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Independence of Laos


On December 24, 1954, Laos gained its independence from France.
The Lao people migrated into Laos from southern China after the 8th century AD, displacing indigenous tribes now known as the Kha. In the 14th century FaNgum founded the first Laotian state, LanXang. Except for a period of rule by Burma (1574–1637), the LanXang kingdom ruled Laos until 1713, when it split into three kingdoms
Vientiane, Champassak, and LuangPrabang. During the 18th century the rulers of the three Laotian kingdoms became vassals of Siam. France gained control of the region in 1893, and Laos became a French protectorate. In 1945 Japan seized control and declared Laos independent. The area reverted to French rule after World War II. By the end of the First Indochina War, the leftist Pathet Lao movement controlled two provinces of the country. The Geneva Conference of 1954 unified and granted independence to Laos. Pathet Lao forces fought the Laotian government and took control in 1975, establishing the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; about one-tenth of the population fled into neighboring Thailand. Laos held its first election in 1989 and promulgated a new constitution in 1991. Although its economy was adversely affected by the regional economic recession beginning in the mid-1990s, it realized a longtime goal in 1997 when it joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


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