|President of Laos|
2 December 1975 –29 October 1986
|Prime Minister||Kaysone Phomvihane|
|Preceded by||Office Established|
|Succeeded by||Phoumi Vongvichit (Acting)|
|President of the Standing Committee of the Supreme People's Assembly|
2 December 1975 –31 October 1986
|Preceded by||Office Established|
|Succeeded by||Sisomphon Lovansay (acting)|
|Born||13 July 1909|
Luang Phrabang, Laos
|Died||9 January 1995 (aged 85)|
|Political party||Lao People's Revolutionary Party|
Prince Souphanouvong (Lao : ສຸພານຸວົງ; 13 July 1909 – 9 January 1995) was, along with his half-brother Prince Souvanna Phouma and Prince Boun Oum of Champasak, one of the "Three Princes" who represented respectively the communist (pro-Vietnam), neutralist and royalist political factions in Laos. He was the figurehead President of Laos from December 1975 to August 1991.
Souphanouvong was one of the sons of Prince Bounkhong, the last viceroy of Luang Prabang. Unlike his half-brothers, Souvanna Phouma and Phetsarath Ratanavongsa, whose mothers were of royal birth, his mother was a commoner, Mom Kham Ouane.
Educated in France and Vietnam,he eventually became a supporter of Ho Chi Minh and joined the Indochinese communist movement. In August 1950, Souphanouvong convened the first congress of the Lao Freedom Front (Neo Lao Issara), more generally known as the Pathet Lao, which served as the vehicle for the communist challenge to French rule. He was the chairman of the Neo Lao Issara (since 1956, Neo Lao Hak Xat) and Resistance Government.
He participated in the coalition governments with royalists in 1957, 1962 and 1973.
He was elected President of National Assembly from 1958 to 1959 following the success in the 1958 elections.
Nicknamed "The Red Prince", he became part of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. Upon its successful seizure of power in 1975, he became the first President of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, a position which he held until 1991.After 1986, Phoumi Vongvichit acted in his stead as president, though Souphanouvong still technically remained President. Kaysone Phomvihane succeeded him as president in 1991. He was the President of the Supreme People's Assembly from 1975 to 1988.
In 1991, he became an Adviser of Party's Central Committee. Souphanouvong died aged 86 a few years later,and was buried in a stupa next to the Pha That Luang.
Souphanouvong spoke eight languages, including Greek and Latin.[ citation needed ] He worked in the ports of Le Havre before studying for an engineering degree from the École nationale des ponts et chaussées.
His son, Khamsay Souphanouvong, escaped the country and applied for political asylum in New Zealand in 2000.
In 2012, Souphanouvong's remains were moved to the newly constructed National Cemetery in Vientiane.
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pác Bó by Hồ Chí Minh on May 19, 1941. The Việt Nam Độc Lập Đồng Minh Hội had previously formed in Nanjing, China, at some point between August 1935 and early 1936 when Vietnamese nationalist parties formed an anti-imperialist united front. This organization soon lapsed into inactivity, only to be revived by the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) and Hồ Chí Minh in 1941. The Việt Minh established itself as the only organized anti-French and anti-Japanese resistance group. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. The United States supported France. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China. After World War II, the Việt Minh opposed the re-occupation of Vietnam by France, resulting in the Indochina War, and later opposed South Vietnam and the United States in the Vietnam War. The political leader and founder of Việt Minh was Hồ Chí Minh. The military leadership was under the command of Võ Nguyên Giáp. Other founders were Lê Duẩn and Phạm Văn Đồng.
Kaysone Phomvihane was the first leader of the Communist Lao People's Revolutionary Party from 1955 until his death in 1992. After the Communists seized power in the wake of the Laotian Civil War, he was the de facto leader of Laos from 1975 until his death. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Lao People's Democratic Republic from 1975 to 1991 and then as the second President from 1991 to 1992.
The Kingdom of Laos was a constitutional monarchy that served Laos beginning with its independence on 9 November 1953. The monarchy survived until December 1975, when its last king, Savang Vatthana, surrendered the throne to the Pathet Lao, who abolished the monarchy in favor of a Marxist–Leninist state called the Lao People's Democratic Republic, which has controlled Laos ever since.
Prince Souvanna Phouma was the leader of the neutralist faction and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos several times.
Sisavang Vatthana or sometimes Savang Vatthana was the last king of the Kingdom of Laos and the 6th Prime Minister of Laos serving from 29 October to 21 November 1951. He ruled from 1959 after his father's death until his forced abdication in 1975. 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.
Major General Phoumi Nosavan was a military strongman who was prominent in the history of the Kingdom of Laos; at times, he dominated its political life to the point of being a virtual dictator. He was born in Savannakhet, the French Protectorate of Laos, on 27 January 1920. Originally a civil servant in the French colonial administration of Laos, during the last year of World War II he joined the resistance movement against the Japanese occupiers. Exiled from 1946 to early 1949 for his opposition to French return to colonizing Laos, he returned to his native soil to begin a military career in 1950 after the collapse of the anti-French Lao Issara government. By 1955, he was Chief of Staff of the brand-new Royal Lao Army. While in that position, he was largely responsible for appointing senior officers into command positions in the Military Regions of Laos. Following that, in 1957 he was the first Lao officer to be schooled in France at the École de Guerre. While in France, he became acquainted with Central Intelligence Agency operative John F. "Jack" Hasey. Phoumi returned to Laos to become a founding member of the Committee for the Defence of National Interests on 17 June 1958. On 25 December 1959, he took control of the capital of Vientiane and of the nation in a bloodless coup.
