Traditionally dominated by China, Vietnam came under French influence between 1862 and 1954. After the Second World War the Vietminh defeated the French, who then withdrew. Vietnam was partitioned along the 17th parallel between Communist North Vietnam (capital, Hanoi) and non-Communist South Vietnam (capital, Saigon). The Vietnam War between the North and the US-backed South ended in the victory of the North in 1975 and the reunification of the country under a Communist regime in the following year
from Vietnamese Viet, the name of the inhabitants, + nam 'south'