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International Information - L

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LAOS
Laos is a country in Southeast Asia. It is a tropical land of mountains and thick forests drenched by heavy rains. Laos has rich soil and valuable mineral deposits. However, its economy has never been developed. The country's official name is the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Vientiane is its largest city.
France ruled Laos as part of French Indochina for more than 50 years. In 1954, an international agreement recognised Laos as an independent, neutral nation. But civil war broke out in 1960 between Laotian government troops and the Communist-led Pathet Lao (Lao Country) forces. Another international agreement in 1962 failed to settle the differences, and fighting continued throughout the 1960's and early 1970's. In 1975, the Pathet Lao won the war and took control of Laos.
Capital
Vientiane.
Official Language
Lao.
Area
91,429 sq. mi. (236,800 sq. km).
Greatest distances
northwest-southeast, 650 mi. (1,046 km);
northeast-southwest, 315 mi. (510 km).
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 5,015,000; density, 55 persons per sq. mi. (21 persons per sq. km); distribution, 78 percent rural, 22 percent urban. 1985 census - 3,584,803. Estimated 2001 population - 5,732,000.
National Anthem
"Pheng Sat" ("National Music").
Money
Basic unit - kip.
Chief Products
Benzoin, cardamom, cattle, cinchona, citrus fruits, coffee, corn, cotton, leather goods, opium, pottery, rice, silk, silver work, tea, teak, tin, tobacco.
National flag
The flag has a red horizontal stripe at the top and the bottom, and a blue horizontal stripe in the centre. A white circle appears in the centre of the flag. The red symbolises the blood and soul of the Laotian people. The blue stands for prosperity. The white circle represents the promise of a bright future. Adopted in 1975.


LATVIA
Latvia is a European nation that regained its independence in 1991, after more than 50 years of forced annexation to the Soviet Union. Latvia lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. The nation had been independent from 1918 to 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied it and made it one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union.
Riga is Latvia's largest city.
Official Name
Latvijas Republika (Republic of Latvia).
Area
24,749 sq. mi. (64,100 sq. km).
Greatest distances
north-south, 170 mi. (270 km);
east-west, 280 mi. (450 km).
Coastline - 293 mi. (472 km).
Elevation
Highest - Gaizina (mountain), 1,020 ft. (311 m).
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 2,643,000; density, 106 persons per sq. mi. (41 per sq. km); distribution, 73 percent urban, 27 percent rural. 1989 census - 2,680,029. Estimated 2001 population - 2,646,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - barley, flax, oats, potatoes, rye.
Manufacturing - electrical equipment, machinery, primary metals, food products, transportation equipment.
Capital city
Riga
1039 miles from London
GMT +2 hours
International aircraft prefix
YL
International dialling code
00 371
Currency
Lat (LVL)
Language
Lettish, Lithuanian and Russian
Vehicle nationality plates
LV
National holidays
18 November - Independence Day
Embassy details
British Embassy
5J Alunana Street
Riga LV 1010
Telephone (00 371) 7 338 126-31
Opening hours 0900 to 1300/1400 to 1700 (local time)
email british.embassy@apollo.lv
National flag
3 horizontal bands of maroon, white, maroon


LEBANON
Lebanon is a small country at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and the western end of Asia. It has been a centre of transportation, trade, and finance for over 100 years. Sandy beaches lie along its coast, and rugged mountains rise in the interior. Beirut, on the coast, is Lebanon's capital and largest city. About half of the country's people live in the Beirut area. Most of Lebanon's people are Arabs. Almost all the people are either Christians or Muslims.
Political differences between Lebanese Christians, and Lebanese Muslims and their Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) allies erupted into civil war in the mid-1970's. Other rival groups also engaged in fighting. The conflicts caused much death, destruction, and damage to the country's economy. A peace plan ended most of the fighting in 1991.
Area
4,015 sq. mi. (10,400 sq. km).
Greatest distances
north-south, 120 mi. (193 km);
east-west, 50 mi. (80 km).
Coastline - 130 mi. (210 km).
Elevation
Highest - Qurnat as Sawda, 10,115 ft. (3,083 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level.
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 3,082,000; density, 768 persons per sq. mi. (296 per sq. km); distribution, 87 percent urban, 13 percent rural. 1970 census - 2,126,325. Estimated 2001 population - 3,360,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - apples, cherries, cucumbers, grapes, lemons, oranges, peaches, sugar beets, tomatoes.
Manufacturing - cement, chemicals, electric appliances, furniture, processed foods, textiles.
Capital city
Beirut
2146 miles from London
GMT +2 hours
International aircraft prefix
OD
International dialling code
00 961
Currency
Lebanese Pound (LBP)
Language
Arabic, French and English
National holidays
22 November - Independence Day
Embassy details
British Embassy
8th Street
Rabieh
P O Box 60180
Beirut
Telephone (00 961) (04) 417007
email britishemb@britishembassy.org.lb
National flag
3 horizontal bands of red, white and red with a green and brown cedar tree centred in the white band. The cedar tree on the white stripe symbolises holiness, eternity, and peace. Adopted in 1943.


