Vietnam - When Allied victory ended Japan's World War II occupation of the Union of Indochina in August 1945, the Communist-controlled Viet Minh created a Vietnamese republic embracing Tonkin, Annam, and Cochin China, with Hanoi as capital. The French re-established themselves in 1946. The fighting that broke out between them and the Viet Minh in December 1946 lasted until 1954. In May, a French force surrendered at Dien Bien Phu, and in July the Geneva agreements established a military demarcation line; the Viet Minh were to withdraw to the north of it, the French and those allied with them to the south. During the following year, the French quite the country, leaving behind the Vietnamese government they had established in Saigon. The demarcation line, never intended as a political or territorial boundary, nevertheless split the country into two parts: the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam – popularly, North Viet Nam; and the Republic of Viet Nam – called South Viet Nam. Each government demanded reunification on its own terms.
HUE - Once the Vietnamese imperial capital and a Cham center ... suffered severly from ground combat and bombing during the 1968 Tet offensive.
HO CHI MINH TRAIL - An extensive network of routes from northern Viet Nam through Laos and Cambodia, over which man and supplies flowed to Communist forces in southern Viet Nam and Cambodia. The trail's name, popularized by the Western press, refers to the late president of North Viet Nam.
TONKIN - From the 15th to 18th century the capital of Dai Viet was Hanoi, at one time called Dong Kinh. Visiting Europeans applied the name Tongking to the surrounding area. The French named the region Tonkin in 1883 and included it in the Union of Indochina.
ANNAM - Seventh-centruy Chinese colonist called this region Annam, meaning “pacified south” The indigenous people referred to it as Nam Viet and, and later, Dai Viet. The French used Annam to designate the region of present-day Viet Nam stretching along the S-shapped coast from Tonkin to cochin China. Until the end of World War II foreigners referred to the people of this area as Annamites or Annamese, but they have always called themselves Vietnamese.
DAI VIET - The Vietnamese gained independence by rebelling against the Chinese in the tenth century. Gradually, they expanded to the south at the expense of the Chams. Though traditionally hostile to Chinese interference, the Vietnamese absorbed much of Chinese character; industrial and agricultural techniques adopted rom the north made them among the best farmers on the Southeast Asian mainland.
The French conquered the southernmost region of Viet Nam and ruled it as a colony. In contrast, tonkin and Annam were French protectorates, etaining some degree of autonomy.
SAIGON - Once called the “Paris of the Orient,” Saigon has traded its leisurely atmosphere for the ailments of a modern metropolis. Refugees from the Vietnamese was have made this one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Cholon, the Chinese section, holds 850,000 people–about a fourth of Saigon's population.
MEKONG RIVER & DELTA - Clled the “River of the Nine Dragons” for its many-mouthed delta, the Mekong rises high in the Asian heartlnd and travels 1,100 miels through Tibet and China before entereing the area of Southeast Asia. For much of its remaining 1,500 miles the river forms the border between Burma, Laos, and Thailand; some 30 million people live in its lower basin. Most traffic in the Mekong Delta moves on tributary canals, a complicated network of man-made waterways that take the place of highways in a nearly roadless land.
MONSOONS are peiodic wind systems that reverse directin during the year. Over mainland Southeast Asia they create two distinct seasons. Usually from October to April or May the northeast monsoon brings cool, dry weather. The southwest monsoon brings heavy rains, high humidity, and high tempertures from about May to September.
VIETNAMESE - Vietnamese-speaking peoples ... farm Viet Nam's coastal lowlands and the deltas of the Red and Mekong Rivers. They make up 85 percent of Viet Nam's 39 million people. Chinese influence, including the use of Chinese characters and the Confucian respect for ancestors, pervades Vietnamese culture. Women dress up in the traditional high-collared ao dai; conical hats are commonly worn by both men and women.
MNONG GAR - One of many Mnong-speaking groups of southern Viet Nam and Cambodia, the Mnong Gar cultivate dry rice by slash-and-burn agriculture, which they term “eating the forest.” The men wear loincloths and – occasionally – jackets, necklaces, and bracelets. For esthetic reasons they file down their front teeth and insert ivory plugs in their ear lobes. Their villages, made up of communal longhouses each functioning as a separate political unit, closely resemble those of the Rhade.
MONTAGNARDS - Almost two million Mon-Khmer and Cham-speaking tribes men occupy the rugged backbone of Laos, Viet Nam, and Combodia. Known collectively as Montagnards – French for “mountain men” – these isolated hill folk view with suspicion and distrust the lowland Vietnamese, who in turn regard them as savages.
RHADE - Upland rice farmers of southern Viet Nam, the Rhade live in villages notable for their distinctive longhouses built on piles. Partitioned into areas for work, social gatherings, and storage, the structures also include compartments occupied by family unites or older members of the household.
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