Vietnam

Vietnam

Overview
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam ( ; ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 Peninsula in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. It is bordered by China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the north, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 to the northwest, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 to the southwest, and the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 – referred to in Vietnam as the East Sea – to the east. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2011, Vietnam is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country.

The Vietnamese became independent from Imperial China in 938 AD, following the Battle of Bạch Đằng River.
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Timeline

1226   Tran Thu Do, head of the Tran clan of Vietnam, forces Ly Hue Tong, the last emperor of the Ly dynasty, to commit suicide.

1400   The Tran Dynasty of Vietnam is deposed after 175 years of rule by Ho Quy Ly, a court official.

1803   Emperor Gia Long orders all bronze wares of the Tây Sơn Dynasty to be collected and melted into nine cannons for the Royal Citadel in Huế, Vietnam.

1862   As the Treaty of Saigon was signed, ceding parts of southern Vietnam to France, the guerrilla leader Truong Dinh decides to defy Emperor Tu Duc of Vietnam and fight on against the Europeans.

1885   A peace treaty is signed to end the Sino-French War, with China eventually giving up Tonkin and Annam - most of present-day Vietnam - to France.

1944   World War II: The People's Army of Vietnam is formed to resist Japanese occupation of Indo-China, now Vietnam.

1945   Vietnam War: Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh take power in Hanoi, Vietnam.

1945   Vietnam declares its independence, forming the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

1946   Ho Chi Minh signs an agreement with France which recognizes Vietnam as an autonomous state in the Indochinese Federation and the French Union.

1954   President Dwight Eisenhower warns against United States intervention in Vietnam.

 
Encyclopedia
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam ( ; ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

 Peninsula in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. It is bordered by China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 to the north, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 to the northwest, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

 to the southwest, and the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 – referred to in Vietnam as the East Sea – to the east. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2011, Vietnam is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country.

The Vietnamese became independent from Imperial China in 938 AD, following the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in the mid-19th century. Efforts to resist the French
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

 eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving Vietnam divided politically into two countries. Fighting between the two sides continued, with heavy foreign intervention, during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, which ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.

Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged Communist nation was politically isolated. In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since 2000, and according to Citigroup
Citigroup
Citigroup Inc. or Citi is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States. Citigroup was formed from one of the world's largest mergers in history by combining the banking giant Citicorp and financial conglomerate...

, such high growth is set to continue. Vietnam has the highest Global Growth Generators Index
3G (countries)
3G countries or Global Growth Generators countries are 11 countries economies which have been identified as sources of growth potential and of profitable investment opportunities.-Background:...

 among 11 major economies, and its successful economic reforms resulted in it joining the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 in 2007. However, the country still suffers from relatively high levels of income inequality, disparities in healthcare provision, and poor gender equality
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

.

Etymology


The name Việt Nam (vjə̀tnam) is a variation of "Nam Việt
Nanyue
Nanyue was an ancient kingdom that consisted of parts of the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan and northern Vietnam. Nanyue was established in 204 BC at the final collapse of the Qin Dynasty by Zhao Tuo, who was the military commander of Nanhai Commandery at the time, and...

" (南越; pinyin: Nányuè; literally Southern Việt), a name that can be traced back to the Trieu dynasty of the 2nd century BC. The word "Việt" originated as a shortened form of Bách Việt (百越; pinyin: Bǎiyuè), a word applied to a group of peoples then living in southern China and Vietnam. The form "Vietnam" is first recorded in the 16th-century oracular poem Sấm Trạng Trình. The name has also been found on 12 stele
Stele
A stele , also stela , is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected for funerals or commemorative purposes, most usually decorated with the names and titles of the deceased or living — inscribed, carved in relief , or painted onto the slab...

s carved in the 16th and 17th centuries, including one at Bao Lam Pagoda in Haiphong
Haiphong
, also Haiphong, is the third most populous city in Vietnam. The name means, "coastal defence".-History:Hai Phong was originally founded by Lê Chân, the female general of a Vietnamese revolution against the Chinese led by the Trưng Sisters in the year 43 C.E.The area which is now known as Duong...

 that was carved in 1558. Between 1804 and 1813, the name was used officially by Emperor Gia Long
Gia Long
Emperor Gia Long , born Nguyễn Phúc Ánh , was an emperor of Vietnam...

. It was revived in the early 20th century by nationalists such as Phan Boi Chau
Phan Boi Chau
Phan Bội Châu was a pioneer of Vietnamese 20th century nationalism. In 1903, he formed a revolutionary organization called the “Reformation Society” ....

, and most notably by the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang
Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang
The Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng , also known as the Việt Quốc and the Vietnamese Kuomintang, is the Vietnamese Nationalist Party, a revolutionary socialist political party that sought independence from French colonial rule in Vietnam during the early 20th century...

 (Vietnamese Nationalist Party). The country was usually called Annam
Annam
Annam may refer to:* A name of Vietnam used prior to 1945.* Annam , a former subdivision of French Indochina, now the central region of Vietnam*Annam , a female given name of Arabic origin...

 until 1945, when Emperor Bao Dai
Bao Dai
Bảo Đại , born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy , was the 13th and last ruler of the Nguyễn dynasty. From 1926 to 1945, he was king of Annam under French ‘protection’. During this period, Annam was a protectorate within French Indochina, covering the central two-thirds of the present-day Vietnam...

 changed the official name back to "Việt Nam". Since the use of Chinese characters was discontinued at this time, the alphabetic spelling of Vietnam is now official.

Pre-Dynastic era


The region now known as Vietnam has been inhabited since Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 times, with some archaeological sites in Thanh Hóa Province purportedly dating back several thousand years. Archaeologists have linked the beginnings of Vietnamese civilization to the late Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

-early Bronze Age Phung Nguyen culture, which was centered in what is now Vĩnh Phúc Province
Vinh Phuc Province
Vĩnh Phúc is a province in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is divided into one city , one town , and seven districts:#Bình Xuyên#Lập Thạch#Tam Đảo#Tam Dương#Vĩnh Tường#Yên Lạc- Etymology :...

 between 2000 and 1400 BC.

By about 1200 BC, the development of wet-rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 cultivation and bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 casting in the Ma River
Ma River
The Ma River is a river in Asia, originating in northwestern Vietnam. It runs for 400 km through Vietnam, Laos, and then back through Vietnam, meeting the sea at the Gulf of Tonkin....

 and Red River
Red River (Vietnam)
The Red River , also known as the Sông Cái - Mother River , or Yuan River , is a river that flows from southwest China through northern Vietnam to the Gulf of Tonkin...

 floodplains led to the development of the Dong Son culture
Dong Son culture
The Đông Sơn culture was a prehistoric Bronze Age age in Vietnam centered at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam. At this time the first Vietnamese kingdoms of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc appeared...

, notable for its elaborate bronze drums. The bronze weapons, tools, and drums of Dong Son sites show a Southeast Asian influence that indicates an indigenous origin for the bronze-casting technology.
Many ancient copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 mine
Mining
Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, from an ore body, vein or seam. The term also includes the removal of soil. Materials recovered by mining include base metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone, oil shale, rock...

 sites have been found in northern Vietnam. The Dong Son sites share many similarities with other Bronze Age Southeast Asian sites, including the presence of boat-shaped coffin
Coffin
A coffin is a funerary box used in the display and containment of dead people – either for burial or cremation.Contemporary North American English makes a distinction between "coffin", which is generally understood to denote a funerary box having six sides in plan view, and "casket", which...

s, burial jars, and stilt dwellings, and evidence of the customs of betel-nut-chewing and teeth-blackening.

Dynastic era


The legendary Hồng Bàng Dynasty of the Hùng kings
Hung Vuong
Hùng Vương is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Vietnamese rulers of the Hồng Bàng) period. In antiquity this title began to be used for the ruler who was the religious and political leader of united ancient Vietnam...

 is considered the first Vietnamese state, known in Vietnamese as Văn Lang. In 257 BC, the last Hùng king was defeated by Thục Phán, who consolidated the Lạc Việt and Âu Việt tribes to form the Âu Lạc, proclaiming himself An Dương Vương
An Duong Vuong
An Dương Vương is the title of Thục Phán , who ruled over the ancient kingdom of Âu Lạc from 257 to 207 BCE, after defeating the state of Văn Lang and uniting the two tribes Âu Việt and Lạc Việt...

. In 207 BC, a Chinese general named Zhao Tuo
Zhao Tuo
Zhao Tuo , was the founder of the kingdom of Nanyue |Zhao]]. The state of Zhao was defeated and absorbed by the state of Qin in 222 BC, whereupon Zhao Tuo became a citizen of the state of Qin. He later served in a Qin expeditionary force that was sent south...

 defeated An Dương Vương
An Duong Vuong
An Dương Vương is the title of Thục Phán , who ruled over the ancient kingdom of Âu Lạc from 257 to 207 BCE, after defeating the state of Văn Lang and uniting the two tribes Âu Việt and Lạc Việt...

 and consolidated Âu Lạc into Nanyue
Nanyue
Nanyue was an ancient kingdom that consisted of parts of the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan and northern Vietnam. Nanyue was established in 204 BC at the final collapse of the Qin Dynasty by Zhao Tuo, who was the military commander of Nanhai Commandery at the time, and...

. However, Nanyue was itself incorporated into the empire of the Chinese Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 in 111 BC.

For the next thousand years, Vietnam remained mostly under Chinese rule. Early independence movements, such as those of the Trưng Sisters
Trung Sisters
The Trưng sisters were leaders who rebelled against Chinese rule for three years, and are regarded as national heroines of Vietnam. Their names are Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị ....

 and Lady Triệu
Trieu Thi Trinh
Triệu Thị Trinh was a Vietnamese female warrior in 3rd century AD Vietnam who managed, for a time, to successfully resist the Kingdom of Wu during their occupation of Vietnam...

, were only temporarily successful, but the region did become independent as Vạn Xuân under the Anterior Lý Dynasty
Lý Dynasty
The Lý Dynasty , sometimes known as the Later Lý Dynasty , was a Vietnamese dynasty that began in 1009 when Lý Thái Tổ overthrew the Prior Lê Dynasty and ended in 1225 when the queen Lý Chiêu Hoàng was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh. They ruled Vietnam for a...

 between 544 and 602 AD. By the early 10th century, Vietnam had gained autonomy, but not independence, under the Khúc family.

In 938 AD, the Vietnamese lord Ngô Quyền
Ngo Quyen
Ngô Quyền was a Vietnamese prefect and general during the Southern Han Dynasty occupation of Giao Châu in the Red River Valley in what is now northern Vietnam...

 defeated Southern Han Chinese
Southern Han
Southern Han was a kingdom that existed during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period along China’s southern coast from 917 to 971. The Kingdom greatly expanded her capital city Hing Wong Fu , namely present-day Guangzhou...

 forces at Bạch Đằng River and regained independence after a millennium of Chinese domination
Third Chinese domination (History of Vietnam)
The Third Chinese domination of Vietnam saw two Chinese imperial dynasties rule over the Chinese controlled region of Jiaozhou ....

. Renamed as Đại Việt (en
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: Great Viet), the nation enjoyed a golden era under the
Lý Dynasty
The Lý Dynasty , sometimes known as the Later Lý Dynasty , was a Vietnamese dynasty that began in 1009 when Lý Thái Tổ overthrew the Prior Lê Dynasty and ended in 1225 when the queen Lý Chiêu Hoàng was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh. They ruled Vietnam for a...

 and Trần Dynasties. During the rule of the Trần Dynasty, Đại Việt repelled three Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions of Vietnam
Mongol invasions of Vietnam or Mongol-Vietnamese War refer to the three times that the Mongol Empire and its chief khanate the Yuan Dynasty invaded Đại Việt during the Trần Dynasty and the Kingdom of Champa: in 1257–1258, 1284–1285, and 1287–1288. The Mongols were defeated by Đại...

. Meanwhile, Buddhism
Buddhism in Vietnam
Buddhism in Vietnam as practiced by the ethnic Vietnamese is mainly of the Mahāyāna tradition. Buddhism came to Vietnam as early as the 2nd century CE through the North from Central Asia and via Southern routes from India...

 flourished and became the state religion.

