Full country name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Location: South East Asia
Area: 330,991 square kilometers
Population: Abt. 86 million (updated 2008)
President: Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet
Prime Minister: Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung
- Geography: Vietnam is located on the eastern seaboard of the Indochina peninsula, sharing common borders with China in the north, and laos and Cambodia in the west. To the east and south lies the South China Sea, which the Vietnamese call the East Sea. Mountains and hills cover 4/5 of Vietnam territory with the Truong Son range stretching over 1,400 km. Mount Fansipan (3,142 m) is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.
The most populated areas in Vietnam are the Red River delta and the Mekong delta, which form around Vietnam's two largest rivers. Vietnam's 3,444 km coastline features beautifulbeaches like Tra Co, Lang Co, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and Ha Tien. National parks include Ba Vi, Cat Ba, and Cuc Phuong in the north, Ke Bang, Bach Ma in the center, and Cat Tien in the south.
Minerals: coal, iron, aluminum, tin, and oil.
Agricultural and forestry products: rice, maize, sweet potatoes, peanuts, soy beans, rubber, lacquer, coffee, tea, tobacco, cotton, sugar cane, jute, and tropical fruit.
- Climate: Vietnam is a tropical country with a humid monsoon climate. Throughout the country, the average annual temperature is between 21 and 31 degrees Celsius. During the summer, the average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius (Hanoi is 32 C, Hue is 28 C, and Ho Chi Minh City is 30 C). Lowland areas receive about 1,500 mm of rain per year, while mountainous areas receive 2,000 mm to 3,000 mm. Humidity can reach up to 90% in the spring. South Vietnam has two seasons: rainy from May to October and dry from November to April. The south typically varies in temperature by just three degrees Celsius. North Vietnam has four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Autumn is considered the most beautiful.
Vietnam history can roughly be divided into periods:
- Pre-history: From circa 400,000 years (Paleolithic) to 4,000 years (Neolithic) ago, the typical cultures were Son Vi, Hoa Binh, Bac Son, Halong, and Hoa Loc.
- Proto- history: According to legends, Vietnamese history dates to the 7th century BC with the Van Lang State lead by Hung Kings. In the 3rd century BC, King An Duong Vuong named Vietnam " Au Lac" and ruled until 179 B.C.
- Chinese Occupation: Vietnam was occupied by China from 1st to 10th century A.D.
- Monarchy: Kings ruled the area from 968 to 1945.
- Independence: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was founded after the 1945 revolution, when the President Ho Chi Minh declared independence.
- French War: Vietnam battled French colonialism from 1858 to the August Revolution in 1945, and from 1946 to the Dien Bien Phu victory in 1954.
- American War: Vietnam battled America from 1945 to Ho Chi Minh's victory on April 30, 1975.
- From 1975 until now: Vietnam has been working towards development and success.
- Ethnic Groups:
There are 54 ethnic groups living in Vietnam. The Viet (or Kinh) people account for 88% of Vietnam's population and are mostly concentrated in the lowlands. Most of the country's 5.5 million ethnic minority people live in mountainous areas. Major groups include the Tay (960,000); the Thai (770,000 people); the Muong (700,000 people); the H'mong (441,000 people); the Dao (340,000 people); the Khmer (720,000 people); the Bana (100,000 people); the Giarai (184,000 people); and the Ede 9140,000 people).
Major spiritual influences in Vietnam include Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and native religions (Ancestor, Mother Worships). Christianity arrived in the late 18th century and now has the second largest religions following, after Buddhism. Other religions practiced include Islam and Cao Dai, with higher concentrations in the South.
- Vietnamese Language and Scripts:
More than 80% of the population speak Vietnamese (or Kinh), the national language. Ethnic minorities have native languages. Three scripts have influenced Vietnam's history:
- Han (Chinese) ideograms were used until the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Nom script, created between the 11th and 14th centuries, base on the Han script.
- European missionaries in the 17th century used the Roman alphabet to record the Vietnamese language and created the Quoc Ngu script. After the Independent Day 1945, the Quoc Ngu was developed and used as the officially national language.