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, 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 referred to as the land of an individual's bi ...
"
)
, image_map = , map_caption = , capital =
Vientiane Vientiane ( , ; lo, wikt:ວຽງຈັນ, ວຽງຈັນ, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a ...

Vientiane
, coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages =
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Lao
, recognised_languages = , languages_type = Spoken languages , languages = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2015 , demonym =
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Laotian , government_type =
Unitary Unitary may refer to: * Unitary construction, in automotive design a common term for unibody (unitary body/chassis) construction * Lethal Unitary Chemical Agents and Munitions (Unitary), as chemical weapons opposite of Binary * Unitarianism, in Chr ...
Marxist–Leninist
one-party A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. Unitary st ...
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, s ...
republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...

republic
, leader_title1 =
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...

President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
, leader_name1 =
Thongloun Sisoulith Thongloun Sisoulith ( lo, ທອງລຸນ ສີສຸລິດ; born 10 November 1945) is a Laos, Laotian politician currently serving as General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party since 15 January 2021 and President of Laos sinc ...
, leader_title2 =
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, leader_name2 = Phankham Viphavanh , leader_title3 = Vice President(s) , leader_name3 =
Bounthong Chitmany Bounthong Chitmany (; born 3 July 1949) is a Laos, Laotian politician and member of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). He was born in 1951 and is a former Governor of Oudomxay Province. He is currently Chairman of the Inspection Commissio ...

Pany Yathotou Pany Yathotou ( lo, ປານີ ຢາທໍ່ຕູ້; born Xiangkhouang Province, 18 February 1951) is a Laos, Laotian politician and member of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. She was the chairwoman and governor of the Bank of the Lao ...
, leader_title4 = President of the National Assembly , leader_name4 = Saysomphone Phomvihane , legislature =
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government, unicameralism (Latin , "one" and , "chamber") is the practice of having a single legislative or legislative chamber, parliamentary chamber. Thus, a ''unicameral parliam ...
, sovereignty_type =
Formation Formation may refer to: Linguistics * Back-formation, the process of creating a new lexeme by removing or affixes * Word formation, the creation of a new word by adding affixes Mathematics and science * Cave formation or speleothem, a secondary m ...
, established_event1 = Kingdom of Lan Xang , established_date1 = 1353–1707 , established_event2 = Kingdoms of
Luang Phrabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into Wes ...
,
Vientiane Vientiane ( , ; lo, wikt:ວຽງຈັນ, ວຽງຈັນ, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a ...
& Champasak , established_date2 = 1707–1778 , established_event3 = Vassals of
Siam ) , royal_anthem = '' Sansoen Phra Barami''( en, "Glorify His prestige") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It is known in Thai language, ...
, established_date3 = 1778–1893 , established_event4 = French protectorate , established_date4 = 1893–1953 , established_event5 = Unified Kingdom , established_date5 = 11 May 1947 , established_event6 =
Independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independe ...

from
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...
, established_date6 = 22 October 1953 , established_event7 = Monarchy abolished , established_date7 = 2 December 1975 , established_event8 = Current constitution , established_date8 = 14 August 1991 , area_km2 = 237,955 , area_rank = 82nd , area_sq_mi = 91,428.991 , percent_water = 2 , population_estimate = 7,123,205 , population_census = 6,492,228 , population_estimate_year = 2019 , population_estimate_rank = 105th , population_census_year = 2015 , population_density_km2 = 26.7 , population_density_sq_mi = , population_density_rank = 151st , GDP_PPP = US$58.329 billion , GDP_PPP_year = 2019 , GDP_PPP_rank = , GDP_PPP_per_capita = US$8,458 , GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank = , GDP_nominal = US$20.153 billion , GDP_nominal_year = 2019 , GDP_nominal_rank = , GDP_nominal_per_capita = US$2,670 , GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank = 131st , Gini = 36.4 , Gini_year = 2012 , Gini_change = , Gini_ref = , Gini_rank = , HDI = 0.613 , HDI_year = 2019 , HDI_change = increase , HDI_ref = , HDI_rank = 137th , currency =
Kip Kip, KIP or kips may refer to: Athletics * Kip (artistic gymnastics) In artistic gymnastics, a kip is a technique that involves flexing or piking at the hips, and then rapidly extending the hip joints to impart momentum. It may be performed in ...
(₭) , currency_code = LAK , time_zone =
ICT ICT may refer to: Science and technology * Information and communications technology * Image Constraint Token, in video processing * Immunochromatographic test, a rapid immunoassay used to detect diseases such as anthrax * In-circuit test, in el ...
, utc_offset = +7 , drives_on = right , calling_code = +856 , iso3166code = LA , cctld = .la , religion = Laos (, ; lo, ລາວ, ''Lāo'' ; : l lOpen_central_unrounded_vowel">ä lOpen_central_unrounded_vowel">äSyllable">. lOpen_central_unrounded_vowel">äSyllable">.Open-mid_back_rounded_vowel">ɔVoiceless_alveolar_retracted_sibilant.html" ;"title="Open-mid_back_rounded_vowel.html" ;"title="Syllable.html" ;"title="Open_central_unrounded_vowel.html" ;"title="Voiced_alveolar_lateral_approximant.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Voiced alveolar lateral approximant">lOpen central unrounded vowel">äSyllable">.Open-mid back rounded vowel">ɔVoiceless alveolar retracted sibilant">s]), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic (
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Lao
: , ''Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxôn Lao''; : ), is a
socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is bor ...
and the only
landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign s ...
in
Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Southeast Asia
. At the heart of the
Indochinese Peninsula Mainland Southeast Asia (or the Indochinese Peninsula) is the continental portion of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consistin ...

Indochinese Peninsula
, Laos is bordered by
Myanmar Myanmar, ); UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John C. Wells, John ...

Myanmar
and
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
to the northwest,
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
to the east,
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
to the southeast, and
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
to the west and southwest. Its
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
and largest city is
Vientiane Vientiane ( , ; lo, wikt:ວຽງຈັນ, ວຽງຈັນ, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a ...

Vientiane
. Present-day Laos traces its historic and cultural identity to
Lan Xang existed as a unified kingdom from 1353 to 1707. For three and a half centuries, Lan Xang was one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. The meaning of the kingdom's name alludes to the power of the kingship and formidable war machine of the ea ...
, which existed from the 14th century to the 18th century as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. Because of its central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom became a hub for overland trade and became wealthy economically and culturally. After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke into three separate kingdoms—
Luang Phrabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into Wes ...
,
Vientiane Vientiane ( , ; lo, wikt:ວຽງຈັນ, ວຽງຈັນ, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a ...
, and Champasak. In 1893, the three territories came under a French protectorate and were united to form what is now known as Laos. It briefly gained independence in 1945 after Japanese occupation but was re-colonised by
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
until it won autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in 1953, with a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
under
Sisavang Vong Sisavang Phoulivong (or Sisavangvong, lo, ພຣະບາທສົມເດັຈພຣະເຈົ້າມະຫາຊີວິຕສີສວ່າງວົງສ໌) (14 July 1885 – 29 October 1959) was king of the Kingdom of Luang Phr ...

Sisavang Vong
. A post-independence
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
, fight against the monarchy that later came under influence of military regimes supported by the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. After the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
ended in 1975, the
communist Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repu ...

communist
Pathet Lao The Pathet Lao ( lo, ປະເທດລາວ , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Vientiane , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Lao language, Lao , recogni ...
came to power, ending the civil war. Laos was then dependent on military and economic aid from the Soviet Union until its
dissolution Dissolution may refer to: Arts and entertainment Books * Dissolution (Forgotten Realms novel), ''Dissolution'' (''Forgotten Realms'' novel), a 2002 fantasy novel by Richard Lee Byers * Dissolution (Sansom novel), ''Dissolution'' (Sansom novel), a 2 ...
in 1991. Laos is a member of the
Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement ThAsia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) previously known as thBangkok Agreementand renamed 2 November 2005, was signed in 1975. It is the oldest preferential trade agreement between countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Seven Participating States- Ba ...
, the
ASEAN ASEAN; ( , ) officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is an economic union comprising 10 member states in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia ...

