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Country information - Vietnam
Country name - conventional long form : Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Country name - conventional short form : Vietnam
Country name - local long form : Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam
Country name - local short form : Viet Nam
Government type : Communist state
Capital - name : Hanoi
Capital - time difference : UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Independence Day, 2 September (1945)
Population : 86,116,560 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Vietnamese (singular and plural)
Nationality - adjective : Vietnamese
Languages : Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Currency (code) : dong (VND)
Currency code : VND
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : high
Major infectious diseases - note : highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

Vietnam is located Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia. The climate is tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (May to September) and warm, dry season (October to March). The terrain is low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
Background : The conquest of Vietnam by France began in 1858 and was completed by 1884. It became part of French Indochina in 1887. Vietnam declared independence after World War II, but France continued to rule until its 1954 defeat by Communist forces under Ho Chi MINH. Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the Communist North and anti-Communist South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, North Vietnamese forces overran the South reuniting the country under Communist rule. Despite the return of peace, for over a decade the country experienced little economic growth because of conservative leadership policies. However, since the enactment of Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have committed to increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and to produce more competitive, export-driven industries. The country continues to experience protests from various groups - such as the Protestant Montagnard ethnic minority population of the Central Highlands and the Hoa Hao Buddhists in southern Vietnam over religious persecution. Montagnard grievances also include the loss of land to Vietnamese settlers.

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