Voravongsa I

Last updated
Voravongsa I
King of Lan Xang
Reign1575-1579
Coronation 1575
Predecessor Sen Soulintha
Successor Sen Soulintha
BornTha Heua
Died1579
Vientiane, Lan Xang
Regnal name
Samdach Brhat-Anya Chao Brhatasena Vora Varman Raja Sri Sadhana Kanayudha
Dynasty Khun Lo
Father Photisarath
Religion Therevada Buddhism

Voravongsa I was king of Lan Xang reigning from 1575–1579 with the regnal name Samdach Brhat-Anya Chao Brhatasena Vora Varman Raja Sri Sadhana Kanayudha[ citation needed ] but he is commonly referred to in both Lao and Burmese chronicles by his title of Maha Oupahat or Viceroy. [1] [note 1] [note 2] Voravongsa was taken prisoner by the Burmese in 1565 during the occupation of Vientiane. [2] [3] In 1575 following the third of a series of Burmese invasions of Lan Xang, Voravongsa was appointed by Bayinnaung as a vassal within the Taungoo Empire. [2] Voravongsa had few supporters even within the Burmese court; he reigned for only four years before facing a popular rebellion which would threaten to overtake the capital in Vientiane. [4] [5] Voravongsa attempted to flee back to Burma, but were killed en route. [6] To reestablish order the Burmese dispatched another army, and would install Sen Soulintha as vassal from 1580-1582. [7]

Contents

Biography

The exact identity of Voravongsa is a matter of dispute both in the Lao chronicles and among historians. [4] [2] [8] In the Vientiane chronicles he is identified simply as the Maha Oupahat or as King Setthathirath’s younger brother Prince Lanchan, however the chronicles of Luang Prabang clearly identify Voravongsa as Prince Tha Heua, the eldest son of Photisarath. [4] In any event, he was part of a coup to seize the throne of Lan Xang in 1548 upon the unexpected death of his father King Photisarath. [9] At the time of Photisarath’s death, Setthathirath was already King of Lan Na, some of the court factions in Lan Xang favored the other princes of court including Prince Tha Heua the Oupahat, and Prince Lanchan who was Governor of Pak Houei Luang. [10] The coup attempted to divide Lan Xang, with Prince Tha Heua taking Luang Prabang and the north and the southern part including Vientiane would belong to Prince Lanchan. [10] However, Setthathirath had strong enough support that he was able to have both brothers arrested before the coup succeeded. [11] Relatives and court supporters who had been the most active in the coup were executed, both princes were pardoned. [11] [10] The succession dispute being sidelined, Setthathirath would continue to rule Lan Xang from 1548-1571. [12]

Toungoo Empire at its greatest extent (c.1580) Map of Taungoo Empire (1580).png
Toungoo Empire at its greatest extent (c.1580)

In 1565, the Burmese briefly seized Vientiane, while King Setthatirath was on campaign. [13] The Oupahat along with other nobles who had not fled the city were taken as hostages back to Pegu, where he remained for over ten years. Throughout that period King Setthathirath and his general Sen Soulintha were able to wage a successful guerilla campaign against two major invasions by Bayinnaung and the Taungoo Empire. [14] [15] [16] [17]

When Setthatirath died on a military campaign in 1571, his general Sen Soulintha seized the throne and continued opposition to Burmese expansion from 1571-1575. [7] Initially Sen Soulintha was able to successfully oppose the armies led by Binnya Dala, but in 1575 Bayinnaug led the third major invasion of Lan Xang. [18] Sen Soulintha was deposed, and he and his son, as well as Setthathirath’s heir Prince No Muong, were taken to Pegu as hostages. The former Ouphahat, Voravongsa, was appointed to the throne and would reign for four years. [4]

Burmese suzerainty would last from 1574-1597; throughout the period political control of Lan Xang was a continuous problem. [19] Voravongsa was widely seen as simply an agent of the Burmese, lacking the support of the population and the royal court in Vientiane. [20] In 1579 a revolt broke out in the south near Attapeu, Bayinnaung dispatched an army to restore order. [5] The Burmese left before the onset of the rainy season, and the revolt flared up again spreading throughout the south and spreading as far north as Vieng Khuk at the outskirts of Vientiane. [4] Voravongsa attempted to flee back to Burma, but both he and his family were drowned when their boats overturned at the Keng Chan rapids north of Vientiane. [4] [5] In response, the Burmese dispatched another army to suppress the uprising, and would install the aged Sen Soulintha as vassal from 1580-1582. [7]

