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Fa Ngum-Vtne2 (front-cropped)
Statue of King Fa Ngum

Laos has a long and rich history that dates back thousands of years. The earliest known civilization in Laos was the Kingdom of Lang Xang, also known as the Kingdom of Lan Xang Hom Khao, which was founded in the 14th century. It was a powerful and prosperous kingdom that existed in what is now Laos from the 14th to the 18th century. The kingdom was founded in the 14th century by King Fa Ngum, who united several smaller states and established a capital city at Luang Prabang. During its peak, the Kingdom of Lang Xang controlled a large territory that included much of what is now Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The kingdom was known for its wealth, which was based on agriculture, trade, and the production of valuable goods such as silk and cotton.

In the 18th century, the Kingdom of Lang Xang began to decline, and it was eventually conquered by the Siamese (Thai) kingdom.After the conquest, the Siamese kingdom established a system of administration and control over Laos, which lasted for several centuries. The Siamese also introduced their own culture, language, and religion to Laos, and many Laotians adopted Siamese customs and traditions.

During this period, Laos remained a relatively independent kingdom, but it was subject to Siamese control and influence. The Siamese kingdom also exercised control over other parts of Southeast Asia, including parts of what is now Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

In the 19th century, the Siamese kingdom came under the influence of European powers, including France, which established a protectorate over parts of Southeast Asia, including Laos. In the 19th century, Laos came under the influence of European powers, , which established a Indochina French Laos protectorate over the country. During this time, Laos underwent significant changes, including the introduction of Western ideas, technologies, and religions.

After World War II, Laos gained independence from France, but the country was soon engulfed in civil war and political instability. In the 1970s, Laos became a communist state, and the government embarked on a series of economic and social reforms that aimed to modernize the country.

It is a landlocked (having no coastline) country of northeast-central mainland Southeast Asia. After being colonized by the French from the late 19th to the mid-20th century, Laos cultured had been infused with a European cultural element. After which intensified throughout the country’s embroilment in World War II and the Indochina wars, as well as a civil war of its own in the second half of the 20th century. Laos emerged from the turmoil in 1975 as a communist country guided by Marxist-Leninist ideology. Economic reforms of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, including the development of tourism, have strengthened Laos’s economy, gradually shrinking the country’s debt and diminishing its dependence on international aid.

Laos has a developing economy that is based on agriculture, forestry, and hydroelectric power. The country is known for its natural beauty, including its forests, mountains, and waterfalls, and it is a popular destination for eco-tourism.

The capital and largest city of Laos is Vientiane and the international time used is GMT +7

Phou Pha Thi
Maps of Laos

Where is Laos?[edit | edit source]

Laos is located in the center of Southeast Asia, due to its landlocked nature, it is one of the country that share borders with many countries.

It share borders with 5 countries such as:

(i) North by China

(ii) Northeast and east by Vietnam

(iii) South by Cambodia

(iv) West by Thailand

(v) Northwest by Myanmar(Burma).

What is the currency of Laos?[edit | edit source]

100000 Lao kip

Lao kip is the currency of Laos since 1945 and smaller denomination is att (Historically used: 100att is equal to 1 lao kip, no longer in used due to inflation and weakening currency)

The Lao Kip ກີບ has had several iterations starting in 1945-6 when the government issued the first Free Lao Kip notes. These were quickly replaced when the French introduced the piastre de commerce, the currency used in all of French colonial Indochina. The piastre de commerce was replaced by the Royal Kip in 1954 at the conclusion of the first Indochina War where Laos declared its independence from France.

The currency bank notes denomination is as followed:

₭500, ₭1,000, ₭2,000, ₭5,000, ₭5,000, ₭10,000, ₭20,000, ₭50,000 and ₭100,000.

Note that there are no coins in circulation (No currency for att)

How many people live in Laos?[edit | edit source]

The total population in Laos was estimated at 6.5 million people according to the Laos census figures in 2015.
Laos is an very diverse country with many of the ethnics people living together.

The 3 majority ethnic group of Lao, Khmou and Hmong forms 76.5% of population with Lao ethnic forming the majority of populations at 56.3%, Khmou is the second largest at 11.0% and the Hmong as third largest at 9.2%.

The ethnics tribe of combinations of Phouthay, Tai, Makong, Katang, Lue and Akha forms 15.0% of the populations.

Other smaller ethics group and immigrants forms 11.6% of the populations.

What are the most common languages in Laos?[edit | edit source]

Lao schoolbook with illustrated lao alphabet

Lao, also called Laotian, is the official as well as the dominant language in Laos.

Since it was a former France colony, French are also used by minority of population, and it is the language preferred by elite classes, those in higher professions, diplomats, and elders. Some Lao words have been incorporated into French giving it a local flavor unique to Laos. However, by the 1970s English had begun to slowly displace it.

Starting from 1975 onwards, under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, Vietnamese became the third common languages in Laos and mostly used by the society elite.

What is the most common religion in Laos?[edit | edit source]

The most common religion in Laos is Theravada Buddhism with 64.7% populations practicing it , Christianity with 1.7% population practicing it and other religions forming 33.6% of population practicing it .

What is the sport of Laos?[edit | edit source]

Laotian people played pétanque

National sport in Laos are known as pétanque which are introduced by French colonials in 19th century.

Pétanque is a boules-type of game where the goal is to toss hollow metal balls (called boules) and get them as close as you can to a small wooden target ball (the cochonnet/jack). The player should stand within inside the circle plus with both feet pressed firmly on the ground when they are tossing the boules. This is why you see many pétanque players squatting down when they are throwing boules.

The players are allowed to hit the opponent’s boules and some people take advantage of this to try and push their opponent’s boules away from the jack. The game is won when any of the players have their boules is the nearest to the jack (ideally touching the jack).

When all boules have been thrown, it is time to count the scores. The team that has its boules closest to the jack wins a point and additional points for every boules that is closer to the jack than the closest opponent’s boules. The other team wins no points.The game ends when any of the player/team scores 13 points

What are some important sites?[edit | edit source]

Nong Kiaow
Pha That Luang

Nong Kiaow - Also known by other names ,Muang Ngoi (the name of the surrounding district), it is located amidst gorgeous and towering limestone mountain with twisting river views. On the banks of the Nam Ou River, deep in the countryside of Northern Laos, it's an entrancing, sleepy little spot.

One of the main attractions in Nong Khiaw is the Pha Tok Caves. These can be found some 2 kilometers outside of the town itself and the caves make up a section of the stunning limestone bluffs . These caves are also historically important as it is said to have been the hiding place of Pathet Lao at the time of the Second Indochina War.

Pha That Luang - In the native tongue, it meant “Great Stupa in Lao” as it is one of the most significant monument in Laos. The stupa has several terraces with each level representing a different stage of Buddhist enlightenment. The lowest level represents the material world; the highest level represents the world of nothingness. Pha That Luang was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier Khmer temple. Pha That Luang was smashed by a Siamese invasion in 1828, then later reconstructed by the French in 1931

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