LESOTHO
Lesotho is a rugged, mountainous country that is completely surrounded by the Republic of South Africa. It lies about 200 miles (320 kilometres) inland from the Indian Ocean. Lesotho is sometimes called the Switzerland of Southern Africa because of its beautiful mountain scenery. But it is a poor country. It has only a few manufacturing industries. Many of its people go to South Africa to find jobs.
Lesotho was formerly governed by Britain as the protectorate of Basutoland. It became independent in 1966. Maseru is its largest town.
Capital
Maseru.
Official Languages
English and Sesotho.
Official Name
Kingdom of Lesotho.
Area
11,720 sq. mi. (30,355 sq. km).
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 2,025,000; density, 173 persons per sq. mi. (67 per sq. km); distribution, 77 percent rural, 23 percent urban. 1986 census - 1,447,000. Estimated 2001 population - 2,286,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - beans, cattle, corn, goats, mohair, peas, sheep, sorghum, wheat, wool.
National flag
The flag has diagonal stripes of white, blue, and green. A shield that is part of the country's coat of arms appears in the upper left. The flag was adopted in 1987.
Money
Basic unit - loti.
National Anthem
"Lesotho Fatse La Bo-Ntata Rona" ("Lesotho Our Fatherland").


LIBERIA
Liberia is a country on the west coast of Africa. Liberia was founded in 1822 by freed slaves who were sent there by a colonisation society in the United States. These freed slaves were joined by others who had been freed from slave ships bound for the United States. The name Liberia is derived from a Latin phrase meaning free land.
Liberia's land features include mountains, forested plateaus, and a rugged coastline. The country has a hot, humid climate. Most of Liberia's workers farm for a living. Monrovia, is its largest city.
Capital
Monrovia.
Official Language
English.
Area
43,000 sq. mi. (111,369 sq. km).
Greatest distances
east-west, 230 mi. (370 km);
north-south, 210 mi. (338 km).
Coastline - 315 mi. (507 km).
Elevation
Highest - Nimba Mountains, 4,528 ft. (1,380 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 3,136,000; density, 73 persons per sq. mi. (28 per sq. km), distribution, 51 percent rural, 49 percent urban. 1984 census - 2,101,628. Estimated 2001 population - 3,675,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - rubber, cassava, rice, coffee, bananas, cacao.
Forestry - mahogany.
Mining - iron ore.
National Anthem
"All Hail Liberia, Hail."
National flag
The flag has 6 red and 5 white horizontal stripes that represent the 11 signers of the Liberian Declaration of Independence. A white star appears on a dark blue canton in the upper left corner. Adopted in 1847.
Money
Basic unit - Liberian dollar.


LIBYA
Libya is an Arab country in northern Africa. It lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The country is bordered by Egypt and Sudan on the east, Chad and Niger on the south, and Algeria and Tunisia on the west. Tripoli is Libya's largest city.
The vast, dry Sahara covers most of Libya, and the country has few natural resources. But the discovery of petroleum in 1959 injected huge sums of money into Libya's economy. The government of Libya used some of this wealth to improve farmland and provide services for the people.
Almost all of Libya's people are of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry and are Muslims. Until the early 1900's, Libya consisted of three separate geographical and historical regions. It became a united, independent country in 1951. Libya's official name is the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
Capital
Tripoli.
Official Language
Arabic.
Area
679,362 sq. mi. (1,759,540 sq. km).
Greatest distances
north-south, 930 mi. (1,497 km);
east-west, 1,050 mi. (1,690 km).
Coastline - 1,047 mi. (1,685 km).
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 5,587,000; density, 8 persons per sq. mi. (3 per sq. km); distribution, 76 percent urban, 24 percent rural. 1984 census - 3,642,576. Estimated 2001 population - 6,590,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - tomatoes, wheat, livestock, olives, potatoes, dates, citrus fruits, barley.
Manufacturing - petroleum products.
Mining - petroleum.
National Anthem
"Allahu Akbar Fawqa Kayd Al-Motadi" ("God is Greater Than the Aggressor's Malice").
Flag
The flag of Libya is entirely green. Green is the traditional colour of Islam, the religion of most Libyans. Adopted in 1977.
Money
Basic unit - dinar.


