The nineteenth century was an age of exploration and nation-building. While the major European powers built empires, several adventurers tried to build their own countries in Asia, South America and Africa. The most famous of these adventurers was James Brooke, who received Sarawak from the Sultan of Brunei in 1841; the Brooke family became the Rajahs of Sarawak and ruled their principality until 1946. Another similar adventurer was Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, a French lawyer who united the Mapuche people of Araucania in South America and founded the Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia in 1860. King Orélie-Antoine the First was captured and exiled by the Chilean government, but there are royalists who still support his successors' claims to royal status.
The Kingdom of the Sedang was founded by another French adventurer, named Charles-Marie David de Mayréna. Mayréna entered the central highlands of Indo-China (Vietnam) to negotiate treaties with the tribes there. However, he convinced some tribal chiefs to form a new kingdom with himself as king. Mayréna, his supporters and some tribesmen claimed that the tribes were not vassals of the Annamese (Vietnamese) emperor and therefore could form their own kingdom. The Kingdom of the Sedang was founded when Mayréna was elected King of the Sedang by the chiefs of the independent Bahnar, Rengao and Sedang tribes in the village of Kon Gung on June 3, 1888. He then assumed the style and title Marie the First, King of the Sedang, and travelled to Annam, Hong Kong, Great Britain and Europe to find people who would help him build his new kingdom. He awarded titles of nobility, orders of knighthood and medals to his supporters and issued the famous Sedang postage stamps.
King Marie the First died on November 11, 1890 at Tioman in Malaya en route to his kingdom. The Kingdom of the Sedang was subsequently conquered by the French Republic and her protectorate, the Empire of Annam, without consent of the government or people of Sedang. King Marie the First died without appointing an heir or successor, and his family did not claim the kingdom or assume the duties of kingship. Without a sovereign prince or head of the royal house, the nobility of Sedang ceased exercising their rights and privileges and have been ignored by reigning and exiled sovereigns and princes of other countries and their nobility.
Therefore the people and ethnic groups of Sedang can claim the right to have their representatives and descendants continue the institutions of state in exile.
Some persons who were related to the tribes, ethnic groups and nationalities of the people, rulers and nobility of Sedang proclaimed the revival of the court of nobility of Sedang. Thus one of the great institutions of a monarchy was revived. These Sedang royalists included persons of French, Chinese and European descent. They founded the Assembly For the Restoration of the Sedang Nobility in Montreal, Canada on November 2, 1995. The Assembly was renamed the Sedang Royalist Assembly and adopted a new Constitution of the Regency in 1998.
The Assembly's objectives per the Constitution of the Regency of 1998, are:
On November 16-17, 1995, the Assembly elected Colonel Derwin J.K.W. Mak to be Regent of Sedang and gave him the titles Prince Regent and Duke of Sedang. Colonel Mak then assumed the reign style and titles Derwin de Sédang, Prince Regent et Duc de Sédang and assumed the duties of a regent reigning for a monarch. (The first regent used the title Prince Regent. The second regent used the title Regent Pro Tempore. The Constitution of 1998 established the title as Captain Regent.) Thus the Sedang Regency was founded.
The Regency represents the nobility of Sedang, but it has no intention to restore the sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Sedang. The Assembly and the Captain Regent recognize the sovereignty of the government of Vietnam over the territory of the Kingdom of the Sedang and the Empire of Annam, also known as Vietnam, and renounce all claims to government and control of the territory. The reason is that it is impractical to regain and maintain control over the territory now. This nonpolitical position is not different from that taken by the nobility and various royal claimants to the Byzantine Empire, Trebizond, the German Empire, the Kingdom of Poland and other defunct monarchies; their nobility often do not have any interest in restoring the monarchy but continue to use their noble and royal titles and privileges (especially their coats of arms).
The Regency has been active in continuing the traditions of the Sedang monarchy. A ceremonial navy and army were established in June 1996. The Royal Sedang Post was re-established on July 15, 1996 and issued the first Sedang stamps since 1889.
The Sedang nobility in exile is re-establishing its international diplomatic relations. On June 11, 1996, His Beatitude Maximos V Hakim, Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandra and of Jerusalem, from his headquarters in Beirut, congratulated the Prince Regent for his accession to the Regency and agreed to consider cooperation with Sedang nobles in future humanitarian projects. This is an important recognition because His Beatitude, as the leader of one million Melkite Catholics, is one of the major leaders of Christianity in the Middle East.
A Treaty of Friendship with the Order of the Holy Western Empire, a Belgian-based order of European nobility, was signed on July 3, 1996, thus re-establishing ties between the Sedang nobility and descendants of their Belgian and European supporters.
Col. Mak resigned as Prince Regent of Sedang on Friday, June 13, 1997, to give himself more time for researching Sedang and Mayréna history. He appointed the Marshal of the Assembly, Comtesse Capucine Plourde de Kasara, as his successor. The Comtesse de Kasara assumed the Regency with the title Regent Pro Tempore on the more auspicious date of June 14, 1997. The new administration moved the Chancellery to Montreal.
The European supporters of the Regency asked Col. Mak to retain the title Duke of Sedang as a reward for reviving interest in the Sedang Kingdom and founding the Regency. Then by unanimous vote, the Assembly gave the title Protector of the Sedang Nobility to Col. Mak for life on August 15, 1997. The Protector protects the interests, rights, privileges and security of the Sedang nobility and royalists. In a nearly-unanimous vote, the Assembly placed the ceremonial security forces under the Protector's command.
The Assembly adopted a new constitution and renamed itself Sedang Royalist Assembly on November 6, 1998.
The Captain Regent offered to transfer the duties of Regent and decorations of the Royal Order of Sedang to Michel David. Vicomte Chaussier dit de Neumoissac visited M. David on behalf of the Captain Regent to offer him the titles of Prince of Sedang and Head of the Sedang Nobility. However, neither he nor other members of his family were interested in becoming a prince or leading the Sedang royalists.
If a member of the David Dynasty wishes to resume the family's princely status, the Regency will transfer the duties of Regent and Head of the Sedang Nobility to him or her. In the meantime, Lady Capucine still serves as Captain Regent.
Glory to Sedang!
Thus the Kingdom of the Sedang, the kingdom where East met West, where cultures as diverse as the French, Sedang, Central Highlanders, Vietnamese, Chinese, Belgians and Europeans met, continues to exist in the modern world.
Hickey, Gerald Cannon. Kingdom In the Morning Mist: Mayréna In the Highlands of Vietnam, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1988.
Marquet, Jean, "Un aventurier du XIXe siècle: Marie Ier, Roi des Sèdangs (1888-1890)", Bulletin des Amis du Vieux Hué 14, nos. 1 and 2, 1927, pp. 1-133. Published by Impremierie d'Extrême-Orient, Hanoi.
Melville, Frederick John. Phantom Philately, Emile Bertrand, Lucerne, Switzerland, 1950 (first published in 1924), pp. 172-174.
Soulié, Maurice. Marie Ier, Roi des Sédangs, 1888-1890, Marpon et Cie, Paris, 1927.
Werlich, Robert. Orders and Decorations of All Nations, second edition, 1975, pphahaha. 149-151.
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