Laos is Southeast Asian country. Located in the Center of the Indochina Peninsula, it covers an area of 236 800 km2. It is bordered by China to the north, Vietnam, to the northeast and east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west, and Myanmar to the northwest. The most important cities are Vientiane, the capital, with 198,800 residents (2004), Savannakhet (58,200 residents), Louang-Prabang (26,500 residents) and Pakxé (50,400 residents).
The country is very mountainous.
The climate is tropical monsoon, with a wet season, from May to October, and with a dry season, from November to April.
It has an economy based on agriculture, with the most important crops being rice, sugar cane, tobacco, corn and tea. The country has some mineral wealth: lignite, potash, bauxite, silver and high quality iron ore (60% iron content). The extractive industry is limited to plaster stone, tin and some precious stones, especially sapphire.
The textile garment industry has some importance and constitutes the second export, the first being wood. Industrial production also includes detergents, soap, plastic products, clothing, tobacco, plywood, electrical wires, non-alcoholic drinks, beer and bottles.
Opium, although illegal, is an extremely lucrative business for the country. For this reason, large quantities of poppies are planted, especially in the North Zone. This fact makes Laos one of the nations that make up the “Golden Triangle”, together with Thailand and Myanmar. Laos’ main trading partners are Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and China.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide emissions, per capita(metric tons, 1999), is 0.1.
The country’s population is estimated at 6 368 481 residents, which corresponds to a density of 26.25 residents/km2. The birth and death rates are, respectively, 35.49% and 11.55%. Average life expectancy is 55.49 years. The value of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.525 and the value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is 0.518 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the population will be 9 448 000 residents. The most important ethnic groups are Lao-Lum (68%), Lao-Theung (22%), Lao-Thai (8%) and Lao-Sung (2%). The most prominent religions are Buddhist, with 58%, and tribal religions, with 34%. The official language is lao.
Following French colonial expansion in Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos became a French protectorate in 1893 and remained under its rule until March 1945, when the French were expelled by the Japanese. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, a Provisional Government was formed. In 1946, the French returned, refused the country’s independence and seized it again. In 1950, Laos became a sovereign state and, four years later, France abandoned the territory. Huge US economic aid followed. But, from that date on, the various ethnic groups entered into successive conflicts. For Laos democracy and rights, please check homeagerly.
Some time later, the country sided with North Vietnam. It was involved in the Vietnam War and fought against the Americans. In 1975, a communist regime gained control of power and the country became the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. But the destruction caused by the war, the withdrawal of American aid, the regime’s new socialist policy and the terrible drought of 1977 prevented development. Since 1980, due to a more liberal policy and aid from the USSR and Vietnam, the situation has improved. Since the 1990s, Vietnam’s influence on the territory has diminished. In 1989 the first elections took place and two years later, the new Constitution was promulgated. However, the country remains a victim of past climate problems and wars.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Laos, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Laos. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Laos
Examine the political and shaded relief maps of Laos, a southeastern Asian country, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam. View an Indochina ethnolinguistic groups map.
Laos – Merriam-Webster Atlas
View a detailed, colored map of this southeast Asian country, including major cities. Also, read a brief historical summary and country facts.
Laos – National Geographic
View a satellite-created map of this southeast Asian country. With zooming, and featuring find cities, land features, and bordering countries.
Laos Map and Atlas – About.com
Provides a simple, easy-to-read and print map and country facts and figures for Laos. With links to other Laos resources.