Lao ethnicity, dynasty, and nation
ANTH 520-13A
Pham Van Dung
Pre-historic Laos (Bowman, 2000)
• 10,000 – 3000 BC: ancestors of Lao Theung (Lao of the
mountainside)/ Kha (slaves) were ...
Before 7th century
Funan state: 1st -6th
century
Zhenla state: Khmer
kingdom: 5th-7th
century, dominated
Funan
Tai peole f...
800 – 1400: the golden age of kingdom
Southeast Asian Kingdoms 1400-1600
Laos and Asia by 1500 CE
Dynastic realms
Kingdom of Lan Xang
(1353-1706, named 33 kings)
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Fa Ngum (1353-1372)
Sam...
Dynastic realms
• Kingdoms of Luang Prabang (1707-1904), 12 kings
1707–1713

Kingkitsarat (succeeded to Luang Prabang
upon...
Dynastic realms
• Kingdoms of Luang Prabang (Cont)
1816–1837

Mangthaturat (son)

1837–1850

Suksoem (son)

1850–1870

Cha...
Dynastic realms
Kingdoms of Champassak (1700-1904, named 16 kings)
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Nan Rath/Soysysa...
Dynastic realms
Kingdoms of Vientiane (1707-1828, named 8 kings)
•
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Setthathirath II (1707-1730)
Ong Long (1730-17...
Tribes/ ethnic groups
• Three main tribes categorized since 1940s
1. Lao Loum – lowland – Tai-Kadai languages
2. Lao Theun...
Tribes/ ethnic groups
• Tai languistic family (60% of whole population)
– Lao, Phutai, Phouane, Tai Nyo, Lue, Tai Deng, Ta...
Ethnolinguistic
groups in Laos
Linguistic map: Laos
Symbol of three main ethnic groups
Symbol of three main ethnic groups
Lao Loum - lowland
Wet rice field, Luang Namtha, Northern Laos
Weaving, Lao Loum, Luang Phrabang
Lao Theung, midland
Khmu women attending meeting, Luang Prabang
Lao Soung/ H’mong - upland
Yao ethnic group
La Hu men playing flutes, Luang Namtha, Northern Laos
Rotational shifting cultivation
Ecological vegetable cutivation
Livestock/ cattle raising
Religion in Laos
• Buddhism since 12th century
– National religion of Lan Xang kingdom and other dynasties
– Communists to...
Lowland Lao and Buddism

Buddah statute outside temple,
Xiengda village

Phousi temple, Luang Prabang
Religious belief and forest protection

A ceremony in Xiangda village,
LPB

Buottonmay, Budda’s spirits to
protect nature,...
Signals of religions in a village, Luang Prabang

Cross inside house

Worshipping place in house
Khmu worship place in forest, Densavang village, Luang Prabang
Liengphiho (worshipping village forest spirits), Khmu in
Phonsavat village, LPB

Elder worshipping

Community sharing afte...
Naosong of Hmong in Longlan village, LPB: Natural spirits
worshipping and building up community regulations

Ceremony in f...
Dynastic realms & French colonial time
• Kingdoms of Laos (19041975)
1904–1959

Sisavangvong
(son; deposed,
1945–6; king o...
Dynastic realms &
French colonial time
• 1893: Laos was merged with four
other regions to form Indochina
• 1899: a distinc...
Civil war & Nation state
• 1945-1975: Royal Lao
government
• 1960: Kong Le coup and
neutralism
• 1962-1975: Civil war:
Roy...
Leaders in civil war (1962-1975)

Prince Souvanna
Phouma

Kong Le

Vang pao

Kaysone
Phomvihane

Souphanouvong
Civil war & Nation state

Pathet Lao view, 1962

Royal Lao Government view,
1962
Nation state
• 1975-: Lao People’s Democratic
Republic (LPDR)
• ‘re-education camps’ & exodus
• 1975-86: Centralized econo...
States and tribes: the case of Khmu
• Before 6th century: Khmu and Mon-Khmer are first settlers
• 6th – 19th century: subd...
Reference
•
•
•
•
•

•
•
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Bowman, John., 2000. Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. New
York: Columbia Un...
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Lao ethnicity, dynasty, and nation

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Lao ethnicity, dynasty and nation, a research in Political Anthropology

