Laos is a landlocked country in South East Asia, bordered by Burma and People's Republic of China to the North West, Vietnam to the East, Cambodia to the South and Thailand to the West. Laos traces back its history to the Kingdom of Lan Xang or land of a million elephants which existed in the 14th century to the 18th century. After a period as a French Protectorate, Laos gained independence in 1953. A long civil war ended officially when the Communist Party Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975. The first stamps of Laos were issued on 13rd November 1951. Before that stamps of French Indo-China were used.