life of Fa Ngoum The youth period
Fa Ngoum was born in 1316 at the Palace of Xieng
Thong in the Kingdom of Muong Sua or Xieng Dong
Xieng Thong. He was the son of Prince Khun Phi Fa.
At that period, the Kingdom of Muong Sua was the
theatre of complicated palace intrigues, due to
rivalry among factions of the nobility.
the age of 23, Prince Fa Ngoum, at the head of a
group of close aids including palace officials,
soldiers and servants, altogether 33 people, sailed
on rafts down the Mekong River to the south. At
the edge of Champa Nakhorn (Champassak) the Prince
stayed and studied at the monastery of a venerable
monk, Maha Pasaman. Then, he went to stay with Khmer
King Jayavarman at Angkor Thorn and later married
the King's daughter, Nang Keo Kanlayany.
the Court of King Jayavarman at Angkor Thorn, Prince
Fa Ngoum, thanks to his intelligence and wisdom,
acquired the art of politics and strategy. However,
his love for his native country was still ardent.
He rallied forces from the southern towns to conquer
the ancient Lao cities along the Mekong River with
the aim of uniting them into a single kingdom.
victories ( 1349-1353)
1351, Prince Fa Ngoum, accompanied by his wife,
Nang Keo Kan1ayany, at the head of a ten thousand
strong army, started a campaign under the motto
"Conquering from smaller cities to larger ones".
He started from Phra Viharn (Khao Phra Viharn),
north of Angkor Thorn, and proceeded to Phimai on
the west of Vat Phou, Champassak. After subduing
the area, Prince Fa Ngoum took the principality
of Sikhottabong (Thakhek), Champa Nakhorn, (Champassak)
and returned to Sikhottabong to take over the neighbouring
Viengphanamhoung-Xiengsa (Bolikhamxay) and Paksan.
Ngoum then led his army to conquer Muong Phouan
(Xieng Khuang), Sipsong Chu Thai (Nanoi Oinou, now
Dien Bien Phu).
there, he marched on to the Lue area of Sipsong
Phanna in which he took over Bountai, Bounneua and
Xieng Houng, the capital city of Sipsong Phanna.
Moving down the Nam Ou River, Fa Ngoum and his army
camped at Pak Ou to prepare for attacking Muong
Sua or Xieng Dong Xieng Thong (Now Luang Prabang).
Chao Fa Kham Khieo, the King of Xieng Dong Xieng
Thong, sent his troops to fight those of Prince
Fa Ngoum three times without success. Finally, the
King abdicated. The people of Xieng Dong Xieng Thong
then invited Prince Fa Ngoum to become the King
of Lane Xang. He was crowned in 1353 under the name
of Phanya Fa La Tholany Sri Sattana Khanahout.
final victory and the unification (1354-1357)
1354, King Fa Ngoum prepared his troops to conquer
territories in the Northwest, first of all the Kingdom
of Lan Na (Xieng Saen). When Thao Ulong, the ruler
of Xieng Saen, learned of the imminent attack by
Fa Ngoum, he was scared. He sent a message to the
King, saying: "I am the son of Nang Keo Mahaly.
My mother is the daughter of King Kharnkhieo. We
are related. Thao Ulong also sent a guard of honour
and the population to welcome King Fa Ngoum.
his victory in the territory in the northwest of
the Mekong River, Fa Ngoum led his army to the central
plains with the aim of taking Vieng Kham and Vieng
Chan (Vientiane), two large principalities. He first
attacked and took Xieng Kharn (Dan Sai) and then
conquered Vieng Chan. From Vieng Chan, he crossed
the Mekong River to take cities in the areas of
Sukhothai and Ken Thao at the border with Ayudhaya.
He installed his general quarters in Khorn Kaen
for some time then returned to Vieng Chan to prepare
for attacking Vieng Kham. After his victory in Vieng
Kham, King Fa Ngoum took Roi Et and Khorat. He returned
to Vieng Chan with his troops in 1357.
before that, King Fa Ngoum prepared to attack the
principality of Lan Phya by sending a message to
its ruler, Phanya Uthong laconically asking the
latter: "Are you going to fight of what?"
The frightened Phanya Uthong answered: "We
are cousins as the descendants of King Khun Boulom.
If you want territories, I shall give you some,
from Dong Sam Sao (Dong Phanya Fai) to Phou Phanya
Pho and the area of Nakhorn Thai. Moreover, I shall
send you every year cane sugar and palm sugar. When
my daughter, Nang Keo Lot Fa has grown up I shall
send her to be at your service.
courage and perseverance, intelligence and wisdom,
King Fa Ngoum succeeded in unifying all the Lao
territories by taking first the smaller and weaker
cities, then, after forming a strong army, taking
over larger principalities. After each victory,
he installed a new administration in the subdued
territory and offered mastership rights to the people.
grand celebration of the victory
celebrate the great victory in the unification of
all Lao territories and to enhance his prestige
and power over the nobility throughout the Kingdom
of Lane Xang and the neighbouring kingdoms, King
Fa Ngoum held a grandiose celebration, which lasted
seven days and seven nights. It was organised in
the end of 1357 in the Pak Passak area in the present
the participants, King Fa Ngoum said, among others
"You all, who administer cities and territories,
do not kill wrong doers. If their crime is not heavy,
do not kill them. Put them in jail instead, accordingly
with their crimes. Then, set them free so that they
can find an occupation. As for the riches of this
country, when there are people there will be riches.
If there are no people you will find no riches indeed.
That is the reason why I do not want you to kill.
On the one hand, do not dispute or conflict one
another. Together, keep the border of your territory.
On the other hand, others will dispute our country,
this must be clear to you