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State

Capital

Laos

Vientiane

Currency unit

Kip

Connections

Francophonia

SEA

War Pollution

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

The Laotians are related to the Tai people. They entered present day Laos from southern China in the 8th century AD. The kingdom of Luang Prabang (the former Royal capital) was founded in the 12th century.

The first all-Laotian state was founded in the 14th century. It was allied to the Khmers of the contemporary Angkor state. The whole area was under Burmese rule from 1574-1637.

In the 18th century there were three Laotian states who recognized the Thai ruler as overlord. The state of Vientiane became annexed to the Thai kingdom. When the French conquered the area in the 19th century the Thai provinces inhabited by Laos were annexed to French Indochina. Laos then became a French protectorate in the early 20th century.

Indochina was occupied by the Japanese during world war two. In 1945 the French returned but had to fight a war with Vietnamese nationalists. They recognized Laos as a separate kingdom within the French commonwealth (Union Francaise). In the war with the Vietnamese nationalists (Vietminh), a party of the Laotians, the Pathet Lao, fought in alliance with them.

The 1954 Geneva agreements, by which France was to leave Indochina, declared an independent kingdom of Laos. However, the kingdom was weak and was effectively divided between those who supported North Vietnam (the Pathet Lao) and those who supported South Vietnam (the king's government). A complex civil war with at least three parties took place during this period. When the Americans left South Vietnam in 1975 and Vietnam was unified Laos came under the control of the allies of the Vietnamese. The king was deposed and a People's Republic set up. At present Laos is believed to be still closely allied with Vietnam. It has been a member of COMECON but also of the IMF. The changes in eastern Europe have had some effect but it is too soon to know how much. Laos follows Vietnam which has not changed politically. It is reported that the Laotian economy has moved towards some freedom for private trade.

Although Laos is a sovereign state it seems unlikely that it will act without reference to Vietnam.

In 2000 it was reported that the state remains controlled by its Communist Party but the actual leadership is very obscure. Moreover, it still seems that the Vietnamese are the largest influence on what goes on.

Languages

Lao

Minority tribes

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

In so far as there is a government, it is controlled by a Communist party. Exactly who constitutes this government is not easy to determine.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Market has returned in part. Probably however, the economy is mainly a traditional near-subsistence peasant economy, not much affected by either Communist or western models. The currency is largely worthless.

New transport connections with Thailand (rail line and new bridge) are leading to an opening up to the modern economy.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

Mines and bomblets released, mostly by the US, during the Vietnam war are still found in large numbers, preventing farming and causing injuries.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

Climate effects

Last revised 9/04/09


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