Auguste Pavie
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Auguste Jean-Marie Pavie (31 May 1847 – 7 June 1925) was a French colonial civil servant, explorer and diplomat who was instrumental in establishing French control over
Laos , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao "Pheng Sat Lāo" () is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often re ...

Laos
in the last two decades of the 19th century. After a long career in
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
and
Cochinchina Cochinchina or Cochin-China (; vi, miền Nam; km, កូសាំងស៊ីន, ; french: Cochinchine; zh, 交趾支那, ''Jiāozhǐ zhīnà'') is a historical exonym and endonym, exonym for part of Vietnam, depending on the contexts. Som ...
, Pavie became the first French vice-consul in
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into Wes ...

Luang Prabang
in 1886, eventually becoming the first Governor-General and plenipotentiary minister of the newly formed French colony of Laos.


Early career

from
Bokor Hill Station Bokor Hill Station ( km, ស្ថានីយភ្នំបូកគោ, ''Sthani Phnum-bokko'', french: Station d'altitude de Bokor) refers to a collection of French Protectorate of Cambodia, French colonial buildings constructed as a temperate ...
Born in
Dinan Dinan (; ) is a walled Breton town and a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in northwestern France. On 1 January 2018, the former commune of Léhon was merged into Dinan. Geography Its geographical setting is exceptional. Instead o ...

Dinan
in
Brittany Brittany (; french: link=no, Bretagne ; br, Breizh, or ; Gallo language, Gallo: ''Bertaèyn'' ) is a peninsula, historical region, historical country, and cultural area in the west of modern France, covering the western part of what was know ...
, the son of a cabinet maker, Auguste Pavie did not have the usual makings of a diplomat. He had no training at all either as a military officer or in the
grandes écolesGrandes may refer to: *Agustín Muñoz Grandes Agustín Muñoz Grandes (27 January 1896 – 11 July 1970) was a Spanish general, and politician A politician is a person active in party politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities t ...
. Instead, drawn by the prospect of adventure in distant lands, he joined the army in 1864 at the age of seventeen. In 1869, he was posted to
Cochinchina Cochinchina or Cochin-China (; vi, miền Nam; km, កូសាំងស៊ីន, ; french: Cochinchine; zh, 交趾支那, ''Jiāozhǐ zhīnà'') is a historical exonym and endonym, exonym for part of Vietnam, depending on the contexts. Som ...
as part of the
Marine Infantry
Marine Infantry
. He was called back for military service in France the following year during the
Franco-Prussian war The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War,, german: Deutsch-Französischer Krieg often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire The Second French Empire (; officially the French Empire, ...
, where he reached the rank of
sergeant-major Sergeant major is a senior non-commissioned rank Rank is the relative position, value, worth, complexity, power, importance, authority, level, etc. of a person or object within a ranking, such as: Level or position in a hierarchical organizat ...
. In 1871 he returned to Cochinchina as part of the local administration of the postal and telegraphic service, almost immediately being put in charge of the small telegraphic office in the remote
Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ពុជា, ), officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochinese Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is in area, bordered by Thailand to Cambodia–T ...

Cambodia
n port of Kampot, where he served for a decade. The posting at Kampot gave Pavie the opportunity to gain an in-depth knowledge of the Indochinese, their culture and language. One of very few Europeans in this settlement on the Kampot River beneath the
Elephant Mountains Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three species are currently recognised: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; extin ...

Elephant Mountains
, he "went native", mastering Cambodian, walking bare-foot and sporting a wide-brimmed hat, as he charted the backlands of Cambodia, recording all that he found of interest. Pavie's approach prompted mixed reactions: his immersion in Cambodian life was criticized by French officials in Cochinchina; however, a French officer remarked at the time that "beneath an appearance of physical weakness, there was a wealth of intelligence put to work with an energy and strength of will without equal." During this period, Pavie supervised the building of a telegraphic line between
Phnom Penh ) , timezone = Time in Cambodia, ICT , utc_offset = +07:00 , coordinates = , elevation_footnotes = , elevation_m = 11.89 , postal_code_type = , postal_code = , area_code = Telephone numbers in Cambodia, +855 (023) , blank_name = , b ...

