Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh; standard Vietnamese pronunciation: [tʰajŋ̟˨˩ fo˧˦ ho˨˩ t͡ɕi˧˦ mïŋ˧˧] or Northern [tʰàjŋ̟ fǒ hò cǐ mīŋ̟] (listen), Southern [tʰàn fǒ hò cǐ mɨ̄n] (listen)), formerly (and still commonly) known as Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn; standard Vietnamese pronunciation: [ʂaːj˨˩ ɣɔn˨˩] or Northern [sàj ɣɔ̀n] (listen), Southern [ʂàj ɣɔ̀ŋ] (listen)), is the largest city in Vietnam, situated in the south. In the southeastern region, the city surrounds the Saigon River and covers about 2,061 km2 (796 sq mi).
Prior to Vietnamese settlement in the 17th century, the city was a scarcely populated area that had been part of historic empires of Funan, Chenla, and Cambodia. With the arrival of Vietnamese, the area became more populated and officials began establishing the city from 1623 to 1698. After it was ceded by the last Vietnamese dynasty to the French in 1862, the name Saigon was adopted and the city underwent urbanization to become a financial center in the region. The city was the capital of South Vietnam until the end of the Vietnam War with North Vietnamese victory in 1975. In 1976, the government of the unified Vietnam renamed Saigon in honor of Hồ Chí Minh, who was Chairman and founder of the Workers' Party of Vietnam.
The primary economic center of Vietnam, it is also an emerging international destination, with popular landmarks related to remnants of its history showcased through its architecture. A major transportation hub, the city hosts the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the busiest airport in Vietnam. Sài Gòn or Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh is also undergoing construction of educational institutions and transportation, and also serves as a major media and entertainment outlet.
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