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Lao ethnicity, dynasty, and nation

  1. 1. Lao ethnicity, dynasty, and nation ANTH 520-13A Pham Van Dung
  2. 2. Pre-historic Laos (Bowman, 2000) • 10,000 – 3000 BC: ancestors of Lao Theung (Lao of the mountainside)/ Kha (slaves) were first settlers • 3000 – 1500 BC: Neolithic culture adopted (rice, pigs, cattles, pottery) • 1500 BC: Bronze Age • 1000-100 BC: Bronze Age and Megalithic culture (Plain of Jars) • 500-1 BC: Bronze drum found: contact with Vietnam and Tai in South China • 400-800 AD: Mon-Khmer influence/ control • 500: Tai-speaking people moved to remote mountains of Northeastern Laos
  3. 3. Before 7th century Funan state: 1st -6th century Zhenla state: Khmer kingdom: 5th-7th century, dominated Funan Tai peole from SW China migrate south in 7th-13th centuries, assimilating local culture – 1200s set up states 1300s: Burman, Khmer, Siamese, and Lao adopted Budhism (Lockard, 2009)
  4. 4. 800 – 1400: the golden age of kingdom
  5. 5. Southeast Asian Kingdoms 1400-1600
  6. 6. Laos and Asia by 1500 CE
  7. 7. Dynastic realms Kingdom of Lan Xang (1353-1706, named 33 kings) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Fa Ngum (1353-1372) Samsenthai (1372-1417) Lan Kham Deng (1417-1428) Phommathat (1428-1429) Khamtum (Thao Khamtum) (1429) Meun Sai (1429-1430) Konekham (1430-1432) Kham-Tam Sa (1432) Lue-Sai (1432-1433) Khai Bua Ban (1433-1436) Khong Kham (1436-1438) Interregnum (1438-1441) Chaiyachakkapat-Phaenphaeo (Sao Tiakaphat) (1441-1478) Vietnamese occupation (1478-1479) Suvanna Banlang (Theng Kham) (14791485) Lahsaenthai Puvanart (1485-1495) Sompou (Samphou) (1495-1500) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Visunarat (1500-1520) Photisarath I (1520-1548) Setthathirat I (1548-1571) Saensurin (1572-1574) (1st reign) Maha Oupahat (ruled under Burmese sovereignty) (1575-1580) Saensurin (ruled again after expelling the Burmese for a brief period of time) (1580-1582) Nakhon Noi (ruled under Burmese sovereignty) (1582-1583) Vacant (1583-1591) Nokeo Koumanh (1591-1596) Voravongsa Thammikarath (1596-1622) Upanyuvarat (1622-1623) Photisarath II (1623-1627) Mon Keo (Mongkeo) (1627) Tone Kham (1627-1633) Vichai (1633-1637) Suriya Vongsa I (1637-1694) Tian Thala (1690 - 1695) Nan Tharat (1695 - 1698) Setthathirath II (1698 - 1706 ))
  8. 8. Dynastic realms • Kingdoms of Luang Prabang (1707-1904), 12 kings 1707–1713 Kingkitsarat (succeeded to Luang Prabang upon partition of Laos c.1707) 1713–1723 Ong Nok (cousin; deposed, died 1759) 1723–1749 Inthasom (brother of Kingkitsarat) 1749–1750 Inthaphon (son; abdicated) 1750–1771 Sotikakuman (brother; abdicated) 1771–1791 Suriyavong (brother) 1791–1816 Anuruttha (brother)
  9. 9. Dynastic realms • Kingdoms of Luang Prabang (Cont) 1816–1837 Mangthaturat (son) 1837–1850 Suksoem (son) 1850–1870 Chantharat (brother) 1870–1891 Un Kham (brother; deposed, died 1895) 1891–1904 Sakkarin (son; French protectorate over Laos 1893/6–1949)
  10. 10. Dynastic realms Kingdoms of Champassak (1700-1904, named 16 kings) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Nan Rath/Soysysamoun (1700-1713?) Nokasat (1713-1738) Saya Kumane (1738-1791) (regent for Nokasat from 1725 until 1738) Xiang Keo (1791) Fay Na (1791-1811) No Muong (1811) Cha Nou (1811-1813) Ma Noi (1813-1819) Thai-Vietnamese occupation (December 1819 - 1821) Rajabud Yo (1821-1827) Hui (1827-1840) Nak (1840-1851) (Regent for Hui to 1840) Boua (1851 - 1852 (Regent) Thai occupation (1852-1856) Kham Nai (1856-1858) Chu (1858-1860) (Regent) Thai occupation (1860-1863) Kham Suk (1863-28 July 1900) Ratsadanay (28 July 1900 - 22 November 1904)