Following the brief rule of the Hồ Dynasty, Vietnamese independence was momentarily interrupted by the Chinese
Fourth Chinese domination (History of Vietnam)
The fourth Chinese domination was a period of the history of Vietnam, from 1407 to 1427 during which the country was ruled by Ming Dynasty administrators.-Sinicizing the country:...

 Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, but was restored by Lê Lợi, the founder of the Lê Dynasty
Lê Dynasty
The Later Lê Dynasty , sometimes referred to as the Lê Dynasty was the longest-ruling dynasty of Vietnam, ruling the country from 1428 to 1788, with a brief interruption....

. The Vietnamese dynasties reached their zenith in the Lê Dynasty of the 15th century, especially during the reign of Emperor Lê Thánh Tông
Lê Thánh Tông
Lê Thánh Tông was emperor of Đại Việt from 1460 until his death. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest emperors of Vietnamese history and the Vietnamese "Hammurabi."-Early years:...

 (1460–1497). Between the 11th and 18th centuries, Vietnam expanded southward in a process known as (southward expansion), eventually conquering the kingdom of Champa
Champa
The kingdom of Champa was an Indianized kingdom that controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through to 1832.The Cham people are remnants...

 and part of the Khmer Empire
Khmer Empire
The Khmer Empire was one of the most powerful empires in Southeast Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former kingdom of Chenla, at times ruled over and/or vassalized parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, and Malaysia. Its greatest legacy is Angkor, the site of the capital city...

.

From the 16th century onwards, civil strife and frequent infighting engulfed much of Vietnam. First, the Chinese-supported Mạc Dynasty challenged the Lê Dynasty's power. After the Mạc Dynasty was defeated, the Lê Dynasty was nominally reinstalled, but actual power was divided between the northern Trịnh Lords and the southern Nguyễn Lords, who engaged in a civil war for more than four decades before a truce was called in the 1670s. During this time, the Nguyễn expanded southern Vietnam into the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

, annexing the central highlands of Tay Nguyen
Tây Nguyên
Tây Nguyên, translated as Western Highlands and sometimes also called Central Highlands, is one of the regions of Vietnam. It contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lâm Đồng....

 and the Khmer lands in the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

.

The division of the country ended a century later when the Tây Sơn brothers established a new dynasty. However, their rule did not last long, and they were defeated by the remnants of the Nguyễn Lords, led by Nguyễn Ánh
Gia Long
Emperor Gia Long , born Nguyễn Phúc Ánh , was an emperor of Vietnam...

 and aided by the French. Nguyễn Ánh unified Vietnam, and established the Nguyễn Dynasty, ruling under the name Gia Long.

French colonisation




Vietnam's independence was gradually eroded by France
French colonial empires
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

 – aided by large Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 collaborator militias – in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885, after which the entire country became part of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

. The French administration imposed significant political and cultural changes on Vietnamese society. A Western-style system of modern education was developed, and Roman Catholicism was propagated widely in Vietnamese society. Most of the French settlers in Indochina were concentrated in Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

 – the southern third of Vietnam – based around the city of Saigon.

Developing a plantation economy
Plantation economy
A plantation economy is an economy which is based on agricultural mass production, usually of a few staple products grown on large farms called plantations. Plantation economies rely on the export of cash crops as a source of income...

 to promote the export of tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, indigo
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 and coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, the French largely ignored increasing calls for Vietnamese self-government and civil rights. A nationalist political movement soon emerged, with leaders such as Phan Boi Chau
Phan Boi Chau
Phan Bội Châu was a pioneer of Vietnamese 20th century nationalism. In 1903, he formed a revolutionary organization called the “Reformation Society” ....

, Phan Chu Trinh
Phan Chu Trinh
Phan Chu Trinh also known as Phan Châu Trinh was a famous early 20th century Vietnamese nationalist. He also used the alias Tây Hồ. He sought to end France's brutal occupation of Vietnam...

, Phan Dinh Phung
Phan Dinh Phung
Phan Đình Phùng was a Vietnamese revolutionary who led rebel armies against French colonial forces in Vietnam. He was the most prominent of the Confucian court scholars involved in anti-French military campaigns in the 19th century and was cited after his death by 20th-century nationalists as a...

, Emperor Hàm Nghi
Ham Nghi
Emperor Hàm Nghi ; , was the eighth Emperor of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty. He reigned for only one year ....

 and Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

 fighting or calling for independence. However, the royalist Can Vuong
Can Vuong
The Cần Vương movement was a large-scale Vietnamese insurgency between 1885 and 1889 against French colonial rule. Its objective was to expel the French and install the boy emperor Hàm Nghi as the leader of an independent Vietnam...

 was defeated in the 1890s after a decade of resistance, and the 1930 Yen Bai mutiny
Yen Bai mutiny
The Yên Bái mutiny was an uprising of Vietnamese soldiers in the French colonial army on 10 February 1930 in collaboration with civilian supporters who were members of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang ....

 of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang
Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang
The Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng , also known as the Việt Quốc and the Vietnamese Kuomintang, is the Vietnamese Nationalist Party, a revolutionary socialist political party that sought independence from French colonial rule in Vietnam during the early 20th century...

 was put down easily. The French maintained control of their colonies until World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when the war in the Pacific
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 led to the Japanese invasion of French Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in 1941.

With the defeat of France in Europe in 1940, the French Third Republic was replaced by the Vichy Regime, to which the colony remained loyal. Heavily dependent on Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, Vichy France was forced to surrender control of French Indochina to Germany's ally, Japan. The natural resources of Vietnam were exploited for the purposes of the Japanese Empire's military campaigns into the British Indochinese colonies of Burma, the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 and India. The Japanese occupation was a key cause of the Vietnamese Famine of 1945
Vietnamese Famine of 1945
The Vietnamese Famine of 1945 was a famine that occurred in northern Vietnam from October 1944 to May 1945, during the Japanese occupation of French Indochina in World War II. Between 400,000 and 2 million people are estimated to have starved to death during this time.-Causes:There were many...

, which caused around two million deaths, equivalent to as much as 10% of the contemporary population.

First Indochina War



In 1941, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

 – a communist and nationalist liberation movement – emerged under Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

 to seek independence for Vietnam from France, as well as to oppose the Japanese occupation. Following the military defeat of Japan and the fall of its puppet Empire of Vietnam
Empire of Vietnam
The Empire of Vietnam was a short-lived puppet state of Imperial Japan governing the whole of Vietnam between March 11 and August 23, 1945.-History:...

 in August 1945, the Viet Minh occupied Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 and proclaimed a provisional government, which asserted national independence on 2 September.
In the same year, the Provisional French Republic sent the French Far East Expeditionary Corps
French Far East Expeditionary Corps
The French Far East Expeditionary Corps was a colonial expeditionary force of the French Union Army sent in French Indochina in 1945 during the Pacific War.-Pacific War :...

, which was originally created to fight the Japanese occupation forces, in order to pacify the Vietnamese liberation movement and to restore French colonial rule. On 20 November 1946, triggered by the bloody Haiphong Incident, the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

 between the Viet Minh and the French forces ensued, lasting until 20 July 1954.

Despite taking fewer losses during the course of the war – the Expeditionary Corps suffered one-third of the casualties of the Chinese and Soviet-backed Viet Minh – the French and Vietnamese loyalists
Vietnamese National Army
On March 8, 1949, after the Elysee accords, the State of Vietnam was recognized by France as an independent country ruled by Vietnamese Emperor Bảo Đại. The Vietnamese National Army or Vietnam National Army was the State of Vietnam's military force created shortly after that. It was commanded by...

 eventually suffered a major strategic setback at the Siege of Dien Bien Phu, which allowed Ho Chi Minh to negotiate a ceasefire from a favorable position at the Geneva Conference of 1954
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

. The colonial administration ended and French Indochina was dissolved under the Geneva Accords of 1954
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

, which separated the forces of former French supporters and communist nationalists at the 17th parallel north
17th parallel north
The 17th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 17 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 with the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone
Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone
The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam as a result of the First Indochina War.During the Second Indochina War , it became important as the battleground demarcation separating North Vietnamese territory from South Vietnamese territory.-...

. A 300-day period of free movement was given, during which almost a million northerners, mainly Catholic, moved south, fearing persecution by the communists.

The partition of Vietnam
Partition of Vietnam
The Partition of Vietnam was the establishment of the 17th parallel as the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone in 1954, splitting Vietnam into halves after the First Indochina War.The Geneva Conference was held at the conclusion of the First Indochina War...

, with Ho Chi Minh's Democratic Republic of Vietnam in North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

, and Emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

's State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

 in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

, was not intended to be permanent by the Geneva Accords, and the Accords expressly forbade the interference of third powers. However, in 1955, the State of Vietnam's Prime Minister, Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngô Đình Diệm was the first president of South Vietnam . In the wake of the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords, Diệm led the effort to create the Republic of Vietnam. Accruing considerable U.S. support due to his staunch anti-Communism, he achieved victory in a...

, toppled Bảo Đại in a fraudulent referendum
State of Vietnam referendum, 1955
The State of Vietnam referendum of 1955 determined the future form of government of the State of Vietnam, the nation that was to become the Republic of Vietnam . It was contested by Prime Minister Ngô Đình Diệm, who proposed a republic, and former emperor Bảo Đại...

 organised by his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu
Ngo Dinh Nhu
Ngô Ðình Nhu was the younger brother and chief political advisor of South Vietnam's first president, Ngô Ðình Diệm. Nhu was widely regarded as the architect of the Ngô family's nepotistic and autocratic rule over South Vietnam from 1955 to 1963...

, and proclaimed himself president of the Republic of Vietnam. The Accords mandated nationwide elections by 1956, which Diem refused to hold, despite repeated calls from the North for talks to discuss elections.

Vietnam War



The pro-Hanoi Vietcong began a guerrilla campaign in the late 1950s to overthrow Diem's government, which an official Vietcong statement described as a "disguised colonial regime." In the North, thousands of landowners were killed by the communists, and collectivization efforts led to a brief famine. In the South, Diem went about crushing political and religious opposition, imprisoning or killing tens of thousands; dissidents were routinely labelled as communists even if they were anti-communist. Both Vietnams developed into virtual police state
Police state
A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

s.
In 1963, Buddhist discontent with Diem's pro-Catholic regime erupted into mass demonstrations
Buddhist crisis
The Buddhist crisis was a period of political and religious tension in South Vietnam from May 1963 to November 1963 characterized by a series of repressive acts by the South Vietnamese government and a campaign of civil resistance, led mainly by Buddhist monks....

 following the banning of the Buddhist flag
Buddhist flag
The Buddhist flag is a flag designed in the late 19th century to symbolise and universally represent Buddhism. It is used by Buddhists throughout the world.-History:...

 and the Hue Vesak shootings
Hue Vesak shootings
The Huế Phật Đản shootings refer to the deaths of nine unarmed Buddhist civilians on May 8, 1963, in the city of Huế in South Vietnam, at the hands of the army and security forces of the government of Ngô Đình Diệm...

. With Diem unwilling to compromise, Nhu orchestrated the Xa Loi Pagoda raids
Xa Loi Pagoda raids
The Xa Loi Pagoda raids were a series of synchronized attacks on various Buddhist pagodas in the major cities of South Vietnam shortly after midnight on August 21, 1963...

; estimates of the death toll range into the hundreds. As a result, America's relationship with Diem broke down
Cable 243
DEPTEL 243, also known as Telegram 243, the August 24 cable or most commonly Cable 243, was a high-profile message sent on August 24, 1963 by the United States Department of State to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the US ambassador to South Vietnam...

, resulting in the 1963 coup
1963 South Vietnamese coup
In November 1963, President Ngô Đình Diệm of South Vietnam was deposed by a group of Army of the Republic of Vietnam officers who disagreed with his handling of the Buddhist crisis and, in general, his increasing oppression of national groups in the name of fighting the communist Vietcong.The...

 that saw Diem and Nhu killed.

Diem was followed by a series of corrupt military regimes that often lasted only months before being toppled by other military officers. With South Vietnam paralyzed by instability, the communists began to gain ground. There were more than a dozen South Vietnamese governments between 1961 and 1965, before the pairing of Air Marshal Nguyen Cao Ky
Nguyen Cao Ky
Nguyễn Cao Kỳ served as the chief of the Vietnam Air Force in the 1960s, before leading the nation as the prime minister of South Vietnam in a military junta from 1965 to 1967...

 and General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu
Nguyen Van Thieu
Nguyễn Văn Thiệu was president of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975. He was a general in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam , became head of a military junta, and then president after winning a fraudulent election...

 took control in mid-1965. Thieu gradually outmaneuvered Ky and cemented his grip on power in fraudulent elections in 1967 and 1971.

