During the 3rd century BC, ancient Vietnamese people inhabited modern-day northern Vietnam and established the state. The independent state was annexed by Nam Viet in 179 BC. Nam Viet was subsequently annexed by the Han Empire and became part of Imperial China for over a millennium from 111 BC to 939 AD. An independent Vietnamese state emerged in 939 following Vietnamese victory in the battle of Bach Dang against the Southern Han. Successive Vietnamese imperial dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia until the Indochina Peninsula was colonised by the French in the mid-19th century.
French Indochina saw the Japanese occupation in 1940 amidst the escalation of World War II. Following Japanese defeat in 1945, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the First Indochina War. On 2 September 1945, Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France and therefrom established a provisional communist state. After nine years of war, the Vietnamese declared victory in the decisive battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The nation was thereafter divided into two rival states, communist North—the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and anti-communist South—the Republic of Vietnam. Conflicts intensified in the Vietnam War with extensive US intervention in support of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. The war ended with North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
So much of who we are is where we have been.
Due to differences in latitude and the marked variety in topographical relief, the climate tends to vary considerably for each region. During the winter or dry season, extending roughly from November to April, the monsoon winds usually blow from the northeast along the Chinese coast and across the Gulf of Tonkin, picking up considerable moisture. The average annual temperature is generally higher in the plains than in the mountains, especially in southern Vietnam compared to the north. Temperatures vary less in the southern plains around Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, ranging from between 21 and 35 °C (69.8 and 95.0 °F) over the course of the year. In Hanoi and the surrounding areas of Red River Delta, the temperatures are much lower between 15 and 33 °C (59.0 and 91.4 °F), while seasonal variations in the mountains and plateaus and in the northernmost are much more dramatic, with temperatures varying from 3 °C (37.4 °F) in December and January to 37 °C (98.6 °F) in July and August. As Vietnam received high rain precipitation with an average amount of rainfall from 1,500 millimetres to 2,000 millimetres during the monsoon seasons; this often causes flooding, especially in the cities with poor drainage systems. The country is also affected by tropical depressions, tropical storms and typhoons. Vietnam is one of world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change with 55% of the population living in low-elevation coastal areas.
Tourism is an important element of economic activity in the country, contributing 7.5% of the gross domestic product. Vietnam welcomed over 12.9 million visitors in 2017, an increase of 29.1% over the previous year, making Vietnam one of the fastest growing tourist destination in recent years. The vast majority of visitors to Vietnam in 2017 came from Asia, numbering 9.7 million. China (4 million), South Korea (2.6 million) and Japan (798,119) made up half of all international arrivals in 2017. Vietnam also attracts large numbers of visitors from Europe with almost 1.9 millions of visitors in 2017. Russia (574,164), United Kingdom (283,537), followed closely by France (255,396) and Germany (199,872) were the largest source of international arrivals from Europe. Other significant international arrivals by nationality include the United States (614,117) and Australia (370,438). The most visited destinations in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City with 5.8 million international arrivals, followed by Hanoi with 4.6 million and Ha Long, including Hạ Long Bay with 4.4 million arrivals. All three are ranked in the top 100 most visited cities in the world. Vietnam is home to 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the equal highest by the number of sites in Southeast Asia. In 2018, Travel + Leisure ranked Hội An as the world’s top 15 best destinations to visit.