ASEAN
,
East Asia Summit The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a regional forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeas ...

East Asia Summit
, and
La Francophonie Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3milli ...
. Laos applied for membership of the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
in 1997; on 2 February 2013, it was granted full membership. It is a
one-party A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. Unitary st ...
socialist republic, espousing
Marxism–Leninism Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology and the main communist movement throughout the 20th century.Lansford, Thomas (2007). ''Communism''. New York: Cavendish Square Publishing. pp. 9–24, 36–44. . "By 1985, one-third of the world's po ...
and governed by the
Lao People's Revolutionary Party The Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Abbreviation, abbr. LPRP; lo, ພັກປະຊາຊົນປະຕິວັດລາວ ''Phak Pasaxon Pativat Lao''; french: Parti révolutionnaire populaire lao) is the founding and governing political ...
, under which non-governmental organizations have routinely characterized the country's human rights record as poor, citing repeated abuses such as torture, restrictions on civil liberties, and persecution of minorities. The politically and culturally dominant
Lao people The Lao people are a Tai ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, ...
make up 53.2% of the population, mostly in the lowlands.
Mon-Khmer The Austroasiatic languages , also known as Mon–Khmer , are a large language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meanin ...
groups, the
Hmong Hmong may refer to: * Hmong people #REDIRECT Hmong people#REDIRECT Hmong people The Hmong people ( RPA: ''Hmoob'', Nyiakeng Puachue: "𞄀𞄩𞄰", Pahawh Hmong: "𖬌𖬣𖬵" ) are an ethnic group living mainly in southern China, Vietna ...

Hmong
, and other indigenous hill tribes live in the foothills and mountains. Laos' strategies for development are based on generating electricity from rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely Thailand, China, and Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, as evidenced by the . Laos has been referred to as one of Southeast Asia and Pacific's fastest growing economies by the
World Bank The World Bank is an international financial institution An international financial institution (IFI) is a financial institution that has been established (or chartered) by more than one country, and hence is subject to international law. Its o ...
with annual GDP growth averaging 7.4% since 2009.


Etymology

The word ''Laos'' was coined by the French, who united the three Lao kingdoms in
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China; french: Indochine française; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, សហភាពឥណ្ឌូចិន), officially known as the Indochi ...
in 1893 and named the country as the plural of the dominant and most common ethnic group, the
Lao people The Lao people are a Tai ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, ...
. In English, the 's' is pronounced, and not silent. In the
Lao language Lao, sometimes referred to as Laotian (, 'Lao' or , 'Lao language'), is a Kra–Dai languages, Kra–Dai language of the Lao people. It is spoken in Laos, where it is the official language for around 7 million people, as well as in northeas ...

Lao language
, the country's name is '''' () or ''Pathet Lao'' (), both of which literally mean 'Lao Country'.


History


Prehistory and early history

An ancient human skull was recovered in 2009 from the
Tam Pa Ling Cave Tam Pa Ling (''Cave of the Monkeys'') is a cave in the Annamite Mountains The Annamite Range or the Annamese Mountains (french: Chaîne annamitique; lo, ພູ ຫລວງ ''Phou Luang''; vi, Dãy (núi) Trường Sơn) is a major mountai ...
in the
Annamite Mountains The Annamite Range or the Annamese Mountains (french: Chaîne annamitique; lo, ພູ ຫລວງ ''Phou Luang''; vi, Dãy (núi) Trường Sơn) is a major mountain range of eastern Indochina Mainland Southeast Asia (or the Indochinese ...
in northern Laos; the skull is at least 46,000 years old, making it the oldest modern human fossil found to date in Southeast Asia. Stone artifacts including
Hoabinhian The term Hòa Bình culture ( vi, Văn hóa Hòa Bình, in French ''culture de Hoà Bình'') was first used by French archaeologists working in Northern Vietnam to describe Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch. It began ...
types have been found at sites dating to the Late
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
in northern Laos. Archaeological evidence suggests an agriculturist society developed during the 4th millennium BC. Burial jars and other kinds of sepulchers suggest a complex society in which bronze objects appeared around 1500 BC, and iron tools were known from 700 BC. The proto-historic period is characterised by contact with Chinese and Indian civilisations. According to linguistic and other historical evidence, Tai-speaking tribes migrated southwestward to the modern territories of Laos and Thailand from
Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), officially the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (GZAR), is an autonomous region An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, uni ...

Guangxi
sometime between the 8th and 10th centuries.Pittayaporn, Pittayawat (2014). Layers of Chinese Loanwords in Proto-Southwestern Tai as Evidence for the Dating of the Spread of Southwestern Tai
. ''MANUSYA: Journal of Humanities'', Special Issue No 20: 47–64.


Lan Xang

Laos traces its history to the kingdom of Lan Xang ('million elephants'), which was founded in the 14th century by a Lao prince,
Fa Ngum Somdetch Brhat-Anya Fa Ladhuraniya Sri Sadhana Kanayudha Maharaja Brhat Rajadharana Sri Chudhana Negara ລາວ: ສົມເດັດ ພຣະບາດ ອັນຍາ ຟ້າ ລັດທຸຣັນຍາ ສຣີ ສັດຕະນາ ...
, whose father had his family exiled from the
Khmer Empire The Khmer Empire ( km, ចក្រភពខ្មែរ), or the Angkorian Empire ( km, ចក្រភពអង្គរ, link=no), are the terms that historians use to refer to Cambodia Cambodia (; also Kampuchea ; km, កម្ព ...

Khmer Empire
. Fa Ngum, with 10,000 Khmer troops, conquered many Lao principalities in the
Mekong The Mekong or Mekong River is a trans-boundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these river ...

Mekong
river basin, culminating in the capture of
Vientiane Vientiane ( , ; lo, wikt:ວຽງຈັນ, ວຽງຈັນ, ) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Laos, on the banks of the Mekong River near the border with Thailand. Vientiane became the capital in 1573, due to fears of a ...

Vientiane
. Ngum was descended from a long line of Lao kings that traced back to Khoun Boulom. He made
Theravada Buddhism Theravāda (; Pāli Pali () is a Middle Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan liturgical language native to the Indian subcontinent. It is widely studied because it is the language of the ''Pāli Canon'' or ''Tripiṭaka, Tipiṭaka'' as wel ...
the state religion, and Lan Xang prospered. His ministers, unable to tolerate his ruthlessness, forced him into exile to the present-day Thai province of
Nan In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and softwar ...
in 1373, where he died. Fa Ngum's eldest son, Oun Heuan, ascended to the throne under the name
Samsenethai ) } Samsenethai( lo, ສາມແສນໄທ) also called Oun Huan( lo, ອຸ່ນເຮືອນ) was the second king of Lan Xang in Laos. He succeeded his father, Fa Ngum. He ruled from 1372 until 1417. The origin of the name Samsenethai is t ...
and reigned for 43 years. Lan Xang became an important trade centre during Samsenthai's reign, but after his death in 1421 it collapsed into warring factions for nearly a century. In 1520,
Photisarath Photisarath (also spelled Phothisarath, Phothisarat, or Potisarat, lo, ພະເຈົ້າໂພທິສະລາດ, 1501–1547) son of King Visoun of Lanxang, is considered to be the most devout of the Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * ...
came to the throne and moved the capital from
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into We ...

