A Change of Guard

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Monday, 5 October 2009

Letter of King Ang Duong to Emperor Napoleon III of France

Please find below the Letter of King Ang Duong of 25 November 1856 to Emperor Napoleon III of France. This is an English translation from the reprinted/reproduced French text in Cambodge, published by the Ministry of Information, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, (1962), p. 48. The King's letter was read in part by Princess Yukanthor to the National Assembly of the French Union during the meeting on 19 May 1949 dealing with the status of Cochinchina/Kampuchea Krom: A.U.F, Annales, no. 1(1949), p.515. Cambodia wanted the lost territories back. see Marie A. Martin, Cambodia: a Shattered Society,(1989) p. 350

Kay son=Tai son;
Saikong = Saigon

From Bora Touch, Esq.



Cambodia was formerly a vast country made up of large provinces, then followed the Annamites, men of bad faith, allied themselves with Cambodia looking to take for themselves sometimes one, sometimes two Sroks.

At the time of the revolt of Kay Son, the Emperor Gia-Long fled his kingdom and asked for help from the Kingdom of Krong-Tep [Thailand]. He met there Our August Father (King Ang Eng 1772-1796) then King of Cambodia with whom he formed an alliance. After having fled Kingdom Krong-Tep and settled at Srok Preah Trapeang [Travihn] where he organized his army to fight against the Kay-Son, Our August Father sent him men to help until he conquered the Kay-Son and mounted the throne of Annam. Then taking into account that the Srok of Preah Trapeang was his benefactor he asked Our August Father to exempt the Srok from all tribute [for Cambodia] and not to make the inhabitants of the Srok work.

Our August Father considering that this was an act of confession on the part of an ally, acquiesced to his demand and no longer subjected them to any duty.

A long time afterward, Gia-Long made the Srok an Annamite colony until the reign of Our elder Brother [Ang Chan 1792-1834] who turned toward the emperor Gia-Long to ask for his help. On our part, we allied with Kingdom Krong-Tep. The son of Gia-Long named Minh Mang mounted the throne and dug the canal that crosses the Kingdom of Cambodia from Peam [Hatien] to Chaudoc to establish mandarins and Annamite subjects.

On His death, Our August father left only a daughter (of the first lit bed(?)) The Emperor Minh-Mang, as a measure of oppression, ordered to bring in captivity to Saikong the daughters of Our August Brother, Our August Mother, Our own Child, to put to death a daughter of Our August Brother to make him disappear, ordered the grand mandarins and inhabitants of Cambodia to go live on one of the islands and the others at Tonkin near China. The Cambodians, made aware of the evil intention of the Annamite Emperor, rose up and massacred a lot of Annamites.

The state of affairs that existed in Cambodia must have made His Majesty the Emperor of the French reflect on the establishment of the domination of Annamites in the Cambodian territories. The Srok Donnai became Annamite by simple peaceful occupation 200 years ago. The Sroks that the Annamites seized after were Saikong [Saigon], Longho (Vinh-Long) Phsar-Dek (Sadec), Smeythor, Meat-Chrouk (Chaudoc), Kramuon-Sar (Rach-Gia), Omom, Tuk-Khmau, Srok Peam and the islands of Tral [Phu-Quoc] and Tralach [Poulo Condor]. From now on if the Annamites ceded to the Emperor of France all of these territories and others, We pray His Majesty Emperor of France will not accept them because these are really the Cambodian territories. The part going to the west bank of the Saikong river to Peam (Hatien) comprised of 2 islands, must remain Cambodian as before. As for the region that is found on the east bank of the Saikong river that the Annamites have occupied for a long time, We do not reclaim....

Made in Our Palace at Oudong and marked with Our seal, Tuesday, month Kadoeck, the 13th day of the waning moon, in the year 1215 of the small era, year of the Dragon, 8th of the decade cycle.

Sent to Sing Ka po [Singapore]
His Majesty signed "Ang Duong"
25th November, 1856
[Reprinted in Cambodge (Phnom Penh, 1962) p. 48]


Anonymous said...

King Ang Duang tried hard to get Kampuchea Krom returned to Cambodian rule. After he received Ang Duang's letter, Napoleon III made a prmoise to return all Kampuchea Krom territories to Cambodian rule, but the new government in 1949 did not keep Napoleon III's promise so they voted to keep Kampuchea Krom under the Vietnamese control. Sad.

Anonymous said...

great artical.please keep come up with these great khmer king history!

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you rest all your soul on other's leniency: unpredictability.

Anonymous said...

Hanoi tried to control Indochina, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, and Thailand as well. Hanoi plan to do same thing that it had done before 1970; it means Hanoi kept sending more Vietcong to Cambodia, Lao, and Thailand. However, I believe that one day in the future, China must wide-out of Hanoi, so Khmers can have Kampuchea krom back.
Suggestion: The US should stay out of South China Sea. In the eyes of Hanoi; The French and The US were considered a loser. Hanoi-Vietnamese communist talk and nice to the US at this time because they afraid China invade the Vietnam, therefore, his brother Stalin-Soviet Union is longer exist on earth. Hello American, wake up!! and you must remember that Hanoi always plays game two hands at the same time. That's all I can tell you, and hope you will think about it twice.

Anonymous said...

I agreed with you guys 100 percent. Before 1970, Cambodia is a freedom and prosperity. King Sihanouk was too young to run the country, therefore, he was too honest and kind. Ho Chi Minh-brutal alligator, took advantage of King Sihanouk kindness to use the Cambodia land of sending Vietnamese communist troops and supplies through the Cambodia's land to the South. Ho also sent thousand and thousand of Vietcong to Cambodia all over the places. Finally there were turned out a couple parties such as Lon Nol, Pol Pot, and killed each other just because of the Vietcong was spread all over the places in Cambodia. At that time, all young khmers men, didn't even know how to fight. According to this circumstance that Ho was a War creator. I believe that one day in the future, Hanoi-Vietnamese communist must pay the price to what Hanoi had done to Cambodia. It means, China_PLA must wipe out of Hanoi and HCM City. So, Khmers Krom have a chance to have our land back.

Anonymous said...

The true royal bloodline fled to other countries for safety because the vietnamese til this day will literally cut their heads off if they were found. The vietnamese gov use the current king today of cambodia whom is not of the royal blood line to control cambodia. King Ang Duong is my great great great etc grandfather.my grand father looks just like him. My grandfather used his first name as our now last name when coming to this country, and we are the true Duong or duang bloodline. If we ever returned to cambodia and they knew who we are we would secretly be assasinated one by one. They kidnap and kill, by the chopping of your head. All true successsors and royal family have all changed their names since the vietnamese and french happened, and by the way, sihanouk is not of our family, he was appointed by the french.

ValerieLLong said...

Sihanouk is not a
norodom. He is or was not the true blood successor. He was appointed by the french. My great grand father is Ang Duong. We are all in hiding from the current king because of assasination attempts.grandfather changed used his first name as his last when entering this country to protect us all. He would have been in reign if it werent for politics and conspiracies by the vietnamese. He has since passed and it would now be my father. Its terrible .

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The great king

Anonymous said...

Oh my king, all day I always expect that you will come to help our country from Viet and siem. I wish the Khmer come and save Khmer kroam. I look YouTube about Khmer history I know king angduong he sad and wanted to help Khmer but he didn't do the war. Wait my king come until I die.

Ross Nyll said...

The French was the culprit who sided with the Vietnamese and destroyed Cambodia that why Cambodia is facing over taking by vietnamese in this present day.