Laos History

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Laos has quite long history of nearly 800 years. From 4th to 8th century, communities along the Mekong River began to form into townships, called Mueang. Laos history can be divided into 4 main periods: The period of Lan Xang Kingdom, the period of Civil War, the period of French colonial.

The period of Lanxang Kingdom

According to The official History of Laos as introduced in government textbooks, Lao was first settled with the name Lan Xang (a million elephants ) by the King Fa Ngum in 1353 and capital is located in Xieng Thong (currently Luang Prabang). From 1548 -1571, King Setthathirath  - one of the most notable kings in Laos history decided to move capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. In 16th century, under the rule of King Photisarath, Theravada became the national religion. In the 17th century, under the reign of King Souliyavongsa, the Lane Xang Kingdom entered its most prosperous era which had the first contact with the Western part such as a Dutch merchant of the East India company and the Italian missionary Leria de Marini.

The period of Civil War

In the late 18th century, due to in-fighting for the throne, the Lane Xang Kingdom was broken-up into three kingdoms (Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Champasak).

The period of French colonial

In the 19th century, together with Vietnam and Cambodia, Laos became a colony of France. In the long time, Lao people fought against the colonial regime under the leadership of the Communist Party of Indochina (founded in 1930). The fight ended in success with the Geneva Agreement on Indochina in 1954 which recognized Laos as an independent country.

The situation worsened again during the Indochina War, even though the Geneva Accord of 1962 had recognized the neutrality of Laos and forbade the presence of all foreign military personnel. By bombing the portion of the Ho Chi Minh Trail across Laos, the country had been heavily bombed and became the most heavily bombed nation in history. This bombardment took place particularly in Houaphanh and Xieng Khouang Provinces. Until now, people in the areas continue to suffer from the legacy of that war.

The period of the Communist Government (Contemporary Period)

In 1975, under the leadership of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, Laos achieved complete independence and established the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on 2nd December 1975. At the present, Lao is going on the way to develop country under the rule of Communist Government and proactively integrates with the region and the world.

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