Phnom Penh
and Kampot.


Diplomatic career

on the
Mekong River The Mekong, or Mekong River, is a trans-boundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia. It is the world's tenth List of rivers by length, longest river and the sixth longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discha ...

Mekong River
, 350px , ruler of Luang Prabang In 1879, Pavie came to the attention of
Charles Le Myre de Vilers Charles-Marie Le Myre de Vilers (17 February 1833 – 9 March 1918) was French naval officer, then departmental administrator. He was governor of the colony of Cochinchina (1879–1882) and resident-general of Madagascar (1886–1888). He was a m ...
, governor of Cochinchina and closely involved with the colonial lobbyists in France. Pavie became his protégé and was entrusted to lead a five-year expedition to explore the region extending from the Gulf of Siam to the great freshwater lake Tonlé Sap in Cambodia and beyond to the
Mekong River The Mekong, or Mekong River, is a trans-boundary river in East Asia and Southeast Asia. It is the world's tenth List of rivers by length, longest river and the sixth longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discha ...

Mekong River
. During this period he honed his skills of observation that would stand him in good stead for future missions as explorer and diplomat. These were the so-called "''Missions Pavie''" conducted over the 16-year period 1879-1895 during which Pavie, accompanied by his assistants, would explore the whole Indochinese Peninsula. At the end of his first mission, Pavie was put in charge of building a telegraphic line between Phnom Penh and Bangkok, a major project. So impressed were his superiors by his skills in managing this major project, that Pavie was transferred to the diplomatic service as the first vice-consul in
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into Wes ...

Luang Prabang
in 1886. Pavie's appointment reflected the desire of the French to continue their colonial expansion in Indochina and their rivalry with Britain, the other main colonial power in the region. The British had already preempted French expansion into Burma with the Third Anglo-Burmese War; the new French diplomatic office in Luang Prabang was a concession by the Siamese amid continuing demands to apportion territories bordering the Mekong River. Pavie was enchanted by his new posting: Pavie went on to become consul in 1886 and consul general in 1891. In 1887, Luang Prabang was sacked by Black Flag Army, Chinese and T'ai bandits, hoping to liberate the sons of their leader Đèo Văn Trị, held prisoner by the Siamese; Pavie prevented the capture of the ailing local ruler Oun Kham by ferrying him away from the burning city to safety in Bangkok, Siam, thereby winning his gratitude and building his trust in French colonial plans, which were to be one of Pavie's major preoccupations from 1888 onwards. Pavie subsequently established friendly relations with Deo Van Tri, negotiating the release of his brothers; as a result a protectorate treaty was signed with the French in 1889 making Deo Van Tri ''Lord of Lai Châu'', the main town in the Sip Song Chau Tai alliance located in the Black River (Vietnam), Black River region of Tonkin that he controlled. Pavie referred to this kind of diplomacy as ''la conquête des coeurs'' [the winning of hearts], which became the title of his autobiography. In 1892, he became resident minister in Bangkok, and played an important role in the gunboat diplomacy of the Franco-Siamese War in 1893, which resulted in the establishment of the French protectorate over
Laos , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao "Pheng Sat Lāo" () is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that officially symbolizes a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often re ...

Laos
. He was the first commissioner general of the government of the newly formed colony of Laos in 1894, before becoming plenipotentiary minister. At that time, Laos became a part of French Indochina, joining Annam (French colony), Annam, Tonkin,
Cochinchina Cochinchina or Cochin-China (; vi, miền Nam; km, កូសាំងស៊ីន, ; french: Cochinchine; zh, 交趾支那, ''Jiāozhǐ zhīnà'') is a historical exonym and endonym, exonym for part of Vietnam, depending on the contexts. Som ...
(which together form modern Vietnam) and the Colonial Cambodia, Kingdom of Cambodia; and the Mekong, long referred to as "our river" by French politicians and colonial lobbyists, became wholly controlled by France. All these posts allowed Pavie access to Cambodia and Laos at every possible level.


