August 1, 2013

0778 LAOS - Lao Sung, the highland Lao

A true mosaic of ethnic groups, Laos has, according to Lao Front for National Construction (LFNC), 49 ethnicities consisting of over 160 ethnic groups, which speak a total of 82 distinct living languages, divided into four language groups: the Tai-Kadai family (55%), the Austro-Asiatic family (30%), the Mia-Yao family (10%), and the Sino-Tibetan family (5%). Actually a complete classification of all ethnic groups has never been undertaken in Laos, and detailed ethnographic information about many groups is lacking, so the government divided the people into three groups according to the altitude at which they live, rather than according to ethnic origin: the lowland Lao (Lao Loum) account for 68%, upland Lao (Lao Theung) for 22%, and the highland Lao (Lao Sung, including the Hmong and the Yao) for 9%.

The Lao Sung are Miao-Yao or Tibeto-Burmese speaking peoples who have continued to migrate into Laos from the north within the last two centuries, and live on the tops or upper slopes of the northern mountains, where they grow rice and corn in swidden fields. The Hmong is the most numerous Lao Sung group, Mien (Yao), Akha, Lahu, and other related groups being considerably smaller in numbers and tend to be located in rather limited areas of the north. Because French colonial rule favored the position of lowland Lao, in the early 1900s Lao Theung and Lao Sung groups carried out several rebellions against Lao-Thai as well as French authority, but all were eventually suppressed, leaving unresolved tensions. During the 1950s, significant numbers of Lao Theung and Lao Sung were recruited by the leftist Pathet Lao, and these groups played an important role in the military struggle.

About the stamps
This stamp is part of a series of two, dedicated to the 25th Southeast Asian Games, which was held in Vientiane, in December 2009. The series, designed by Vongsavanh Damlongsouk, was issued on December 9, 2009.

The second stamp is part of the series Lao Handicrafts, issued on March 14, 2011:
• potter (1,000 LAK)
• clay pot (3,000 LAK)
• clay pot (5,000 LAK)
• potter (6,000 LAK) - it's on this postcard

Demographics of Laos - Wikipedia
Laos Ethnic Diversity -
Laos: Lao Sung - Refworld

Sender: Lai Kee Huong (direct swap)
Sent from Luang Prabang (Louangphrabang / Laos) on 06.07.2013

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