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lao people's democratic republic
- ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ (lao)
- saþalanalat paxaþipatai paxaxōn lao (romanisation)
- république démocratique populaire lao (french)
motto: "ສັນຕິພາບ ເອກະລາດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ເອກະພາບ ວັດທະນະຖາວອນ"
"santiphab ekalad pasaþipatai ekaphāb vadþa na þauaōn" (lao romanisation)
"paix, indépendance, démocratie, unité et prospérité"
(english: "peace, independence, democracy, unity and prosperity")
"pheng xat lao
"(english: "lao national anthem")
location of laos (green)
in asean (dark grey) – [legend]
and largest city
17°58′n 102°36′e / 17°58′n 102°36′e / 17.967; 102.600
|ethnic groups |
- 53.2% lao
- 11% khmu
- 9.2% hmong
- 3.4% phouthai
- 3.1% tai
- 2.5% makong
- 2.2% katang
- 2.0% lue
- 1.8% akha
- 11.6% othera
|religion ||buddhism 64.7%|
tai folk religion 31.4%
|government||unitary marxist–leninist one-party socialist republic|
• party general secretary
• party executive secretary
and vice president
• president of the national assembly
• kingdoms of luang phrabang
|11 may 1947|
|22 october 1953|
|2 december 1975|
|14 august 1991|
|237,955 km2 (91,875 sq mi) (82nd)|
• water (%)
• 2015 census
|26.7/km2 (69.2/sq mi) (151st)|
|gdp (ppp)||2019 estimate|
• per capita
|gdp (nominal)||2019 estimate|
• per capita
|hdi (2018)|| 0.604|
medium · 140th
|currency||kip (₭) (lak)|
|time zone||utc+7 (ict)|
|iso 3166 code||la|
- including over 100 smaller ethnic groups.
laos (/ (listen), /; lao: ລາວ, lāo [láːw]), officially the lao people's democratic republic (lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ, romanized: saþalanalat paxaþipatai paxaxōn lao; french: république démocratique populaire lao), is a socialist state and the only landlocked country in southeast asia. located at the heart of the indochinese peninsula, laos is bordered by myanmar and china to the northwest, vietnam to the east, cambodia to the southeast and thailand to the west and southwest.
present laos traces historic and cultural identity to lan xang, which existed from the 14th century to 18th century as one of the largest kingdoms in southeast asia. due to its central geographical location in southeast asia, the kingdom became a hub for overland trade, turned wealthy economically and culturally. after a period of internal conflict, lan xang broke off into three separate kingdoms—luang phrabang, vientiane, and champasak. in 1893, the three territories came under french protectorate and were united to form what is now known as laos. it briefly gained independence 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. a post-independence civil war began, which saw the communist resistance, supported by the soviet union, fight against the monarchy that later came under influence of military regimes supported by the united states. after the vietnam war ended in 1975, the communist pathet lao movement came to power, ending the civil war. laos was then dependent on military and economic aid from the soviet union until its dissolution in 1991.
in 2018, the country had the fourth highest gdp (ppp) per capita in southeast asia, after singapore, malaysia, and thailand and country ranked 139th on the human development index (hdi), indicating medium development. laos is a member of the asia-pacific trade agreement, asean, east asia summit, and la francophonie. laos applied for membership of the world trade organization in 1997; on 2 february 2013, it was granted full membership. it is a one-party socialist republic, espousing marxism–leninism governed by the lao people's revolutionary party.
in laos, the politically and culturally dominant lao people make up about 55% of the population, mostly in the lowlands. mon-khmer groups, the hmong, and other indigenous hill tribes live in the foothills and mountains. laos's strategies for development are based on generating electricity from rivers and selling the power to its neighbours, namely thailand, china, and vietnam, as well as its initiative to become a "land-linked" nation, shown by the construction of four new railways connecting laos and neighbours. laos has been referred to as one of southeast asia and pacific's fastest growing economies by the world bank with annual gdp growth averaging 7.7% since 2009.