The country lies in the eastern part of the Indochina peninsula, bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the East Sea and Pacific Ocean to the southeast. Its surface is about 330.991 km, its length from North to South is 1,650 km, and its width stretches from 600 km in the North to 400 km in the South and only 50 km on the central coast. Total coast line is 3,260 km long and its inland border measures 3,730 km.
Area: 330'991 Km2
Capital city: Hanoi
Viet Nam has a long history, dating back four thousand years. Part of it was spent under Chinese domination, which ended in the 1400s. A succession of Vietnamese dynasties followed until French colonial rule dominated the country in the latter 1800s. The French divided Vietnam into three small countries the colony of Cochinchina (south) and the protectorates of Annam (Central) and Tonkin (north).
French rule was interrupted by the Japanese occupation in World War II. Following Japan's defeat in 1945, The Allies divided Vietnam into two zones for the purpose of disarming the Japanese. In the South, the British completed the task, and restored French rule. In the north, China also completed the task but ceded power to Viet Nam's emperor, Bao Dai, who abdicated in favor of Ho Chi Minh. Even before 1945, the north had resisted colonial rule and Ho was very powerful. He declared Vietnam's independence in 1946 and subsequently led an insurgency against the French and their southern allies. The war culminated in France's defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu valley.
With the intent of establishing peace. The Geneva Accords were signed. North and South of Viet Nam were divided temporarily in preparation for national elections in 1956. The Southern regime, led by President Ngo Dinh Diem, was opposed to the Accords and refused to recognize them as binding. Diem did not hold elections as required by the agreement, and a civil war between north and south ensued. The United States gave substantial support to South Vietnam. This support involved sending American troops and supplies to fight against the North Vietnamese troops and Viet Cong guerrillas (southern communists fighting the South Vietnamese government).
The war ended with the withdrawal of American troops and the fall of Saigon (capital of South Viet Nam) in April 1975. Saigon's name was officially changed to Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam became a Republic Socialist of Viet Nam.
+ CUSTOMS AND COURTESIES:
The Vietnamese generally shake hands when greeting and saying good bye. One uses both hands to show respect for the individual. Bowing the head slightly while shaking hands also indicates respect. In rural areas, elderly people who do not extend their hand first for a handshake are greeted with a slight bow. Women are more inclined to bow their head slightly than to shake hands. Xin Chao (seen-chow) in Vietnamese is “Hello”. In formal meetings, people might exchange business cards while greeting.
Vietnamese names begin with the family name and are followed by a given name; for example, in the name, Tran Van Phong, Tran is the family name, Van – middle name and Phong is a given name. The Vietnamese address on another by their given names, but they also add a title that signals their perceived relationship to other person.
One should not touch the head of a young child, as it is considered a sensitive spiritual point. The Vietnamese consider it rude to summon a person with the index finger. Instead, one waves all four fingers with the palm down. Men and women do not generally show affection in public, but it is common for members of the same sex to hold hands while walking. The Vietnamese use both hands to pass an object to another person.
The Vietnamese have a very strong sense of hospitality and feel embarrassed if they can not show their guests full respect by preparing for their arrival. Therefore, it is inappropriate to visit a home without having been invited. Gifts are not required but are appreciated. Flowers, incense, or tea maybe appropriate for the hosts. Hosts also appreciate a small gift for their children or elderly parent.
The Vietnamese use chopsticks and rice bowls for most meals. They hold the rice bowl in the hand; it is considered lazy to eat from a rice bowl that is on the table. Spoons are provided when soup is served. Food is placed on dishes in the Center of the table from which each person helps himself. The host might serve guests but usually just invites them to help themselves. If beverages are served, hot tea, coffee, or beer are most common. In the south, beverages are often cooled by ice.