In January 1885, anti-French rebellions broke out at various points in the Kingdom of Cambodia. France concentrated four thousand troops on Cambodia and barely suppressed the rebels with the help of the Cambodian King by the end of 1886. In general understanding, those rebellions were the reaction of Cambodian elites to the treaty which the Governor of Cochinchina, Charles Thomson, forced to King Norodom on 17 June 1884. Although much attention has been given to the roles played by supreme elites, such as the Governor of Cochinchina, King Norodom, Second King Sisowath and Prince Si Votha during those years, little is known about the situation in each region under the rebellions. In this paper, I inquire closely into the activities of the rebels who uprose along the Mekong River between Kampong Cham and Kracheh. After the rebellion subsided, this region began to develop significantly under the French colonial rule which guaranteed the safety of the traffic on the Mekong River from Cochinchina to Laos.
The rebellion in Kampong Cham─Kracheh region occurred in inland srok srae （the land of paddy field）, and the main participants were Khmers. Prei （forest） or phnom （mountain） behind srok srae were not the foothold of the rebels, but served as supply and escape routes for them. Ethnic minorities and religious or magical authorities were not included in the main body of the rebels. Most chiefs of the rebels were officials who held traditional titles as governors and balats （deputy governor）. They led hundreds of people, held their own grounds in the plain of srok srae, and shared information about the maneuvers of French troops by exchanging letters with each other. They had been respectively appointed by different authorities, and some of them were appointed by Si Votha who had maintained another independent kingdom to the north of Kampong Thum, which contacted with the territory of Siam. A dozen “Burmese warriors” were distributed under chiefs who had strong ties with Si Votha, and Siamese of Siem Bouk played an important role in supplying guns and ammunition for the rebels. These facts suggest that the rebels maintained close connection with Northeast Thailand area. The targets of the rebels were those who related to the French colonial rule, Chinese merchants, and Malay and Chams along the Mekong River.
The French did not have enough military power to defeat independent chiefs to control the entire srok srae, but could find skilled pro-French local officials and nominated them as governors in the process of suppressing the rebellion. During the decade after the outbreak of rebellion, the chiefs of the rebels disappeared one by one, and the governors newly appointed by the name of the King were received by the local population. Then the French succeeded in stabilizing their rule to promote “a colonization without collision” on the territory along the Mekong River to the edge of prei and phnom.