Monday, October 5, 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 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] 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"

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