Notes

  1. Several problems arise when reconstructing a historical narrative from chronicle entries during the period. Among Lao, Thai, and Burmese chronicles are problems with language, dates, the completeness of information, and the political perspective of the scribe(s) who recorded the history. The dates given conform to those found in academic sources.
  2. These dates are according to Lao accounts (see Souneth pgs 273-274). According to the Burmese chronicles, Voravongsa I was restored to the throne, and only died in 1588 (see Nai Thien, Intercourse Between Burma and Siam, pg 47)

Related Research Articles

Evidence for modern human presence in the northern and central highlands of Indochina, that constitute the territories of the modern Laotian nation-state dates back to the Lower Paleolithic. These earliest human migrants are Australo-Melanesians — associated with the Hoabinhian culture and have populated the highlands and the interior, less accessible regions of Laos and all of South-east Asia to this day. The subsequent Austroasiatic and Austronesian marine migration waves affected landlocked Laos only marginally and direct Chinese and Indian cultural contact had a greater impact on the country.

Lan Xang Kingdom in Southeast Asia from 1353 to 1707

The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao existed as a unified kingdom from 1353 to 1707.

Setthathirath King of Lan Na and Lan Xang

Setthathirath or Xaysettha is considered one of the great leaders in Lao history. Throughout the 1560s until his death, he successfully defended his kingdom of Lan Xang against military campaigns of Burmese conqueror Bayinnaung, who had already subdued Xieng Mai in 1558 and Ayutthaya in 1564. Setthathirath was a prolific builder and erected many Buddhist monuments including Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, Haw Phra Kaew, Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan and the Pha That Luang in Vientiane.

Photisarath King of Lan Xang

Photisarath son of King Visoun of Lanxang, is considered to be the most devout of the Lao kings. He banned spirit worship and built temples upon the sites of spirit shrines. His elephant fell and crushed him while he sought to display his prowess to the diplomatic corps. His son Setthathirath returned from Chiang Mai to succeed him to the throne of Lan Xang.

Nang Keo Phimpha (1343–1438), an epithet meaning literally "The Cruel", was Queen of Lan Xang in 1438, taking the regnal name Samdach Brhat-Anya Sadu Chao Nying Kaeva Bhima Fa Mahadevi(Lao: ສົມເດັຈ ພຣະຍາ ສາທຸເຈົ້າຍິງ ແກ້ວພິມພາມະຫາເທວີ). She is also known by her title Maha Devi, and may have been the only reigning female sovereign of the kingdom of Lan Xang. According to some chronicles, she briefly occupied the throne for a few months, before she was deposed and killed at ninety-five years old. Her brief reign was the culmination of a ten-year period of regicide, which she orchestrated through a series of puppet kings.

Bayinnaung 16th-century King of Burma who expanded the First Toungoo Empire to its greatest extent

Bayinnaung Kyawhtin Nawrahta was king of the Toungoo Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1550 to 1581. During his 31-year reign, which has been called the "greatest explosion of human energy ever seen in Burma", Bayinnaung assembled what was probably the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia, which included much of modern-day Myanmar, the Chinese Shan states, Lan Na, Lan Xang, Manipur and Siam.

Nanda Bayin, was king of Toungoo Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar) from 1581 to 1599. He presided over the collapse of Toungoo Empire, the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia.

Maha Thammaracha (king of Ayutthaya) King of Ayutthaya

Maha Thammaracha, Maha Thammarachathirat, or Sanphet I, formerly known as Khun Phirenthorathep, was a king of Ayutthaya Kingdom from the Sukhothai dynasty, ruling from 1569 to 1590. As a powerful Sukhothai noble, Phirenthorathep gradually rose to power. After playing many political turns, he was eventually crowned as the King of Siam.

Setthathirath II, also called Ong Lo and Sai Ong Hue, grandson of the great ruler Suliyavongsa, was the king of the Lao Kingdom of Lān Xāng. In Vietnamese records, he was called Triều Phúc (朝福).

