Vietnam is the coastal areas of the Indo-China Peninsula bordering the South China Sea. The country is shaped by an an elongated S at the farthrest corner of mainland Southeast Asia. It varies in width along the extensive coast. The country is dominated by the Red River Valey in the north and the Mekong Delta in the south, one of the most productive rice growing areas in the world. Vietnam has enormous topographic variety, mountains, fertile deltas, primeval forests. major rivers, and beautiful beaches. Overtime rgional states of varying strength have controlled the noth Red Rivert Delta), central (central highlannds), and south (Mekong Delta). There is also a page on a Vietnamese region, the Mekong Delta. There is also ethnic diversity with minorities of considerable importance in the central highlands. The country's climate is also complex. The country is located within the tropics, but its range of latitude, altitude, and weather patterns result in considerable climatic variation. Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the South China Sea to the east. Historic emnities exist with the Kymer people (Cambodians) and the Kymer Empire which built Ankor Wat dominatd Southeast Asuian for centuries. Viet Nam's greatest challenge, however, came from the north--China. Vietnam was integrated within Chinese empires for centuries (until the 10th century). Since then the Vietnamese have struggled to maintain their independence. The Vietnamese resisted efforts of the Song, Ming, and Qing dynasties (11th, 15th, and 18th centuries) to conquer Indo-China. We do have a page on Assam/Vietnam royalty. We alo have a Vietnamese history page and there is a page on the Vietnam War. The victory of the Communists in the Viet Nam War meant that Communism was imposed on the country and free markets suppressed. The Vietnamese like the Chinese have found that communism is an economic dead end which left the potentially rich country one of the poorest in Asia. The Communist goverment has begin expeimenting with free market reforms. Spiritual life has been an important part of Vietnamese culture. Here Vietnam has been strongly influenced by China with Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism which origninated in India. The French intriduced Christianity. Tam Giao (triple religion), a combination of Taoism, popular Chinese beliefs, and atraditional Vietnamese animism is also practiced. It is not clear how Communist atheism is affecting the country's traditional spiritual life. We have little information on activitis, another aspect of culture. The most important holiday is Tet. We have a page on youth groups.
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