Country Vietnam


Nation of SE Asia. A narrow, elongated midsection links the N and S parts of this country that extends for 1,000 miles down the E coast of Indochina. The geographical spread of the country has led to recurring power struggles between its northern and southern regions.

Vietnamese history is legendary before 208 b.c., when a renegade Chinese general founded the kingdom of Nam Viet, covering much of S China and as far S as present Da Nang. In 111 b.c. China reconquered Nam Viet and renamed it Giao Chi and later Giao Chau. In the south, Funan and Champa were founded in the first and second centuries a.d. Funan was conquered by the Khmers from Cambodia, in the eighth century. Champa retained its independence but constantly clashed with its northern neighbor, Vietnam.

From 111 b.c. to a.d. 939 Vietnam, then the northern part of the current nation, was ruled by China. The downfall of the powerful Tang dynasty of China in 907 led to the end of Chinese rule. The Chinese were decisively defeated in 939, and an independent state was formed. The country was unstable until the accession of the Ly dynasty from 1004 to 1225. The Ly rulers called the country Dai Viet, rejecting the Chinese name of Annam, and set up a centralized agricultural state. Dai Viet prospered, but constant attacks by Champa and Cambodia harassed the country. The Tran dynasty, from 1225 to 1400, continued the policies of the Ly and preserved the nation’s sovereignty in the face of continued Champa pressure and a renewed Chinese threat from Kublai Khan. In 1257, 1284, and 1287 enormous invasions by the Mongol Empire were repulsed.

The Tran dynasty was ousted in 1400, and rule passed to a new dynasty, the Le. Vietnam prospered, and a growing population made territorial expansion desirable. Champa was conquered and absorbed in 1471, and the Mekong River delta region was wrested from the declining Cambodian Khmers by 1757, stretching Vietnam’s length to 1,000 miles. During this time the country twice underwent civil wars, pitting rulers of the S and N against each other, and Vietnam was effectively divided until a civil war lasting from 1772 to 1802 reunited the country under Emperor Gia Long. Military assistance from France was instrumental in Gia Long’s assumption of power, and he retained many French advisers in his court. His successor was violently anti-Western and persecuted Christian missionaries and their converts, killing several and setting the stage for French military intervention. In 1857 Napoleon III decided that the time was right for Vietnam’s conquest. After initial reverses, the French army and fleet overcame resistance, and by 1867 France was the undisputed master of the southern part of the country, which they called Cochin China; they referred to the center and north as Annam. Attempts to conquer Annam in 1873 failed, and it took 10 years to mount a successful invasion. After the bombardment of Hue in 1883, Tonkin and Annam became French colonial possessions. In 1887 Vietnam was included with Cambodia in France’s Indochinese Union.

The early years of French rule in Vietnam were marked by rebellion, but with the arrival of governorgeneral Paul Doumer in 1897 firm control was established, and what became known as French Indochina was run with the sole aim of profitable exploitation.

Nationalist sentiment remained strong in Vietnam, and consistent though poorly organized acts of resistance and terror harried the French. In 1930 the Indochinese Communist Party took the forefront of resistance under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. During World War II the Vichy French ran Vietnam as a Japanese possession, but Ho Chi Minh formed an effective fighting opposition known as the Viet Minh.

After the surrender of Japan, Ho proclaimed Vietnamese independence. The French rejected this and recaptured the south. The First Indochinese War, from 1946 to 1954, lasted until the French were beaten at Dien Bien Phu and agreed, in a conference at Geneva, to the temporary partition of the country at the 17th parallel into a communist north and anticommunist south.

