The Laos (democratic Popular republic lao) is a landlocked country of Southeast Asia, surrounded by the Myanmar (or the Burma), the Thailand, the Kampuchea, the Vietnam and the Popular republic of China.
See also: History of Laos
The history of Laos goes back to remote times, before the Christian era, as the enigmatic vestiges of the Plaine show it earthenware jars. About 5th century a. J. - C., an influence of the Khmer kingdoms primitive is felt and, through them, Hindu civilization then the Bouddhisme of civilization Dvaravati. The site of Vat Phu, in the south of the country, goes up at that time.
About the 12th century starts really the history of the country with the arrival of the Tai populations arriving of China of the South. In 1333 is founded the Lan Xang , country of the million elephants . Buddhism is established definitively. With the wire of the centuries, the kingdom is consolidated, and, after Luang Prabang, it is Vientiane which becomes capital in 1550, the kingdom of Chiang May is annexed, it is the apogee of Lane Xang. 17th and 18th centuries will be agitated, the kingdom is parcelled out, the provinces pass under Burmese domination , Chinese or, in 1798, Siamese. Vientiane is taken by the Siamese kingdom.
Laos passes then under the control of Siam (Thailand) which dominated the three kingdoms until the 19th century. In 1893, the action of the vice-consul of France in Luang Pragang, Auguste Pavia, as well as a blockade of the coasts obliged Siam to yield left bank of Mekong (Laos Eastern) then to sign treaties (1902, 1904) recognizing the protectorate of France on the oriental party of Lan-xang (Laos). It is finally integrated into the French Indochinese Union in 1899. As for the Western part of Lan-xang (known as " Issan" /nord-is), it is occupied by Siam…
During the Second world war, the Japan imposed its domination on the French Indo-China, including on Laos. France at the time being controlled by the Mode of Vichy, this domination was exerted in an indirect way, the French administrators remained in station and the Tricolor continued to float on Vientiane. In 1941, the Thailand, allied of Japan, forced only France to yield the territories to the west of the Mekong. Until 1945, Indo-China French was little touched by engagements, but, when the Japanese became aware that they were going to lose the war, they sought to prevent the return of the European colonial powers and supported the independence which was proclaimed on April 8th, 1945 by king Sisavang Vong (under the Japanese pressure). But, after the Japanese defeat, it is the return of the French, who give to the Laotians their autonomy in the French Union about 1946, and it is the national union lao (two linked remaining kingdoms, Champassak and Luang-Prabang…).
At the month of July 1962, a Gouvernement of national union was set up at Laos. The country remained however divided: in the south, the forces anticommunists and neutralists, with north, the Pathet Lao. At that time, the American policy in the area consisted in guaranteeing the Neutralité of Laos and the Kampuchea while actively defending the South Vietnam and the Thailand. In 1962, the president Kennedy concludes an agreement with Vietnam North, stipulating the withdrawal of the Armée popular Vietnamese and the American Armée with the country.
The United States withdrew itself but not North-Vietnam, and the Piste Ho Chi Minh, which crossed Laos, was used more and more to feed the effort of war in the South Vietnam.
In 1963, the Pathet Lao launched an offensive which gave him the control of most of the east and the North-East of the country. The United States gave up engaging of the regular forces but they intensified their clandestine activities in Laos. Teams of the Special Forces infiltrated in the south of the country; and the CIA undertook to arm the Laotian mountain tribes. During this time, the Bombardement S on the Ho Chi Minh track became extensive growing for results than mitigated more.
However, the Méos units equipped by the CIA could not play any military part any more after the loss of their base of Long Cheng in December 1971.
