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Laos Nation Report

3345 words - 13 pages


Introduction

My country is Laos. It is a small, poor country in Southeast Asia. The population is about five million. It is 91,400 square miles and the officail language is Lao but french and english is only spoken for buisness purposes mainly. The currency is Kip.

Human beings began living in the present territory of Laos more than 10,000 years ago. Stone tools and skulls were discovered in the Huaphan and Luang Prabang provinces. They did carbon dating on these artifacts and test say there around 10,000 years old. The giant jars in Xieng Khouang province and stone columns in Huaphan province date from the neolithic period. Humans in Laos used iron for their tools as early as the last century B.C.

Community grouping of people slowly formed into townships between the fourth and eight century A.D. on both sides of the Mekong River and along its tributaries. In 1349-1357, a movement emerged under the command of King Fa Ngoum, a national hero, to group the townships into a unified Lan Xang Kingdom, the capital of which stood at Xiengdong Xiengthong, now known as Luang Prabang. From then on, the Kingdom of Lan xang entered into an era of national defence and construction under King Fa Ngoum who first introduced Hinayana Buddhism from the Khmer Kingdom into Laos, which is still the religion professed by the majority of Lao people. From 1479 to 1570, the Lao people were forced to defend the country against foreign aggressors.
     
Under the rule of King Setthathirath, the capital was moved from Xiengdong Xiengthong to Vientiane in 1560. A moat was built to protect the new capital whose name means the rampart if sandalwood. King Setthathirath built a shrine to house the Phra Kaeo, the Emerald Buddha. He also erected the Luang Stupa, a venerated religious shrine which is now the symbol of the Lao nation.

In the seventeenth century, under the reign of King Souliyavongsa, the Kingdom entered its most brilliant era. It was respected by neighbouring countries and was reputed in many countries of the world. in 1694, a Dutch merchand of the East Indian Company, Geritt Van Wuysthoff, and later, two Italian misssionaries, Leria and Marini, visited the Kingdom of Lan Xang. They wrote awed reports on the rich and beautiful palaces and temples, and the splendid religious ceremonies, saying Vientiane was the most magnificient city in South East Asia. At the end of the reign of King Souliyavongsa, the feudal lords of Lan Xang became contenders for the throne which led to the division of the country into three Kingdoms in 1713: Luang Prabang, Vientiane, and Champassak. The division created opportunities for new foreign aggressors. The Lao people fought relentlessly to recover their national independence. The most firece but unsuccessful struggle in the Kingdom of Vientiane was led by King Anouvong, now a National Hero. Vientiane was ransacked completely destroyed by the Siames, with the exception of That Luang and vat Sisaket. The...

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