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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
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    (1698- )
    Capital of South Vietnam (1954-75)
    Renamed after Ho Chi Minh (1975)
    Largest city in Vietnam
    Population (2009 Census): 7,162,864
    It is built on a swamp.
    Its citadel, designed to hold out for over a year, fell to the French in a day, partly because the artillery had been set up wrong and fired at too high an angle (February 17, 1859).
    It was the site of multiple coups that overthrew the South Vietnamese government (1963-65).
    When the Viet Cong attacked the US embassy during the Tet Offensive, the South Vietnamese police assigned to protect the building abandoned their posts (January 31, 1968).
    A plane evacuating orphans crashed in a rice field outside the city, killing 153 (April 4, 1975).
    Despite the official name change, most Vietnamese still call it Saigon.
    It contains 7.5% of Vietnam's population, but produces 20% of its GDP.
    It attracts 3 million foreign tourists a year, about two-thirds of the total tourists to Vietnam.
    Its fast-paced, brash style has been described as 'a New York City to Hanoi's Washington' and 'like Manhattan with mopeds.'
    Perhaps appropriately, one of its sister cities is New York City.

Credit: C. Fishel

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