Country Listing

Laos Table of Contents




Stone jars dating back to prehistoric times, Plain of Jars, Xiangkhoang Province
Courtesy Embassy of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Washington

The original inhabitants of Laos were Austroasiatic peoples, who lived by hunting and gathering before the advent of agriculture. Skilled at river navigation using canoes, Laotian traders used routes through the mountains, especially rivers, from earliest times. The most important river route was the Mekong because its many tributaries allowed traders to penetrate deep into the hinterland, where they bought products such as cardamom, gum benzoin, sticklac, and many foods.

Data as of July 1994