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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Laos (disambiguation).
Coordinates 18N 105E

Lao People's Democratic Republic

??????????? ?????????? ?????????? (Lao)
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Flag of Laos
Emblem of Laos
Motto ???????? ??????? ?????????? ??????? ????????????
Peace, independence, democracy, unity and prosperity
Anthem Pheng Xat Lao
Lao National Anthem
Location of Laos (green)in ASEAN (dark grey) [Legend]
Location of Laos (green)
in ASEAN (dark grey) [Legend]
and largest city Vientiane
1758'N 10236'E
Official languages Lao
Spoken languages
Lao Hmong Khmu
Ethnic groups (2005[1])
53.2% Lao
11% Khmu
9.2% Hmong
3.4% Phouthay
3.1% Tai
2.5% Makong
2.2% Katang
2.0% Lue
1.8% Akha
11.6% othera
Religion Buddhism 64.7%
Laotian folk religion 31.4%
Christianity 1.7%
Other 2.1%
Demonym Laotian
Government Unitary one-party socialist republic
General Secretary and President
Bounnhang Vorachith
Prime Minister
Thongloun Sisoulith
Vice President
Phankham Viphavanh
National Assembly President
Pany Yathotou
Legislature National Assembly
Kingdom of Lan Xang
Luang Phrabang, Vientiane and Champasak
Vassal of Thonburi and Siam
War of Succession
French Indochina
Independence from France
19 July 1949
Declared Independence
22 October 1953
Laotian civil war
9 November 1953 2 December 1975
Lao Monarchy abolished
2 December 1975
Current constitution
14 August 1991
ASEAN Declaration
23 July 1997
237,955 km2 (91,875 sq mi) (82nd)
Water (%)
2016 estimate
6,758,353[2] (104th)
2015 census
26.7km2 (69.2sq mi) (177th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
$44.639 billion[4]
Per capita
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
$14.971 billion[4]
Per capita
Gini (2008) 36.7[5]
HDI (2015) Increase 0.586[6]
medium 138th
Currency Kip (LAK)
Time zone ICT
Date format ddmmyyyy
Drives on the right
Calling code +856
ISO 3166 code LA
Internet TLD .la
Including over 100 smaller ethnic groups.
You may need rendering support to display the Lao text in this article
Laos ('l??o?s (About this sound listen),[7] 'la?s, 'l???s, or 'le??s;[8][9]
Lao ???, Lao pronunciation [l?w], Lao), officially the Lao People's Democratic
Republic (Lao ??????????? ?????????? ??????????, Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon
Lao) or commonly referred to its colloquial name of Muang Lao (Lao ????????, Muang
Lao), is a landlocked country in the heart of the Indochinese peninsula of Mainland
Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar (Burma) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to
the east, Cambodia to the southwest, and Thailand to the west and southwest.[10]

Present day Lao PDR traces its historic and cultural identity to the kingdom of Lan
Xang Hom Khao (Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol), which
existed for four centuries as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia.[11]
Due to Lan Xang's central geographical location in Southeast Asia, the kingdom was
able to become a popular hub for overland trade, becoming wealthy economically as
well as culturally.[11]

After a period of internal conflict, Lan Xang broke off into three separate
kingdoms Luang Phrabang, Vientiane, and Champasak. In 1893, it became a French
protectorate, with the three territories uniting to form what is now known as the
country of Laos. It briefly gained freedom in 1945 after Japanese occupation, but
was recolonised by France until it won autonomy in 1949. Laos became independent in
1953, with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong. Shortly after
independence, a long civil war ended the monarchy, when the Communist Pathet Lao
movement came to power in 1975.

Laos is a one-party socialist republic. It espouses MarxismLeninism and is

governed by the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, in which the party leadership is
dominated by military figures. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Vietnam
People's Army continue to have significant influence in Laos. The capital city is
Vientiane. Other large cities include Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, and Pakse. The
official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country with the politically and
culturally dominant Lao people making up approximately 55 percent of the
population, mostly in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong, and other
indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 45 percent of the population, live in the
foothills and mountains.

Laos' ambitious strategies for development are based on generating electricity from
its rivers and selling the power to its neighbors, namely Thailand, China, and
Vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a 'land-linked' nation, shown by the
planning of four new railways connecting Laos to those same countries.[12] This,
along with growth of the mining sector, Laos has been referred to as one of East
Asia and Pacific's fastest growing economies by the World Bank, with annual GDP
growth averaging 7% for the past decade.[13][14]

It is a member of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), Association of Southeast

Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit and La Francophonie. Laos applied for
membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1997; on 2 February 2013, it
was granted full membership.[15]

According to the non-governmental organisation Transparency International, Laos

persistently ranks within the lower third of all countries in the world regarding
corruption. This has deterred foreign investment and created major problems with
the rule of law, including the nation's ability to enforce contract and business
regulation.[16] This has contributed to a third of the population of Laos currently
living below the international poverty line (living on less than US$1.25 per day).
[17] Laos has a low-income economy, with one of the lowest annual incomes in the
world. In 2014, the country ranked 141st on the Human Development Index (HDI),
indicating lower medium development.[18] According to the Global Hunger Index
(2015), Laos ranks as the 29th hungriest nation in the world out of the list of the
52 nations with the worst hunger situation(s).[19] Laos has also had a poor human
rights record.

Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
2 History
2.1 Early history
2.2 Lan Xang
2.3 French Laos (18931953)
2.4 Independence and Communist Rule (1953present)
3 Geography
3.1 Administrative divisions
3.2 Environmental problems and illegal logging
4 Government and politics
4.1 Military
4.2 Hmong conflict
4.3 Human rights
5 Foreign relations
6 Economy
6.1 Tourism
6.2 Infrastructure
7 Demographics
7.1 Ethnicity
7.1.1 Lao Loum (lowland people)
7.1.2 Lao Theung (midland people)
7.1.3 Lao Soung (highland people)
7.2 Languages
7.3 Religion
7.4 Health
7.5 Education
8 Culture
8.1 Polygamy
8.2 Media
8.3 Sport
9 See also
10 References
11 External links
The English word Laos was coined by the French, who united the three Lao kingdoms
in French Indochina in 1893, and named the country as the plural of the dominant
and most common ethnic group, which are the Lao people.

In the Lao language, the country's name is Muang Lao (????????) or Pathet Lao
(????????) both literally mean Lao Country.[20]

Main article History of Laos
Early history[edit]