Laos, Vientiane, Carol Cassidy | Tien Chiu's Blog
It occurs to me that most of you probably haven't the foggiest where Laos is, so I thought I'd provide some background: Laos is in the center of Southeast Asia, surrounded by Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and China. Very poor country, very little infrastructure, no coastline--so dependent on its neighbors for trade. Laos's existence as an independent country is relatively recent--only since 1954. In ancient history, it was a single kingdom, then split into three kingdoms, each of which fell under foreign domination. Then Thailand took over for a century or two, until the French wrested it away from Thailand. Then the Japanese took it from the French in WWII, it went back to the French after the war, and after an independence movement France granted independence in 1954 (there really wasn't anything there anyway). During the Vietnam War, despite a nominal government, various powers functionally divvied up Laos: China dominated the north, Vietnam the east, Thailand (aka the U.S.) the west