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Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a long streched country along the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula.

Languages: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, mountain area languages.

Literacy: 91% Natural resources: Phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower.

Agriculture products: Paddy rice, coffee, fish and seafood, rubber, cotton, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas, poultry.

Industries: Food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building, mining, cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, coal, steel, paper.

Capital city of Vietnam is Hanoi (Ha Noi), former capital of the Republic of Vietnam and largest city is Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon). Geography: Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Tonkin and South China Sea. mi.) Terrain: Varies from mountainous to coastal delta.

Official Name: Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam short form: Việt Nam int'l long form: Socialist Republic of Vietnam int'l short form: Vietnam ISO Country Code: vn Time: Local Time = UTC +7h Actual Time: Country Calling Code: +84 Capital City: Hanoi (Ha Noi) Other Cities: Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon; 5.4 million), Hai Phong (1.8 million), Can Tho (1.1 million), Da Nang (720 000) Government: Type: Communist Party-dominated constitutional republic. Climate: Tropical monsoon People: Nationality: Vietnamese Population: (2011) 87.8 million Ethnic Groups: Vietnam is a multi-nationality country with 54 ethnic groups.

Viet (Kinh) (87%), Chinese (3%), Tay, Thai, Muong, Hoa, Khmer, Nung, other mountain people.

Religions: Buddhism, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian, animism, Islam.

Currency: Dong (VND) Background: France occupied all of Vietnam by 1884.

Independence was declared after World War II, but the French continued to rule until 1954 when they were defeated by communist forces under Ho Chi MINH, who took control of the north.

US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the government, but US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973.