Vietnam, formally the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost nation in Southeast Asia on the Indochina Peninsula. It is the world’s 14th most populated nation, with an estimated 90.5 million people as of 2014, and the eighth most populous Asian country. Vietnam is bounded to the north by China, to the northwest by Laos, to the southwest by Cambodia, and to the southeast by Malaysia across the South China Sea. Since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1975, Hanoi has served as the country’s capital.
For almost a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939, Vietnam was a part of Imperial China. Following a Vietnamese victory in the Battle of Bch ng River in 939, an independent Vietnamese state was established. Successive Vietnamese royal dynasties thrived as the country grew physically and politically throughout Southeast Asia, until the French conquered the Indochina Peninsula in the mid-nineteenth century. Following a Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese battled French authority in the First Indochina War, ultimately driving the French out in 1954. Following that, Vietnam was politically split into two hostile nations, North and South Vietnam. The conflict between the two sides became more intense throughout the Vietnam War. The conflict concluded in 1975 with a North Vietnamese triumph.
Vietnam was united under communist rule at the time, but it remained poor and politically isolated. In 1986, the government launched a series of economic and political changes that paved the way for Vietnam’s inclusion into the global economy. By the year 2000, it has established diplomatic ties with every country. Vietnam’s economic growth rate has been among the greatest in the world since 2000, and it had the highest Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major countries in 2011. Because of its successful economic reforms, it was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2007. It has also been a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie from its inception. Vietnam is one of the world’s four surviving one-party communist nations that openly support communism.