  11. 11. Dynastic realms Kingdoms of Vientiane (1707-1828, named 8 kings) • • • • • Setthathirath II (1707-1730) Ong Long (1730-1767) Ong Bun Setthathirath III (1767-1778) (1st reign) Phraya Supho (1778-1780) (Thai governor) Ong Bun Setthathirath III (1780 - November 1781) (2nd reign) • Nanthasen Setthathirath IV (21 November 1781 January 1795) • Intharavong Setthathirath V (2 February 1795 - 7 February 1805) (crowned on 23 July 1795) • Anouvong (7 February 1805 - 12 November 1828)
  12. 12. Tribes/ ethnic groups • Three main tribes categorized since 1940s 1. Lao Loum – lowland – Tai-Kadai languages 2. Lao Theung - slope hills, midland – Austroasiatic family 3. Lao Soung – upland – Tibeto-Burman & Hmong-Mien (Pholsena, 2005, pp. 82-3). • 47 ethnic groups (1995 Census) (Pholsena, 2005, p. 81) • 49 ethnic groups (1999 collectiong campaign) (ibid, p. 89) • Classification out of real heterogeneity (ibid, p. 91)
  13. 13. Tribes/ ethnic groups • Tai languistic family (60% of whole population) – Lao, Phutai, Phouane, Tai Nyo, Lue, Tai Deng, Tai Khao, Nung, Yay and 20 other ethnic minorities • Austroasiatic speakers (26-36%) – Khmuic (Tai Hat, Phong Laan, Phong Phene, Phong Tapouang, Kaniang, Phong Piat, Thai Then) – Vietic (Vietnamese, Ngouan, Muang, Toum, Pong) – Palaungic (Wa, Lawa, Phalik, Sam Tao, Kha Bit, man Met, Lamet, Xmet, Riang, Palaung/ Ta’ang, Rumai – Katuic (Katu, Pacoh, Nge, Ta’oy, Ong, Katang, Brou-So, Kuay-Yoe (many subgroups) – Bahnaric (Stieng, Chrau, Sre-Koho, Mnong-Biat, Tampuan, Bahnar, Taliang, Kasseng, Alak, Kyong, Rengao, Sedang, Halang, Jeh, Kacho, Brao (Lave), Jru (Laven) Nha Hoen, Sou, Suk, Sapuan, Cheng, Oy) • Miao-Yao (6-10%) – Hmong (White Hmong, Green Hmong), Yao (Iu Mien), Kim Mun, Biao Mon • Sino-Tibetan (3-4%) – Kho (Akha), Pounoy, Ho, Sila, Lusi, Lolo, Lahu, Yi
  14. 14. Ethnolinguistic groups in Laos
  15. 15. Linguistic map: Laos
  16. 16. Symbol of three main ethnic groups
  17. 17. Symbol of three main ethnic groups
  18. 18. Lao Loum - lowland
  19. 19. Wet rice field, Luang Namtha, Northern Laos
  20. 20. Weaving, Lao Loum, Luang Phrabang
  21. 21. Lao Theung, midland
  22. 22. Khmu women attending meeting, Luang Prabang
  23. 23. Lao Soung/ H’mong - upland
  24. 24. Yao ethnic group
  25. 25. La Hu men playing flutes, Luang Namtha, Northern Laos
  26. 26. Rotational shifting cultivation
  27. 27. Ecological vegetable cutivation
  28. 28. Livestock/ cattle raising
  29. 29. Religion in Laos • Buddhism since 12th century – National religion of Lan Xang kingdom and other dynasties – Communists took power (1975): Not recognized as national religion – Recent revival • Christian missionaries came before 1975. Communists seen as ‘divisive belief’ (Evans, 2003, p. 220) • Small south Indian Muslim community in Vientiane (ibid, p. 217) • The Tai: parallel of sociopolitical structure and a hierarchy of territorial spirits (Evans, 2002, p. 5) • Anamist in many ethnic groups
  30. 30. Lowland Lao and Buddism Buddah statute outside temple, Xiengda village Phousi temple, Luang Prabang
  31. 31. Religious belief and forest protection A ceremony in Xiangda village, LPB Buottonmay, Budda’s spirits to protect nature, Xiangda village, LPB
  32. 32. Signals of religions in a village, Luang Prabang Cross inside house Worshipping place in house
  33. 33. Khmu worship place in forest, Densavang village, Luang Prabang
  34. 34. Liengphiho (worshipping village forest spirits), Khmu in Phonsavat village, LPB Elder worshipping Community sharing afterwards