Luang Prabang
to Vientiane to avoid a Burmese invasion.
Setthathirath Setthathirath ( lo, ເສດຖາທິຣາດ; 24 January 1534 – 1571) or Xaysettha ( lo, ໄຊເສດຖາ; th, ไชยเชษฐาธิราช ''Chaiyachetthathirat'') is considered one of the great leaders in Lao__NOTOC__ La ...
became king in 1548, after his father was killed, and ordered the construction of what became the symbol of Laos, . Settathirath disappeared in the mountains on his way back from a military expedition into Cambodia, and Lan Xang fell into more than seventy years of instability, involving both Burmese invasion and civil war. In 1637, when
Sourigna Vongsa Souligna Vongsa (ສຸຣິຍະວົງສາທັມມິກຣາດ ) was the king of Lan Xang The Lao Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao ( lo, ລ້ານຊ້າງ ຮົ່ມຂາວ ''lān sāng hom khāo'', ; "Million Elephants ...
ascended the throne, Lan Xang further expanded its frontiers. His reign is often regarded as Laos's golden age. When he died without an heir, the kingdom split into three principalities. Between 1763 and 1769, Burmese armies overran northern Laos and annexed
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into We ...

Luang Prabang
, while Champasak eventually came under
suzerainty Suzerainty () is a relationship in which one state or other polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized soci ...
. Chao Anouvong was installed as a vassal king of Vientiane by the Siamese. He encouraged a renaissance of Lao fine arts and literature and improved relations with Luang Phrabang. Under Vietnamese pressure, he rebelled against the Siamese in 1826. The rebellion failed, and Vientiane was ransacked. Anouvong was taken to
Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern ...

Bangkok
as a prisoner, where he died. A Siamese military campaign in Laos in 1876 was described by a British observer as having been "transformed into slave-hunting raids on a large scale".


French Laos (1893–1953)

In the late 19th century, Luang Prabang was ransacked by the Chinese
Black Flag Army The Black Flag Army (; ) was a splinter remnant of a bandit group recruited largely from soldiers of ethnic Zhuang background, who crossed the border in 1865 from Guangxi Guangxi (; alternately romanized as Kwanghsi; ; za, Gvangjsih), offic ...
. France rescued King Oun Kham and added Luang Phrabang to the protectorate of
French Indochina French Indochina (previously spelled as French Indo-China; french: Indochine française; vi, Đông Dương thuộc Pháp, , lit. 'East Ocean under French Control; km, សហភាពឥណ្ឌូចិន), officially known as the Indochi ...
. Shortly after, the
Kingdom of Champasak The Kingdom of Champasak (Lao: ຈຳປາສັກ ɕàmpàːsák or Bassac, (1713–1904) was a Lao people, Lao Mueang, kingdom under Nokasad, a grandson of King Sourigna Vongsa, the last king of Lan Xang and son-in-law of the List of ...
and the territory of Vientiane were added to the protectorate. King
Sisavang Vong Sisavang Phoulivong (or Sisavangvong, lo, ພຣະບາທສົມເດັຈພຣະເຈົ້າມະຫາຊີວິຕສີສວ່າງວົງສ໌) (14 July 1885 – 29 October 1959) was king of the Kingdom of Luang Phr ...

Sisavang Vong
of Luang Phrabang became ruler of a unified Laos, and Vientiane once again became the capital. Laos never held any importance for France other than as a buffer state between Thailand and the more economically important Annam and
Tonkin Tonkin, also spelled ''Tongkin'', ''Tonquin'' or ''Tongking'', is an exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a ...

Tonkin
. Laos produced
tin Tin is a with the Sn (from la, ) and  50. Tin is a silvery-colored metal that characteristically has a faint yellow hue. Tin is soft enough to be cut with little force and a bar of tin can be bent by hand with little effort. When bent ...

tin
, rubber, and coffee, but never accounted for more than one percent of French Indochina's exports. By 1940, around 600 French citizens lived in Laos. Under French rule, the Vietnamese were encouraged to migrate to Laos, which was seen by the French colonists as a rational solution to a labour shortage within the confines of an Indochina-wide colonial space.Ivarsson, Søren (2008).
Creating Laos: The Making of a Lao Space Between Indochina and Siam, 1860–1945
'. NIAS Press, p. 102. .
By 1943, the Vietnamese population stood at nearly 40,000, forming the majority in the largest cities of Laos and enjoying the right to elect its own leaders.Stuart-Fox, Martin (1997).
A History of Laos
'. Cambridge University Press, p. 51. .
As a result, 53% of the population of Vientiane, 85% of
Thakhek Thakhek (Lao language Lao, sometimes referred to as Laotian (, 'Lao' or , 'Lao language'), is a Kra–Dai language of the Lao people. It is spoken in Laos, where it is the official language An official language, also called state lang ...
, and 62% of
Pakse Pakse (or ''Pakxe''; : ''Paksé''; : ປາກເຊ 'mouth of the river'; th, ปากเซ), is the capital and most populous city of the southern province of , making it the second most populous city in Laos. At the confluence of the and ...

Pakse
were Vietnamese, with only the exception of
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into We ...

Luang Prabang
where the population was predominantly Lao. As late as 1945, the French drew up an ambitious plan to move massive Vietnamese population to three key areas, i.e., the Vientiane Plain, Savannakhet region, and the
Bolaven Plateau The Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region in southern Laos. Most of the plateau is located within Champasak Province of Laos, though the edges of the plateau are also located in Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu Provinces. It is located between ...

Bolaven Plateau
, which was only derailed by the Japanese invasion of Indochina. Otherwise, according to
Martin Stuart-Fox Martin Stuart-Fox (born 1939) is a retired Australian professor and journalist who writes about the history of Southeast Asia, primarily Laos. In 1963 he was a contributor for the United Press International in Laos. In 1965 he moved to Vietnam and ...
, the Lao might well have lost control over their own country. During World War II in Laos,
Vichy France Vichy France (french: Régime de Vichy; 10 July 1940 – 9 August 1944) is the common name of the French State (') headed by Marshal Philippe Pétain Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known a ...
, Thailand,
Imperial Japan The was a historical nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of Sta ...

Imperial Japan
and
Free France Free France (french: France Libre) was the government-in-exile A government in exile (abbreviated as GiE) is a political group which claims to be a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It ...
occupied Laos. On 9 March 1945, a nationalist group declared Laos once more independent, with Luang Prabang as its capital, but on 7 April 1945 two battalions of Japanese troops occupied the city.Savada, Andrea Matles (editor) (1994) "Events in 1945
''A Country Study: Laos''
Federal Research Division, Library of Congress
The Japanese attempted to force
Sisavang Vong Sisavang Phoulivong (or Sisavangvong, lo, ພຣະບາທສົມເດັຈພຣະເຈົ້າມະຫາຊີວິຕສີສວ່າງວົງສ໌) (14 July 1885 – 29 October 1959) was king of the Kingdom of Luang Phr ...

