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Sisavang Vatthana

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Predecessor  Sisavang Vong
Spouse  Khamphoui (m. 1930)
Role  King

Name  Sisavang Vatthana
House  Khun Lo Dynasty
Sisavang Vatthana Sisavang Vatthana Biography Childhood Life Achievements
Reign  29 October 1959 – 2 December 1975
Successor  Monarchy abolished; Prince Souphanouvong becomes President in 1975
Born  13 November 1907 Luang Phrabang, Laos (1907-11-13)
Died  13 May?, 1978 or as late as 1984 Sam Neua, Laos
Issue  Crown Prince Vong Savang Princess Savivanh Savang Princess Thala Savang Prince Sisavang Savang Prince Sauryavong Savang
Assassinated  May 13, 1978, Xam Neua, Laos
Grandchildren  Soulivong Savang, Thanyavong Savang
Children  Vong Savang, Sauryavong Savang, Savivanh Savang
Similar People  Sisavang Vong, Soulivong Savang, Khamphoui, Zakarine

Parents  Sisavang Vong, Kham-Oun I

The Last King Of Laos

Sisavang Vatthana (Lao: ພຣະບາທສົມເດັຈພຣະເຈົ້າມະຫາຊີວິຕສີສວ່າງວັດທະນາ) or sometimes Savang Vatthana (full title: Samdach Brhat Chao Mavattaha Sri Vitha Lan Xang Hom Khao Phra Rajanachakra Lao Parama Sidha Khattiya Suriya Varman Brhat Maha Sri Savangsa Vadhana; 13 November 1907 – 13 May 1978 ~ 1984) was the last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 15 October to 21 November 1951. He ruled from 1959 after his father's death until his forced abdication in 1975. Savang Vatthana proved unable to manage a country in political turmoil. His rule ended with the takeover by the Pathet Lao in 1975, after which he and his family were sent to a re-education camp by the new government.


Sisavang Vatthana The Mad Monarchist Monarch Profile King Savang Vatthana

Early life

Prince Savang Vatthana was born on 13 November 1907 at the Royal Palace of Luang Prabang, the son of King Sisavang Vong and Queen Kham-Oun I. He was the second of five children along with Princess Khampheng, Princess Sammathi, Prince Sayasack, and Prince Souphantharangsri. He was also a distant cousin of Prince Souvanna Phouma and Prince Souphanouvong. At the age of 10, Prince Savang was sent to study in France. He attended a lycée in Montpellier and obtained a degree from École Libre des Sciences Politiques (now called Sciences Po) in Paris, where French diplomats were trained. The young heir continued his studies in France, and after a decade overseas, he could no longer speak Lao. Upon his return, he had to be instructed by a palace functionary for years.

Sisavang Vatthana httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

On 7 August 1930, he married Queen Khamphoui and they had five children, Crown Prince Vong Savang, Prince Sisavang Savang, Prince Sauryavong Savang, Princess Savivanh Savang, and Princess Thala Savang. The family played tennis together, and liked to attend major tournaments on their travels abroad. The prince was also a devout Buddhist and became an authority on the sangkha, and would later took his role as protector of the state religion seriously.

Sisavang Vatthana The Mad Monarchist Monarch Profile King Savang Vatthana

During World War II, he represented his father with the Japanese forces. His father sent him to the Japanese headquarters in Saigon, where he vigorously protested about the Japanese actions, when they invaded Laos and forced them to declare independence from France.

King of Laos

Sisavang Vatthana Citroen DS in Laos

In 1951, he served as Prime Minister, and when his father became ill on 20 August 1959, he was named Regent. On 29 October 1959, he informally acceded upon the death of his father. He was, however, never officially crowned and anointed king, deferring his coronation until the cessation of civil war. During his reign, Savang Vatthana visited many countries on diplomatic missions. In March 1963, he toured 13 countries, including the United States, where he stopped at Washington, D.C., to meet with President Kennedy. It was the second stop on a tour of 13 of the nations signatory to the Geneva Pact that guaranteed the "neutrality" of the Kingdom of Laos. The first stop had been Moscow, and the Russians showered gifts, including Chaika limousines. He was also accompanied by his Prime Minister, Souvanna Phouma.

Sisavang Vatthana The Mad Monarchist Monarch Profile King Savang Vatthana

He was active in Lao politics, trying to stabilise his country after the political turmoil started with the Geneva Conference of July 1954, which granted full independence to Laos but did not settle the issue of who would rule. Prince Souvanna Phouma, a neutralist, operated from Vientiane, claiming to be Prime Minister and being recognized by the USSR; Prince Boun Oum of Champassak in the south, right-wing, pro-US, dominated the Pakse area, recognized as Prime Minister by the US; and in the far north, Prince Souphanouvong led the leftist resistance movement, the Pathet Lao, drawing support from North Vietnam, also claiming to be Prime Minister with the backing of the communists. To avoid argument over whether Souvanna or Boun Oum was the "legitimate" Prime Minister, both sides would deal through the pro-western King Savang Vatthana.

In 1961, a majority of the National Assembly had already voted Boun Oum into power and King Savang Vatthana left Luang Prabang, visiting the capital to give the new government his blessing. But he wanted the Three Princes to form a coalition government, which happened in 1962 but then the coalition government collapsed.

In 1964 series of coups and counter coups resulted in the final alignment of the Pathet Lao on one side with the neutralist and right wing factions on the other. From this point the Pathet Lao refused to join any offers of coalition or national elections and the Laotian Civil War began.

Abdication and death

On 23 August 1975, Pathet Lao forces entered Vientiane, the last city to be captured. The Phouma Government became effectively powerless for the next few months. On 2 December, Vatthana was forced to abdicate the throne by the Pathet Lao, abolishing the 600-year-old monarchy, and was appointed to the meaningless position of "Supreme Advisor to the President". He refused to leave the country and in 1976 he surrendered the royal palace to the Lao Government, which turned it into a museum, and moved to a nearby private residence where he was later placed under house arrest. In March 1977, fearing Vatthana might escape to lead a resistance, the Communist authorities arrested him along with the Queen, Crown Prince Vong Savang, Prince Sisavang, and his brothers Princes Souphantharangsri and Thongsouk and sent them to the northern province of Viengxai. He was transported to Sam Neua and imprisoned in "Camp Number One," which held high-ranking officials from the former government. During his time in the camp, the royal family was allowed to move freely around in their compounds during the day and were often visited by members of the politburo and Sopuhanouvong himself. He was the oldest prisoner in the camp and turned 70 during the earlier months of imprisonment, whereas the average age of prisoners was around 55.

In 1978, the government reported that Vatthana, Queen Khamphoui, and Crown Prince Vong Savang had died from malaria. More recent accounts suggest that the King died in mid-March 1980. However, according to Kaysone Phomvihane, Vatthana died in 1984, at the age of 77. With Vatthana and the Crown Prince's deaths, the King's youngest son Sauryavong Savang became the head of the Laotian royal family, acting as regent to his nephew Crown Prince Soulivong Savang.


The children of Savang Vatthana and Khumphoui as follows:


Sisavang Vatthana Wikipedia