Key Historical Events. In 1893 Laos became a French protectorate and in 1907 acquired its present frontiers. On 9 March 1945 Vichy French authority was suppressed by the Japanese. When the Japanese withdrew later in 1945 an independence movement known as Lao Issara (Free Laos) established a government under Prince Phetsarath, the Viceroy of Luang Prabang. This government collapsed with the return of the French in 1946 and the leaders of the movement fled to Thailand.
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