US: / (
Vietnamese: Việt Nam pronounced
[vîət nāːm] (
listen)), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam (
listen)), is the easternmost country on the
Indochina Peninsula in
Southeast Asia. With an estimated 94.6 million inhabitants as of 2016 , it is the world's
14th-most-populous country, and the
ninth-most-populous Asian country. Vietnam is bordered by
China to the north,
Laos to the northwest,
Cambodia to the southwest,
Thailand across the
Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the
Indonesia across the
South China Sea to the east and southeast.
capital city has been
Hanoi since the reunification of
South Vietnam in 1976, with
Ho Chi Minh City as the most populous city.
The northern part of Vietnam was part of
Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939, following a Vietnamese victory in the
Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive
Vietnamese imperial dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was
colonized by the French in the mid-19th century.
Japanese occupation in the 1940s, the Vietnamese fought French rule in the
First Indochina War, eventually expelling the French in 1954. Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states,
North Vietnam (officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam), and
South Vietnam (officially the Republic of Vietnam). Conflict between the two sides intensified in what is known as the
Vietnam War, with
heavy intervention by the United States on the side of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1973. The war ended with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.
Vietnam was then unified under a
Communist government but remained impoverished and politically isolated. In 1986, the
Communist Party of Vietnam initiated a series of
economic and political reforms which began Vietnam's path towards integration into the world economy.
 By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with all nations. Since 2000, Vietnam's economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world,
 and, in 2011, it had the highest
Global Growth Generators Index among 11 major economies.
 Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the
World Trade Organization in 2007. It is also a member of the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the
Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.