Sisavang Vong
(the King of Luang Phrabang) to declare Laotian independence, but on 8 April he instead simply declared an end to Laos's status as a French protectorate. The king then secretly sent Prince
Kindavong Prince Kindavong ( lo, ເຈົ້າກິດາວົງ, 1900 – 30 March 1951) was a Laotian prince and the younger half-brother of Phetsarath Ratanavongsa Prince Phetsarath Ratanavongsa (''Somdej Chao Maha Uparaja Petsaraj Ratanavongsa ''( ...
to represent Laos to the Allied forces and Prince Sisavang as representative to the Japanese. When Japan surrendered, some Lao nationalists (including Prince
Phetsarath Prince Phetsarath Ratanavongsa (''Somdej Chao Maha Uparaja Petsaraj Ratanavongsa ''( lo, ສົມເດັຈເຈົ້າ ມຫາ ອຸປຣາຊ ເພັຊຣາຊ ຣັຕນວົງສາ) (19 January 1890 – 14 October 1959) ...
) declared Laotian independence, but by early-1946, French troops had reoccupied the country and conferred limited autonomy on Laos. During the
First Indochina War The First Indochina War (generally known as the Indochina War in France, and as the Anti-French Resistance War in Vietnam , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Hanoi , coordinates ...
, the
Indochinese Communist Party The Indochinese Communist Party (ICP; vi, Đảng Cộng sản Đông Dương; french: Parti communiste indochinois; Cantonese: 印度支那共產黨; lo, ອິນດູຈີນພັກກອມມູນິດ; km, បក្សកុម្ ...
formed the
Pathet Lao The Pathet Lao ( lo, ປະເທດລາວ , national_anthem = "Pheng Xat Lao") , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Vientiane , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Lao language, Lao , recogni ...
independence organisation. The Pathet Lao began a war against the French colonial forces with the aid of the Vietnamese independence organisation, the
Viet Minh , leader= Ho Chi Minh, successor=Viet Cong The Viet Cong ( vi, Việt Cộng; ), officially known as the National Liberation Front of Southern Vietnam ( vi, Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng miền Nam Việt Nam), was an armed communist ...
. In 1950, the French were forced to give Laos semi-autonomy as an "associated state" within the
French Union French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to ** , which originated in France, and its various dialects ** , a nation and ethnic group identified with France ** , cooking traditions and practices Arts a ...

French Union
. France remained in de facto control until 22 October 1953, when Laos gained full independence as a
constitutional monarchy A constitutional monarchy, parliamentary monarchy, or democratic monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises his authority in accordance with a constitution and is not alone in deciding. Constitutional monarchies differ from ...
.


Independence and Communist rule (1953–present)

The First Indochina War took place across French Indochina and eventually led to French defeat and the signing of a peace accord for Laos at the Geneva Conference of 1954. In 1960, amidst a series of rebellions in the
Kingdom of Laos The Kingdom of Laos was a constitutional monarchy that ruled Laos beginning with its independence on 9 November 1953. It survived until December 1975, when its last king, Sisavang Vatthana, Laotian Civil War, surrendered the throne to the Pathet ...
, fighting broke out between the
Royal Lao Army The Royal Lao Army (French language, French: ''Armée royale du Laos'' – ARL), also designated by its anglicized title RLA, was the Land Component of the Royal Lao Armed Forces (FAR), the official military of the Kingdom of Laos during the Nor ...
(RLA) and the communist
North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a state in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1954, and a country from 1954 to 1976. During the August Revolution following World War ...

North Vietnam
ese and
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
-backed Pathet Lao guerillas. A second Provisional Government of National Unity formed by Prince
Souvanna Phouma Prince Souvanna Phouma (; 7 October 1901 – 10 January 1984) was the leader of the neutralist faction and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Laos several times (1951–1954, 1956–1958, 1960, and 1962–1975). Early life Souvanna Phouma was the s ...
in 1962 was unsuccessful, and the situation steadily deteriorated into large scale
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
between the Royal Laotian government and the Pathet Lao. The Pathet Lao were backed militarily by the
People's Army of Vietnam The People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN; vi, Quân đội Nhân dân Việt Nam), also known as the Vietnamese People's Army (VPA), is the military force of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The PAVN is a part of the Vietnam People's Armed Force ...
(PAVN) and the
Viet Cong The Viet Cong ( vi, Việt Cộng; ), officially known as the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam ( vi, Mặt trận Dân tộc Giải phóng Miền Nam Việt Nam), was an armed communist political revolutionary organization in South ...

Viet Cong
. Laos was a key part of the
Vietnam War {{Infobox military conflict , conflict = Vietnam War , partof = the Indochina Wars The Indochina Wars ( vi, Chiến tranh Đông Dương) were a series of wars fought in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled ...
since parts of Laos were invaded and occupied by
North Vietnam North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV; vi, Việt Nam Dân chủ Cộng hòa), was a state in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1954, and a country from 1954 to 1976. During the August Revolution following World War ...

North Vietnam
for use as a supply route for its war against
South Vietnam South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam (RVN; vi, Việt Nam Cộng Hòa; french: République du Viêt Nam), was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam , image_map ...
. In response, the United States initiated a bombing campaign against the PAVN positions, supported regular and irregular anticommunist forces in Laos, and supported
Army of the Republic of Vietnam The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN; ; french: Armée de la république du Viêt Nam) were the of the from its inception in 1955 to the in April 1975. It is estimated to have suffered 1,394,000 casualties (killed and wounded) during the ...
incursions into Laos. In 1968, the PAVN launched a multi-division attack to help the Pathet Lao fight the RLA. The attack resulted in the RLA largely demobilising, leaving the conflict to irregular ethnic
Hmong Hmong may refer to: * Hmong people #REDIRECT Hmong people#REDIRECT Hmong people The Hmong people ( RPA: ''Hmoob'', Nyiakeng Puachue: "𞄀𞄩𞄰", Pahawh Hmong: "𖬌𖬣𖬵" ) are an ethnic group living mainly in southern China, Vietna ...

Hmong
forces of the "Secret Army" backed by the United States and Thailand, and led by General
Vang Pao Vang Pao ( RPA: ''Vaj Pov'' , Nyiakeng Puachue: 𞄒𞄤𞄲𞄚𞄨𞄳, Pahawh: 𖬖𖬰𖬜 𖬒𖬪𖬵 , Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people fr ...
. Massive aerial bombardments against the PAVN/Pathet Lao forces were carried out by the United States to prevent the collapse of the Kingdom of Laos central government, and to deny the use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail to attack US forces in South Vietnam. Between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos, nearly equal to the 2.1 million tons of bombs the US dropped on Europe and Asia during all of World War II, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population; ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' notes this was "nearly a ton for every person in Laos". Some 80 million bombs failed to explode and remain scattered throughout the country, rendering vast swaths of land impossible to cultivate. Currently
unexploded ordnance Unexploded ordnance (UXO, sometimes abbreviated as UO), unexploded bombs (UXBs), and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are explosive weapons (bombs, shell (projectile), shells, grenades, land mines, naval mines, cluster munition, and other munit ...
(UXO), including
cluster munitions A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases or ejects smaller submunitions. Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to kill personnel and destroy vehic ...
and mines, kill or maim approximately 50 Laotians every year. Because of the particularly heavy impact of cluster bombs during this war, Laos was a strong advocate of the Convention on Cluster Munitions to ban the weapons and was host to the First Meeting of States Parties to the convention in November 2010. In 1975 the Pathet Lao overthrew the royalist government, forcing King Sisavang Vatthana, Savang Vatthana to abdicate on 2 December 1975. He later died under suspicious circumstances in a Re-education camp (Vietnam), re-education camp. Between 20,000 and 62,000 Laotians died during the civil war. The royalists set up a Royal Lao Government in Exile, government in exile in the United States. On 2 December 1975, after taking control of the country, the Pathet Lao government under Kaysone Phomvihane renamed the country as the ''Lao People's Democratic Republic'' and signed agreements giving Vietnam the right to station armed forces and to appoint advisers to assist in overseeing the country. The close ties between Laos and Vietnam were formalised via a treaty signed in 1977, which has since provided direction for Lao foreign policy, and provides the basis for Vietnamese involvement at all levels of Lao political and economic life.Stuart-Fox, Martin (1980).
LAOS: The Vietnamese Connection
'. In Suryadinata, L (Ed.), ''Southeast Asian Affairs'' 1980. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Stuides, p. 191.
Laos was requested in 1979 by Vietnam to end relations with the People's Republic of China, leading to isolation in trade by China, the United States, and other countries.Kingsbury, Damien (2016).
Politics in Contemporary Southeast Asia: Authority, Democracy and Political Change
'. Taylor & Francis, p. 50.
In 1979, there were 50,000 PAVN troops stationed in Laos and as many as 6,000 civilian Vietnamese officials including 1,000 directly attached to the ministries in Vientiane.Savada, Andrea M. (1995).
Laos: a country study
'. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, p. 271.
Prayaga, M. (2005).
Renovation in Vietnam since 1988 a study in political, economic and social change
(PhD thesis)''. Sri Venkateswara University. Chapter IV: The Metamorphosed Foreign Relations, p. 154.
The conflict between Hmong rebels and Laos Insurgency in Laos, continued in key areas of Laos, including in Saysaboune Closed Military Zone, Xaisamboune Closed Military Zone near Vientiane Province and Xiangkhouang Province. From 1975 to 1996, the United States resettled some Indochina refugee crisis, 250,000 Lao refugees from Thailand, including 130,000 Hmong.


