Shortly thereafter, based on the Geneva Accord, Vietnam was divided into two parts; the Communist North and the anti-Communist South. U.S. economic and military aid to South Vietnam began to grow and serious conflict was on the horizon.
In March, 1965, the first American troops landed in Southern Vietnam, jump-starting the Vietnam War.
After thousands upon thousands died on both sides, and billions were spent in military expenditures, this sad, tragic war finally ended on April 30, 1975.
Two years later the remains of the South's army fell, and Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, and North and South joined together as one.
For the next few decades, Vietnam, demoralized by the affects of war, remained economically stagnant.
Unhappy with the country's lack of progress, reformist politicians set out to replace the government with new leadership in 1986.
A series of free-market reforms were implemented, designed to make Vietnam more competitive in the 21st Century, and by all accounts, it's working.
A visually stunning country overflowing with interesting things to see and do, Vietnam accommodates over three million international tourists annually.
Saigon, Hanoi, the coastal regions of Nha Trang and Ha Long Bay, as well as the Marble Mountains are popular destinations.
A small slice of Hanoi