Mahinthrathirat King of Ayutthaya

Mahinthrathirat was king of Ayutthaya 1564 to 1568 and again in 1569. He ruled his first reign as a vassal of Toungoo Burma before restoring his father in 1568 as the sovereign king. He became king again in 1569 after his father's death during the Third Siege of Ayutthaya by Toungoo forces. Mahinthrathirat was the last monarch of the Suphannaphum Dynasty as the kingdom fell to the Burmese in 1569. Mahinthrathirat was known for his efforts to counter Burmese and Phitsanulok power by seeking alliance with Setthathirath of Lan Xang.

Vientiane Capital and chief port of Laos

Vientiane is the capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a Burmese invasion, but was later looted, then razed to the ground in 1827 by the Siamese (Thai). Vientiane was the administrative capital during French rule and, due to economic growth in recent times, is now the economic center of Laos. The city had a population of 948,477 as of the 2020 Census.

Agga Maha Thenapati Binnya Dala was a Burmese statesman, general and writer-scholar during the reign of King Bayinnaung of Toungoo Dynasty. He was the king's most trusted adviser and general, and a key figure responsible for the expansion, defense and administration of Toungoo Empire from the 1550s to his fall from grace in 1573. He oversaw the rebuilding of Pegu (1565–1568). He is also known for his literary works, particularly Razadarit Ayedawbon, the earliest extant chronicle of the Mon people. He died in exile after having failed to reconquer Lan Xang.

Nawrahta Minsaw was king of Lan Na from 1579 to 1607/08, and the first Burmese-born vassal king of Lan Na. He was also an accomplished poet.

Burmese–Siamese War (1568–1569)

The Burmese–Siamese War (1568–1569) was a military conflict fought between the Kingdom of Ayutthaya (Siam) and the Kingdom of Burma. The war began in 1568 when Ayutthaya unsuccessfully attacked Phitsanulok, a Burmese vassal state. The event was followed by a Burmese intervention which resulted in the 2 August 1569 defeat of Ayutthaya, which became a Burmese vassal state. Burma then moved towards Lan Xang, occupying the country for a short period of time until retreating in 1570.

Chakkaphat Phaen Phaeo (1415–1481) reigned as King of Lan Xang from 1442 to 1480, succeeding the Maha Devi after an interregnum of several years. He was born in 1415 as Prince Vong Buri, the youngest son of King Samsenthai by Queen Nan Keo Yot Fa daughter of King Intharacha of Ayutthaya. When he came of age he was appointed as Governor of Vientiane. He was invited to ascend the throne several times during the succession dispute orchestrated by the Maha Devi, but refused. The Council of Ministers finally persuaded him to become king in 1441, after they had failed to find any other candidate. He still refused to be crowned and avoided the ceremony for many years. Finally bowing to custom in 1456, he was formally coroneted and assumed the reign name and title of Samdach Brhat-Anya Chao Sanaka Chakrapati Raja Phen-Phaeo Bhaya Jayadiya Kabuddha. The regnal name is significant because it translates in Pali to cakkavattin, meaning "Universal Buddhist Monarch." Vong Buri, and the court, were claiming enough political and religious power to unify the kingdom, and warn surrounding kingdoms, despite the upheaval caused by the Maha Devi and interregnum in Lan Xang from 1428-1442.

Souvanna Banlang (1455-1486) was king of Lan Xang from 1479-1486 taking the regnal name Samdach Brhat-Anya Chao Suvarna Panya Lankara Raja Sri Sadhana Kanayudha. His reign was marked as a period of peace and reconstruction, following a massive invasion by the Đại Việt forces of Emperor Lê Thánh Tông. He became king in 1479 after the abdication of his father Chakkaphat Phaen Phaeo, who had fled the capital of Muang Sua ahead of the Đại Việt armies. Prior to his accession he served as Governor of Muang Dansai, according to the Lao chronicles he commanded Lao forces at the Battle of Pakphun where the invading forces were halted and forced to retreat to Vietnam.