To support South Vietnam's struggle against the communist insurgency, the United States began increasing its contribution of military advisers, using the controversial 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident as a pretext for such intervention. US forces became embroiled in ground combat operations in 1965, and at their peak they numbered more than 500,000. Communist forces attacked most major targets in South Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive, and although their campaign failed militarily, it shocked the American establishment, and turned US public opinion against the war. Communist forces supplying the Vietcong carried supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail
Ho Chi Minh trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

, which passed through Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 and Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

. US president Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 authorized Operation Menu
Operation Menu
Operation Menu was the codename of a covert United States Strategic Air Command bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia and Laos from 18 March 1969 until 26 May 1970, during the Vietnam War...

, an SAC
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

 bombing campaign in Laos and Cambodia, which he kept secret from the US Congress.

Its own casualties mounting, and facing opposition to the war at home and condemnation abroad, the US began withdrawing from ground combat roles according to the Nixon Doctrine
Nixon Doctrine
The Nixon Doctrine was put forth in a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by U.S. President Richard Nixon. He stated that the United States henceforth expected its allies to take care of their own military defense, but that the U.S. would aid in defense as requested...

; the process was subsequently called . The effort had mixed results, failing to stabilize South Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords
Paris Peace Accords
The Paris Peace Accords of 1973 intended to establish peace in Vietnam and an end to the Vietnam War, ended direct U.S. military involvement, and temporarily stopped the fighting between North and South Vietnam...

 of 27 January 1973 formally recognized the sovereignty of Vietnam "as recognized by the 1954 Geneva
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

 Agreements
Geneva Agreements
The Geneva Agreements of 1954 arranged a settlement which brought about an end to the First Indochina war. The agreement was reached at the end of the Geneva Conference. A ceasefire was signed and France agreed to withdraw its troops from the region. French Indochina was split into three...

." Under the terms of the accords, all American combat troops were withdrawn by 29 March 1973. Limited fighting continued, before North Vietnam captured the province of Phuoc Long in December 1974
Battle of Phuoc Long
The Battle of Phuoc Long was a decisive major battle of the Vietnam War which began on December 12, 1974, and concluded on January 6, 1975. The battle involved the deployment of North Vietnam's 4th Army Corp for the first time, against determined units of the South Vietnamese Army in Phuoc Long,...

 and started a full-scale offensive
Ho Chi Minh Campaign
The Hồ Chí Minh Campaign was the final title applied to a series of increasingly large-scale and ambitious offensive operations by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam which began on 13 December 1974...

, culminating in the Fall of Saigon
Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the People's Army of Vietnam and the National Liberation Front on April 30, 1975...

 on 30 April 1975. South Vietnam briefly came under the nominal rule of a Provisional Revolutionary Government while under military occupation by North Vietnam. On 2 July 1976, North and South Vietnam were merged to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Postwar period



In the aftermath of the war, the government embarked on a mass campaign of collectivization of farms and factories. This caused an economic collapse and resulted in triple-digit inflation. Reconstruction of the war-ravaged country was slow, and serious humanitarian and economic problems confronted the communist regime. Millions of people fled the country
Boat people
Boat people is a term that usually refers to refugees, illegal immigrants or asylum seekers who emigrate in numbers in boats that are sometimes old and crudely made...

 in crudely-built boats, creating an international humanitarian crisis.

In 1978, the Vietnamese military invaded Cambodia
Cambodian-Vietnamese War
The Cambodian–Vietnamese War was an armed conflict between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Kampuchea. The war began with isolated clashes along the land and maritime boundaries of Vietnam and Kampuchea between 1975 and 1977, occasionally involving division-sized military formations...

 to remove from power the Khmer Rouge
Khmer Rouge
The Khmer Rouge literally translated as Red Cambodians was the name given to the followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea, who were the ruling party in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979, led by Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen and Khieu Samphan...

, who had been razing Vietnamese border villages and massacring the inhabitants. Vietnam was victorious, installing a regime in Cambodia whose leaders ruled until 1989. This action worsened relations with the Chinese, who launched a brief incursion into northern Vietnam
Sino-Vietnamese War
The Sino–Vietnamese War , also known as the Third Indochina War, known in the PRC as and in Vietnam as Chiến tranh chống bành trướng Trung Hoa , was a brief but bloody border war fought in 1979 between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam...

 in 1979. This conflict caused Vietnam to rely even more heavily on Soviet economic and military aid.

Đổi Mới ("Renovation")


At the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam in December 1986, reformist politicians, upset by the country's lack of economic progress after the Vietnam War, replaced the "old guard" government with new leadership. The reformers were led by 71-year-old Nguyen Van Linh
Nguyen Van Linh
Nguyễn Văn Linh was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician. He was the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam from 1986 to 1991 and a political leader of the Vietcong during the Vietnam War...

, who became the party's new general secretary. Linh was a native of northern Vietnam who had served in the south both during and after the war. In a historic shift, the reformers implemented a series of free-market reforms – known as (Renovation) – which carefully managed the transition from a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 to a "socialist-oriented market economy
Socialist-oriented market economy
The socialist-oriented market economy is the official name given to the current economic system in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as a product of the Đổi mới economic reforms, which led to the displacement of the centrally-planned economy with a market socialist system based on commodity...

".

Though the authority of the state remained unchallenged, the government encouraged private ownership of farms and factories, economic deregulation and foreign investment, while maintaining control over strategic industries. The economy of Vietnam
Economy of Vietnam
The economy of Vietnam is a developing planned-market economy. Since the mid-1980s, through the "Đổi Mới" reform period, Vietnam has made a shift from a highly-centralized planned economy to a socialist-oriented market economy which use both directive and indicative planning . Over that period, the...

 subsequently achieved rapid growth in agricultural and industrial production, construction, exports and foreign investment. However, these reforms have also caused a rise in income inequality and gender disparities.

Government and politics



The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a single-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

. Its current state constitution, which replaced the 1975 constitution in April 1992, asserts the central role of the Communist Party of Vietnam
Communist Party of Vietnam
The Communist Party of Vietnam , formally established in 1930, is the governing party of the nation of Vietnam. It is today the only legal political party in that country. Describing itself as Marxist-Leninist, the CPV is the directing component of a broader group of organizations known as the...

 in all organs of government, politics and society. Only political organizations affiliated with or endorsed by the Communist Party are permitted to contest elections in Vietnam. These include the Vietnamese Fatherland Front
Vietnamese Fatherland Front
The Vietnamese Fatherland Front founded February 1977 , is an umbrella group of pro-government "mass movements" in Vietnam, and has close links to the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Vietnamese...

 and worker and trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

ist parties. Although the state remains officially committed to socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 as its defining creed, its economic policies are increasingly capitalist, with the The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

defining its leadership as "ardently capitalist communists".

The President of Vietnam
President of Vietnam
The President of Vietnam is the head of state of Vietnam, although the functions of the President are often ceremonial...

 is the titular head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and the nominal commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the military of Vietnam, serving as the Chairman of the Council of Supreme Defense and Security. The Prime Minister of Vietnam
Prime Minister of Vietnam
-Office:The Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the head of the executive branch of the Vietnamese government. The Prime Minister presides over the Vietnamese cabinet, and is responsible for appointing and supervising ministers...

 is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, presiding over a council of ministers composed of three deputy prime ministers and the heads of 26 ministries and commissions.

The National Assembly of Vietnam
National Assembly of Vietnam
The Constitution of Vietnam recognizes the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as "the highest organ of state power." The National Assembly, a 493-member unicameral body elected to a five-year term, meets twice a year...

 is the unicameral legislature
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 of the state, composed of 498 members. Headed by a Chairman, it is superior to both the executive and judicial branches, with all government ministers being appointed from members of the National Assembly. The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam
Supreme People's Court of Vietnam
The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam is the highest court and the Court of Appeal in Vietnam. It functions under the authority of the National Assembly of Vietnam.Judges are appointed by the National Assembly of Vietnam for five year terms....

 is the country's highest court of appeal, headed by a Chief Justice, though it is also answerable to the National Assembly. Beneath the Supreme People's Court stand the provincial municipal courts
Provincial Municipal Courts of Vietnam
Provincial Municipal Courts of Vietnam are lower level courts in Vietnam's judicial system. These courts are essentially provincial courts and report directly to the central government in Hanoi.Other courts in Vietnam:* Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam...

 and numerous local courts
Local Courts of Vietnam
Local Courts of Vietnam or People's Courts deal with legal issues at the district precinct levels. These courts report to provincial or municipal governments.Matters dealt by this court include:* labour disputes* individual disputes...

. Military courts
Military Courts of Vietnam
Military Courts of Vietnam deals with criminal matters within the military of Vietnam. They are part of the court system in Vietnam:* Supreme People's Court of Vietnam* Local Courts of Vietnam* Provincial Municipal Courts of Vietnam-References:*...

 possess special jurisdiction in matters of national security.

The General Secretary of the Communist Party performs numerous key administrative and executive functions, controlling the party's national organization and state appointments, as well as setting policy.

Military


The Vietnam People's Armed Forces consists of the Vietnam People's Army
Vietnam People's Army
The Vietnam People's Army is the armed forces of Vietnam. The VPA includes: the Vietnamese People's Ground Forces , the Vietnam People's Navy , the Vietnam People's Air Force, and the Vietnam Marine Police.During the French Indochina War , the VPA was often referred to as the Việt...

, the Vietnam People's Public Security
People's Police of Vietnam
People's Public Security of Vietnam is the main police force of Vietnam.This force was created on August 19, 1945.-Functions:The People's Police of Vietnam prevents and investigates crime, as well as traffic control and other duties.-Branches:...

 and the Vietnam Civil Defense Force. The Vietnam People's Army (VPA) is the official name for the active military services of Vietnam, and is subdivided into the Vietnam People's Ground Forces, the Vietnam People's Navy
Vietnam People's Navy
The Vietnam People's Navy is part of the Vietnam People's Army and is responsible for the protection of national waters, islands, and interests of the maritime economy, as well as for the coordination of maritime police, customs service and the border defense force.-History:Following the Geneva...

, the Vietnam People's Air Force
Vietnam People's Air Force
The Vietnam People's Air Force is the air force of Vietnam. It is the successor of the former North Vietnamese Air Force and the absorbed Republic of Vietnam Air Force following the re-unification of Vietnam in 1975.-Beginning-1964 :The first Vietnamese aircraft were two trainers, a de Havilland...

, the Vietnam Border Defense Force, the Vietnam Air Defense Force and the Vietnam Marine Police. The VPA has an active manpower of around 450,000, but its total strength, including paramilitary forces, may be as high as 5,000,000.

Through Vietnam's recent history, the VPA has been actively involved in developing the economy of Vietnam, with detachments working in such areas as industry, agriculture, forestry, fishery and telecommunications. However, the role of the military in public life has steadily been reduced since the 1980s.

International relations


Throughout its history, Vietnam's key foreign relationship has been with its northern neighbour, China. Vietnam's sovereign principles and insistence on cultural independence have been laid down in numerous documents over the centuries, such as the 11th-century poem Nam quốc sơn hà and the 1428 proclamation Bình Ngô đại cáo
Bình Ngô đại cáo
Bình Ngô đại cáo or Cáo bình Ngô was an announcement written by Nguyễn Trãi in 1428 after the order of Lê Lợi to proclaim the total pacification of the Ming Dynasty and affirm the independence of Đại Việt to its people...

.

Currently, the formal mission statement of Vietnamese foreign policy is to: "Implement consistently the foreign policy line of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development; the foreign policy of openness and diversification and multi-lateralization of international relations. Proactively and actively engage in international economic integration while expanding international cooperation in other fields." Vietnam furthermore declares itself to be "a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the international community, actively taking part in international and regional cooperation processes."

As of December 2007, Vietnam had established diplomatic relations with 172 countries, including the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, which normalized relations in 1995. Vietnam holds membership of 63 international organizations, including the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, ASEAN, NAM
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

, Francophonie
La Francophonie
Francophonie is an international organization of politics and governments with French as the mother or customary language, where a significant proportion of people are francophones , or where there is a notable affiliation with the French language or culture.Formally known as the Organisation...

 and WTO, and a total of 650 non-government organizations.

