Ho Chi Minh City Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon,city (1997 pop. 5,250,000), on the right bank of the Saigon River, a tributary of the Dong Nai, Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city, the greatest port, and the commercial and industrial center of Vietnam. It has an airport and is the focus of the country's highways, railroads, and Mekong delta waterways. An ancient Khmer settlement (see Khmer Empire ), it passed (17th cent.) to the Annamese (see Annam ). It was captured by the French in 1859 and ceded to France in 1862. A small village at the time of the French conquest, Saigon became a modern city under French rule. It was laid out in rectilinear fashion with wide, tree-lined avenues and parks, and soon developed a reputation for its beauty and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The city was capital of Cochin China and from 1887 to 1902 was capital of the Union of Indochina. For administrative purposes Saigon and Cholon , on opposite banks of the Saigon
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