November 11, 2017

3194 VIETNAM - The map of the country

Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula, 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 Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, with Ho Chi Minh City as a historical city as well. With 94.6 million inhabitants (2016) is the world's 14th-most-populous country.

The Hồng Bàng dynasty (2879-258 BC) of the Hùng kings is considered the first Vietnamese state. 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.

Following a 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 Marxist-Leninist government but remained impoverished and politically isolated. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms which began Vietnam's path towards integration into the world economy. Since 2000, Vietnam's economic growth rate has been among the highest in the world. Anyway, Vietnam remains one of the world's four remaining one-party socialist states officially espousing communism.

Vietnam's land is mostly hilly and densely forested. Its coastline is 3,444km long, and its narrowest point is as little as 50km across. The northern part consists mostly of highlands and the Red River Delta (the cradle of the Vietnamese nation - smaller but more intensely developed than the Mekong River Delta in the South). Phan Xi Păng is the highest mountain in Vietnam (3,143m). Southern Vietnam is divided into coastal lowlands, the mountains of the Annamite Range, and extensive forests.

The Vietnamese people or the Kinh people are the majority ethnic group of Vietnam (86%), and originating from present-day northern Vietnam. Although geographically and linguistically labeled as Southeast Asians, long periods of Chinese domination have placed the Vietnamese culturally closer to East Asians, or more specifically their immediate northern neighbours. The remaining of 14% is covered by 54 ethnic groups, so Vietnam is considered a multi-ethnic state. In 2010 about 45.3% of the Vietnamese adhere to indigenous religions, 16.4% to Buddhism, 8.2% to Christianity, 0.4% to other faiths, and 29.6% of the population isn't religious.

About the stamp
The first stamp is part of the series National Year of Tourism, about which I wrote here.

Vietnam - Wikipedia

Sender: Do Xuan Manh (direct swap)
Sent from Hanoi (Red River Delta / Vietnam), on 08.04.2017

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