|Lao People's Democratic Republic
ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ
|Motto: "ສັນຕິພາບ ເອກະລາດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ເອກະພາບ ວັດທະນາຖາວອນ"
"Peace, independence, democracy, unity and prosperity"
|Anthem: Pheng Xat Lao
"Hymn of the Lao People"
and largest city
|Official scripts||Lao script|
|Government||Unitary communist and single-party state|
|-||Prime Minister||Thongsing Thammavong|
|-||President of Lao National Assembly||Pany Yathotu|
|-||President of LFNC||Sisavath Keobounphanh|
|-||LPRP General Secretary||Choummaly Sayasone|
|Independence From France|
|-||Autonomy||19 July 1949|
|-||Declared||9 Nov 1953|
|-||Total||236,800 km2 (83rd)
91,428.991 sq mi
|-||2009 estimate||6,800,000 (104th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|-||Total||$15.693 billion (130th)|
|-||Per capita||$2,435 (48th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|-||Total||$6.341 billion (137th)|
|-||Per capita||$984 (147th)|
|HDI (2010)|| 0.497
low · 122nd
|Drives on the||right|
Laos is landlocked (it does not have a coast on a sea or ocean). It is bordered by Myanmar (used to be known in English as "Burma") and by China to the northwest, by Vietnam to the east, by Cambodia to the south, and by Thailand to the west. The Mekong river forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. Boats from Laos cannot get to the ocean using the Mekong because of rapids and waterfalls in the south of the country.
Laos had a long history before becoming a French colony. Fa Ngum created the first unifed Lao Kingdom. In 1949 it became independent from France, as the Kingdom of Laos. Later there was a civil war, and in 1975 it became a republic under control of the communist party.
Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia. The country is slightly smaller than Romania and Colorado. The landscape is mostly rugged mountains. The highest is Phou Bia at 2,818 metres (9,245 feet). The Mekong River forms the border with Thailand. The mountains of the Annamite Range form the eastern border with Vietnam. The climate is tropical. The rainy season is from May to November. The dry season is from December to April. Laos has three seasons (rainy, cold and hot). The capital and largest city is Vientiane.
Laos is divided in 16 provinces and one prefecture.
|5||Hua Phan||Xam Neua||16,500||322,200|
|7||Luang Namtha||Luang Namtha||9,325||150,100|
|8||Luang Phrabang||Luang Phrabang||16,875||408,800|
Government and politics
Laos is one of the world's five remaining communist states. The only legal political party is the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). The head of state is President Choummaly Sayasone. He is the General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party.
Shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) joined forces with the Pathet Lao, started a coup on December 2, 1975 to overthrow the royalist Lao government, and established a communist government that continues to run the country to this day.
The head of government is Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong. Government policies are determined by the party. Important government decisions are checked by the Council of Ministers.
Pha That Luang in Vientiane is the national symbol of Laos.
Pathet Lao soldiers in Vientiane, 1972.
Mekong River flowing through Luang Prabang.
About 80% of the Laotian population practices subsistence agriculture.
Near the sanctuary on the main upper level of Wat Phu, looking back towards the Mekong River.
Lao dancers during the New Year celebration.
Laos Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.