The Hmong (RPA: Hmoob/Moob, IPA: [m̥ɔ̃ŋ]) are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity (苗族) in southern China. Hmong groups began a gradual southward migration in the 18th century due to political unrest and to find more arable land. Hmong are rich in culture, art and family and are distinguished by costume/dress (fabric patterns represent fruit, vegetables, farming, chickens, eggs, etc.)
The United States recruited a number of Hmong people to help fight against the communist Pathet Lao, known as the secret war, during the Laotian Civil War. Hmong people were singled out for retribution when the Pathet Lao took over the Laotian government in 1975, and tens of thousands fled to Thailand seeking political asylum. Thousands of these refugees have resettled in Western countries since the late 1970s, mostly the United States, but also in Australia, France, French Guiana, Canada, and South America. Others have returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs.