Home Travel Guide Ho Chi Minh City A brief history of Ho Chi Minh city

A brief history of Ho Chi Minh city

Following the fall of Saigon in 1975, Saigon was “officially” renamed Ho Chi Minh City. However, the old Saigon name is still used by both Vietnamese and foreigners, especially when referring to the most central part of the city to which most tourists flock.

Prey Nokor

What is today known as Ho Chi Minh City began as the Khmer fishing village of Prey Nokor. The village was situated on swampland and remained in the hands of the Khmer (Cambodians) for many centuries until floods of Vietnamese immigration arrived during the 17th Century A.D. The immigrants first came in 1623 with permission from the Cambodian king, but later waves came uninvited, while Cambodia was too weakened by a war with Thailand to stop them.

Early Saigon

In 1698, Prey Nokor, and the whole lower Mekong river delta, was formally annexed by Vietnam and became known as Saigon. Prey Nokor had been the Khmer’s most important sea port, and its loss isolated them from international commerce on the South China Sea. Saigon was a great gain to Vietnam, however, and soon grew into a major settlement.

French Saigon

After more than a century and a half under Vietnamese rule, Saigon fell to an invading coalition of French and Spanish forces in 1859 and then became part of the colony of French Indochina. Under French rule, Saigon was filled with Western architecture, and French villas still remain in the city to this day. French immigrants also filled Saigon and accounted for nearly 10% of the population by 1929.

When France fell to Nazi Germany in 1940, Saigon and French Indochina came under the administration of Vichy France, but within a matter of months, the Japanese had taken control. Technically, the Japanese and Vichy France “co-ruled” Saigon, but it was Japan that truly ran things.

In 1945, the Communist Viet Minh led by Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam independent and soon began a guerrilla war against the restored French colonial government. Capitalist Vietnamese declared their own state in 1949, with its capital in Saigon, re-establishing the former Vietnamese emperor until the Republic of Vietnam was declared in 1956. In 1954, the French relinquished control of Vietnam and left the Viet Minh in control of North Vietnam and the non-Communists in control of South Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City

During the 40’s, the U.S. had supported the Viet Minh against the Japanese. During the 50’s, they supported the French against all rebels. During the 60’s, the United States defended South Vietnam against incursions from the Communist North. On April 30th, 1975, however, the U.S. ended all involvement in Vietnam, and the Viet Minh took Saigon, renaming it Ho Chi Minh City in 1976.

After the “Fall of Saigon,” which the victors called the “Liberation of Saigon,” many Saigon residents fled to the U.S. and elsewhere, creating a Vietnamese diaspora. While in this sense the city shrank, it grew in that its borders were expanded to include its suburbs and its whole province. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, having eight million inhabitants, and is the nation’s economic hub, accounting for 20% of national GDP. The city also attracts many tourists, especially to its French District, museums and its numerous cinemas. To explore Ho Chi Minh city, you can book a transfer service to go around.

No comment for A brief history of Ho Chi Minh city

Comments are closed.