With aid from the United States South Vietnam built up a huge military and police apparatus to cope with continuing communist pressure. Starting in 1965, 3,500 U.S. troops entered into direct combat against the communists. By 1968, more than 510,000 U.S. soldiers were fighting against North Vietnam and the guerrilla Vietcong. Tremendous bombing and devastation against both military and civilian targets by the United States were fruitless and met with increased and eventually successful opposition from the U.S. public. From 1970 to 1973 negotiations brought about the withdrawal of all U.S. troops. In 1975 the South Vietnamese government in Saigon fell, and the country became reunified under communist rule. Since then the country has been attempting a slow reconstruction and has continued to meet with hostility in China, the United States, and southeast Asia, especially since its military intervention in Kampuchea in 1978, which continued with the aid of the USSR, a long ally of communist Vietnam.

In the late 1980s changes in national leadership resulted in a policy reorientation toward privatization and efforts to attract foreign investment. In 1991, Do Muoi was chosen as party leader; and relations with China were normalized. By the early 1990s Vietnam had liberalized some of its economy, but continued to exert strong government controls otherwise. In 1994 the U.S. ended its embargo, and in 1995 extended full recognition to Vietnam. Vietnam was admitted to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995. In 1997, Le Kha Phieu became party leader as Vietnam’s economy was affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997–98, and the country was forced to devalue its currency. China and Vietnam signed a treaty settling border disputes in 1999, and another demarcating their territorial waters in the Gulf of Tonkin in 2000. In 2001 Nong Duc Manh, an economic moderate, was selected as party leader. The government has continued to move forward slowly on economic reforms.

Vietnam Images


Vietnam: Top Cities

Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh 3,467,331 Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh 106.67 x 10.75 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Ha Noi 1,431,270 Thu Do Ha Noi 105.84 x 21.02 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Turan 752,493 Tinh Da Nang 108.22 x 16.07 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Haiphong 602,695 Thanh Pho Hai Phong 106.68 x 20.86 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Bien Hoa 407,208 Tinh Dong Nai 106.82 x 10.95 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Hue 287,217 Tinh Thua Thien-Hue 107.60 x 16.47 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Nha Trang 283,441 Tinh Khanh Hoa 109.18 x 12.25 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Can Tho 259,598 Tinh Can Tho 105.78 x 10.03 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Rach Gia 228,356 Tinh Kien Giang 105.08 x 10.02 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Quy Nhon 210,338 Tinh Binh Dinh 109.23 x 13.77 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Vung Tau 209,683 Tinh Ba Ria-Vung Tau 107.08 x 10.35 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Da Lat 197,000 Tinh Lam Dong 108.44 x 11.95 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Nam Dinh 193,499 Tinh Nam Dinh 106.17 x 20.42 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Vinh 163,759 Tinh Nghe An 105.67 x 18.67 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Phan Thiet 160,652 Tinh Binh Thuan 108.10 x 10.93 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Long Xuyen 158,153 Tinh An Giang 105.42 x 10.38 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Can Duoc 152,200 Tinh Long An 106.67 x 10.62 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Ha Long 148,066 Tinh Quang Ninh 107.08 x 20.95 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Buon Ma Thuot 146,975 Tinh Dac Lak 108.05 x 12.67 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Cam Ranh 146,771 Tinh Khanh Hoa 109.16 x 11.92 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Sa Pa 138,622 Tinh Lao Cai 103.84 x 22.34 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Cam Pha Mines 135,477 Tinh Quang Ninh 107.30 x 21.02 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Thai Nguyen 133,877 Tinh Thai Nguyen 105.84 x 21.59 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
My Tho 122,310 Tinh Tien Giang 106.35 x 10.35 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Soc Trang 114,453 Tinh Soc Trang 105.98 x 9.60 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Pleiku 114,225 Tinh Gia Lai 108.00 x 13.98 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Thanh Hoa 112,473 Tinh Thanh Hoa 105.77 x 19.80 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Ca Mau 111,894 Tinh Ca Mau 105.15 x 9.18 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Bac Lieu 107,911 Tinh Bac Lieu 105.72 x 9.29 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh
Yen Vinh 107,082 105.67 x 18.67 Asia/Ho_Chi_Minh