Geography

Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, and it lies mostly between latitudes 14th parallel north, 14° and 23rd parallel north, 23°N (a small area is south of 14°), and longitudes 100th meridian east, 100° and 108th meridian east, 108°E. Its thickly forested landscape consists mostly of rugged mountains, the highest of which is Phou Bia at , with some plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand, where the mountains of the Annamite Range form most of the eastern border with Vietnam and the Luang Prabang Range the northwestern border with the Thai highlands. There are two plateaux, the Xiangkhoang Plateau, Xiangkhoang in the north and the
Bolaven Plateau The Bolaven Plateau is an elevated region in southern Laos. Most of the plateau is located within Champasak Province of Laos, though the edges of the plateau are also located in Salavan, Sekong and Attapeu Provinces. It is located between ...

Bolaven Plateau
at the southern end. Laos can be considered to consist of three geographical areas: north, central, and south. Laos had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 5.59/10, ranking it 98th globally out of 172 countries. In 1993 the Laos government set aside 21% of the nation's land area for habitat conservation preservation. The country is one of four in the opium poppy growing region known as the "Golden Triangle (Southeast Asia), Golden Triangle". According to the October 2007 UNODC fact book ''Opium Poppy Cultivation in South East Asia'', the poppy cultivation area was , down from in 2006.


Climate

The climate is mostly tropical savanna and influenced by the monsoon pattern. There is a distinct rainy season from May to October, followed by a dry season from November to April. Local tradition holds that there are three seasons (rainy, cool and hot) as the latter two months of the climatologically defined dry season are noticeably hotter than the earlier four months.


Administrative divisions

Laos is divided into 17 Provinces of Laos, provinces (''khoueng'') and one prefecture (''kampheng nakhon''), which includes the capital city Vientiane (''Nakhon Louang Viangchan''). A new province, Xaisomboun Province, was established on 13 December 2013. Provinces are further divided into Districts of Laos, districts (''muang'') and then villages (''ban''). An "urban" village is essentially a town.


Government and politics

The Lao People's Democratic Republic is one of the world's few
socialist state A socialist state, socialist republic, or socialist country, sometimes referred to as a workers' state or workers' republic, is a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is bor ...
s openly endorsing communism. The only legal political party is the
Lao People's Revolutionary Party The Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Abbreviation, abbr. LPRP; lo, ພັກປະຊາຊົນປະຕິວັດລາວ ''Phak Pasaxon Pativat Lao''; french: Parti révolutionnaire populaire lao) is the founding and governing political ...
(LPRP). With one-party state status of Laos, the
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
(party leader) holds ultimate power and authority over state and government and serves as the supreme leader. the head of state is
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
Thongloun Sisoulith Thongloun Sisoulith ( lo, ທອງລຸນ ສີສຸລິດ; born 10 November 1945) is a Laos, Laotian politician currently serving as General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party since 15 January 2021 and President of Laos sinc ...
. He has been General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, a position making him the ''de facto'' leader of Laos, since January 2021. Government policies are determined by the party through the eleven-member Politburo of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party and the 61-member Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. Laos's first French-written and monarchical constitution was promulgated on 11 May 1947, and declared Laos an independent state within the
French Union French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to ** , which originated in France, and its various dialects ** , a nation and ethnic group identified with France ** , cooking traditions and practices Arts a ...

French Union
. The revised constitution of 11 May 1957 omitted reference to the French Union, though close educational, health and technical ties with the former colonial power persisted. The 1957 document was abrogated in December 1975, when a communist people's republic was proclaimed. A new constitution was adopted in 1991 and enshrined a "leading role" for the LPRP.


Foreign relations

The foreign relations of Laos after the takeover by the Pathet Lao in December 1975 were characterised by a hostile posture toward the West, with the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic aligning itself with the Soviet Bloc, maintaining close ties with the Soviet Union and depending heavily on the Soviets for most of its foreign assistance. Laos also maintained a "special relationship" with Vietnam and formalised a 1977 treaty of friendship and cooperation that created tensions with China. Laos's emergence from international isolation has been marked through improved and expanded relations with other nations such as Russia,
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
,
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
, Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland. Laos–United States relations, Trade relations with the United States were normalised in November 2004 through Congress approved legislation. Laos was admitted into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in July 1997 and acceded to the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states (referred to as ''member states''), or of other organizations through ...
in 2016. In 2005 it attended the inaugural
East Asia Summit The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a regional forum held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeas ...

East Asia Summit
.


Military

On 17 May 2014, Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Douangchay Phichit was killed in a plane crash, along with other top ranking officials. The officials were to participate in a ceremony to mark the liberation of the Plain of Jars from the former Royal Lao government forces. Their Russian-built Antonov An-74, Antonov AN 74-300 with 20 people on board crashed in Xiangkhouang Province.


Hmong conflict

Some Hmong groups fought as CIA-backed units on the royalist side in the Laotian Civil War. After the Pathet Lao took over the country in 1975, the conflict continued in isolated pockets. In 1977, a communist newspaper promised the party would hunt down the "American collaborators" and their families "to the last root". As many as 200,000 Hmong went into exile in Thailand, with many ending up in the US. Other Hmong fighters hid out in mountains in Xiangkhouang Province for many years, with a remnant emerging from the jungle in 2003. In 1989, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with the support of the US government, instituted the Comprehensive Plan of Action, a programme to stem the tide of Vietnamese boat people, Indochinese refugees from Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Under the plan, refugee status was evaluated through a screening process. Recognised asylum seekers were given resettlement opportunities, while the remaining refugees were to be repatriated under guarantee of safety. After talks with the UNHCR and the Thai government, Laos agreed to repatriate the 60,000 Lao refugees living in Thailand, including several thousand Hmong people. Very few of the Lao refugees, however, were willing to return voluntarily. Pressure to resettle the refugees grew as the Thai government worked to close its remaining refugee camps. While some Hmong people returned to Laos voluntarily, with development assistance from UNHCR, allegations of forced repatriation surfaced. Of those Hmong who did return to Laos, some quickly escaped back to Thailand, describing discrimination and brutal treatment at the hands of Lao authorities. In 1993, Vue Mai, a former Hmong soldier and leader of the largest Hmong refugee camp in Thailand, who had been recruited by the US Embassy in
Bangkok Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern ...