The communist rebellion does not disarm, constant by the Viet Minh against the staggering capacity supported by the United States. A cease-fire intervenes the February 22nd 1973 and, in 1975, the communist movement of the Pathet Lao shift the king Savang Vatthana and seizes the power. King Savang Vatthana and the Khamphoui queen abdicate the December 2nd 1975. The king, the queen and the heir to the throne die in a camp of internment. The Democratic Popular republic of Laos (RPDL) is created with a mode of sole party, causing the exile of approximately 300.000 people, that is to say 10% of the population. One period of co-operation with the the USSR is followed from 1988 of a will of relative opening to the modern economy. Young person wire of king Savang Vatthana, Sauryavong Savang, becomes regent of the kingdom and president of the royal family in exile in the name of the heir to the throne, the prince Soulivong Savang.
See also: Political of Laos
President of the popular Democratic republic lao, Choummaly Souriya Sayasone. Prime Minister, Bouasone Bouphavanh. Parliament, President of the Room, Thongsing Thammavong. Political regime with sole party. The PRPL (Left revolutionary popular lao). The president of the Republic is elected by the Parliament for 5 years. The policy of the government is determined by the Party through Politburo and the Central committee. Part of the ethnos group of the Hmong of the north of the country is in armed struggle against the Communist regime which oppresses them since 1975 because of their choice to fight at the sides of the United States at the time of the Guerre of Vietnam. The current government is shown to want systematically to exterminate the members of this ethnos group who did not succeed in leaving the country and are encircled in the jungle. Into Vientiane on the other hand, certain Hmongs are integrated into the company and occupy for some of high positions in the apparatus of State. The opposition in exile denounces regularly the attacks with the Human rights made against Hmongs in the zone of Saysomboune. Attacks shake the country sporadically, without it being possible to allot them to a precise political movement.
The Laos is member of ASEAN (Association of the nations of the South-East Asia) since July 23rd, 1997. It accommodated, for the first time, the top of the ASEAN from November 24th to December 1st, 2004 with Vientiane.
See also: Subdivisions of Laos
Laos is divided into 16 provinces ( khoueng ), 1 municipalité* ( kampheng nakhon ), and 1 special zone ** ( khetphiset ):
- Province of Sayaboury
- Province of Xieng Khuang
- Province of Houaphan
- Province of Bokeo
- Province of Phongsaly
- Province of Luang Namtha
- Province of Luang Prabang
- Province of Vientiane
- Prefecture of Vientiane *
- Province of Khammouan
- Province of Savannakhet
- special Zone of Xaysomboun **
- Province of Borikhamxay
- Province of Attapeu
- Province of Saravane
- Province of Sékong
- Province of Champasak
See: Cities of Laos
See also: Geography of Laos
Laos is located between 14th and the 22e parallel north. Its surface is of 236.800 km ². It has a border with the China (200 km), the Myanmar (ex-Burma) (150 km), the Thailand (1000 km), the Vietnam (1000 km), and the Kampuchea (150 km). The mountains and the plates occupy more than 70% of the country. Sprinkled by the Mekong, not very navigable because of its irregular flow (1898 km in Laos on a total course of 4200 km), which mainly forms the border with Thailand. The country extends from north in the south on 1.000 km of the borders of China at the border of Kampuchea. It reaches sometimes only one hundred kilometers broad.
Laos consists of mountains and high plateaus. Phou Bia, is the culminating point of the annamitic cordillera (2820 m, area of Xieng-Khouang). The Annamitique cordillera forms in the east the essence of the border with Vietnam. Culminating point: mount Rao Co, 2286 Mr.
Tropical climate characterized by monsoons. Two seasons: season dries from October at April, rain season from May to September. 15/20° in DEC-January, 30° in March - April. November and October can be rainy.
The forest (very degraded) recovers 52,8% of the country.
See also: Economy of Laos
Laos is populated of 6 million inhabitants, of which 85% live in the rural areas.
A serious economic starting cannot be possible without the development of the infrastructures currently centered on the highway network and telecommunications. The whole of the network of infrastructures remains however modest: no the railroad, almost not of phone network, few roads.
Laos opened into 1986 with the “new economic mechanisms”. The Code of the Investments was promulgated in the tread in 1988, followed first Program of structural adjustment adopted in 1989 with the support of the the IMF and the the World Bank. The overseas investments remain modest and go on the trades of tourism (hotel trade, restoration, services) if one excludes the great projects like the hydroelectric stopping of Nam Theun 2, whose Électricité de France is one of the principal partners.