LIECHTENSTEIN
Liechtenstein is a tiny country in south-central Europe. It is one of the world's smallest countries. Liechtenstein covers only 62 square miles (160 square kilometres) and has only about 31,000 people.
Liechtenstein lies along the Rhine River between Switzerland and Austria, and has many close ties with the Swiss. Most of the people speak Alemannic, a German dialect. Liechtenstein uses Swiss money, and Switzerland operates its postal, telegraph, and telephone systems. Switzerland also represents Liechtenstein in the country's diplomatic and trade relations.
Like Switzerland, Liechtenstein has maintained its neutrality through several wars. Liechtenstein has not fought in a war since 1866. It has been independent since 1806. Its official name in German, the official language, is Furstentum Liechtenstein (Principality of Liechtenstein). Vaduz is the largest town.
Capital
Vaduz.
Official Language
German.
Area
62 sq. mi. (160 sq. km).
Greatest length - 17.4 mi. (28 km).
Greatest width - 7 mi. (11 km).
Elevation
Highest - 8,527 ft. (2,599 m).
Lowest - 1,411 ft. (430 m).
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 31,000; density, 500 persons per sq. mi. (194 per sq. km); distribution, 80 percent rural, 20 percent urban. 1980 census - 25,215. Estimated 2001 population - 31,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - beef and dairy cattle, fruits and vegetables, wheat.
Manufacturing - ceramics, electronic equipment, fabricated metal products, heating appliances, pharmaceutical products.
Flag
Two horizontal stripes, the upper one blue (for the sky), the lower one red (for the glow of evening fires). A crown representing the prince appears in the upper left.
Money
Basic unit - Swiss franc.


LITHUANIA
Lithuania is a European nation that regained its independence in 1991, after more than 50 years of forced annexation to the Soviet Union. Lithuania lies on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea. It had been independent from 1918 to 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied it and made it one of the 15 republics of the Soviet Union.
Lithuania's economy depends heavily on manufacturing. Important products include chemicals and processed foods. Vilnius is the country's largest city.
Official Name
Lietuvos Respublika (Republic of Lithuania).
Area
25,174 sq. mi. (65,200 sq. km).
Greatest distances
north-south, 175 mi. (280 km);
east-west, 235 mi. (375 km).
Elevation
Highest - Juozapines (hill), 958 ft. (292 m).
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 3,782,000; density, 150 persons per sq. mi. (58 per sq. km); distribution, 72 percent urban, 28 percent rural. 1989 census - 3,689,779. Estimated 2001 population - 3,845,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - beef cattle, dairy products, hogs.
Manufacturing - chemicals, fabricated metal products, electrical equipment, machinery, food products, petroleum products.
Capital city
Vilnius
1069 miles from London
GMT +2 hours
International aircraft prefix
LY
International dialling code
00 370
Currency
Litas (LTL)
Language
Lithuanian, Polish and Russian
Vehicle nationality plates
LT
National holidays
16 February - Statehood Day
Embassy details
British Embassy
Antakalnio 2
LT-2055 Vilnius
Telephone (00 370) (2) 227071
Opening hours 0800 to 1200/1300 to 1630 in summer, 0900 to 1300/1400 to 1730 in winter (local time)
email be-vilnius@britain.lt
National flag
3 equal horizontal bands of yellow, green and red


LUXEMBOURG
Luxembourg is one of Europe's oldest and smallest independent countries. It lies in northwestern Europe where Germany, France, and Belgium meet.
Luxembourg has scenic areas of rolling hills and dense forests. The whitewashed houses of the country's small towns and villages cluster around medieval castles and churches. Luxembourg is one of the world's most industrialised countries. Most of its industries are located in the southwest corner of the country.
Luxembourg was established as an independent state in 963. Its official name is Grand-Duche de Luxembourg in French and Grossherzogtum Luxemburg in German (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg). The city of Luxembourg is the country's largest city.
Form of Government
Constitutional monarchy.
Area
998 sq. mi. (2,586 sq. km).
Greatest distances
north-south, 55 mi. (89 km);
east-west, 35 mi. (56 km).
Elevation
Highest - Buurgplatz, 1,835 ft. (559 m) above sea level, in the Ardennes Mountains.
Lowest - 435 ft. (133 m) above sea level on the Moselle River.
Population
Estimated 1996 population - 398,000; density, 399 persons per sq. mi. (154 per sq. km); distribution, 86 percent urban, 14 percent rural. 1991 census - 384,062. Estimated 2001 population - 411,000.
Chief Products
Agriculture - barley, grapes, oats, potatoes, wheat, livestock.
Mining - iron ore.
Manufacturing - steel, chemicals, plastics, tires, wine.
National Anthem
"Ons Hemecht" ("Our Homeland").
Capital city
Luxembourg
302 miles from London
GMT +1 hour
International aircraft prefix
LX
International dialling code
00 352
Currency
Euro
Language
Luxembourgian, German, French and English
Vehicle nationality plates
L
National holidays
23 June - National Day
Embassy details
British Embassy
14 Boulevard Roosevelt
L-2450 Luxembourg
Telephone (00 352) 22 98 64
Opening hours 0800 to 1200/1300 to 1600 in summer, 0900 to 1300/1400 to 1700 winter (local time)
email britemb@pt.lu
National flag
The flag has horizontal red, white, and blue stripes (top to bottom). The colours come from the coat of arms of Luxembourg. Adopted 1845.


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This page (internatl.html) was last modified on Thursday 26/07/2012