Bangkok
to return to Laos as proof of the repatriation programme's success, disappeared in Vientiane. According to the US Committee for Refugees, he was arrested by Lao security forces and was never seen again. Following the Vue Mai incident, debate over the Hmong's planned repatriation to Laos intensified greatly, especially in the United States, where it drew strong opposition from many Conservatism in the United States, American conservatives and some human rights advocates. In a 23 October 1995 ''National Review'' article, Michael Johns (policy analyst), Michael Johns, the former The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert and Republican Party (United States), Republican White House aide, labelled the Hmong's repatriation a Presidency of Bill Clinton, Clinton administration "betrayal", describing the Hmong as a people "who have spilled their blood in defense of American geopolitical interests".Johns, Michael (23 October 1995
"Acts of Betrayal: Persecution of Hmong"
''National Review''.
Debate on the issue escalated quickly. In an effort to halt the planned repatriation, the Republican-led United States Senate, US Senate and United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives both appropriated funds for the remaining Thailand-based Hmong to be immediately resettled in the United States; Clinton, however, responded by promising a veto of the legislation. In their opposition of the repatriation plans, Democratic and Republican Members of Congress challenged the Clinton administration's position that the government of Laos was not systematically violating Hmong human rights. US Representative Steve Gunderson, for instance, told a Hmong gathering: "I do not enjoy standing up and saying to my government that you are not telling the truth, but if that is necessary to defend truth and justice, I will do that." Republicans called several Congressional hearings on alleged persecution of the Hmong in Laos in an apparent attempt to generate further support for their opposition to the Hmong's repatriation to Laos. Although some accusations of forced repatriation were denied, thousands of Hmong people refused to return to Laos. In 1996 as the deadline for the closure of Thai refugee camps approached, and under mounting political pressure, the United States agreed to resettle Hmong refugees who passed a new screening process. Around 5,000 Hmong people who were not resettled at the time of the camp closures sought asylum at Wat Tham Krabok, a Buddhist monastery in central Thailand where more than 10,000 Hmong refugees had already been living. The Thai government attempted to repatriate these refugees, but the Wat Tham Krabok Hmong refused to leave and the Lao government refused to accept them, claiming they were involved in the illegal drug trade and were of non-Lao origin. Following threats of forcible removal by the Thai government, the United States, in a significant victory for the Hmong, agreed to accept 15,000 of the refugees in 2003. Several thousand Hmong people, fearing forced repatriation to Laos if they were not accepted for resettlement in the United States, fled the camp to live elsewhere within Thailand where a sizeable Hmong population has been present since the 19th century. In 2004 and 2005, thousands of Hmong fled from the jungles of Laos to a temporary refugee camp in the Thai province of Phetchabun Province, Phetchabun. Lending further support to earlier claims that the government of Laos was persecuting the Hmong, filmmaker Rebecca Sommer documented first-hand accounts in her documentary, ''Hunted Like Animals'', and in a comprehensive report that includes summaries of refugee claims and was submitted to the UN in May 2006. The European Union,Thailand: EU Presidency Declaration on the situation of Hmong refugees
EU@UN (1 February 2007)
UNHCHR, and international groups have since spoken out about the forced repatriation. The Thai foreign ministry has said that it will halt deportation of Hmong refugees held in Detention Centres in Nong Khai, while talks are underway to resettle them in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States. Plans to resettle additional Hmong refugees in the United States were stalled by provisions of President George W. Bush, George W. Bush's Patriot Act and Real ID Act, under which Hmong veterans of the Secret War, who fought on the side of the United States, are classified as terrorists because of their historical involvement in armed conflict.


Human rights

Human rights violations remain a significant concern in Laos. In The Economist's ''Democracy Index 2016'' Laos was classified as an "authoritarian regime", ranking lowest of the nine ASEAN nations included in the study. Prominent civil society advocates, human rights defenders, political and religious dissidents, and Hmong refugees have disappeared at the hands of Lao military and security forces. Ostensibly, the Constitution of Laos that was promulgated in 1991 and amended in 2003 contains most key safeguards for human rights. For example, Article 8 makes it clear that Laos is a multinational state and is committed to equality between ethnic groups. The constitution also contains provisions for gender equality, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of press and assembly. On 25 September 2009, Laos ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, nine years after signing the treaty. The stated policy objectives of both the Lao government and international donors remain focused upon achieving sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. However, the government of Laos frequently breaches its own constitution and the rule of law, since the judiciary and judges are appointed by the ruling communist party. According to independent non-profit/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Civil Rights Defenders, along with the US State Department, serious human rights violations such as arbitrary detentions, disappearances, free speech restrictions, prison abuses and other violations are an ongoing problem. Amnesty International raised concerns about the ratification record of the Lao government on human rights standards and its lack of co-operation with the UN human rights mechanisms and legislative measures—both impact negatively upon human rights. The organisation also raised concerns in relation to freedom of expression, poor prison conditions, restrictions on freedom of religions, protection of refugees and asylum-seekers, and the death penalty. In October 1999, 30 young people were arrested for attempting to display posters calling for peaceful economic, political and social change in Laos. Five of them were arrested and subsequently sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment on charges of treason. They were to have been released by October 2009, but their whereabouts remain unknown. Later reports have contradicted this, claiming they were sentenced to 20 years in prison. In late February 2017, two of those imprisoned were finally released after 17 years. Laos and Vietnamese (SRV) troops were reported to have raped and killed four Christian Hmong women in Xiangkhouang Province in 2011, according to the US-based non-governmental public policy research organization The Centre for Public Policy Analysis, which also said other Christian and independent Buddhist and Tai folk religion, animist believers were being persecuted. Human rights advocates including Vang Pobzeb, Kerry and Kay Danes, and others have also raised concerns about human rights violations, torture, the arrest and detention of political prisoners as well as the detention of foreign prisoners in Laos including at the infamous Phonthong Prison in Vientiane. According to estimates, around 300,000 people fled to Thailand as a consequence of governmental repressions. Amongst them, 100,000 Hmongs—30% of the entire Hmong population—and 90% of all of Lao intellectuals, specialists, and officials. Moreover, 130,000 deaths can be attributed to the civil war. Laos is an origin country for sexually trafficked persons. A number of citizens, primarily women and girls from all List of ethnic groups in Laos, ethnic groups and foreigners, have been victims of sex trafficking in Laos.


Economy

The Lao economy depends on investment and trade with its neighbors, Thailand, Vietnam, and, especially in the north, China. Pakse, Pakxe has also experienced growth based on cross-border trade with Thailand and Vietnam. In 2009, despite the fact that the government is still officially communist, the Obama administration in the US declared Laos was no longer a Marxist–Leninist state and lifted bans on Laotian companies receiving financing from the Export–Import Bank of the United States, US Export-Import Bank. In 2016, China was the biggest foreign investor in Laos's economy, having invested in US$5.395 billion since 1989, according to Laos Ministry of Planning and Investment's 1989–2014 report. Thailand (invested US$4.489 billion) and Vietnam (invested US$3.108 billion) are the second and third largest investors respectively. The economy receives development aid from the International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank, and other international sources; and also foreign direct investment for development of the society, industry, hydropower and mining (most notably of copper and gold). Subsistence agriculture still accounts for half of the GDP and provides 80% of employment. Only 4% of the country is arable land and a mere 0.3% used as permanent crop land, the lowest percentage in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The irrigated areas under cultivation account for only 28% of the total area under cultivation which, in turn, represents only 12% of all of the agricultural land in 2012. Rice dominates agriculture, with about 80% of the arable land area used for growing rice. Approximately 77% of Lao farm households are self-sufficient in rice. Laos may have the greatest number of rice varieties in the Greater Mekong Subregion. The Lao government has been working with the International Rice Research Institute of the Philippines to collect seed samples of each of the thousands of rice varieties found in Laos. Laos is rich in mineral resources and imports petroleum and gas. Metallurgy is an important industry, and the government hopes to attract foreign investment to develop the substantial deposits of coal, gold, bauxite, tin, copper, and other valuable metals. The mining industry of Laos has received prominent attention with foreign direct investments. This sector has made significant contributions to the economic condition of Laos. More than 540 mineral deposits of gold, copper, zinc, lead and other minerals have been identified, explored and mined. In addition, the country's plentiful water resources and mountainous terrain enable it to produce and export large quantities of hydroelectric energy. Of the potential capacity of approximately 18,000 megawatts, around 8,000 megawatts have been committed for export to Thailand and Vietnam. As of 2021, despite cheap hydro power available in the country, Laos continues to also rely on fossil fuels, coal in particular, in the domestic electricity production. In 2018, the country List of countries by Human Development Index, ranked 139th on the Human Development Index (HDI), indicating medium development. According to the Global Hunger Index (2018), Laos ranks as the 36th hungriest nation in the world out of the list of the 52 nations with the worst hunger situation(s). In 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights conducted an official visit to Laos and found that the country's top-down approach to economic growth and poverty alleviation "is all too often counterproductive, leading to impoverishment and jeopardizing the rights of the poor and marginalised." The country's most widely recognised product may well be Beerlao, which in 2017 was exported to more than 20 countries worldwide. It is produced by the Lao Brewery Company.


