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Laos: The Land of a Million Elephants
Transcript of Laos: The Land of a Million Elephants
Geography of Laos
Laos is a rural, landlocked country in Southeast Asia surrounded by neighbors Vietnam, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia. It is twice the size of Pennsylvania. The mountainous terrain has dense forests in the northern and eastern areas while the Mekong River flows 1500km along the borders of Myanmar and Thailand.
*Population: 6.5 million (2012)
*Divided into 16 provinces
*Climate: Tropical with rainy season (May-Oct.)
*Currency: Kip (1 THB = 260 LAK)
Religion: Buddhism and Animism
The Lao people are believed to have migrated from Southern China. In Lao history there were three great kings. The first was Chao Fagnum who established the Lao Kingdom around the 14th century. It was called Lan Xang which means "Land of a million elephants". He made Theravada Buddhism the country's religion. Laos' golden age of peace and prosperity was under the rule of Chao Saysethathirath. The last great king was Chao Anouvong who encouraged a renaissance of Lao fine arts and literature. He led a rebellion against Siamese occupied forces in Laos but failed. He was captured, imprisoned in Bangkok, and later died.
Since then, Laos has been invaded by the Chinese, was under the control of France until it gained its independence in 1953, occupied by the Japanese during World War II, and was forced into the Vietnam War. A long civil war finally ended the monarchy when the communist movement came to power on December 2, 1975.
History of Laos
Called Lao or Laotian, they are a multi ethnic & multi -cultural society with 3 main ethnic groups and 49 sub-groups with different dialects. In recent years, there is a growth in the number of other ethnic group such as Vietnamese & Chinese.
1. Lowlanders – 68%, live in the plain & along the Mekong & its tributaries
2. Uplanders – 22%, this group prefers to live on plateaus & slopes of the mountain, mostly in the south
3. Hilltribes – 10%, live in upper elevations & are skill hunters & great farmers
Landmarks & Tourist Sites
Most of the Lao people are subsistence farmers (nearly all the crops and livestock raised on the farm are used to feed the family with little or nothing to sell or trade), hunters and gatherers. New Years along with weddings and funerals are important celebrations for the Lao people.
Food: sticky rice dessert
Life in Pictures & Clothing
Rubber band jump
Old Lao Flag
Lao People's Democratic Republic Flag-1975
1. Luang Prabang – Famous Ting Cave, Royal Palace Museum
2. Xiengkhouang – plain of jars, 2,000 years old stone jars
3. Vientiane – That Luang Stupa , Victory Gate, Wat Phra Keo & Wat Xiengkhuan
4. Champasack – Wat Phu, built around 6th-8th century , & Khon Phrapheng, the great water fall
Caution: Most heavily bombed country in history, especially in the northern provinces and along the eastern boarder (Vietnam). Estimated two million tons, 30% unexploded (80 million bombs), 1,000 injuries and 300 deaths/year of which half are children who mistaken dart-shaped bombs for toys. Bombie education enforced in schools.