Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1986. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.
I want to make it clear, that the following quote is inaccurate the way it is written. The Lao and Thai language are very similar but because of political differences, they are very different. The people in Lao understand Thai because they are similar. But Thai people refuse to recognize the Lao language and therefore chose to pretend not to understand them. It doesn't make sense for one person to understand a language while another person does not. The Thai government has tried all efforts to remove Lao from their language and therefore refuse to call the Lao people in Thailand as Lao. Instead they call them Issan. Then use the word Issan as a Language. There is not such dialect as Issan. There is just Lao. The Chikra dynasty has occupied the northeastern region of Thailand for over 200 years so the natives are the Lao people. Please stop using the term Issan and use the word Lao to refer to this part of the country.
The languages of Laos and Thailand to the untrained ear may seem similar; however, they are in reality very different. Although most Laotian people will understand spoken and written Thai and even speak Thai, most Thai people outside of Issan (North/North East Thailand) do not understand Lao. The writing of the two languages is also rather different and in general very few Thai read Lao.
Also, in your reference to Thai history clearly refers to this occupation :
In early January 1941, Thailand invaded French Indochina, beginning the French-Thai War. The Thais, better equipped and outnumbering the French forces, easily took Laos. The French decisively won the naval Battle of Koh Chang.
- Addition of Laos 1893
Suchita Vemuri Staff Editor 24th May 2005
In response to - David - Laos is rich in timber, gypsum, tin, gold, gemstones. It has an unusually rich biodiversity and rich forest resources, which are being depleted because of commercial exploitation and hydro-electric projects. With its environment under threat, Laos is seeking to protect its 68 threatened species, including 30 mammals. Also see: http://www.country-studies.com/laos/natural-resources.html