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------WebKitFormBoundaryTdzr4SWpNU8Oqs2J Content-Disposition: form-data; name="userfile"; filename="saigon.htm" Content-Type: text/html  The Economic History of Saigon (a.k.a. Ho Chi Minh City)
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The Economic History of Saigon
(a.k.a. Ho Chi Minh City)

The Unappreciated
Significance of Saigon

During the Vietnamese War Saigon was frquently in the news. The American general public got the impression that Saigon was an imporant regional city but nothing more than that. This is far, far from the truth.

With a present population of about 13 million in its metropolitan area Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam. It is comparable in population to the size of metropolitan Los Angeles and it is bigger than metropolitan Chicago. It is the very heart of the economy of Vietnam both in terms of current production levels and innovations for the future.

Regional History

The Mekong Delta region was originally under the control of the Cham Empire located in what is now central Vietnam. A small town arose on the Saigon River where Saigon later grew up. Cham control was was later replaced by control by the Cambodians (Khmer). But the delta was far to the east of homeland of the Cambodian Empire. On the west the Cambodian Empire was in conflict the Thai people who had migrated into the area from South Central China. It was difficult for the Cambodian Empire to devote power to maintaining control of the Mekong Delta region. lw There was a period in which there was a sizable Thai army seeking to gain control in the Mekong Delta region. They There had been a small Cambodian town called Prey Nokor where Saigon grew up. (forest city) there.

The city of Saigon is located 45 miles from the sea but the river there is deep enough for ship of 30 foot draft. Thus it was possible for Saigon to become the most important port of Southeast Asia with an economy able to support a population of over 13 million people, the largest in Vietnam.

In 1859 France captured the territory of southern Viet Nam which it subsequently named Cochin-China. In 1862 this territory was ceded to France by the emperor of Vietnam and France made Saigon its capital of Cochin-China. A few years later France annexed the rest of Vietnam.

France landscaped the streets of Saigon to the extent that Saigon was referred to as The Little Paris of the East.

To exploit their colonial control the French developed coal exports from the North and rice exports from the South.

(To be continued.)

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