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The Empire of Vietnam (Vietnamese: 越南帝國, Đế quốc Việt Nam), colloquially known as Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The country is bordered by China to the north, Thailand to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest and the South China Sea (Vietnamese: Biển Đông, literally "East Sea") to the east. It covers a total area of approximately 331,210 sq km and has a population of almost 91 million. Its capital is Hue while the largest city is Saigon and has a population about 8,6 million inhabitants.
The northern part of Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939, following a Vietnamese victory in the Battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese imperial dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until being colonized by the French in the mid-19th century.
French rule in Vietnam
The French administration imposed significant political and cultural changes on Vietnamese society. A Western-style system of modern education was developed, and Roman Catholicism was propagated widely. The Latin Alphabet alphabet was introduced in Vietnam to write the Vietnamese language.
Developing a plantation economy to promote the export of tobacco, rubber, tea and coffee, the French forced many Vietnamese to become workers in harsh conditions. The peasantry suffered and had no civil rights. Due to the oppressive conditions a nationalist political movement soon emerged but was suppressed by the French.
World War II
After the Fall of France, Vietnam was administered by the Vichy government. The Xian dynasty took advantage of Europe's absence in Asia to assert their own imperial ambitions. In 1940, The Chinese Imperial Banner Army or (IBA) flooded into French Indochina (Vietnam and Cambodia) and occupied it, setting up puppet governments. Vietnamese did not trust or accept the Chinese occupation, different factions of rebel groups including Communists and Nationalists made peace with each other for their common struggle. In the Mekong River Delta rebels intimated Chinese environmental warfare by unleashing the upstream Mekong upon Chinese Garrison. Chinese authorities were surprised that the native Vietnamese did not join with the Chinese Army. The Vietnamese however were determined to not trade one empire for another.