Tourism

The tourism sector has grown rapidly, from 80,000 international visitors in 1990, to 1.876 million in 2010, when tourism had been expected to rise to US$1.5857 billion by 2020. In 2010, one in every 11 jobs was in the tourism sector. Export earnings from international visitors and tourism goods are expected to generate 16% of total exports or US$270.3 million in 2010, growing in nominal terms to US$484.2 million (12.5% of the total) in 2020. The European Council on Trade and Tourism awarded the country the "World Best Tourist Destination" designation for 2013 for architecture and history.
Luang Prabang Luang Phabang, (Lao language, Lao: wikt:ຫລວງພະບາງ, ຫລວງພະບາງ/wikt:ຫຼວງພະບາງ, ຫຼວງພະບາງ) or ''Louangphabang'' (pronounced ), commonly Transliteration, transliterated into We ...

Luang Prabang
and Vat Phou are both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Major festivals include Lao New Year celebrated around 13–15 April and involves a water festival similar but more subdued than that of Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. The Lao National Tourism Administration, related government agencies and the private sector are working together to realise the vision put forth in the country's National Ecotourism Strategy and Action Plan. This includes decreasing the environmental and cultural impact of tourism; increasing awareness in the importance of ethnic groups and biological diversity; providing a source of income to conserve, sustain and manage the Lao protected area network and cultural heritage sites; and emphasizing the need for tourism zoning and management plans for sites that will be developed as ecotourism destinations.


Infrastructure

The main international airports are Vientiane's Wattay International Airport and Luang Prabang International Airport with Pakse International Airport also having a few international flights. The national carrier is Lao Airlines. Other carriers serving the country include Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines, AirAsia, Thai Airways and China Eastern Airlines. Much of Laos lacks adequate infrastructure. Laos' railways include a short link to connect Vientiane with Thailand over the First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, and a short portage railway, the Don Det–Don Khon railway, Don Det–Don Khon narrow-gauge railway built by the French in Don Det and Don Khon in Champasak Province. It has been closed since the 1940s. In the late 1920s, work began on the Thakhek–Tan Ap railway that would have run between
Thakhek Thakhek (Lao language Lao, sometimes referred to as Laotian (, 'Lao' or , 'Lao language'), is a Kra–Dai language of the Lao people. It is spoken in Laos, where it is the official language An official language, also called state lang ...
, Khammouane Province and Tân Ấp station in Vietnam through the Mụ Giạ Pass. The scheme was aborted in the 1930s. Announced in 2015, a 414 kilometer high-speed rail line linking Kunming, in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, with the Laotian capital of Vientiane is about 90% completed as of November 2020; the track is being laid, and the line is expected to be operational sometime in 2022. The major roads connecting the major urban centres, in particular Route 13 (Laos), Route 13, have been significantly upgraded in recent years, but villages far from major roads can be reached only through unpaved roads that may not be accessible year-round. There is limited external and internal telecommunication, but mobile phones have become widespread. Ninety-three percent of households have a telephone, either fixed line or mobile. Electricity is available to 93% of the population. ''Songthaews'' are used in the country for long-distance and local public transport.


Water supply

According to the World Bank data conducted in 2014, Laos has met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on water and sanitation regarding the UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme. However, as of 2018, there are approximately 1.9 million of Lao's population who could not access an improved water supply and 2.4 million people without access to improved sanitation. Laos has made particularly noteworthy progress increasing access to sanitation.O'Meally, Simon (2010)
Lao PDR's progress in rural sanitation
. London: Overseas Development Institute
Laos's predominantly rural population makes investing in sanitation difficult. In 1990 only 8% of the rural population had access to improved sanitation. Access rose rapidly from 10 percent in 1995 to 38 percent in 2008. Between 1995 and 2008 approximately 1,232,900 more people had access to improved sanitation in rural areas. Laos's progress is notable in comparison to similar developing countries. The authorities in Laos have recently developed an innovative regulatory framework for public–private partnership contracts signed with small enterprises, in parallel with more conventional regulation of state-owned water enterprises.


Demographics

The term "Laotian" does not necessarily refer to the Lao language, ethnic Lao people, language or customs. It is a political term that includes the non-ethnic Lao groups within Laos and identifies them as "Laotian" because of their political citizenship. Laos has the youngest population of any country in Asia with a median age of 21.6 years. Laos's population was estimated at 7.45 million in 2020, dispersed unevenly across the country. Most people live in valleys of the Mekong River and its tributaries. Vientiane prefecture, the capital and largest city, had about 683,000 residents in 2020.


Ethnicity

The people of Laos are often categorised by their distribution by elevation: (lowlands, midlands and upper high lands) as this somewhat correlates with ethnic groupings. More than half of the nation's population is ethnic Lao—the principal lowland inhabitants, and the politically and culturally dominant people of Laos.UN Demographic Yearbooks
/ref> The Lao belong to the Tai languages, Tai linguistic group who began migrating south from China in the first millennium CE. Ten percent belong to other "lowland" groups, which together with the Lao people make up the Lao Loum (lowland people). In the central and southern mountains, Mon-Khmer-speaking groups, known as Lao Theung or mid-slope Laotians, predominate. Other terms are Khmu, Khamu (Kammu) or Kha as the Lao Loum refer to them to indicate their Austroasiatic language affiliation. However, the latter is considered pejorative, meaning 'slave'. They were the indigenous inhabitants of northern Laos. Some Vietnamese people, Vietnamese, Laotian Chinese and Thai people, Thai minorities remain, particularly in the towns, but many left after independence in the late 1940s, many of whom relocated either to Vietnam, Hong Kong, or to France. Lao Theung constitute about 30% of the population. Hill people and minority cultures of Laos such as the
Hmong Hmong may refer to: * Hmong people #REDIRECT Hmong people#REDIRECT Hmong people The Hmong people ( RPA: ''Hmoob'', Nyiakeng Puachue: "𞄀𞄩𞄰", Pahawh Hmong: "𖬌𖬣𖬵" ) are an ethnic group living mainly in southern China, Vietna ...

Hmong
, Yao people, Yao (Mien) (Hmong–Mien languages, Hmong-Mien), Yao people, Dao, Shan people, Shan, and several Tibeto-Burman languages, Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples have lived in isolated regions of Laos for many years. Mountain/hill tribes of mixed ethno/cultural-linguistic heritage are found in northern Laos, which include the Lua people, Lua and Khmu people who are indigenous to Laos. Collectively, they are known as Lao Sung, Lao Soung or highland Laotians. Lao Soung account for about 10% of the population.


