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Somewhat smaller than the US state of Oregon, Laos is a mountainous Southeast Asian country ruled by communists. The population of this little country is about 3 and a half million people. One of the poorest and most underdeveloped nations of the world, Laos depends on aid from other countries to import delete zero article food and other goods its people need for survival. Most of the people are rice farmers. Few can read and write. Over 80 percent of the country is rugged jungle terrain. The main river is the Mekong River- a system of waterways for irrigation.

About the Laotian history, the first Laotian territory was the seat of the Buddhist kingdom of Lan Xang, founded in 1353 by King Fa Ngum. Laos was invaded by France in 1893 and by Japanese forces in 1941. During World War II King Sisavang Vong proclaimed himself king of all Laos. A new coalition government under Premier Souvanna Phouma that included 5 members of the communist Pathet Lao was sworn in on April 5, 1974.

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