Administrative subdivisions


Vietnam is divided into 58 province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s (Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

: tỉnh, from the Chinese 省, shěng). There are also five centrally-controlled municipalities (thành phố trực thuộc trung ương), which are administratively on the same level as provinces


----
Bắc Ninh

Ha Nam
Ha Nam Province
Hà Nam is a province of northern Vietnam, in the Red River Delta.-History:The Hà Nam Province, and Vietnam as a whole, implemented the second five-year plan between 1975 and 1980. This plan included protecting the country's national border and gradually overcoming difficulties within the country...



Ha Tay
Ha Tay Province
Hà Tây is a former province of Vietnam, in the Red River Delta, now part of Hanoi. On May 29, 2008, it was decided that Ha Tay would merge with Hanoi province on August 1, 2008.- Geography :...



Hai Duong
Hai Duong Province
Hải Dương is a province in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. Its name derives from Sino-Vietnamese , meaning "ocean", though in fact, the province is landlocked.-Geography of Hai Duong:...



Hung Yen
Hung Yen Province
Hưng Yên is a province in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam.-Administrative divisions:The province comprises one city and nine districts:#Ân Thi#Khoái Châu#Kim Động#Mỹ Hào#Phù Cừ#Tiên Lữ#Văn Giang#Văn Lâm#Yên Mỹ...



Nam Dinh

Ninh Binh
Ninh Bình Province
-Festivals:* Thai Vi festival * Truong Yen Festival* Yen Cu Festival* Non Khe Festival-Transportation:...



Thai Binh
Thai Binh Province
Thái Bình is a coastal eastern province in the Red River Delta region of northern Vietnam, named after the Vietnamese name for the Pacific Ocean: Thái Bình Dương...



Vĩnh Phúc
Vinh Phuc Province
Vĩnh Phúc is a province in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. It is divided into one city , one town , and seven districts:#Bình Xuyên#Lập Thạch#Tam Đảo#Tam Dương#Vĩnh Tường#Yên Lạc- Etymology :...



Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 (municipality)

Hai Phong (municipality)


----
Ha Tinh

Nghe An

Quang Binh
Quang Binh Province
Quảng Bình , formerly Tiên Bình under the reign of Le Trung Hung of the Lê Dynasty, this province was renamed Quảng Bình in 1604) is a province in the North Central Coast of Vietnam....



Quảng Trị
Quang Tri Province
Quảng Trị is a province on the North Central Coast of Vietnam, north of the former imperial capital of Huế.-Geography:Located in North Central Vietnam, Quang Tri Province is surrounded by Quang Binh Province on the north, Thua Thien-Hue Province on the south, Savannakhet Province of Laos on the...



Thanh Hóa

Thừa Thiên-Huế
Thua Thien-Hue Province
Thừa Thiên-Huế is a province in the North Central Coast of Vietnam, approximately in the center of the country. It borders Quang Tri Provice to the north and Da Nang City to the south, Laos to the west and the South China Sea to the east. The province has 128 km of coastline, 22,000 ha of...



----
Bắc Giang
Bắc Giang Province
Bắc Giang is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the northeastern part of the country, being situated to the east of Hanoi. The province covers an area of 3827.45 square kilometres and as of 2008 it had a population of 1,628,400 people....



Bắc Kạn
Bắc Kạn Province
Bắc Kạn , also spelt as Bắc Cạn, is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the northeastern part of the country, due north of the capital Hanoi. Bắc Kạn is the only town of the province which is the capital of the province and is a municipality...



Cao Bang
Cao Bang Province
Cao Bằng is a province of northeastern Vietnam. The province has borders with Hà Giang, Tuyên Quang, Bắc Kạn, and Lạng Sơn provinces within Vietnam. It also has common international border with Guangxi province of the People's Republic of China...



Ha Giang
Hà Giang Province
Hà Giang is a province in northeastern Vietnam. It is located in the far north of the country, and contains Vietnam’s northernmost point. It shares a 270 km long border with Yunnan province of southern China. Hence it is known as the final frontier of Vietnam...



Lang Son
Lạng Sơn Province
Lạng Sơn is a province in far northern Vietnam, bordering Guangxi province in China. Its capital is also called Lang Son, which is a strategically important town at the border with China and is northeast of Hanoi connected by rail and road...



Lao Cai
Lao Cai Province
Lào Cai , is a province of northeastern in the mountainous region of Vietnam, bordering the province of Yunnan in the China. The province covers an area of 6383.9 square kilometres and as of 2008 it had a population of 602,300 people....



Phu Tho
Phu Tho Province
Phú Thọ is a province in northeastern Vietnam. The province's name derives from Sino-Vietnamese and its capital is Viet Tri City, which is away from Hanoi and from the Noi Bai International Airport...



Quang Ninh
Quang Ninh Province
Quảng Ninh is a large province located along the northeastern coast of Vietnam. The province is home to Ha Long Bay, a World Heritage Site. The provincial capital is Ha Long. Nearly 80 per cent of the province is mountainous with abundant land, forest water and mineral resources. Nearly 90 per...



Thái Nguyên
Thai Nguyen Province
Thái Nguyên is a province in northeastern Vietnam. It is a mountainous, midland province with natural area of 3534.45 square kilometres and a population of 1,149,100 people as of 2008...



Tuyen Quang
Tuyên Quang Province
Tuyên Quang is a province of Vietnam, located in the northeastern part of the country to the northwest of Hanoi, at the centre of Lo River valley, a tributary of the Red River. The delta formation in the province is called the Tonkin Delta. Its capital is Tuyên Quang Township...



Yen Bai
Yen Bai Province
Yên Bái is an agricultural-based province located in Tay Bac, the northern part of northern-central Vietnam. It shares borders with five provinces which are Lao Cai province, Lai Chau province, Son La province, Tuyen Quang province, and Phu Tho province...



----
Dien Bien

Hoa Binh

Lai Chau

Son La


----
Dak Lak

Dak Nong
Dak Nong Province
Đắk Nông , or Ðắc Nông, is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the country's Central Highlands. The provincial capital is Gia Nghĩa.-Geography:...



Gia Lai
Gia Lai Province
Gia Lai is a province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.-Administrative divisions:The province is divided into one city , two towns , and 13 districts:#Chư Păh#Chư Prông#Chư Sê#Đắk Đoa#Đắk Pơ#Đức Cơ#Ia Grai#Ia Pa...



Kon Tum
Kon Tum Province
Kon Tum province lies in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam and shares borders with Laos and Cambodia. It has an area of 9,934 square km and a population of approximately 330,000. The economy is primarily agricultural.-Name:...



Lam Dong


----
Binh Dinh
Binh Dinh Province
Bình Định is a province of Vietnam. It is located in Vietnam's South Central Coast region.-Administration:Binh Dinh is divided into one city and 10 districts:*An Lão*An Nhơn*Hoài Ân*Hoài Nhơn*Phù Cát*Phù Mỹ*Tuy Phước*Tây Sơn*Vân Canh...



Binh Thuan
Binh Thuan Province
Bình Thuận is a province of Vietnam. It is located on the country's South Central Coast, not far from Ho Chi Minh City. It is sometimes seen as part of the Southeast Region. Binh Thuan is known for its scenery and for its good beaches...



Khanh Hoa
Khanh Hoa Province
Khánh Hòa is a province of Vietnam, located in the South Central Coast. It has a population of 1,066,300 and spans an area of 5,197 km². Its capital is Nha Trang...



Ninh Thuan
Ninh Thuan Province
Ninh Thuận is a province in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam .-History:The Cham principality of Panduranga had its center in Ninh Thuan Province, but also included much of what is now Binh Thuan Province. Panduranga became the political centre of Champa after the fall of Vijaya in 1471...



Phu Yen

Quang Nam
Quang Nam Province
Quảng Nam is a province on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bordered by Thua Thien-Huế province to the north, the nation of Laos to the west, Kon Tum Province to the southwest, Quảng Ngãi Province to the southeast, the South China Sea to the east, and the city of Da Nang to the...



Quang Ngai
Quang Ngai Province
Quảng Ngãi is a province in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam, on the coast of South China Sea. It is located 883 km south of Hanoi and 838 km north of Ho Chi Minh City.-History:...



Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

 (municipality)


----
Ba Ria-Vung Tau
Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province
Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu is a province of Vietnam. It is located on the coast of the country's southeastern region. It also includes the Côn Đảo islands, located some distance off Vietnam's southeastern coast...



Binh Duong
Binh Duong Province
Bình Dương is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the southeastern part of the country, immediately to the north of Ho Chi Minh City. The province was created from Song Be province on January 1, 1997.-Geography:...



Binh Phuoc
Binh Phuoc Province
Bình Phước is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the southeastern region of the country, to the north of Ho Chi Minh City. It shares a border with Cambodia.-History:...



Dong Nai

Tay Ninh

Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 (municipality)


----
An Giang
An Giang Province
An Giang is a province of Vietnam. It is located in the Mekong Delta, in the southwestern part of the country, sharing a border with Cambodia to the northwest.- Geography :...



Bạc Liêu
Bac Lieu Province
Bạc Liêu is a province of Vietnam. It is a coastal province, and is situated in the Mekong Delta region of the southern part of the country.- Name :Formally a territoy of Cambodia, the name Bac Lieu is believed to derive from the Khmer language...



Bến Tre
Ben Tre Province
Bến Tre is a province of Vietnam. It is one of the country's southern provinces, being situated in the delta of the Mekong River.-Administration:Politically, Ben Tre is divided into eight districts:*Ba Tri*Bình Đại*Châu Thành*Chợ Lách*Giồng Trôm...



Ca Mau
Ca Mau Province
Cà Mau is a province of Vietnam, named after its capital city. It is located in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam, and is the southernmost of Vietnam's 58 provinces...



Dong Thap

Hau Giang
Hau Giang Province
Hậu Giang became Can Tho province during/after 1975. Can Tho was the capital of Can Tho province. It is located in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam. In late 2004, Can Tho and some surrounding cities became Can Tho Municipality . The remainder of Cần Thơ province became Hậu Giang province .Vi...



Kien Giang
Kien Giang Province
Kiên Giang is a province of Vietnam, located in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. It is known for fishing and rice farming. The provincial capital is Rạch Giá, 250 km from the Ho Chi Minh City...



Long An
Long An Province
Long An is a province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam.-Administrative divisions:The province comprises one town and 14 districts:#Bến Lức#Cần Đước#Cần Giuộc#Châu Thành#Đức Hòa#Đức Huệ#Mộc Hóa#Tân Hưng...



Soc Trang
Soc Trang Province
Sóc Trăng is a province in the Mekong Delta of southern Vietnam, with its capital in Sóc Trăng. The province occupies an area of 3,223 km², and has a population of approximately 1,213,400.-Etymology:...



Tien Giang

Tra Vinh

Vĩnh Long

Cần Thơ (municipality)


The provinces are subdivided into provincial municipalities
Provincial city (Vietnam)
The provincial city is a form of second-level administrative units in Vietnam. Provincial cities are provincial urban and administrative centers. Some cities also was appointed provincial economic centers and the culture center of a region . There might still agricultural population in the...

 (thành phố trực thuộc tỉnh), township
Township
The word township is used to refer to different kinds of settlements in different countries. Township is generally associated with an urban area. However there are many exceptions to this rule. In Australia, the United States, and Canada, they may be settlements too small to be considered urban...

s (thị xã) and counties
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 (huyện), which are in turn subdivided into towns (thị trấn) or communes
Communes of Vietnam
In Vietnam, there are three kinds of third-level administrative subdivisions: the rural commune , the commune-level town ,and the ward . In Vietnam a rural commune is referred to as a xã and urban communes are referred to as Thị trấn, urban townships...

 (). The centrally-controlled municipalities are subdivided into district
District
Districts are a type of administrative division, in some countries managed by a local government. They vary greatly in size, spanning entire regions or counties, several municipalities, or subdivisions of municipalities.-Austria:...

s (quận) and counties, which are further subdivided into wards (phường).

