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The Vietnam War as History MyLai Massacre The Decision To Escalate Lessons of Vietnam Teacher Resources Public Opinion and the War Negotiated Settlement The Antiwar Movement Music of the Vietnam Era

Where is Vietnam?

Vietnam map

Vietnam and Southeast Asia

Vietnam is located on the eastern side of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.


Area: 331,114 sq. km. (127,243 sq. mi.); equivalent in size to Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee combined.
Cities (2009): Capital--Hanoi (pop. 6.472 million). Other cities--Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon; pop. 7.163 million), Haiphong (pop. 1.841 million), Danang (pop. 890,500), Can Tho (pop. 1.189 million).
Terrain: Varies from mountainous to coastal delta.
Climate: Tropical monsoon.


Nationality: Noun and adjective--Vietnamese (sing. and pl.).
Population (2011): 90 million.
Annual population growth rate (2011): 1.077%.
Ethnic groups (2009): 54 groups including Vietnamese (Kinh) (73.594 million, or 85.7% of the population), Tay (1.89%), Thai (1.8%), Muong (1.47%), Khmer (1.46%), Chinese (0.95%), Nung (1.12%), Hmong (1.24%).
Religions (2008): Buddhism (approx. 50%), Catholicism (8%-10%), Cao Dai (1.5%-3%), Protestantism (0.5%-2%), Hoa Hao (1.5%-4%), Islam (0.1%), and other animist religions.
Languages: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and other ethnic minority languages.
Education (2009): Literacy--94%.
Health (2011): Birth rate--17.07 births/1,000 population. Infant mortality rate--20.9 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--73 yrs. Death rate--5.96/1,000 population.


Type: Single-party constitutional republic (Communist Party).
Independence: September 2, 1945.
Constitution: April 15, 1992.
Branches: Executive--president (head of state and chair of National Defense and Security Council) and prime minister (heads cabinet of ministries and commissions). Legislative--National Assembly. Judicial--Supreme People's Court; Prosecutorial Supreme People's Procuracy.
Administrative subdivisions: 58 provinces, 5 municipalities (Can Tho, Haiphong, Danang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City).
Political party: Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) with over 3 million members, formerly (1951-76) Vietnam Worker's Party, itself the successor of the Indochinese Communist Party founded in 1930.

U.S. Department of State World Factbook

Also see A Country Study: Vietnam at the Library of Congress


The following locations were significant in Vietnamese history:



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