Macro-economic stability in terms of exchange and inflation seems to be maintained and Laos currently profits from the technical assistance of Asian development bank (ADB) to undertake the reforms of the banking environment. With an income per head of 300 dollars, Laos is one of the poorest countries of the world. The international assistance ensures a third of the national budget.
The agricultural sector is most important and accounts for 46,6% of the GDP (2004). Independent source of incomes of the country, it occupies 70 80% of the active population. The cultivable grounds (4%) are primarily dedicated to rice growing. The principal cultures are food (Riz, Maïs, starches), then the Café, the Arachide S (peanuts), the Coton and the Tabac. Laos is the 3rd world producer of Opium behind the Afghanistan and the Myanmar (Burma) close.
Agriculture on Brûlis remains very practiced in Laos. This technique consists in clearing (essartage) future the zones to be cultivated then to burn the residues during the dry season. However, the recent concentration of the population along the road axes accelerates rotation fallow-culture, which contributes to the erosion of the grounds. Indeed, this technique remains viable for low and dispersed population densities, but becomes problematic for the safeguarding of the grounds when the population density is such as times of Jachère become too short to fertilize the grounds.
BreedingBuffalo S, Ox S, Pig S, Goat S, Sheep S and Poultry S.
Laos raises like cattle of the goats, the bulls, the buffaloes, etc
737.208 tourists visited Laos in the year 2000 including approximately 33.000 Americans, 25.000 French, 10.000 Australian. The remainder of the tourists is primarily composed of nationals of the Member States of ASEAN.
Trade and overseas investments
The country turns over gradually to the free trade and the private company since the liberalization of the laws on the overseas investments and the admission of Laos to ASEAN.
Japan is by far that which brings the economic aid most important (18 million dollars in 1999).
The leading vendor is the Thailand (64% of the imports).
The main customers are: Thailand (20%), France (8%), Japan (3%).
See also: Media of Laos
The newspapers of Laos for the majority are controlled by the Ministry for Information and the Culture or by an political organization. There exist several newspapers in language lao (Passasson, Viengchaimay, Pathet lao…). The group of the Presses lao in Foreign languages publishes the Vientiane Times in English and the Rénovateur in French.
This last received in 2003 the Prix of the free expression of the Union of the French-speaking Press, first reward of this type for a newspaper of the country. The agency KPL (Kaosan Pathet lao) publishes a daily English and French bulletin.
En 2003 appears for the first time the bilingual magazine anglo-lao “Update”, first media deprived in Laos. The political subjects are not tackled there. The national radio is diffused on most of the territory. The local editions are controlled by Vientiane.
La television TNL presents every evening a news bulletin in lao, English and certain evenings in French. It is possible to get the foreign press, in particular the Bangkok Post and The Nation in several sales outlets of Vientiane.
See also: Demography of Laos
The population of Laos rises with 5 609 997 inhabitants, divided on 236 800 km ², are one population density of 24 habitants/km ².
- Population growth: 2% per annum
- Birth rate: 35,99 ‰
- Death rate: 11,83 ‰
- infantile Death rate: 85,22 ‰
- average Life expectancy: 55,1 years (men: 53,1 women 57,2)
- Fertility rate: 4,77 children/woman
The population of Laos is made up of 68 ethnos groups according to the Ethnologue S (47 indexed by the Front lao of national construction). Officially, these ethnos groups are classified in three principal groups:
the Lao Lum , or " Lao of the plaines" (35 groups and 68% of the population), of which the language, the lao, belongs to the group tai of the Langues tai-kadai;
- the Lao Theung or " Lao of the versants" , also called Kha, of language my-Khmer (approximately 22%);
- the Lao Sung or " Lao of the sommets" (9%), name which gather the Hmong (or Méos), principal minority ethnos group of the countries and Yao (or Mien), both of language hmong-mien, various groups tai (Tai Daeng, Tai Dam, Tai Dón, Tai Loi, Tai Mène, Tai NUA, Tai CAM) and of tibéto-Burmeses.
