Laos, officially Lao People's Democratic Republic, independent state of Southeast Asia. Formerly part of the Indochinese Union, also known as French Indochina, Laos gained independence in 1953. The country was drawn into the Vietnam War (1959-1975), and in 1975 a Communist revolutionary movement overthrew Laos's six-century-old monarchy and established a people's republic. Laos is a mountainous, landlocked country, bounded on the north by China, on the east by Vietnam, on the south by Cambodia, and on the west and northwest by Thailand and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). It is rich in resources and has an ethnically varied population. The official language is Lao, and the capital and largest city is Vientiane (Viang Chan).
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