The first original inhabitants of Laos came from China. The all-powerful Khmer Empire took over Laos in the 11 th century, though they battled with the Thais for a while over governance. The Laotian monarchy was formed Fa Ngum , who was raised in the Cambodian mythic empire Angkor Wat. After the demise of the Khmer Empire, this man married a Cambodian princess and a new dynasty, called ‘ Lan Xang’ – the Land of a Million Elephants, in the land that is now Laos and parts of Thailand. In honor, Khmer court gave the royals a sacred gold Buddha, Pra Bang . For this reason , Fa Ngum made Buddhism the state religion, and Pra Bang the protector. In honor of this Buddha, the royal town was named Luang Prabang and ruled for 200 years. Only in 1545, King Photisarat moved the administrative capital to Wieng Chan, which is now Vientiane .
Then the king of Siam gave the French Laotian and Cambodian territory in the late 1800s. During this period of colonial rule, unlike Cambodia, the French built very few roads or schools and few settled in Laos. Thus, Luang Prabang was able to retain its character despite this colonial domination. In 1945, French domination was briefly halted when the Japanese invaded Laos and interned the Vichy French, the French regained control until 1953, when the US gave the Royal Lao Government protection and the French withdrew from Indochina.


The 1960s and 1970s, Laos was ravaged, enduring civil war and bombings by aerial raids (During this so-called dirty war, more bombs were dropped by US bombers on the northern Lao between 1964 and 1973 than the amount dropped all over Europe by all sides during WWII- i.e. about one bombing run every eight minutes for nine years.) Caught in between Vietnam and the western outposts in Thailand, Laos was infiltrated by guerillas, CIA agents, and communist agents.   However, after Pathet Lao's communist consolidation of power in 1975, the monarchy was ended and the royal family was imprisoned "re-education camps" near Vietnam. No one knows for sure what happened to the royal family, but it is believed that the king and queen passed away around mid 1980s due to starvation and neglect.