Vietnam is the easternmost country in Southeast Asia. With a population of over 85 million, it is one of the top 20 most populated countries in the world. For thousands of years, the country was ruled over by China. In 10th century, it finally became a nation-state. This was followed by the rule of several dynasties until mid-19th century, when it was colonized by French. During Japanese occupation in World War II, communist leader Ho Chi Minh formed the Vietminh, an alliance of communist and noncommunist nationalist groups. In 1954, Vietnam won independence through armed struggle and it led to the partition of the country into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. For two decades civil war took place between the two states and in 1976, Vietnam was reunified under a communist regime. In 1986, Vietnam instituted economic and political reforms and initiated on the path of international reconciliation. With effect, it joined the World Trade Organization in 2007 and even a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2008.
Image: By Milei.vencel, Hungary (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Area: 331,210 km2
Population: 87,840,000 (2011 census)
Currency: Viatnamese dong
Official Languages: Vietnamese, Chinese, English and French.
Independence Day: September 2, 1945
Dialing Code: 84
Type Of Government: Marxist-Leninist Socialist, Single-party state.
Interesting & Fun Facts About Vietnam
- The official name of the country is Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
- The capital city is Hanoi while the currency is Dong.
- The official language is Vietnamese while the major religion followed is Buddhism.
- One of the delicacies in this country is the Vietnamese Snake Wine, also known as ‘ruou ran’. This is typically made of rice wine with a dead snake floating in it. This wine is believed to be an ‘aphrodisiac drink’ in Vietnam and is commonly consumed on occasions like Valentine’s Day or marriage anniversaries. This wine is believed to cure night-blindness and impotence as well.
- People in Vietnam have potbelly pigs.
- The conical hat dance is one of the most visually stunning folk dances around the world. Women are dressed in bright attire and dance around with large, heavy conical hats, which is a feat in itself.
- Vietnam has a life expectancy of 72 years.
- Did you know? Vietnam is known for its annual love market called, ‘Khau Vai’. Here, youngsters and adults come to find soul-mates or even lock in passion for nights, without having to commit to them. The tribes of Khau Vai are also known as the original ‘swingers’, who practiced husband and wife swapping for over a century.
- Literacy crate in Vietnam is 94 per cent.
- Vietnam stretches 1,600 kilometers north to south, but is only about 40 kilometers wide at its narrowest point near the country's center.
- Fish sauce, which is commonly used in many Oriental and South-East Asian dishes, is quintessentially Vietnamese.
- In Vietnamese schools, instead of bells, gongs are used to call children.
- Ha Long Bay is considered to be the most beautiful vista in entire Vietnam. It consists of 1,969 islands and islets situated in the Gulf of Tonkin. This zone is known for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another World Heritage Site in Vietnam is the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.
- Vietnam is 8 times the size of Switzerland and is shaped in the form of an ‘S’.
- ‘Nguyen’ is a one of the most common Vietnamese surnames.
- Christmas celebrations, important birthdays and New Years are all rolled into one major festival called ‘Tet Nguyen Dan’ (Festival of the First Day), which ushers in the coming year and the Lunar New Year.
- Vietnam is famous for its bio-diversity and has world’s six biosphere reserves.
- Vietnam has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the Third World.
- Vietnam is one of the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
- Lizard fishing is one of the most popular pass-times in Vietnam.