The Pathet Lao, officially the Lao People's Liberation Army, was a communist political movement and organization in Laos, formed in the mid-20th century. The group was ultimately successful in assuming political power in 1975, after the Laotian Civil War. The Pathet Lao were always closely associated with Vietnamese communists. During the civil war, it was effectively organized, equipped and even led by the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). They fought against the anti-communist forces in the Vietnam War. Eventually, the term became the generic name for Laotian communists.
The Three Princes was a name given to Princes Boun Oum, Souvanna Phouma and Souphanouvong who represented respectively the royalist, neutralist and leftist factions in the Kingdom of Laos in the post-WWII period. The trio were named by King Sisavang Vatthana to form a coalition government following the independence of Laos.
Phoumi Vongvichit was a leading figure of the Pathet Lao and an elder statesman of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
Crown Prince Soulivong Savang, grandson of the last King of Laos Savang Vatthana, is the pretender to the Lao throne. Laos was a monarchy until 1975, when the communist Pathet Lao seized control of the nation, causing Savang Vatthana to abdicate his throne. Soulivong Savang lives in exile in Paris.
The Laotian Civil War (1959–1975) was a civil war in Laos which was waged between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government from 23 May 1959 to 2 December 1975. It is associated with the Cambodian Civil War and the Vietnam War, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. It is called the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Center and Hmong veterans of the conflict.
The Royal Lao Government was the ruling authority in the Kingdom of Laos from 1947 until the communist seizure of power in December 1975 and the proclamation of the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The Franco-Lao Treaty of 1953 gave Laos full independence but the following years were marked by a rivalry between the neutralists under Prince Souvanna Phouma, the right wing under Prince Boun Oum of Champassak, and the left-wing, Lao Patriotic Front under Prince Souphanouvong and future Prime Minister Kaysone Phomvihane. During this period, a number of unsuccessful attempts were made to establish coalition governments.
Prince Somsanith Vongkotrattana was the Prime Minister of Laos in 1960.
North Vietnam supported the Pathet Lao to fight against the Kingdom of Laos between 1958–1959. Control over Laos allowed for the eventual construction of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that would serve as the main supply route (MSR) for enhanced NLF and NVA activities in the Republic of Vietnam. As such, the support for Pathet Lao to fight against Kingdom of Laos by North Vietnam would prove decisive in the eventual communist victory over South Vietnam in 1975 as the South Vietnamese and American forces could have prevented any NVA and NLF deployment and resupply if these only happened over the 17th Parallel, also known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a narrow strip of land between North and South Vietnam that was closely guarded by both sides. It also helped the Pathet Lao win the Kingdom of Laos, although the Kingdom of Laos had American support.
The Lao Issara was an anti-French, non-communist nationalist movement formed on 12 October 1945 by Prince Phetsarath. This short-lived movement emerged after the Japanese defeat in World War II and became the government of Laos before the return of the French. It aimed to prevent the French from restoring their control over Laos. The group disbanded in 1949.
The Leaders of the Vietnam War listed below comprise the important political and military figures of the Vietnam War.
The 1964 Laotian coups were two attempted coup d'etats against the Royal Lao Government. The 18 April 1964 coup was notable for being committed by the policemen of the Directorate of National Coordination. Although successful, it was overturned five days later by U.S. Ambassador Leonard Unger. In its wake, Neutralist Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma forged a fragile coalition with the Pathet Lao communists. On 4 August 1964, Defense Minister Phoumi Nosavan attempted to take over Vientiane with a training battalion. This coup was quickly crushed by the local Royal Lao Army troops, as the police sat out the conflict.
Operation Phiboonpol was a "short but very intense engagement" of the Laotian Civil War. Five Royal Lao Government battalions went on the offensive in Military Region 4 of the Kingdom of Laos to try to regain the Boloven Plateau, which overlooked the vital Ho Chi Minh Trail lying to its east. Stopped in its tracks by the People's Army of Vietnam, with its first use of tanks in southern Laos, the Royalists held firm while close air support inflicted heavy casualties on North Vietnamese attackers. A Thai mercenary company sent as a Royalist relief force was ambushed and wiped out. For weeks after the battle, vultures feasted on unburied corpses.
Kou Voravong was a Laotian politician. He was part of the anti-Japanese resistance leading group during the Second World War and after then anti-Lao Issara (ລາວອິດສລະ) in the post-war period. Throughout his career, from 1941 to 1954, he has been District Chief, Province Governor, member of the Lao National Assembly, and Royal Lao Government Minister.
as King of Laos
| President of Laos |
Phoumi Vongvichit acting from 1986 to 1991
|Party political offices|
| President of the Lao Front for National Construction |