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Old Saigon

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Old Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City began as a small fishing village known as Prey Nokor. The area that the city now occupies was originally swampland, and was inhabited by Khmer people for centuries before the arrival of the Vietnamese. It grew to become a trading post and the main port of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

In 1623, King Chey Chettha II of Cambodia (1618-1628) allowed Vietnamese refugees fleeing the Trinh-Nguyen civil war in Vietnam to settle in the area of Prey Nokor, and to set up a custom house at Prey Nokor. Increasing waves of Vietnamese settlers, which the weakened Cambodian kingdom could not impede, slowly vietnamized the area. In time, Prey Nokor became known as Saigon.

In 1698, Nguyen Phuc Chu, a Vietnamese noble, was sent by the Nguyen rulers of Hue to establish Vietnamese administrative structures in the area, thus detaching the area from Cambodia, which was not strong enough to intervene. He is often credited with the expansion of Saigon into a significant settlement.

Conquered by France in 1859, the city was influenced by the French during their colonial occupation of Vietnam, and a number of prominent buildings in the city reflect this.

In 1954, the French were defeated by the Communist Viet Minh in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, and withdrew from Vietnam. Rather than recognise the Communists as the new government, however, they gave their backing to a government established by Emperor Bao Dai. Bao Dai had set up Saigon as his capital in 1950. When Vietnam was officially partitioned into North Vietnam (the Democratic Republic of Vietnam) and South Vietnam (the Republic of Vietnam), the southern government, led by President Ngo Dinh Diem, retained Saigon as its capital.

At the conclusion of the Vietnam War in 1975, the city came under the control of the North Vietnamese Army and its allies. In the U.S. this event is commonly called the "Fall of Saigon," while in Vietnam it is called the "Liberation of Saigon."

In 1976, upon establishment of the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the victorious Communists renamed the city after socialist Vietnam's founding father, Ho Chi Minh. The former name Saigon is still used by most Vietnamese, especially in informal contexts. Officially, the term Saigon refers only to District One of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City is home to a well-established ethnic Chinese population. The Cholon district serves as its Chinatown.

@ Wikipedia

If you wish to see images from Saigon today, click here.
















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Great thread as usual Christian. I remember Saigon mainly from the Vietnam War days as a kid where we use to hear about it each day on the TV news.

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Interesting mix of French and Vietnamese architecture. I wonder if that block-size building that seems to be a market (in 2 of the pics) is still around.

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Interesting mix of French and Vietnamese architecture.

Yes yes and that's one of the things most profoundly obvious when observing the architecture thruout Asia.

Ditto on Vietnamese Art. The oil paintings have become the most sought after in the artworld because of that mixture.

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