Geography and climate


Vietnam is located on the eastern Indochina Peninsula between the latitudes
8th parallel north
The 8th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 8 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, the Indian Ocean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, South America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 24°N
24th parallel north
The 24th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 24 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and the longitudes 102°
102nd meridian east
The meridian 102° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 110°E
110th meridian east
The meridian 110° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

. It covers a total area of approximately 331688 km² (128,065 sq mi) in area, excluding the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa islands, making it almost the size of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. The combined length of the country's land boundaries is 4639 km (2,883 mi), and its coastline is 3444 km (2,140 mi) long. Vietnam's land is mostly hilly and densely forested, with level land covering no more than 20%. Mountains account for 40% of the country's land area, and tropical forests cover around 42%.
The northern part of the country consists mostly of highlands and the Red River Delta
Red River Delta
The Red River Delta is the flat plain formed by the Red River and its distributaries joining in the Thai Binh River in northern Vietnam. The delta measuring some 15,000 square km is well protected by a network of dikes. It is an agriculturally rich area and densely populated...

. Phan Xi Păng, located in Lào Cai province
Lao Cai Province
Lào Cai , is a province of northeastern in the mountainous region of Vietnam, bordering the province of Yunnan in the China. The province covers an area of 6383.9 square kilometres and as of 2008 it had a population of 602,300 people....

, is the highest mountain in Vietnam, standing 3143 m (10,312 ft) high. Southern Vietnam is divided into coastal lowlands, Annamite Chain peaks, and extensive forests. Comprising five relatively flat plateaus of basalt soil, the highlands account for 16% of the country's arable land and 22% of its total forested land. The soil in much of southern Vietnam is relatively poor in nutrients.

The Red River Delta (also known as the ), a flat, roughly triangular region covering 15000 km² (5,792 sq mi), is smaller but more intensely developed and more densely populated than the Mekong River Delta. Once an inlet of the Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
The Gulf of Tonkin is an arm of the South China Sea, lying off the coast of northeastern Vietnam.-Etymology:The name Tonkin, written "東京" in Hán tự and Đông Kinh in romanised Vietnamese, means "Eastern Capital", and is the former toponym for Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam...

, it has been filled in over the millennia by riverine alluvial deposits, and it advances 100 metres (328.1 ft) into the Gulf annually. The Mekong delta, covering about 40000 km² (15,444 sq mi), is a low-level plain no more than 3 metres (9.8 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 at any point. It is criss-crossed by a maze of rivers and canals, which carry so much sediment that the delta advances 60 to 80 m (196.9 to 262.5 ft) into the sea every year.

Because of differences in latitude and the marked variety in topographical relief, the Vietnamese climate tends to vary considerably from place to place. During the winter or dry season, extending roughly from November to April, the monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 winds usually blow from the northeast along the China coast and across the Gulf of Tonkin, picking up considerable moisture. Consequently, the winter season in most parts of the country is dry only by comparison with the rainy or summer season. The average annual temperature is generally higher in the plains than in the mountains, and higher in the south than in the north. Temperatures vary less in the southern plains around Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 and the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

, ranging between 21 and 28 °C (69.8 and 82.4 °F) over the course of a year. Seasonal variations in the mountains and plateaus and in the north are much more dramatic, with temperatures varying from 5 °C (41 °F) in December and January to 37 °C (98.6 °F) in July and August.

Ecology and biodiversity


Vietnam has two World Natural Heritage Sites – Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – and six biosphere reserve
World Network of Biosphere Reserves
The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected areas, known as biosphere reserves, that are meant to demonstrate a balanced relationship between man and nature The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves covers internationally-designated protected...

s, including Can Gio Mangrove Forest
Can Gio Mangrove Forest
Can Gio Biosphere Reserve is a wetland located 40 km southeast of Ho Chi Minh City. This reserve has been listed the biosphere reserve by UNESCO...

, Cat Tien
Cat Tien National Park
Cát Tiên National Park is an important national park located in the south of Vietnam, approximately 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. It has an area of about 720 km² and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests left in Vietnam.-History:Cát Tiên national park was...

, Cat Ba
Cat Ba National Park
Cát Bà National Park is an important national park in northern Vietnam. Cát Bà is situated in Ha Long Bay, is administered by the city of Hai Phong, and belongs to the Cát Hải District of Hai Phong....

, Kien Giang
U Minh Thuong National Park
U Minh Thuong National Park or Upper U Minh National Park is a national park in the province of Kiên Giang, Vietnam.-Establishment:...

, Red River Delta
Red River Delta
The Red River Delta is the flat plain formed by the Red River and its distributaries joining in the Thai Binh River in northern Vietnam. The delta measuring some 15,000 square km is well protected by a network of dikes. It is an agriculturally rich area and densely populated...

, and Western Nghe An
Western Nghe An
Western Nghe An is a proposed biosphere reserve located in the tropical and temperate zone of Vietnam.-Description:The Western Nghe An proposed biosphere reserve in in an area profoundly influenced by a North-East and South-West monsoon. Because topography of Annamite range influences circulation...

.


Vietnam lies in the Indomalaya ecozone. According to Chapter 1 of the 2005 National Environmental Present Condition Report, "Biodiversity Subject of Vietnam Environment Protection Agency," in terms of species diversity
Species diversity
Species diversity is an index that incorporates the number of species in an area and also their relative abundance. It is a more comprehensive value than species richness....

 Vietnam is one of twenty-five countries considered to possess a uniquely high level of biodiversity
Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

, and is ranked 16th in biological diversity worldwide, having 16% of the world's species. 15,986 species of flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 have been identified in the country, of which 10% are endemic, while Vietnam's fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

 include 307 nematode
Nematode
The nematodes or roundworms are the most diverse phylum of pseudocoelomates, and one of the most diverse of all animals. Nematode species are very difficult to distinguish; over 28,000 have been described, of which over 16,000 are parasitic. It has been estimated that the total number of nematode...

 species, 200 oligochaeta
Oligochaeta
Oligochaeta is a subclass of animals in the biological phylum Annelida, which is made up of many types of aquatic and terrestrial worms, and this includes all of the various earthworms...

, 145 acarina
Acarina
Acari are a taxon of arachnids that contains mites and ticks. The diversity of the Acari is extraordinary and its fossil history goes back to at least the early Devonian period. As a result, acarologists have proposed a complex set of taxonomic ranks to classify mites...

, 113 springtails, 7,750 insects, 260 reptiles, 120 amphibians, 840 birds and 310 mammals, of which 100 birds and 78 mammals are endemic.

Vietnam is furthermore home to 1,438 species of freshwater microalgae, constituting 9.6% of all microalgae species, as well as 794 aquatic invertebrates and 2,458 species of sea fish. In recent years, 13 genera
Genera
Genera is a commercial operating system and development environment for Lisp machines developed by Symbolics. It is essentially a fork of an earlier operating system originating on the MIT AI Lab's Lisp machines which Symbolics had used in common with LMI and Texas Instruments...

, 222 species, and 30 taxa of flora have been newly described in Vietnam. Six new mammal species, including the saola
Saola
The Saola, Vu Quang ox or Asian unicorn, also, infrequently, Vu Quang bovid , one of the world's rarest mammals, is a forest-dwelling bovine found only in the Annamite Range of Vietnam and Laos...

, giant muntjac
Giant muntjac
The Giant Muntjac sometimes referred to as the Large-Antlered Muntjac is a species of muntjac deer. It is the largest muntjac species and was discovered in 1994 in Vu Quang, Ha Tinh province of Vietnam and in central Laos...

 and Tonkin Snub-nosed Langur
Tonkin Snub-nosed Langur
The Tonkin snub-nosed monkey or Dollman's snub-nosed monkey is a species of colobine endemic to northwestern Vietnam....

 have also been discovered, along with one new bird species, Edwards's Pheasant
Edwards's Pheasant
Edwards's Pheasant, Lophura edwardsi, is a bird of the pheasant family Phasianidae and is endemic to the rainforests of Vietnam. It is named after the French ornithologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards and first described to science in 1896 The bird's length is and has red legs and facial skin. The male...

. In the late 1980s, a small population of Javan Rhinoceros
Javan Rhinoceros
The Javan Rhinoceros or Lesser One-horned Rhinoceros is a member of the family Rhinocerotidae and one of five extant rhinoceroses...

 was found in Cát Tiên National Park
Cat Tien National Park
Cát Tiên National Park is an important national park located in the south of Vietnam, approximately 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. It has an area of about 720 km² and protects one of the largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests left in Vietnam.-History:Cát Tiên national park was...

. However, the last individual of the species in Vietnam was reportedly shot in 2010.

In agricultural genetic diversity
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity, the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. It is distinguished from genetic variability, which describes the tendency of genetic characteristics to vary....

, Vietnam is one of the world's twelve original cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

 centers. The Vietnam National Cultivar Gene Bank is preserving 12,300 cultivars of 115 species. The Vietnamese government spent US$49.07 million on the preservation of biodiversity in 2004 alone, and has established 126 conservation areas, including 28 national parks.

Economy


Vietnam has been, for much of its history, a predominantly agricultural civilization based on wet rice cultivation. However, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 destroyed much of the country's agrarian economy, leading the post-war government to implement a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 to revitalise agriculture and industrialise the nation. The collectivization of farms, factories and economic capital was implemented, and millions of people were put to work in government programs. For a decade following the Vietnam War, Vietnam's economy was plagued with inefficiency and corruption in state programs, poor quality and underproduction, and restrictions on economic activity. It also suffered from the post-war trade embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 instituted by the United States and most of Europe. These problems were compounded by the erosion of the Soviet bloc, which included Vietnam's main trading partners, in the late 1980s.

In 1986, the Sixth Party Congress of Vietnam introduced free market economic reforms as part of a broad reform package called Đổi Mới (Renovation), resulting in a socialist-oriented market economy
Socialist-oriented market economy
The socialist-oriented market economy is the official name given to the current economic system in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, as a product of the Đổi mới economic reforms, which led to the displacement of the centrally-planned economy with a market socialist system based on commodity...

. Private ownership was encouraged in industries, commerce and agriculture.
Thanks largely to these reforms, Vietnam achieved around 8% annual GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 growth between 1990 to 1997, and the economy continued to grow at an annual rate of around 7% from 2000 to 2005, making Vietnam one of the world's fastest growing economies. Growth remained strong even in the face of the late-2000s global recession, holding at 6.8% in 2010, but Vietnam's year-on-year inflation rate hit 11.8% in December 2010, according to a GSO estimate. The Vietnamese dong was devalued three times in 2010 alone.

Manufacturing, information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

 and high-tech industries now form a large and fast-growing part of the national economy. Though Vietnam is a relative newcomer to the oil industry, it is currently the third-largest oil producer in Southeast Asia, with an output of 400000 oilbbl/d. Like its Chinese neighbours
Five-Year Plans of China
The five-year plans of People's Republic of China are a series of economic development initiatives. The economy was shaped by the Communist Party of China through the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and national congresses...

, Vietnam continues to make use of centrally-planned economic five-year plans
Five-year plans of Vietnam
The Five-Year Plans of Vietnam are a series of economic development initiatives. The Vietnamese economy are shaped primarily by the Vietnamese Communist Party through the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and national congresses...

.

Deep poverty, defined as the percentage of the population living on less than $1 per day, has declined significantly in Vietnam, and the relative poverty rate is now less than that of China, India, and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. This decline in the poverty rate can be attributed to equitable economic policies
Equity (economics)
Equity is the concept or idea of fairness in economics, particularly as to taxation or welfare economics. More specifically it may refer to equal life chances regardless of identity, to provide all citizens with a basic minimum of income/goods/services or to increase funds and commitment for...

 aimed at improving living standards and preventing the rise of inequality
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

; these policies have included egalitarian land distribution at the initial stages of Đổi Mới, investment in poorer remote areas, and subsidising of education and healthcare. According to the CIA World Factbook, the unemployment rate in Vietnam stood at 2.9% in April 2009.

In 2010, Vietnam's nominal GDP reached US$103.124 billion, with a nominal GDP per capita of $1,168, according to the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

 (IMF).
According to a December 2005 forecast by Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational bulge bracket investment banking and securities firm that engages in global investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services primarily with institutional clients...

, the Vietnamese economy will become the world's 17th-largest by 2025, with an estimated nominal GDP of $436 billion and a GDP per capita of $4,357.
According to a 2008 forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a global professional services firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest professional services firm measured by revenues and one of the "Big Four" accountancy firms....

