What Is the Capital of Laos?

The Pha That Luang Temple in Vientiane, Laos.
The Pha That Luang Temple in Vientiane, Laos.

Laos is a landlocked country located in the Indochinese Peninsula. The small nation is bordered by China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Laos is a part of the Southeast Asian region. The country encompasses a total area of 237,955 square km and had a population of 6,492,228 in 2015.

What Is the Capital of Laos and Where Is it Located?

The city of Vientiane is located on the Mekong River's bank near the Laos-Thailand border, and is the seat of the country’s national government. With an estimated population of 760,000 in 2015, the city is also the most populous in the nation. Vientiane has a total area of 3,920 square km and an average elevation of 174 m. The city experiences a tropical savanna climate.

History of the Capital City of Laos

According to a Laotian epic, Vientiane was founded on the Mekong River’s eastern banks by a prince named Thattaradtha. However, historians claim the city was an ancient Khmer settlement that formed around a Hindu temple. The indigenous Khmers are believed to have been largely displaced or killed during the 11th and 12th centuries, when the Lao people entered the region. The Lao subsequently established their own kingdom named the Lan Xang in 1354. Vientiane became one of the most important settlements in the kingdom, and in 1563 it became the kingdom's capital. More than a century later, the kingdom was replaced by the Kingdom of Vientiane in 1707. Vientiane suffered greatly during the conflict between the kingdom's army and Siamese forces in 1827. The city was destroyed, valuables and historical artifacts were looted, and the population fled. It was not until the arrival of the French in 1893 that the city was revived. In 1899, Vientiane became the capital of the French protectorate of Laos, which ensured further development in the city. During World War II, the city was briefly captured by Japan, but quickly recaptured by the French. Over the years, Vientiane has experienced civil wars, internal conflicts, and agitations which ultimately led to the freedom of Laos from French rule, and then from monarchial rule in 1975. Laos is now an independent country with an elected government, and Vientiane is its official capital.

Current Role of the Capital of Laos

The nation's most important government buildings, ministries, departments and foreign embassies are located in Vientiane. These include the Presidential Palace and the National Assembly of Laos. The National University of Laos, one of the country's three universities, is located in Vientiane. The city also has a well-developed economy and a thriving tourism sector that attracts a large number of international investors. Pha That Luang, the country’s most revered national monuments, is located in Vientiane.


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