French rule of Vietnam ended in 1954. Divided at 17°N, the US-backed South fought the Communist North. Reunified after the North’s 1975 victory, it is run as a single-party state.

 Geography: A heavily forested mountain range separates the northern Red River delta lowlands from the Mekong Delta in the south.

 Climate: Cool winters in north; south is tropical, with even temperatures.

 People and Society: Ethnic Vietnamese dominate; the Chinese minority was viewed as a corrupt bourgeoisie by the victorious Communists after the war. Mountain-based minorities (montagnards) were also sidelined; tensions persist over the settling of highlands by lowlanders. Women play an active role in society. There is no political or press freedom.

 The Economy: Liberal economic policy (doi moi) from 1986: now one of fastest-growing economies. Major rice exporter. Cheap labour. Strong manufacturing: textiles, electrical goods. Diverse resource base.

Insight: Intense US bombing and defoliant spraying in the 1962–1975 Vietnam War has scarred the landscape


 Official Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

 Date of Formation: 1976

 Capital: Hanoi

 Population: 88.1 million

 Total Area: 127,243 sq. miles (329,560 sq. km)

 Density: 701 people per sq. mile

 Languages: Vietnamese*, Chinese, other

 Religions: Nonreligious 81%, Buddhist 9%, Christian 7%, other 3%

 Ethnic Mix: Vietnamese 86%, other 10%, Tay 2%, Thai 2%

 Government: One-party state

 Currency: Dông = 10 hao = 100 xu

DX Countries


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