Southern Laos - History

The history of Southern Laos goes back to pre-Angkorian times with Vat Phou being its most prominent legacy. In he 14th century, the first Lao kingdom, Lane Xang, or he Land of a Million Elephants was established under King Saysettirathat.


In the 17th century, Lane Xang broke up into three kingdoms Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Champasak. The latter was ruled from Champasak by the royal family during the 18th and 19th century. During the 19th and early 20th century, Laos became part of French Indochina. Champasak continued to be ruled by the royal family but under a colonial administrative system set up in Pakse. The 20th century was characterised by the Indochina wars impacting not only Laos but also other Southeast Asian countries.


The Ho Chi Minh Trail, that led through Laos’ provinces of Attapeu, Sekong and Salavan bear testimony to the these times and large numbers of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) left over from those wars still pose a threat to people’s lives. In 1975, the last Prince of Laos, Boun Oum, took refuge in France and left behind a palace that was still under construction which is today the Champasak Palace Hotel in Pakse. In the same year, Laos achieved independence and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was established with the capital in Vientiane.