WHILE the empire built up by Bayinnaung's military prowess was in a state of disintegration and his son Nanda Bayin was deeply involved in his struggle with Naresuen of Ayut'ia1 the kingdom of Laos, far away on the upper Mekong, had regained its independence under Nokèo Koumane. He was proclaimed king at Vientiane in 1591, and in the following year his forces overcame the resistance of Luang Prabang and reunited the realm. The little state of Tran Ninh also, with its capital Chieng Khouang close to the Plain of Jars, recognized the revived strength of the Laos kingdom by sending the traditional tokens of allegiance. Incidentally, sandwiched as it was between two states more powerful than itself, Laos and Annam, it paid tribute to both. It is perhaps significant that while its acknowledgement of the suzerainty of Vientiane was accorded every three years, Annam received it annually.
Nokèo Koumane reigned for only five years. His successor was a cousin by marriage, Vongsa, who took the title of T'ammikarat and reigned until 1622. His reign had an unhappy end. His son Oupagnouvarat became so popular and began to assume so much control over the government that his jealous father drove him into rebellion. The army supported the young prince, who overcame his father and put him to death. A year later he himself disappeared and the country was plunged into a series of dynastic struggles lasting until 1637. During this period five kings reigned, but the dynastic annals are so obscure that little is known of them.
The competition for the throne reached its climax in 1637, when Souligna-Vongsa, one of five warring claimants, defeated his rivals and seized power. He proved himself the strong man that the factiontorn country needed. During his long reign of fifty-five years not only was internal peace restored but excellent relations were cultivated with all the neighbouring states. His firm and just rule gave his kingdom a reputation for strength which was sufficient to deter any would-be aggressor from risking an attack upon it. He was thus able to negotiate____________________
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Publication information: Book title: A History of South-East Asia. Contributors: D. G. E. Hall - Author. Publisher: MacMillan. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1955. Page number: 376.
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