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Laos - Country facts

Map

Small map of Laos
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: Laos

Capital

Vientiane

Currency

kip (LAK)

Internet Code

.la

Location

Southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam

Background

Laos was under the control of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government, ending a six-century-old monarchy. Initial closer ties to Vietnam and socialization were replaced with a gradual return to private enterprise, a liberalization of foreign investment laws, and the admission into ASEAN in 1997.

Climate

tropical monsoon; rainy season (May to November); dry season (December to April)

Terrain

mostly rugged mountains; some plains and plateaus

Population

6,217,141 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Lao Loum (lowland) 68%, Lao Theung (upland) 22%, Lao Soung (highland) including the Hmong and the Yao 9%, ethnic Vietnamese/Chinese 1%

Religions

Buddhist 60%, animist and other 40% (including various Christian denominations 1.5%)

Languages

Lao (official), French, English, and various ethnic languages

Map of Laos

Large map of Laos
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