, Vietnam may be the fastest-growing of the world's emerging economies by 2025, with a potential growth rate of almost 10% per annum in real dollar terms. By 2050, such a growth rate would make it 70% as large as the economy of the United Kingdom
Economy of the United Kingdom
The economy of the United Kingdom is the sixth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal GDP and seventh-largest measured by purchasing power parity , and the third-largest in Europe measured by nominal GDP and second-largest measured by PPP...

, which is currently one of the world's largest economies.

Trade


Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has applied sequenced trade liberalisation, a two-track approach opening some sectors of the economy to international markets while protecting others. In July 2006, Vietnam updated its intellectual property
Intellectual property
Intellectual property is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized—and the corresponding fields of law...

 legislation to comply with TRIPS, and it became a member of the WTO
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 on 11 January 2007. Vietnam is now one of Asia's most open economies: two-way trade was valued at around 160% of GDP in 2006, more than twice the contemporary ratio for China and over four times the ratio for India. Vietnam's chief trading partners include China, Japan, Australia, the ASEAN
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, commonly abbreviated ASEAN rarely ), is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, membership has...

 countries, the United States and Western Europe.

As a result of several land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 measures, Vietnam has become a major exporter of agricultural products. It is now the world's largest producer of cashew
Cashew
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.-Etymology:The...

 nuts, with a one-third global share; the largest producer of black pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, accounting for one-third of the world's market; and the second-largest rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 exporter in the world, after Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

. Vietnam has the highest proportion of land use for permanent crops – 6.93% – of any nation in the Greater Mekong Subregion
Greater Mekong Subregion
The Greater Mekong Subregion is not a geological region, but rather, a development project mooted by the Asian Development Bank in 1992 that brought together the riparian states of the Mekong River basin, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan Province of China...

. Other primary exports include coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

, rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, and fishery products. However, agriculture's share of Vietnam's GDP has fallen in recent decades, declining from 42% in 1989 to 20% in 2006, as production in other sectors of the economy has risen.

Science and technology


Vietnamese scholars developed many academic fields during the dynastic era, most notably social sciences and the humanities. Vietnamese scholarship has left a millennium-deep legacy of analytical writings, such as the Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư of Ngô Sĩ Liên; Vietnamese monks led by the abdicated Emperor Tran Nhan Tong developed the Trúc Lâm Zen branch of philosophy in the 13th century. Arithmetic
Arithmetic
Arithmetic or arithmetics is the oldest and most elementary branch of mathematics, used by almost everyone, for tasks ranging from simple day-to-day counting to advanced science and business calculations. It involves the study of quantity, especially as the result of combining numbers...

s and geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

 have been widely taught in Vietnam since the 15th century, using the textbook Đại thành toán pháp by Lương Thế Vinh as a basis. Lương Thế Vinh introduced Vietnam to the notion of zero
0 (number)
0 is both a numberand the numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals.It fulfills a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. As a digit, 0 is used as a placeholder in place value systems...

, while Mạc Hiển Tích used the term số ẩn (en
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: "unknown/secret/hidden number") to refer to negative numbers. Vietnamese scholars furthermore produced numerous encyclopedias, such as Lê Quý Đôn's Vân đài loại ngữ.

In recent times, Vietnamese scientists have made many significant contributions in various fields of study, most notably in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

. Hoàng Tụy
Hoang Tuy
Hoàng "Jefferson" Tụy is a prominent Vietnamese applied mathematician. He is one of two founders of Vietnamese Mathematics, the other is Lê Văn Thiêm....

 pioneered the applied mathematics
Applied mathematics
Applied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry. Thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge...

 field of global optimization
Global optimization
Global optimization is a branch of applied mathematics and numerical analysis that deals with the optimization of a function or a set of functions to some criteria.- General :The most common form is the minimization of one real-valued function...

, while Ngô Bảo Châu
Ngo Bao Chau
Ngô Bảo Châu is a Vietnamese and French mathematician at the University of Chicago, best known for proving the fundamental lemma for automorphic forms proposed by Robert Langlands and Diana Shelstad. He is the first Vietnamese to receive the Fields Medal.- Biography :Chau was born in 1972, the...

 won the 2010 Fields Medal
Fields Medal
The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union , a meeting that takes place every four...

 for his proof of fundamental lemma in the theory of automorphic forms. Vietnam is furthermore working to develop an indigenous space program, and plans to construct the US$600 million Vietnam Space Center – Southeast Asia's most advanced space science facility – by 2018.

Transport



Vietnam's modern transport system was originally developed under French rule
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 to facilitate the transportation of raw materials, and was reconstructed and extensively modernized following the Vietnam War.

Air


Vietnam operates 17 major civil airports, including three international gateways: Noi Bai serving Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

, Da Nang International Airport
Da Nang International Airport
Da Nang International Airport is located in Da Nang, the largest city in central Vietnam. It is the third international airport in the country, besides Noi Bai International Airport and Tan Son Nhat International Airport , and is an important gateway to access central Vietnam.In addition to its...

 serving Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

, and Tan Son Nhat serving Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

. Tan Son Nhat is the nation's largest airport, handling 75 percent of international passenger traffic. According to a state-approved plan, Vietnam will have 10 international airports by 2015 – besides the aforementioned three, these include Lien Khuong International Airport, Phu Bai International Airport, Cam Ranh International Airport, Phu Quoc International Airport
Phu Quoc International Airport
Phu Quoc International Airport is an international airport under construction in Phu Quoc Island, southern Vietnam...

, Cat Bi International Airport, Cần Thơ International Airport and Long Thanh International Airport
Long Thanh International Airport
Long Thanh International Airport is an airport planned for construction in Long Thanh, Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam, approx 40 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. It is intended to become operational by 2020...

. The planned Long Thanh International Airport will be built on an area of 50 square kilometres (19.3 sq mi), and will have full capacity of 100 million passengers.

Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines Company Limited, trading as Vietnam Airlines , is the national flag carrier of Vietnam. Founded in 1956 under the name Vietnam Civil Aviation, the airline was established as a state enterprise in April 1989. Vietnam Airlines is headquartered in Long Bien, Hanoi, with hubs at Noi...

, the state-owned national airline, maintains a fleet of 69 passenger aircraft, and aims to operate 150 by 2020. Several private airlines are also in operation in Vietnam, including Air Mekong
Air Mekong
Mekong Aviation Joint Stock Company , doing business as Air Mekong, is an airline from Vietnam which operates scheduled passenger flights from its base at Phu Quoc Airport and secondary hubs at Noi Bai International Airport and Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Its headquarters are located in Phú...

, Jetstar Pacific Airlines
Jetstar Pacific Airlines
Jetstar Pacific Airlines Joint Stock Aviation Company is a low-cost airline headquartered in the Tân Bình District of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It operates domestic and international services, and charter flights. Its main base is Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the main airport in Ho Chi...

 and VASCO
Vietnam Air Service Company
Vietnam Air Service Company , also known as VASCO, is an airline in Vietnam, headquartered in Tân Bình, Ho Chi Minh City. Operating scheduled flights from its base at Tan Son Nhat International Airport to the south of the country, VASCO is a fully owned subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, it also...

.

Road



Vietnam's road system includes national roads administered at the central level; provincial roads managed at the provincial level; district roads managed at the district level; urban roads managed by cities and towns; and commune roads managed at the commune level. Bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

s, motor scooters and motorcycles remain the most popular forms of road transport in Vietnam's urban areas, although the number of privately-owned automobiles is also on the rise, especially in the larger cities. Public buses operated by private companies are the main mode of long-distance travel for much of the population.

Road safety is a serious issue in Vietnam – on average, 30 people are killed in traffic accidents every day. Traffic congestion is a growing problem in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as the cities' roads struggle to cope with the boom in automobile use.

Rail



Vietnam's primary cross-country rail service is the Reunification Express, which runs from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, covering a distance of nearly 2,000 kilometres. From Hanoi, railway lines branch out to the northeast, north and west; the eastbound line runs from Hanoi to Ha Long Bay, the northbound line from Hanoi to Thai Nguyen, and the northeast line from Hanoi to Lao Cai.

In 2009, Vietnam and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 signed a deal to build a high-speed railway using Japanese technology; numerous Vietnamese engineers have since been sent to Japan to receive training in the operation and maintenance of high-speed trains. The railway will be a 1,630-km-long express route, serving a total of 26 stations, including Hanoi and the Thu Thiem terminus in Ho Chi Minh City. Using Japan's well-established Shinkansen
Shinkansen
The , also known as THE BULLET TRAIN, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of of lines with maximum speeds of , of Mini-shinkansen with a...

technology, the line will support trains travelling at a maximum speed of 360 kilometres (223.7 mi) per hour. The high-speed lines linking Hanoi to central Vinh
Vinh
Vinh is a city in Vietnam. It is located in the northern half of the country, and is the capital of Nghệ An Province. Politically, Vinh is a municipality within Nghệ An Province. On September 5th, 2008, it was upgraded from Grade-II city to Grade-I city, the fourth Grade-I city of Vietnam after...

 and central Nha Trang
Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district...

 to Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam will be laid during the 2010–2015 period. From 2015 to 2020, construction will begin on the routes between Vinh and Nha Trang and between Hanoi and the northern provinces of Lao Cai
Lao Cai
Lào Cai is a city in northeastern Vietnam. It is the capital of Lao Cai province. The city borders the city of Hekou, in the Yunnan province of Southwest China. It lies at the junction of the Red River and the Nam Ti River approximately 160 miles northwest of Hanoi...

 and Lang Son
Lang Son
Lạng Sơn , sometimes Langson, is a city in far northern Vietnam, is the capital of Lang Son province. It is accessible by road and rail from Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital, and it is the northernmost point on National Road 1A.-History:...

.

Water


Vietnam has several major sea ports, including Cam Ranh
Cam Ranh
Cam Ranh is a city in southern Khanh Hoa province, in the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is the second-largest city in the province, after Nha Trang. It is located on Cam Ranh Bay. As of 2009 the city had a population of 125.311. and covers an area of 316 km².Cam Ranh becomes the second...

, Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

, Hong Gai, Qui Nhơn
Qui Nhon
Qui Nhơn , also Quy Nhơn, is a coastal city in Binh Dinh province in central Vietnam. It is composed of 16 wards and five communes with a total of 286 km². Quy Nhon is the capital of Bình Định province. As of 2009 its population was 280,900. Historically, the commercial activities of the city...

, and Nha Trang
Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district...

. Further inland, the country's extensive network of rivers play a key role in rural transportation, with over 17000 kilometres (10,563.3 mi) of navigable waterway
Waterway
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:...

s.

Demographics




Population



The census of 1 April 2009 recorded the population of Vietnam as standing at approximately 85.8 million, of which the Viet or Kinh ethnic group constituted nearly 73.6 million, or 85.8% of the population. The population had grown significantly from the 1979 census, which showed the total population of reunified Vietnam to be 52.7 million. The Kinh population is concentrated mainly in the alluvial deltas and coastal plains of the country. A largely homogeneous social and ethnic group, the Kinh possess significant political and economic influence over the country as its ethnic majority. Vietnam is furthermore home to 54 ethnic minority groups, including the Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , 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 in southern China...

, Dao
Yao people
The Yao nationality is a government classification for various minorities in China. They form one of the 55 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China, where they reside in the mountainous terrain of the southwest and south...

, Tay
Tay people
The Tày people speak a language of the Central Tai language group, and live in northern Vietnam. They are sometimes also called Thô, T'o, Tai Tho, Ngan, Phen, Thu Lao, or Pa Di....

, Thai
Thai people
The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

, and Nung
Nung people
The Nùng are an ethnic minority in Vietnam. In China, the Nùng, together with the Tày, are classified as Zhuang people.-Description:The population of the Nùng is estimated to be more than 700,000...

.

Many ethnic minorities – such as the Muong
Muong people
The Mường is the third largest of Vietnam’s 53 minority groups, with an estimated population of 1.2 million. The Muong people inhabit the mountainous region of northern Vietnam, concentrated in Hoa Binh Province and the mountainous districts of Thanh Hoa Province. They are most closely related to...