  35. 35. Naosong of Hmong in Longlan village, LPB: Natural spirits worshipping and building up community regulations Ceremony in forest Voting Hmong association leaders
  36. 36. Dynastic realms & French colonial time • Kingdoms of Laos (19041975) 1904–1959 Sisavangvong (son; deposed, 1945–6; king of united Laos 1946) 1959–1975 Savangvatthana (son; deposed, died 1978; People's Democratic Republic)
  37. 37. Dynastic realms & French colonial time • 1893: Laos was merged with four other regions to form Indochina • 1899: a distinct administrative unit • 1907: Franco-Seamese treaty • Royal court in Luang Prabang manage its own affairs • Day-to-day management entrusted to French, Vietnamese and Laotian civil servants in Vientiane, subordinate to the résident supérieur. • Early 20th century: Nationalism and communist • Japanese occupation (1941-45) • 8 April, 1945: independent Lao Kingdom
  38. 38. Civil war & Nation state • 1945-1975: Royal Lao government • 1960: Kong Le coup and neutralism • 1962-1975: Civil war: Royal Lao Government + Vang Pao (suported by America) and Pathet Lao (backed by Vietnam)
  39. 39. Leaders in civil war (1962-1975) Prince Souvanna Phouma Kong Le Vang pao Kaysone Phomvihane Souphanouvong
  40. 40. Civil war & Nation state Pathet Lao view, 1962 Royal Lao Government view, 1962
  41. 41. Nation state • 1975-: Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) • ‘re-education camps’ & exodus • 1975-86: Centralized economic decision-making + collectivisation • Resettlement, forced minority groups to integrate into the national economy (Jerdal and Rigg, 1998, p. 825) • Hmong resistance by 1978, sporadic outbreaks • Economic growth, commercial link and the question of utility (ibid, p. 824) • Fear of cultural absorption within Greater Thailand (ibid, p. 826)
  42. 42. States and tribes: the case of Khmu • Before 6th century: Khmu and Mon-Khmer are first settlers • 6th – 19th century: subdued by Lao and seen as Kha (slaves); traded to lowland and across borders • 1880s: abolishment of slavery by the French colonial regime • Early 20th century: revolt in Boloven plateau (Southern Lao) • 1950s: Belong to Lao Theung • 1995 & 2005 Census: Identified as an ethnic group, but question of self-identification and correct sub-groups • 614,000 in Laos (2005 census). Population total all countries: 704,000 • Poverty, low status and poor representative • Loose customs. Anamism converted to Buddhism, Christian -> assimilation?
  43. 43. Reference • • • • • • • • Bowman, John., 2000. Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. Chazee, Laurent, 2002. The Peoples of Laos: Rural and Ethnic Diversities. Bangkok: White Lotus Press. Evans, Grant, 2002. A short history of Laos: The land in between. Crows Nest NSW: Allen&Unwin. http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.waikato.ac.nz/view/10.1093/acref/9780 198604730.001.0001/acref-9780198604730-e-129?rskey=AvUJSX&result=140&q Jerndan Randi and Jonathan Rigg, 1998. Making space in Laos: constructing a national identity in a ‘forgotten’country. Political Geography, Vol. 17, No. 7, pp. 809–831, 1998 Lockard, Craig A., 2009. Southeast Asia in World History. Cary, NC: Oxford University Press. Mason C., 2005. A short history of Asia, New York NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Pholsena, Vatthana, 2005. “A liberal model of minority rights for an illiberal multiethnic state? The case of the Lao PDR, in Kymlicka, W. and Baogang He (eds): Multiculturalism in Asia, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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