Laos Key Dates

10th C. AD    Thai tribes begin to settle Laos.
mid 14th C. AD    Laos first united as one kingdom – called the Lan Xang. Bhuddism introduced.
17th C. AD    Lan Xang kingdom extends control over much of central Indochina.
1707    Lan Xang kingdom split into Luang Prabang and Vientiane kingdoms – constant warfare for the next century.
1778-1893    Laos region dominated by Siam (Thailand).
1778    Vientiane captured by Thai army.
1827    Vientiane destroyed in Thai invasion.
1860s    The French arrive in the region. Start of Franco-Thai border clashes.
1893    Laos becomes French protectorate – incorporated into French Indochina.
1899    Creation of a unified Laos under the French.
1942-45    Occupied by Japan. Administered via French Vichy government.
March 1945    Proclamation of Laotian independence encouraged by Japan.
1946    France re-establishes control. Laotian king becomes constitutional monarch.
19 July 1949    Laos is granted self-government within the French Union.
1950    Communist-backed Lao Patriotic Front (LPF) established to oppose French rule.
1951    Pathet Lao founded as the armed wing of the LPF.
1953    Vietnamese Viet Minh & Pathet Lao gain control of northern provinces.
23 October 1953    Independence as a constitutional monarchy.
1954    Geneva Conference agreement gives northern provinces to Pathet Lao and remainder to royalists.
29 December 1954    Laos gains full territorial sovereignty.
1954    Unified Royalist-Pathet Lao government formed.
1958    Elections lead to hostilities between Pathet Lao and right-wing government.
1959-62    Civil war between communists, neutralists and pro-western factions.
1962    Geneva Conference arranges for short-lived coalition government.
1963    Pathet Lao begins armed struggle with royal government.
1964    US commences bombing of North Vietnamese bases in Laos.
1964    Right wing military coup attempt.
1965+    North Vietnamese establish Ho Chi Minh Trail through eastern Laos.
1970    Laotian government troops lose Plain of Jars to North Vietnamese.
1970    CIA activity in Laos revealed.
Jan-March 1971    South Vietnamese troops invade southern Laos with US air support.
1971    North Vietnamese and Pathet Lao forces capture major government positions.
21 Feb 1973    Ceasefire agreed.
29 July 1973    LPF and royal government agree on a political & military settlement.
August 1973    Right-wing coup put down.
April 1974    Coalition government formed with Pathet Lao.
2 Dec 1975    Pathet Lao communists seize power, abolish monarchy and proclaim Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
1977    25-year friendship treaty with Vietnam.
1979    Vietnamese and Laotian forces invade Cambodia and overthrow Pol Pot regime.
1980    Moves towards collective farming abandoned. Government starts promoting private enterprise.
1980    Increasing public resentment over continuing Vietnamese control of the country.
Nov 1980    Laos moves to improve relations with the USA, China and Thailand.
1986    Laos moves towards a more open economic system.
Dec 1987-Feb 1988    Border clashes with Thailand over disputed region.
1988    Vietnam begins major troop withdrawals from Laos.
1988    Further liberalisation of the economy.
1989    First elections held since 1975. All candidates had to be approved by communists.
March 1991    New constitution adopted.
1994    Thailand-Laos bridge over the Mekong opens. First direct road link between the two countries.
1997    Laos joins ASEAN – the Association of South East Asian Nations.
July 1997    Laos and Russia sign a defence co-operation pact.
Feb 2002    Parliamentary elections – communists win all but one seat.

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