Laos

Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia and is slightly larger than Utah. It borders Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China and Myanmar (Burma). The terrain is mostly rugged, thick forested mountains with scattered plains and plateaus. The Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. It is one of the most beautiful and scenic countries in the world as well as one of the most undeveloped.

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Laos has a tropical monsoon climate with a rainy season (May to November) and a dry season (December to April). The average year-round temperature in Laos is 80 °F (26.5 °C), although it gets quite cold in the mountains. The average low temperature occurs in December and January at 63 °F (17 °C). Laos receives on average 67.5 inches (1714 mm) of precipitation annually or 5.6 inches (143 mm) each month.

The official language is Lao, with French, English and various ethnic languages being spoken. It is ethnicly divided in the following: Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26%.

The religious make-up is as follows: Buddhist 67%, Christian 1.5%, other and unspecified 31.5%

Laos is the most bombed country in the history of the world. The US alone dropped more bombs on Laos during the Vietnam War than it did on Germany and Japan combined in World War II. That’s more than 2.5 million tons. Laos was also bombed by Thailand, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. Well over 30% of this ordinance did not explode when it hit the ground. Annually, between 100 and 300 Lao’s are still killed by this unexploded ordnance every year.

laos village

Typical Lao Village

Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King Fa Ngum. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination 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 and instituting a strict communist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. Insurgency continues against communist rule.

  Girls in Laos Lao Americans
Lao’s who live in the US do not call themselves Lao-Americans. They call themselves Americans who are Lao. They are some of the most patriotic Americans there are. An American who is Lao is a resident of the United States who was originally from Laos, a person of Lao descent residing in America, or a citizen born in the United States whose parents were originally from Laos. Americans who are Lao are included in the larger category of Asian-Americans. The major immigrant generation were generally refugees who escaped Laos during the warfare and disruption of the 1970s, and entered refugee camps in Thailand across the Mekong River. They emigrated to the United States during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

Although many Hmong people are from Laos, they have a distinct culture, language and ethnicity, and identify as a different ethnic group. They are generally identified as Hmong Americans, rather than Americans who are Lao.

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