Languages

The official and majority language is
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Lao
, a language of the Tai languages, Tai-Kadai language family. However, only slightly more than half of the population speaks Lao natively. The remainder, particularly in rural areas, speak ethnic minority languages. The Lao alphabet, which evolved sometime between the 13th and 14th centuries, was derived from the ancient Khmer script and is very similar to Thai script. Languages like Khmu language, Khmu (Austroasiatic) and Hmong language, Hmong (Hmong–Mien languages, Hmong-Mien) are spoken by minorities, particularly in the midland and highland areas. A number of Laotian sign languages are used in areas with high rates of congenital deafness. is occasionally used in government and commerce. Laos is a member of the French-speaking organisation of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, La Francophonie. The organization estimates that there are 173,800 French speakers in Laos (2010 est.). English language, English, the language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has become increasingly studied in recent years.


Religion

Sixty-six percent of Laotians were Theravada Buddhism, Buddhist, 1.5 percent Christian, 0.1 percent Muslim, 0.1 percent Jewish, and 32.3 percent were other or traditional (mostly practitioners of Tai folk religion, Satsana Phi) in 2010. Buddhism has long been one of the most important social forces in Laos. Theravada Buddhism has coexisted peacefully since its introduction to the country with the Satsana Phi, local polytheism.


Health

Male life expectancy at birth was at 62.6 years and female life expectancy was at 66.7 years in 2017.Laos
CIA – The World Factbook. Cia.gov. Retrieved on 28 July 2018.
Healthy life expectancy was 54 years in 2007. Government expenditure on health is about four percent of GDP, about US$18 (PPP) in 2006.


Education

The adult literacy rate for women in 2017 was 62.9%; for adult men, 78.1%. In 2004 the net primary enrollment rate was 84%. The National University of Laos is the Lao state's public university. As a low-income country, Laos faces a brain-drain problem as many educated people migrate to developed countries. It is estimated that about 37% of educated Laotians live outside Laos.Fielding, Tony (2015).
Asian Migrations: Social and Geographical Mobilities in Southeast, East, and Northeast Asia
'. Routledge, p. 77. .
Laos was ranked 113th in the Global Innovation Index in 2020.


Culture

Theravada Buddhism is a dominant influence in Lao culture. It is evident throughout the country, expressed in language, temples and the arts and literature. Many elements of Lao culture predate Buddhism. For example, Laotian music is dominated by its national musical instrument, the ''Khene, khaen'', a type of bamboo Pan flute, mouth organ that has prehistoric origins. The ''khaen'' traditionally accompanied the singer in ''mor lam'', the dominant style of folk music. Glutinous rice, Sticky rice is a staple food and has cultural and religious significance to the Lao people. Sticky rice is generally preferred over jasmine rice, and sticky rice cultivation and production is thought to have originated in Laos. There are many traditions and rituals associated with rice production in different environments and among many ethnic groups. For example, Khammu farmers in Luang Prabang plant the rice variety ''khao kam'' in small quantities near the farm house in memory of dead parents, or at the edge of the rice field to indicate that parents are still alive. The ''Sinh (clothing), sinh'' is a traditional garment worn by Lao women in daily life. It is a hand-woven silk skirt that can identify the woman who wears it in a variety of ways.


Cinema

Since the founding of the Lao PDR in 1975, very few films have been made in Laos. The first feature-length film made after the monarchy was abolished is ''Gun Voice from the Plain of Jars'', directed by Somchith Pholsena in 1983, although its release was prevented by a censorship board. One of the first commercial feature-length films was ''Sabaidee Luang Prabang'', made in 2008. The 2017 documentary feature film Blood Road (film), Blood Road was predominantly shot and produced in Laos with assistance from the Lao government, it was recognized with a News & Documentary Emmy Award, News and Documentary Emmy Award in 2018. Australian filmmaker Kim Mordount's first feature film was made in Laos and features a Laotian cast speaking their native language. Entitled ''The Rocket (2013 film), The Rocket'', the film appeared at the 2013 Melbourne International Film Festival and won three awards at the Berlin International Film Festival. One production company's film that has succeeded to produce Lao feature films and gain international recognition is Lao New Wave Cinema's ''At the Horizon'', directed by Anysay Keola, that was screened at the OzAsia Film Festival and Lao Art Media's ''Chanthaly'' (
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Lao
: ຈັນທະລີ) directed by Mattie Do, which was screened at the 2013 Fantastic Fest. In September 2017, Laos submitted ''Dearest Sister'' (
Lao__NOTOC__ Lao may refer to: Laos * Something of, from, or related to Laos, a country in Southeast Asia * Lao people (people from Laos, or of Lao descent) * The Lao language * Lao script, the writing system used to write the Lao language ** Lao (Un ...

Lao
: ນ້ອງຮັກ), Mattie Do's second feature film, to the 90th Academy Awards (or the Oscars) for consideration for List of submissions to the 90th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Foreign Language Film, marking the country's first submission for the Oscars. As of 2018, Laos has three operating theatres dedicated to showing films.


Festivals

There are some public holidays, festivities and ceremonies in Laos. *Hmong New Year (Nopejao) *Bun Pha Wet *Magha Puja *Chinese New Year *Boun Khoun Khao *Boun Pimai *Visakha Puja *Pi Mai/Songkran(Lao New Year) *Khao Phansaa *Haw Khao Padap Din *Awk Phansaa *Bun Nam *Lao National Day (2 December)


Media

All newspapers are published by the government, including two foreign language papers: the English-language daily ''Vientiane Times'' and the French-language weekly ''Le Rénovateur''. Additionally, the Khao San Pathet Lao, the country's official news agency, publishes English and French versions of its eponymous paper. Laos has nine daily newspapers, 90 magazines, 43 radio stations, and 32 TV stations operating throughout the country. , ''Nhân Dân'' ('The People') and the Xinhua News Agency are the only foreign media organisations permitted to open offices in Laos—both opened bureaus in Vientiane in 2011. The Lao government controls all media channels to prevent critique of its actions. Lao citizens who have criticised the government have been subjected to enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and torture.


Polygamy

Polygamy is officially a crime in Laos, though the penalty is minor. The constitution and Family Code bar the legal recognition of polygamous marriages, stipulating that monogamy is the principal form of marriage in the country. Polygamy, however, is still customary among some Hmong people. Only 3.5% of women and 2.1% of men between the ages of 15–49 were in a polygynous union as of 2017.


Sport

The martial art of muay Lao, the national sport, is a form of kickboxing similar to Thailand's muay Thai, Burmese Lethwei and Cambodian Pradal Serey. Association football is the most popular sport in Laos. The Lao League is the top professional league for association football clubs in the country. Since the start of the league, Lao Army F.C. has been the most successful club with 8 titles, the highest number of championship wins. Laos has no tradition in other team sports. In 2017, the country sent a team for the first time to the team events at the Southeast Asian Games. The Laos men's national basketball team, national basketball team competed at the Basketball at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games – Men's tournament, 2017 Southeast Asian Games where it beat Myanmar men's national basketball team, Myanmar in the eighth place game.FIBA LiveStats
FIBA.com, accessed 24 August 2017.


See also

*Drug policy in Laos *Laos Memorial *Outline of Laos *Energy in Laos


Notes


References


External links

* *
Chief of State and Cabinet MembersCountry Profile
at ''BBC News'' {{Authority control Laos, 1949 establishments in Laos Communist states Countries in Asia French-speaking countries and territories Landlocked countries Least developed countries Member states of ASEAN Member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Member states of the United Nations Republics Southeast Asian countries States and territories established in 1949 One-party states