Map of Laos, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, China, South China Sea
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Laos shares a similar history with Cambodia, both being made kingdoms that later became a single empire to rise and fall against Siam and Vietnam, until the French intervened and integrated Laos into French Indochina. While under French rule, the corvée law was instituted, where every male had to contribute 10 days of manual labor to the government. Also under French law, Vietnam was given the right to oversee Laos and appoint kings and governors. Laos saw a brief independence in 1945, just after Japanese occupation that took the country from the French. However, Charles De Gaulle reasserted French control, meaning the country did not have recognized independence until 1953. Following true independence, it transitioned to a constitutional monarchy. This transition, as well as Vietnamese and Viet Cong meddling, led to a civil war and the rise of the Pathet Lao communist government, which declared the country to be a single party state.
Under the Pathet Lao, Vietnam was again given rights to administer the country, including to station Vietnamese forces inside Laos and request Lao cease all relations with US and China. The US felt it was important to interrupt traffic on the Ho Chi Minh trail and fought the Pathet Lao so heavily, that as of 2008, Laos became the most heavily bombed country per capita, with an average of a bomb dropped every 8 seconds. The Pathet Lao killed a hundred thousand or more out of a population barely over 400,000. Most atrocities were committed purely against the Hmong, many of whom have fled to Thailand refugee camps, preferring the camps over the discrimination and brutality faced in their homeland. From 1975-1996, the US helped resettle 25,000 people in order to escape the Pathet Lao government. When Laos officials invited a representative of the Hmong to show reparation intentions, he was never seen again.
One third of the population lives in poverty. Along with China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba, Laos is one of the five Communist countries in the world. Luang Prabang, constantly stolen from and regained by Laos is now a World Heritage site. The climate is constant and tropical, with monsoon and dry seasons. Most people live in valleys and foothills.

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