Where Vietnam on the world map. Map of Vietnam with cities
Map of Vietnam with cities. Where Vietnam is on the world map. The main geographical facts about Vietnam - population, country area, capital, official language, religions, industry and culture.
Fact File Vietnam
Official name Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Form of government Communist state with single legislative body (National Assembly)
Area 329,560 sq km (127,243 sq miles)
Time zone GMT +7 hours
Projected population 2015 94,413,000
Population density 246.1 persqkm (637.4 per sq mile)
Life expectancy 69.9
Infant mortality (per 1,000) 29.3
Official language Vietnamese
Other languages Chinese, French, English, Khmer, indigenous languages
Literacy rate 93.7%
Religions Buddhist 55%, Roman Catholic 7%, Taoist, Islam and indigenous beliefs 38%
Ethnic groups Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese 3°л other 7 96-12%
Economy Agriculture 65%, industry and services 35 %
GNP per capita US$ 2100
Climate Tropical in south, subtropical in north; wet season May to October
Highest point Fan Si Pan 3,143 m (10,312 ft)
Map reference Page 203
Vietnam is located on the eastern side of the Indochinese Peninsula. A long, narrow strip of country lying between two major river systems, Vietnam bears the scars of one of the longest and most devastating wars of the second half of the twentieth century. Historically, it was for more than a thousand years under Chinese domination, achieving a degree of independence in ad 939. Christian missionary activity began in the seventeenth century and it was a French colony from 1883. During the Second World War a communist-led resistance movement fought the Japanese, and later fought the returning French, defeating them decisively in 1954. The country was divided into two mutually hostile regimes, with a communist government in the North and a French- and later US-backed government in the South. The North initiated twenty years of insurgency and then full-scale war (the North backed by the USSR, the South by the USA with at one stage 500,000 troops), eventually winning in 1975 and establishing the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
About 66 percent of Vietnam's land area is dominated by the heavily forested terrain of the Annam Highlands (or Chaine Annamitique). The crest of this range mostly follows the western border with Laos in the north and Cambodia to the south. At either end of the country are intensively cultivated and densely populated river deltas—the Red River Delta in the north, which is also fed by waters from the valley of the Da, and the Mekong Delta in the south. Both are major rice-growing areas. Rice is the main staple and export crop, Vietnam being the world's third-largest exporter. Other food crops include sweet potato and cassava. On the mountain slopes of the Annam Highlands tea, coffee, and rubber plantations have been established.
Most mineral resources are located in the north and include anthracite and lignite. Coal is the main export item and is the principal energy source.
After 10 years during which a typical communist command economy was imposed, along with collectivized agriculture, the government changed direction. In 1986 the more liberal doi moi ("renovation") policy was introduced. Investment was welcomed from outside, and during the period 1990 to 1995 real growth averaged more than 8 percent annually.
Foreign capital contributed to a boom in commercial construction, and there was strong growth in services and industrial output. Crude oil remains the country's largest single export, now amounting to a quarter of exports overall, slightly more than manufactures. But progress is handicapped by a continuing strong commitment to state direction and bureaucratic controls. Banking reform is needed and administrative and legal barriers delay investment. A new constitution of 1992 somewhat limits the influence of the Communist Party and liberalizes economy and politics. The human rights situation has since improved but censure and the still powerful CPV continue to curtail civil rights substantially.