, who are closely related to the Kinh – dwell in the highlands, which cover two-thirds of Vietnam's territory. Before the Vietnam War, the population of the Central Highlands
Tây Nguyên
Tây Nguyên, translated as Western Highlands and sometimes also called Central Highlands, is one of the regions of Vietnam. It contains the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Đắk Nông, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Lâm Đồng....

 was almost exclusively Degar
Degar
The Degar are the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands of Vietnam. The term Montagnard means "mountain people" in French and is a carryover from the French colonial period in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, they are known by the term thượng - this term can also be applied to other minority ethnic...

 (including over 40 tribal groups); however, Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngo Dinh Diem
Ngô Đình Diệm was the first president of South Vietnam . In the wake of the French withdrawal from Indochina as a result of the 1954 Geneva Accords, Diệm led the effort to create the Republic of Vietnam. Accruing considerable U.S. support due to his staunch anti-Communism, he achieved victory in a...

's governments enacted a program of resettling Kinh in indigenous areas. The Hoa (ethnic Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

) and Khmer Krom
Khmer Krom
The Khmer Krom are Khmer people living in the Mekong Delta and the Lower Mekong River area. Under the Khmer Rouge regime- according to the conservative estimates are that 150,000. Under the rule of Vietnam from 1979-93, Cambodia may have lost 20,000 Khmer Krom...

 are mainly lowlanders. As Sino-Vietnamese relations
Sino-Vietnamese relations
The bilateral relations between the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the People's Republic of China have been turbulent, despite their common socialist background. Centuries of conquest by the PRC's imperial predecessor have given Vietnam an entrenched suspicion of Chinese attempts to dominate it...

 soured in 1978 and 1979, some 450,000 Hoa left Vietnam.

Languages


The official national language of Vietnam is Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

, a tonal monosyllabic Mon–Khmer language which is spoken by the majority of the population. In its early history, Vietnamese writing used Chinese characters. In the 13th century, the Vietnamese developed their own set of characters, referred to as Chữ nôm. The folk epic ( or ) by Nguyễn Du was written in Chữ nôm. Quốc ngữ, the romanized Vietnamese alphabet used for spoken Vietnamese, was developed in 17th century by the Jesuit Alexandre De Rhodes and several other Catholic missionaries
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

. Quốc ngữ became widely popular and brought literacy to the Vietnamese masses during the French colonial period.

Various other languages are spoken by Vietnam's minority groups. The most common of these include Tày
Tai languages
The Tai or Zhuang–Tai languages are a branch of the Tai–Kadai language family. The Tai languages include the most widely spoken of the Tai–Kadai languages, including standard Thai or Siamese, the national language of Thailand; Lao or Laotian, the national language of Laos; Burma's Shan language;...

, Mường
Muong language
The Mường language is spoken by the Mường people of Vietnam. It is in the Austroasiatic language family and closely related to Vietnamese. It is a tonal language with five tones....

, Cham
Cham language
Cham is the language of the Cham people of Southeast Asia, and formerly the language of the kingdom of Champa in central Vietnam. A member of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian family, it is spoken by 100,000 people in Vietnam and up to 220,000 people in Cambodia . There are also...

, Khmer
Khmer language
Khmer , or Cambodian, is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. It is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language , with speakers in the tens of millions. Khmer has been considerably influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious...

, Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, Nùng
Nung language (Tai)
Nung is a Tai–Kadai language spoken mostly in Cao Bằng, and Lang Son provinces in Vietnam. It is also known as Bu-Nong, Highland Nung, Nong, Tai Nung, Tay, and Tày Nùng...

, and H'Mông
Hmong language
Hmong or Mong is the common name for a dialect continuum of the West Hmongic branch of the Hmong–Mien/Miao–Yao language family spoken by the Hmong people of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, northern Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos...

. The Montagnard peoples of the Central Highlands also speak a number of distinct languages.

The French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, a legacy of colonial rule, is still spoken by some older Vietnamese as a second language, but is losing its popularity. Vietnam nevertheless remains a full member of the Francophonie. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 – and to a much lesser extent German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Czech
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 and Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 – are known among some Vietnamese whose families had ties with the Soviet bloc during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. In recent years, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 is becoming more popular as a second language; the study of English is now obligatory in most schools. Chinese and Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 have also grown in popularity as Vietnam's links with China and Japan have strengthened.

Religion



For much of Vietnamese history, Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 have been the dominant religions, strongly influencing the national culture. About 85% of Vietnamese identify with Buddhism
Buddhism in Vietnam
Buddhism in Vietnam as practiced by the ethnic Vietnamese is mainly of the Mahāyāna tradition. Buddhism came to Vietnam as early as the 2nd century CE through the North from Central Asia and via Southern routes from India...

, though not all practice on a regular basis. Most people ascribe to Tam Đạo ("Triple religion"): 80% of people worship the mixture of Mahayana Buddhism mainly, Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 with Ancestor Worship; 2% Hòa Hảo
Hoa Hao
Hòa Hảo is a religious tradition, based on Buddhism, founded in 1939 by Huỳnh Phú Sổ, a native of the Mekong River Delta region of southern Vietnam. Adherents consider Sổ to be a prophet, and Hòa Hảo a continuation of a 19th-century Buddhist ministry known as Bửu Sơn Kỳ Hương...

 (a new 20th century religious movement that is concentrated in the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

) and 2% Theravada Buddhism, mainly among Khmer people
Khmer people
Khmer people are the predominant ethnic group in Cambodia, accounting for approximately 90% of the 14.8 million people in the country. They speak the Khmer language, which is part of the larger Mon–Khmer language family found throughout Southeast Asia...

 in the Mekong. According to the 2009 census, while over 10 million people have taken refuge
Refuge (Buddhism)
Buddhists "take refuge" in, or to "go for refuge" to, the Three Jewels . This can be done formally in lay and monastic ordination ceremonies.The Three Jewels general signification is: * the Buddha;* the Dharma, the teachings;...

 in the Three Jewels
Three Jewels
The Three Jewels, also called the Three Treasures, the Siemese Triples, Three Refuges, or the Triple Gem , are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance, in the process known as taking refuge.The Three Jewels are:* BuddhaTaking refuge in the Three Jewels is...

, the vast majority of Vietnamese people practice ancestor worship in some form.

About 8% of the population are Christians
Christianity in Vietnam
Christianity was first introduced to Vietnam in the 16th century and established a solid position in Vietnamese society since the 19th century. Roman Catholics and Protestants today constitute 7% and 1% of the country’s population accordingly; the newest government census shows that is 8% ....

, totalling around six million Roman Catholics and fewer than one million Protestants, according to the census of 2007. Christianity was first introduced to Vietnam by Portuguese and Dutch traders in the 16th and 17th centuries, and was further propagated by French missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, and to a lesser extent, by American Protestant missionaries during the Vietnam War, largely among the Montagnards of South Vietnam. The largest Protestant churches are the Evangelical Church of Vietnam and the Montagnard Evangelical Church. Two-thirds of Vietnam's Protestants are reportedly members of ethnic minorities.
The Vietnamese government is widely seen as suspicious of Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism in Vietnam
The Roman Catholic Church in Vietnam is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. Vietnam has the fifth largest Catholic population in Asia, after the Philippines, India, China and Indonesia....

. This mistrust originated during the 19th century, when some Catholics collaborated with the French colonists
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

 in conquering and ruling the country and in helping French attempts to install Catholic emperors, such as in the Lê Văn Khôi revolt
Le Van Khoi revolt
The Lê Văn Khôi revolt was an important revolt in 19th century Vietnam, in which southern Vietnamese, Vietnamese Catholics, French Catholic missionaries and Chinese settlers under the leadership of Lê Văn Khôi opposed the Imperial rule of Minh Mạng.-Origin:The revolt was spurred by the...

 of 1833. Furthermore, the Catholic Church's strongly anti-communist stance has made it an enemy of the Vietnamese state. The Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 Church is officially banned, and only government-controlled Catholic organisations are permitted. However, Vietnam's relations with the Vatican have improved in recent years.

Several other minority faiths exist in Vietnam. About 3% of the population are adherents of Cao Dai
Cao Dai
Cao Đài is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tay Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926. Đạo Cao Đài is the religion's shortened name, the full name is Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ...

, a syncretic
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 modern religion whose followers are largely concentrated in Tay Ninh Province. Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 and Cham Bani Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 is primarily practiced by the ethnic Cham minority, though there are also a few ethnic Vietnamese adherents in the southwest. In total, there are approximately 70,000 Muslims in Vietnam
Islam in Vietnam
Islam in Vietnam is primarily the religion of the Cham people, a minority ethnic group related to Malays; however, roughly one-third of the Muslims in Vietnam are of other ethnic groups...

, while around 50,000 Hindu
Hinduism in Southeast Asia
Hinduism in Southeast Asia gave birth to the former Champa civilization in southern parts of Central Vietnam, Funan in Cambodia, the Khmer Empire in Indochina, Langkasuka Kingdom, Gangga Negara and Old Kedah in the Malay Peninsular, the Srivijayan kingdom on Sumatra, the Singhasari kingdom and the...

s and a small number of Baha'is are also in evidence.

The Vietnamese government rejects allegations that it does not allow religious freedom. The state's official position on religion is that all citizens are free to their belief, religion and that all regions are equal before law. Nevertheless, only government-controlled religious organisations are allowed, and the South-Vietnam-founded Unified Buddhist Congregation of Vietnam is banned in favour of a communist-approved body.

Education




Vietnam has an extensive state-controlled network of schools, colleges and universities, and a growing number of privately-run and partially-privatised institutions. General education in Vietnam is divided into five categories: kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

, elementary school
Elementary school
An elementary school or primary school is an institution where children receive the first stage of compulsory education known as elementary or primary education. Elementary school is the preferred term in some countries, particularly those in North America, where the terms grade school and grammar...

s, middle school
Middle school
Middle School and Junior High School are levels of schooling between elementary and high schools. Most school systems use one term or the other, not both. The terms are not interchangeable...

s, high school
High school
High school is a term used in parts of the English speaking world to describe institutions which provide all or part of secondary education. The term is often incorporated into the name of such institutions....

s, and universities. A large number of public schools have been organized across the country to raise the national literacy rate, which stood at 90.3% in 2008. There is a large number of specialist colleges, established to develop a more diverse and skilled national workforce.

A large number of Vietnam's most acclaimed universities are based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Facing serious crises, Vietnam's education system is under a holistic program of reform launched by the government. Education is not free; therefore, some poor families may have trouble paying tuition for their children without some form of public or private assistance. Regardless, school enrollment is among the highest in the world, and the number of colleges and universities increased dramatically in the 2000s, from 178 in 2000 to 299 in 2005.

Health


Public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 in Vietnam is of a reasonably high standard. As of 2009, the national life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 is 76 years for women and 72 for men, and infant mortality
Infant mortality
Infant mortality is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1000 live births. Traditionally, the most common cause worldwide was dehydration from diarrhea. However, the spreading information about Oral Re-hydration Solution to mothers around the world has decreased the rate of children dying...

 stands at 12 per 1,000 live births. As of 2009, 85% of the population has access to improved water sources. However, malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

 is still common in the rural provinces. In 2001, government spending on health care corresponded to just 0.9% of Vietnam's gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 (GDP), with state subsidies covering only about 20% of health care expenses.

In 1954, North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 established a public health system that reached down to the hamlet
Hamlet
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601...

 level. After the national reunification in 1975, this system was extended to the provinces of former South Vietnam. In the late 1980s, the quality of healthcare declined to some degree as a result of budgetary constraints, a shift of responsibility to the provinces, and the introduction of charges. Inadequate funding has also contributed to a shortage of nurses, midwives, and hospital beds; in 2000, Vietnam had only 250,000 hospital beds, or 14.8 beds per 10,000 people, according to the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

.

Since the early 2000s, Vietnam has made significant progress in combating malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

, with the malaria mortality rate falling to about 5% of its 1990s equivalent by 2005, after the country introduced improved antimalarial drugs and treatment. However, tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 cases are on the rise, with 57 deaths per day reported in May 2004. With an intensified vaccination program, better hygiene
Hygiene
Hygiene refers to the set of practices perceived by a community to be associated with the preservation of health and healthy living. While in modern medical sciences there is a set of standards of hygiene recommended for different situations, what is considered hygienic or not can vary between...

, and foreign assistance, Vietnam hopes to reduce sharply the number of TB cases and annual new TB infections.

