Laos

Laos

Laos is a landlocked country in southeast Asia, bordered by Burma (Myanmar) and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. After a period as a French protectorate, it gained independence in 1949. A long civil war ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975. After taking control of the country, Pathet Lao's government gave Vietnam the right to station military forces and to appoint advisers to assist in overseeing the country. Control by Vietnam and socialization were slowly replaced by a relaxation of economic restrictions in the 1980s and admission into ASEAN in 1997. In 2005, the United States established Normal Trade Relations with Laos. Tourism in the country is centered on Luang Prabang, the ancient royal city with its dozens of temples and palaces. Vientienne, the capitol, is also picturesque and quiet.

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Laos