History in Ho Chi Minh CityEdit This
Ho Chi Minh, also commonly referred to as Saigon, is situated on the Mekong Delta and is Vietnam’s largest city. Featuring a central district containing European-style buildings and planning, as well as an old Chinese community with a traditional Asian appearance, Ho Chi Minh is a commercial and manufacturing center of Indochina.
Early History of Ho Chi Minh City
Originally called Prey Nokor, it began as a small fishing village situated on swampland. The Khmer people lived here for many centuries, and the Vietnamese began arriving in 1623. During this time, King Chey Chettha II of Cambodia allowed the refugees of Vietnam’s Trinh Nguyen civil war to settle in the area, and slowly the city became Vietnamized. Cambodia was in a war with Thailand at the time and didn’t have the military capacity to fight back and re-secure the land, so it became part of Vietnam.
Colonial History of Ho Chi Minh City
Captured by the French army in 1859, the city was renamed Saigon and was made the capital of French Indochina. Ho Chi Minh’s Western-style classic buildings were built during this period, and the city was nicknamed the ‘Pearl of the Orient.’ The Japanese controlled the city through World War II, but as soon as the war was over, the French reestablished authority. They withdrew from the country in 1954 and shortly thereafter, it was divided into North and South Vietnam, with Saigon as the capital of the south.
Modern Ho Chi Minh History
As the Vietnam War began in the 1960s, refugees began to settle heavily in the area and many US troops and officials were stationed in the city. Subsequently, Ho Chi Minh became a place of heavy fighting. By the end of the war in 1975, the North Vietnamese captured the city and the country was reunified in 1976. It was at this time that the name was changed to Ho Chi Minh, after the former president of North Vietnam.
Located on the banks of the Saigon River, the center of Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1000 miles south of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. More than 9 million people live in the metropolitan area of Ho Chi Minh, giving it the distinction of the most highly populated metro area in both Vietnam and Indochina.