Vietnam (i/ˌviɪtˈnɑːm/, /viˌɛt-/, /-ˈnæm/, /ˌvjɛt-/), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam ), is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 87.8 million inhabitants as of 2011, it is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam translates as "South Viet", and was officially adopted in 1945. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976.
The Vietnamese became independent from Imperial China in 938 AD, following the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. The First Indochina War eventually led to the expulsion of the French in 1954, leaving Vietnam divided politically into two states, North and South Vietnam. Conflict between the two sides intensified, with heavy foreign intervention, during the Vietnam War, which ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
Vietnam was then unified under a Communist government, but was politically isolated and impoverished. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms, which began Vietnam's path towards integration into the world economy. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since 2000, and according to Citigroup, such high growth is set to continue. Vietnam has the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies, and its successful economic reforms resulted in it joining the World Trade Organization in 2007. However, the country still suffers from relatively high levels of income inequality, disparities in healthcare provision, and poor gender equality.
Famous quotes containing the word vietnam:
“I was proud of the youths who opposed the war in Vietnam because they were my babies.”
—Benjamin Spock (b. 1903)
“Let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”
—Richard M. Nixon (19131992)
“I told them Im not going to let Vietnam go the way of China. I told them to go back and tell those generals in Saigon that Lyndon Johnson intends to stand by our word, but by God, I want something for my money. I want em to get off their butts and get out in those jungles and whip hell out of some Communists. And then I want em to leave me alone, because Ive got some bigger things to do right here at home.”
—Lyndon Baines Johnson (19081973)