As of September 2005, Vietnam had diagnosed 101,291 HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

 cases, of which 16,528 progressed to AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, and 9,554 died. However, the actual number of HIV-positive individuals is estimated to be much higher. On average, 40–50 new infections are reported every day in Vietnam. As of 2007, 0.5% of the population is estimated to be infected with HIV, and this figure has remained stable since 2005. In June 2004, the United States announced that Vietnam would be one of 15 nations to receive funding as part of a US$15 billion global AIDS relief plan.

Media



Vietnam's media sector is regulated by the government in accordance with the 2004 Law on Publication. It is generally perceived that Vietnam's media sector is controlled by the government to follow the official communist party line, though some newspapers are relatively outspoken. The Voice of Vietnam is the official state-run national radio broadcasting service, broadcasting internationally via shortwave using rented transmitters in other countries, and providing broadcasts from its website. Vietnam Television
Vietnam Television
Vietnam Television, or VTV, is the national television broadcaster for Vietnam. Like all media of Vietnam, its programming is directly controlled by the government.-History:...

 is the national television broadcasting company.
As Vietnam moved toward a free-market economy under its Đổi Mới reform program, the government's reliance on the print media to keep the public informed about its policies led to a near-doubling in the number of newspapers and magazines in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Vietnam extensively regulates public Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 access, using both legal and technical means. The collaborative project OpenNet Initiative
OpenNet Initiative
The OpenNet Initiative is a joint project whose goal is to monitor and report on internet filtering and surveillance practices by nations. The project employs a number of technical means, as well as an international network of investigators, to determine the extent and nature of government-run...

 classifies Vietnam's level of online political censorship to be "pervasive", while Reporters without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 considers Vietnam to be one of 15 global "internet enemies". While the government of Vietnam claims to safeguard the country against obscene or sexually-explicit content through its blocking efforts, many politically and religiously sensitive sites are also banned.

Culture


Vietnam's culture is diverse, informed by a number of elements, including the ancient Dong Son culture
Dong Son culture
The Đông Sơn culture was a prehistoric Bronze Age age in Vietnam centered at the Red River Valley of northern Vietnam. At this time the first Vietnamese kingdoms of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc appeared...

. The national culture can be seen, to some extent, as part of the Sinosphere
Sinosphere
In areal linguistics, Sinosphere refers to a grouping of countries and regions that are currently inhabited with a majority of Chinese population or were historically under Chinese cultural influence...

, drawing on elements of Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Laoism in its traditional political system and philosophy. Vietnamese society is structured around làng (ancestral villages), which are seen as more important than bloodlines; all Vietnamese mark a common ancestral anniversary on the tenth day of the third lunar month. The influences of immigrant cultures &ndash such as the Cantonese
Cantonese
Cantonese is a dialect spoken primarily in south China.Cantonese may also refer to:* Yue Chinese, the Chinese language that includes Cantonese* Cantonese cuisine, the cuisine of Guangdong province...

, Hakka
Hakka
The Hakka , sometimes Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and have links to the provincial areas of Guangdong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hunan and Fujian in China....

, Hokkien
Hokkien
Hokkien is a Hokkien word corresponding to Standard Chinese "Fujian". It may refer to:* Hokkien dialect, a dialect of Min Nan Chinese spoken in Southern Fujian , Taiwan, South-east Asia, and elsewhere....

 and Hainan
Hainan
Hainan is the smallest province of the People's Republic of China . Although the province comprises some two hundred islands scattered among three archipelagos off the southern coast, of its land mass is Hainan Island , from which the province takes its name...

 cultures – can also be seen, while the national religion of Buddism is strongly entwined with popular culture. In recent centuries, the influences of Western cultures, most notably French and American culture, have become evident in Vietnam.

Vietnam reveres a number of key cultural symbols, such as the Vietnamese dragon
Vietnamese dragon
Vietnamese dragons are symbolic creatures in the folklore and mythology of Vietnam. According to an ancient creation myth, the Vietnamese people are descended from a dragon and a fairy....

, which is derived from crocodile
Crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

 and snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

 imagery; Vietnam's National Father, Lạc Long Quân
Lac Long Quan
Lạc Long Quân , according to the creation myth of the Vietnamese people, was the father of the Vietnamese people, and their first true king. Lạc Long Quân was the son and sole successor of Kinh Dương Vương , who ruled over Xích Quỷ...

, is depicted as a holy dragon. The lạc – a holy bird representing Vietnam's National Mother, Âu Cơ
Au Co
Âu Cơ , according to the creation myth of the Vietnamese people, was an immortal mountain fairy who married Lạc Long Quân , and bore an egg sac that hatched a hundred children known collectively as Baiyue, ancestors to the Vietnamese people...

, is another prominent symbol, while turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

 and nghê (dog) images are also revered.

The official spoken and written language of Vietnam is Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

, currently written in the Latin alphabet
Latin alphabet
The Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...

. However, Vietnam is believed by historians to have had established a distinctive culture before the invasion of Chinese dynasties, including a syllabic
Syllabary
A syllabary is a set of written symbols that represent syllables, which make up words. In a syllabary, there is no systematic similarity between the symbols which represent syllables with the same consonant or vowel...

 writing system named Khoa Đẩu.

In the socialist era, the cultural life of Vietnam has been deeply influenced by government-controlled media and cultural programs. For many decades, foreign cultural influences were shunned, and emphasis was placed on appreciating and sharing the culture of communist nations such as the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. However, since the 1990s, Vietnam has seen a greater exposure to Southeast Asian, European and American culture and media.

Clothing



A key part of Vietnam's culture is is the "", worn for special occasions such as weddings or festivals. White áo dài is the required uniform for girls in many high schools across Vietnam. Áo dài was once worn by both genders, but today it is mostly the preserve of women, although men do wear it on some important cultural occasions.

Cuisine




Vietnamese cuisine uses very little oil and many vegetables. The main dishes are often based on rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and soy sauce
Soy sauce
Soy sauce is a condiment produced by fermenting soybeans with Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds, along with water and salt...

. Sugar, serrano pepper
Serrano pepper
The serrano pepper is a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains of these regions....

s, lime
Lime (fruit)
Lime is a term referring to a number of different citrus fruits, both species and hybrids, which are typically round, green to yellow in color, 3–6 cm in diameter, and containing sour and acidic pulp. Limes are a good source of vitamin C. Limes are often used to accent the flavors of foods and...

 and nuoc mam (fish sauce) are among the most common flavorings, as are mint
MiNT
MiNT is a free software alternative operating system kernel for the Atari ST and its successors. Together with the free system components fVDI , XaAES , and TeraDesk , MiNT provides a free TOS compatible replacement OS that is capable of multitasking.MiNT was originally released by Eric Smith as...

 and basil
Basil
Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum , of the family Lamiaceae , sometimes known as Saint Joseph's Wort in some English-speaking countries....

.

Music


Vietnamese music varies slightly between the country's three regions: or North, or Central, and or South. Northern classical music is Vietnam's oldest musical form, and is traditionally more formal. The origins of Vietnamese classical music can be traced to the Mongol invasions of the 13th century, when the Vietnamese captured a Chinese opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 troupe. Central classical music shows the influences of the Champa
Champa
The kingdom of Champa was an Indianized kingdom that controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through to 1832.The Cham people are remnants...

 culture with its melancholic melodies.

Literature



Vietnamese literature
Vietnamese literature
Vietnamese literature is literature, both oral and written, created largely by Vietnamese-speaking people, although Francophone Vietnamese and English-speaking Vietnamese authors in Australia and the United States are counted by many critics as part of the national tradition...

 has a centuries-deep history. The country has a rich tradition of folk literature, based around the typical 6–to-8-verse poetic form named ca dao, which usually focuses on village ancestors and heroes. Written literature has been found dating back to the 10th-century Ngô Dynasty
Ngô Dynasty
The Ngô dynasty was a dynasty in Vietnam.Around the year 930 AD, as Ngô Quyền rose to power, northern Vietnam was militarily occupied by Southern Han and was treated as an autonomous province and vassal state of China and was referred to as Giao Chỉ...

, with notable ancient authors including Nguyễn Trãi, Trần Hưng Đạo, Nguyễn Du and Nguyễn Đình Chiểu. Some literary genres play an important role in theatrical performance, like "hát nói" in ca trù
Ca tru
Ca trù is an ancient genre of chamber music featuring female vocalists, with origins in northern Vietnam...

. Some poetic unions have also been formed in Vietnam, such as the Tao Đàn. Vietnamese literature has in recent times been influenced by Western styles, with the first literary transformation movement – Thơ Mới – emerging in 1932.

Sport


The Vovinam
Vovinam
Vovinam is a Vietnamese martial art.Vovinam is practiced with and without weapons. It is based on the principle of between hard and soft. It includes training of the body as well as the mind. It uses force and reaction of the opponent. Vovinam also includes hand, elbow, kicks, escape- and levering...

 and Bình Ðịnh martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 are widespread in Vietnam, while soccer
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 is the country's most popular team sport. Other Western sports, such as badminton
Badminton
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players or two opposing pairs , who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their...

, tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

, ping-pong and chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, are also widely popular.

Festivals




Vietnam has a plethora of festivals based on the lunar calendar
Lunar calendar
A lunar calendar is a calendar that is based on cycles of the lunar phase. A common purely lunar calendar is the Islamic calendar or Hijri calendar. A feature of the Islamic calendar is that a year is always 12 months, so the months are not linked with the seasons and drift each solar year by 11 to...

, the most important being the Tết
Tet
Tet can mean:*Tết or Tết Nguyên Đán, the Vietnamese new year**Tet Offensive, a military campaign that began in 1968*Têt in Roussillon, France*Equal temperament, abbreviated as 12-TET, 19-TET and so on...

 New Year celebration. Traditional Vietnamese wedding
Traditional Vietnamese wedding
The traditional Vietnamese wedding is one of the most important ceremonies in Vietnamese culture, with influence from Confucian and Buddhist ideologies.-Traditional wedding clothes since the Nguyễn Dynasty:...

s remain widely popular, and are often celebrated by expatriate Vietnamese in Western countries.

Tourism




Vietnam has become a major tourist destination since the 1990s, assisted by significant state and private investment, particularly in coastal regions. About 3.77 million international tourists visited Vietnam in 2009 alone.

Popular destinations include Hanoi, Saigon, the former imperial capital of Hué, the World Heritage Sites of Hoi An
Hoi An
Hội An , or rarely Faifo, is a city of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea in the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is located in Quang Nam province and is home to approximately 120,000 inhabitants...

 and Mỹ Sơn, coastal regions such as Nha Trang
Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It is bounded on the North by Ninh Hoà district, on the East by the South China Sea, on the South by Cam Ranh town and on the West by Diên Khánh district...

, the caves of Ha Long Bay and the Marble Mountains
Marble Mountains (Vietnam)
Marble Mountains is a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngu Hanh Son ward, south of Da Nang city in Vietnam. The five 'mountains' are named after the five elements; Kim , Thuy , Moc , Hoa and Tho ....

. Numerous tourist projects are under construction, such as the Binh Duong tourist complex, which possesses the largest artificial sea in Southeast Asia.

On Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

 2011, Joe Jackson, the father of popstar Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

, attended a ground breaking ceremony for what will be Southeast Asia's largest entertainment complex, a five-star hotel and amusement park called Happyland. The US$2 billion project, which has been designed to accommodate 14 million tourists annually, is located in southern Long An province, near Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

. It is expected that the complex will be finished in 2014.

Other documents


  • Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950–1975 (4th ed 2001), most widely used short history.
  • Jahn GC. 2006. The Dream is not yet over. In: P. Fredenburg P, Hill B, editors. Sharing rice for peace and prosperity in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Victoria, (Australia): Sid Harta Publishers. p 237–240
  • Karrnow, Stanley. Vietnam: A History. Penguin (Non-Classics); 2nd edition (1 June 1997). ISBN 0-14-026547-3
  • McMahon, Robert J. Major Problems in the History of the Vietnam War: Documents and Essays (1995) textbook
  • Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, 7th edition, Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    .
  • Tucker, Spencer. ed. Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1998) 3 vol. reference set; also one-volume abridgment (2001)


External links


  • Country Profile from BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

  • Vietnam from UCB Libraries GovPubs


Government

Other