Sunday, June 7, 2009

Laos,Colonial and post colonial era

Following thir colonisation of Vietnam, the French supplantedthe Siamese and began to integrate all of Laos into the french empire in 1893. During WWII, the japanese occuppied FrenchIndochina, including Laos in 1941 and ruled it till 1945. King Sisavang Vong of luang Prabang was induced to declare independence from France in 1945, just prior to Japan's surrender. During this period , nationalist sentiment grew. In Sept. 1945, Vientiane and Champassak united with Luang Prabang to form an independent Government under the Free Laos banner.The movement , however, was short lived. By early1946, French troops reoccuppied the country and conferred limited autonomy on Laos following elections for a constituent assembly.
During the first Indochina war between france and the communist movement in Vietnam, Prince Souphanouvong formed the Pathet Lao (Land of Laos) resistance organisation committed to the communist struggle against colonialism. Laos was not granted full sovereigntyuntil the French was defeated by the Vietnamese and the subsequent Geneva peace conference in 1954.
Eletions were held in 1955, and the first coalition Government, led by Prince Souvanna Phouma was formed in 1957. The coalition Government collapsedin 1958, amidst increased polarisation of the Political process. The rightist forces took over the Government. The power of the country was swang between the rightist and the neutralist groups headedby Gen. Phoumi Nosavan and Souvanna Phouma till a second conference was held in 1961-62, provided for the independence and neutrality of Laos. A civil war was soon started.