Laos Kings

Laotian is from a large group of related languages, the Thai-Lao or Tai-Kadai languages, which includes Thai, Shan in Burma, Zhuang in Yunnan, Li in Hainan Island, and other languages on the Chinese-Vietnamese border. Their original homeland seems to have been in Yunnan and Southern China. The movement of many speakers into Burma and Southeast Asia seems to coincide with the Mongol conquest of Yunnan, which would be enough to send anyone looking for a new home.
The Thai-Lao group may already have left an enduring mark on Chinese itself, however, if the Chinese use of tones was borrowed from the group. Vietnamese was well as Chinese may have adopted this feature from this contact. The Thai-Lao languages are all tonal, with six tones in Lao, five in Thai, and up to 15 in others.
The early Lao kingdoms are closely related to the Thai states, with their sub-Indian civilization, and eventually are absorbed or dominated by Siam. Vientiane was the seat of the Lan Xang Kingdom from 1353 until it was aborbed by Siam in 1778.

These lists were largely derived from Bruce R. Gordon’s Regnal Chronologies. Good lingustic information is in The Atlas of Languages (Facts On File, 1996, pp.62-64).

A splinter Kingdom that formed out of territory belonging to Vientiane, Luang Prabang became the seat of the modern Laotian state as the Royal capital. Vientiane became the “adminstrative” capital. Although the kings were not deposed by the Thais, the whole Laotian state came under Thai suzerainty, until passing to French influence.


As the French in Vietnam advanced against Siam, they endeavored to extend “protection” over Laos. French control east of the Mekong was established in 1893, west of the Mekong in 1904.

After the Indo-China War ended in 1954, Laos became independent, like Cambodia, under a neutralist government. There was little that the Laotians could do to enforce their neutrality, however, against the Vietnamese use of the “Ho Chi Minh Trail,” down the length of Laos, as a supply-line to the Communists in South Vietnam. The United States regularly bombed the trail, and at least once tried an incursion from Vietnam, but the Vietnamese were always good at rerouting and concealing their movements. When South Vietnam fell in 1975, the “dominoes” that followed, long the object of derision by Communist sympathizers, included Laos. This government was never so terrible as in Cambodia, and apparently has moderated its policies since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but no marked institutional reformation seems to have occurred.

Fa Ngun 1353-1373
Sam Sene Thap 1373-1416
Lan Kham Deng 1416-1428
Pommathath 1428-1429
Phak Huei Luong 1429-1430
Thoa Sai 1430
Phaya Kham 1430-1433
Tien Sai 1433-1434
(unknown) 1434-1435
Kam Kheuth 1435-1438
Sai Thiakapat 1438-1479
Tene Kham 1479-1486
La Sene Thai 1486-1496
Som Phou 1496-1501
Visoun 1501-1520
Phothisarath I 1520-1547
Setthathirota 1548-1571
Sene Soulintha 1571-1575,
Maha Oupahat 1575-1580
Nakhone Noi 1582-1583
interregnum, 1583-1591
Nokeo Koumane 1591-1596
Thammikarath 1596-1622
Oupagnouvarat 1622-1623
Phothisarath III 1623-1627
Mone Keo 1627-16 ?
Oupagnaovarath 16 ?-16 ?
Tone Kham 16 ?-16 ?
Visai 16 ?-1637
Souligna Vongsa 1637-1694
Tan Thala 1694-1700
Nan Tharat 1700
Sai Ong Hue 1700-1735
Ong Long 1735-1760
Ong Boun 1760-1778
to Thailand, 1778

















Kitsarath 1707-1726
Khamane Nai 1726-1727
Amtha Som 1727-1776
Sotika Koumane 1776-1781
Tiao Vong 1781-1787
interregnum, 1787-1791
Anourout 1791-1817
Mantha Thourath 1817-1836
Souka Seum 1836-1850
Tiantha Koumane 1851-1869
Oun Kham 1869-1887
interregnum, 1887-1894;
French Protectorate, 1893-1954
Zakarine 1894-1904
Sisavang Vong 1904-1941,
Japanese occupation, 1941-1945
Savang Vatthana 1959-1975
Communist Republic, 1975

Copyright (c) 2000 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

Many Thanks to: