administering the country was very flimsy. • No, because he was not pleading for his country, but for his father’s and his own privileges. An aspiring autocrat. • No, because he is not pleading for independence and the departure of the French. • No, because he is a denier of reality: he paints his country as paradise on earth – which it certainly was not for the vast majority of the population. Cambodians are his subjects. • Conclusion: A precedent to Sihanouk’s Royal Crusade for dignity, sovereignty & independence ?

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