Missions Pavie

Image:Elephants-pagodas.gif, A convoy of elephants from ''Mission Pavie'', Volume VII, 250px During his various missions, Pavie managed to survey an area of , travelling 30,000 km in the upland areas to the North and East of the Mekong, on foot, by elephant or down the river on rafts, gathering a large amount of scientific information. He was accompanied by a team of up to 40 assistants, with a wide range of expertise, from archaeology to entomology, some like diplomat-doctor Pierre Lefèvre-Fontalis and the immunologist Alexandre Yersin becoming famous in their own right. Many were trained at the ''École Cambodgienne'' in Paris, which Pavie helped found in 1885; it would later become the ''École Coloniale'' in 1889, and later still the present-day École nationale de la France d'Outre-Mer. Pavie made a special effort to ensure that the École also trained indigenous assistants, personally accompanying the first Cambodian entrants to France. The original École Coloniale was located at 2 avenue de l'Observatoire, currently the Paris office of the École nationale d'administration. The first mission Pavie, from 1879 to 1885, covered the areas of Cambodia and Southern Siam as far as Bangkok. The second mission, from 1886 to 1889, covered Northeastern Laos and the exploration of the Black River (Vietnam), Black river in Tonkin as far as Hanoi. The third mission, from 1889 to 1891, involved the exploration of the Mekong river from Saigon to Luang Prabang. The fourth mission, from 1894 to 1895, involved the areas of Laos bordering with China and Burma on the left bank of the Mekong river, as far as the Red River (Asia), Red River.


Retirement

On retiring from high office, he returned to France in 1904 and set to work preparing his recollections and observations for publication. Between 1898 and 1921 he produced the multi-volume work ''La mission Pavie'', ''A la conquête des coeurs'' and ''Contes du Cambodge, du Laos et du Siam''. He died in Thourie, Brittany.


Works


''Mission Pavie en Indochine''
1879–1895. 7 vols. Paris: Leroux, 1898–1919.
''A la conquête des coeurs: Le Pays des millions d'Eléphants''
Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1942. * ''Contes populaires du Cambodge, du Laos et du Siam''. Paris: Leroux, 1903. * ''The Pavie Mission Indochina Papers 1879-1895'', Bangkok: White Lotus, 1996. 6 vols. English translation by Walter E. J. Tips of Vols. I-VI of ''Mission Pavie en Indochine''. * ''Pavie, Auguste: Mission Pavie, Indochine, 1879-1895. Géographie et Voyages VII. Journal de Marche (1888-1889). Evenements du Siam (1891-1893)'', Bangkok: White Lotus, 1999, reprint of Volume VII (1919) of ''Mission Pavie en Indochine''.


Gallery

Image:Auguste_Pavis_Cambodia_1879.jpg, Auguste Pavie doing surveying work in Cambodia in 1879 Image:Auguste_Pavie_in_Luang_Prabang.jpg, Auguste Pavie and Pierre Lefèvre-Pontalis in
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into Wes ...

Luang Prabang
Image:Auguste_Pavie_in_1893.jpg, Auguste Pavie (third from left) and Pierre Lefèvre-Pontalis in 1893 with Cambodian interpreters trained at the École Coloniale Image:Auguste_Pavie_meeting_with_Laotian_Princes_before_1895.jpg, Auguste Pavie, negotiating with Laotian Princes


Notes


References

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Further reading

* * * * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Pavie, Auguste 1847 births 1925 deaths French diplomats French explorers People from Dinan People of French Indochina French military personnel of the Franco-Prussian War Franco-Siamese War