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Phetsarath Ratanavongsa file photo [22680]

Ratanavongsa Phetsarath

Given NameRatanavongsa
Born19 Jan 1890
Died14 Oct 1959
CountryFrench Indochina


ww2dbasePrince Petsarath Ratanavongsa was the second son of Vice-King Bounkhong and Princess Thongsy of the Kingdom of Luang Phrabang in present-day Laos in 1890. He studied at the Lycée Chasseloup Laubat in Saigon, French Indochina, then moved on to the Lycée Montaigne and École coloniale in Paris, France. In 1912, he returned to Laos, French Indochina. In 1913, he married Princess Nhin Kham Venne and began working as an interpreter for his father. In 1914, he became a clerk at the Office of the French governor in Vientiane, Laos. In 1916, he was made assistant secretary to the French governor. In 1919, he was granted the title Somdeth Chao Ratsaphakhinay. Later in the same year, he was made Director of Indigenous Affairs of Lao by the French governor. Upon his father's death in 1920, he was made the Vice-King (Oupahat) of the Kingdom of Luang Phrabang by King Sisavang Vong. Petsarath played a direct role in the establishment and modernization of various government services in the French colony. Slowly becoming nationalistic and anti-French, he grew closer to the Japanese, who promised independence. In 1941, after the Japanese occupation had begun, he was made the Prime Minister of the Laos by the Japanese. Between 1941 and 1945, he placed many anti-French leaders in positions of power in Laos and attempted to assert similar influence in various parts of present-day Vietnam, but he was generally only successful in Laos. The French colonial leaders returned in in Aug 1945 after the end of WW2. In 1946, Phetsarath went into exile to Thailand and became the leader of the Lao Issara ("Free Laos") movement. In Mar 1957, he returned to Laos and again entered service under King Sisavang Vong, who had since proclaimed the Kingdom of Laos after having nominally united all Lao kingdoms and factions. In the following month, he was made the first Vice-King of the Kingdom of Laos. In Dec 1957, he visited Xam Neua and Phongsali in northern Laos, where Prince Souphanouvong, formerly of the Kingdom of Champasak and now the leader of the communist Lao People's Party, symbolically submitted to the king. He passed away in Oct 1959 from a severe brain hemorrhage. No one was appointed Vice-King after his death, thus making him the last man to hold that title in Laos.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: Apr 2015

Ratanavongsa Phetsarath Timeline

19 Jan 1890 Prince Petsarath Ratanavongsa was born in Luang Phrabang, Kingdom of Luang Phrabang (now Laos).
27 Aug 1945 Laotian Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath, the head of government, took over Vientiane and announced the creation of the Lao Issara Army out of the previously Japanese-sponsored civic guard.
28 Aug 1945 Laotian Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath, the head of government, notified his provincial governors, including those in the French-controlled areas in southern Laos, that Laotian independence was to be their common goal.
1 Sep 1945 Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath again announced his rejection of the resumption of the French protectorate in Laos, calling for the United Nations to acknowledge Laotian independence.
2 Sep 1945 Pro-independence Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath attempted, but failed, to convince French-leaning Laotian King Sisavang Vong to endorse an unified Laos regardless of their differing views on the independence issue.
15 Sep 1945 Prince Petsarath Ratanavongsa of Luang Phrabang again announced his intention to unite all Lao provinces into a single state free of French influence. He also announced a new currency and a new tax regime independent of French laws.
17 Sep 1945 In Laos, French Indochina, King Sisavang Vong of Luang Phrabang rejected the pro-independence measures announced by Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath two days prior.
15 Oct 1945 Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath of Luang Phrabang formally accepted his dismissal as the Laotian Prime Minister, believing that the newly formed revolutionary government could succeed its anti-French goals without support from the king.
30 Oct 1945 Prince Ratanavongsa Phetsarath of Luang Phrabang agreed to a consolidation between the Lao Issara Army and the Committee of Independent Laos. The combined force would be placed under the command of Prince Souphanouvong of Luang Phrabang, who had previously been the leader of the Committee of Independent Laos.
10 Apr 1957 Petsarath Ratanavongsa arrived in Luang Phrabang, Kingdom of Laos amidst a large welcoming crowd.
16 Apr 1957 Petsarath Ratanavongsa was made the Vice-King (Oupahat) of the Kingdom of Laos by King Sisavang Vong.
14 Oct 1959 Vice-King Petsarath Ratanavongsa passed away in Luang Phrabang, Kingdom of Laos.

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