Actually, from a Linguistic point of view ethno- , the name of " Lao" applies only to the speakers of the language lao. This one is very close to the Thai isan, the language of the north-eastern area of Thailand. besides
Ethniquement, one regards the Isan Thai as of Lao. The speakers of Thai isan are 15 million, whereas those of Thai are a little more than 20 million. This reality makes say that Thailand is not a country with a dominant ethnos group but a thaïe majority, and a strong minority lao.
Lao Theung consist of several groups which speak different Langues my-Khmer, such Kammu (or Khamu, or Khmu) and Lamet in north, Katang and Makong in the center, the Lava and Loven in the south.
Méo or Hmong is originating in Eastern China (province of Quizhao). They arrived in mass at Laos about 1850, fleeing the repression of the dynasty of the Qing. Méo also live in Vietnam, in China, in Thailand, in Burma. In Laos, since their arrival, they refuse integration education, and prefer food in closed circle.
The name of " Lao" for these various groups not lao testifies to a will to compare them to the majority ethnos group in a great indigenous unit.
There exists an alien minority in addition Chinese E, which accounts for approximately 1% of the population.
See also: Culture of Laos
ReligionVarious religions cohabit in Laos, placed under the authority of the Front lao of national construction (FLEN), structure installation by the Communist government to control the religious activities and the traditions of the minority ethnos groups. The majority of the religious communities coexist in harmony. The majority of the Laotians are of confession Buddhist (Buddhism of the Small Vehicle, or Bouddhisme theravâda. The rites animists are however very widespread in the country, in particular at the minority ethnos groups, but were integrated in the Buddhist worship. Laos counts more than 5.000 pagodas and approximately 22.000 monks, of which 9.000 belong to the permanent clergy. He is necessary to add to it a total of approximately 450 nuns (generally of the widows). The majority of the Laotians are made monks in their life once, for one period which varies one week to the near total of their life. The Christians (catholic, Protestant and Mormon) account for approximately 2% of the population. FLEN distinguishes them inside the religious category “Church of Jesus Christ”. The Catholic church counts approximately 35.000 faithful, often of origin Vietnamese. There are three bishops in Laos, based in Vientiane, Pakse and Thakhek. The Protestants count as for them approximately 60.000 faithful, in particular in the ethnos groups Hmong, Yao and Khmères.
There exist other religious minorities, like the Islam, the Confucianisme, the Foi Baha' IE and the Bouddhisme mahâyâna. Very few Laotians are atheistic or agnostic. The Church of Jesus-Christ of the Saints of the Last Days account a thousand of members, especially present in the provinces of Vientiane and Bokhéo. The Témoins of Jéhovah try to be made recognize officially by the authorities of the country. The Buddhist sect Thammayudh, although incorporated in Buddhism lao in 1975, is still present in the country, in particular in Vientiane. There are approximately 400 practitioners of Islam in Laos, the majority being expatriates of the Middle East or Kampuchean ethnos group Cham. Two mosques are present at Vientiane, one Shiite and the other sunnite. Although recognizing the freedom of worship, guaranteed by the law the Laotian mode frames the practices and is shown rather reticent towards the not-Buddhists
Defense: the army has a total staff complement of 29.000 men of which 25.500 are attached to the Army.
- Navy, 500 men
- Armored vehicles: 30 tanks
- Fighters: 12
Laos has as codes:
- according to the code ISO 3166-1 alpha-2: the
- according to the list Signal level domain: .la
- according to the standard ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 (code list country): LAO
- according to the standard ISO 3166-1 (code list country), code alpha-2 the
- according to the Code list country of the CIO: LAO
- according to the international Code list of the number plates: LAO
- according to the Code list countries used by NATO, alpha-3: the
- according to the Code list countries used by NATO, code alpha-2: the
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