Laos

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in ASEAN  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Laos (pronounced /ˈlɑːoʊs/, /ˈlaʊs/  ( listen), or /ˈleɪɒs/), officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country (population 5.6 million in 2005) in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and People's Republic of China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west. As of 2009 the country's population was estimated at 6.3 million.

Laos traces its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or Land of a Million Elephants, which existed from the 14th to the 18th 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. The official language is Lao. Most people are Buddhist with a significant proportion of indigenous religion as well. It is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), East Asia Summit and La Francophonie.

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