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Map of Vietnam



Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, between China and Cambodia
Area: slightly larger than New Mexico
Total area: 329,560 sq km - land area: 325,360 sq km
Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March)
Terrain: low, flat delta in south and north; central highlands; hilly, mountainous in far north and northwest
Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil deposits, forests



Population: 74,393,324 (July 1995 est.)

  • 0-14 years: 36% (female 13,225,916; male 13,918,321)
  • 15-64 years: 59% (female 22,353,710; male 21,223,739)
  • 65 years and over: 5% (female 2,236,453; male 1,435,185)
  • (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.71% (1995 est.)


  • noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural)
  • adjective: Vietnamese

Ethnic divisions:

Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3%, Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham


Buddhist (60%), Taoist(12%), Roman Catholic(5%), indigenous beliefs, Islam, Protestant 


Vietnamese (official), French, Chinese, English, Khmer, tribal languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)


  • 88% of age 15 and over can read and write (1989)
  • (male: 93% female: 83%)


Vietnam has about 4,000 years of history. Part of it was spent under Chinese domination, which ended in the 1400s. A succession of Vietnamese dynasties followed until French colonial rule dominated the country in the latter 1800s. In 1945, following the Japanese World War II occupation, Ho Chi Minh led An army against the French to gain independence until 1954 Geneva Accords. The Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into two parts preparatory to national elections in 1956. The government in the South did not follow through with the election and a civil war between north and south began. The U.S. supported the South Vietnam government in Saigon and sent American troops and supplies to fight the Viet Congs (local southern guerillas against the South Vietnamese government) and North Vietnamese troops. The war spread to Laos and Cambodia. and American support included extensive bombing of Laos, Cambodia, North Vietnam and areas of South Vietnam held by Viet Cong. The war ended with the withdrawal of American troops and the fll of Saigon in April 1975. All three Indochinese countries-Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia came under Communist governments.




  • conventional long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
  • conventional short form: Vietnam
  • local long form: Cong Hoa Chu Nghia Viet Nam
  • local short form: Viet Nam

Type: Communist state

Capital: Hanoi

Independence: 2 September 1945 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 2 September (1945)

Constitution: 15 April 1992

Flag: red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center




Vietnam has made significant progress in recent years moving away from the planned economic model toward a more effective market-based economic system. Most prices are now fully decontrolled, and the Vietnamese currency has been effectively devalued and floated at world market rates. In addition, the scope for private sector activity has been expanded, primarily through decollectivization of the agricultural sector and introduction of laws giving legal recognition to private business. Nearly three-quarters of export earnings are generated by only two commodities, rice and crude oil. Led by industry and construction, the economy did well in 1993 and 1994 with output rising 7% and 9% respectively. However, the industrial sector remains burdened by noncompetitive state-owned enterprises the government is unwilling or unable to privatize. Unemployment looms as a serious problem with roughly 20% of the work force without jobs and with population growth swelling the ranks of the labor force yearly.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $83.5 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 8.8% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $1,140 (1994 est.)

Exports: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

  • commodities: petroleum, rice, agricultural products, marine products, coffee
  • partners: Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, France, South Korea

Imports: $4.2 billion (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

  • commodities: petroleum products, machinery and equipment, steel products, fertilizer, raw cotton, grain
  • partners: Singapore, Japan, South Korea, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan


food processing, textiles, machine building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil

Currency: 1 new dong (D) = 100 xu

Exchange rates:

new dong (D) per US$1 - 11,000 (October 1994), 10,800 (November 1993), 8,100 (July 1991), 7,280 (December 1990), 3,996 (March 1990)

North Korea
South Korea

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