Sen Soulintha, Saen Surintha or Sen Sourintha (1511–1582) was born Chane Tian and became King of Lan Xang reigning 1571-1575 and again 1580-1582. Sen Soulintha was not of noble birth, rising from royal page to King Setthatirath’s Chief Minister. During the succession disputes in the Kingdom of Lan Na between King Setthatirath and King Mekuti, Sen Soulintha served Setthatirath as a general and successfully took several cities of Lan Na including Chiang Saen for which he was given the honorific name Lusai meaning “victory.” Sen Soulintha supported Setthatirath in leading the guerrilla campaigns during the Burmese invasions of King Bayinnaung. When Setthatirath died near Attapeu under suspicious circumstances in 1572, Sen Soulintha led the armies of Lan Xang back to Vientiane. A succession dispute erupted, which nearly led to civil war and provided a pretext for another Burmese invasion ordered by Bayinnaung and led by the Chief Minister Binnya Dala. Sen Soulintha defeated the Burmese and Lan Na forces led by Binnya Dala, an event which led to the latter’s exile, only to face a more massive invasion led by Bayinnaug the following year. Sen Soulintha again attempted to resort to guerilla tactics, but lacked popular support from his seizure of the throne. He and his son Ong Lo were captured by Bayinnaung and exiled to Pegu. The Burmese placed Setthathirath’s brother, and former Ouphahat or Viceroy, Prince Tha Heua on the throne. According to the Luang Prabang chronicles it was this brother, who had led a rebellion in Luang Prabang and tried to seize the throne from Setthathirath on the death of their father Photisarath. Prince Tha Heua took the regnal name Voravongsa and reigned under Burmese suzerainty from 1575-1579. Voravongsa was never popular, and drowned with his family while attempting to flee Vientiane in the face of popular uprising. In 1579, Bayinnaung dispatched a sizable army to restore order. According to Lao histories Sen Soulintha was then installed as king a second time in 1580. By that time Sen Soulintha was an old man and reigned only for two years before his son ascended the throne as Nakhon Noi and another succession dispute ensued.

Nakhon Noi briefly occupied the throne of Lan Xang from 1582–1583 on the death of his father Sen Soulintha, who himself had been appointed as a vassal to the Toungoo Empire from 1580-1582. Nakhon Noi took the regnal name Samdach Brhat Chao Samdach Brhat Chao Negara Nawi Raja Sri Sadhana Kanayudha. Little is known about his brief rule, it does not appear in the sources that the Burmese were at the origin of his selection to succeed Sen Soulintha and were instead informed belatedly. If he had supporters in the royal court of Lan Xang they were few and quickly became unhappy with his rule. Within the year the royal court had petitioned King Nanda Bayin for his removal. According to various versions of the chronicles it is cited that Nakhon Noi “did not rule with fairness,” or keep to the religious and behavioral precepts which were traditionally required by a sovereign. Other versions record that he simply had made enemies at court, or was perceived as illegitimate because he was of common origins. Either at the hands of the royal court, or the Burmese, Nakhon Noi was deposed, arrested, and returned to Pegu. After Nakhon Noi was deposed a period of interregnum occurred from 1583-1591 which historian Paul Le Boulanger describes as a period of “absolute confusion,” among the factions at court. The chronicles again agree that it was only after the period of succession crisis that a petition was finally sent in 1591 to Nanda Bayin by the Lao sangha and Lan Xang court asking for Prince No Muang, the son and legitimate heir of Setthathirath, to be appointed as king. Nanda Bayin confirmed the request and Prince No Muang would take the throne as Nokeo Koumane and reign Lan Xang from 1591-1596.

Chao Kingkitsarat, also known as Kitsarat or Kitsarath, was the king of Luang Phrabang.

References

  1. Stuart-Fox (2008), p. 376-377.
  2. 1 2 3 Stuart-Fox (1998), p. 84.
  3. Simms (1999), p. 86.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Simms (1999), p. 86-87.
  5. 1 2 3 Viravong (1964), p. 70-71.
  6. Simms (1999), p. 87.
  7. 1 2 3 Stuart-Fox (2008), p. 296-297.
  8. Viravong (1964), p. 70.
  9. Stuart-Fox (1998), p. 78.
  10. 1 2 3 Simms (1999), p. 69.
  11. 1 2 Viravong (1964), p. 55.
  12. Stuart-Fox (2008), p. 386-387.
  13. Stuart-Fox (1998), p. 81.
  14. Simms (1999), p. 69-86.
  15. Stuart-Fox (1998), p. 81-84.
  16. Stuart-Fox (2008), p. 38.
  17. Viravong (1964), p. 60-70.
  18. Maha Yazawin (2006), p. 32-35.
  19. Stuart-Fox (1998), p. 84-85.
  20. de Berval (1959), p. 37.

Bibliography

Preceded by
Sen Soulintha
King of Lan Xang
15751579
Succeeded by
Sen Soulintha