- North Vietnam: Democratic republic of Vietnam 1945-1976
- South Vietnam: French colony, State of Vietnam 1949-1954, State of Vietnam 1954-1955, Republic 1955-1976
- Vietnam: Socialist republic 1976-Present
Country name on general issues: Vietnam
- North Vietnam: Vietnam Buu-Chinh = Vietnam Post, Vietnam Buu-Dien = Vietnam Post Office, Vietnam Dan-Chu Cong-Hoa (Buu-Chinh/Buu-Dien) = Vietnam Democratic Republic (Post/Post Office)
- South Vietnam: Vietnam Postes, Vietnam Buu-Chinh = Vietnam Post, Vietnam Cong-Hoa (Buu-Chinh) = Vietnam Republic (Post)
- Vietnam: Vietnam Dan-Chu Cong-Hoa (Buu-Chinh) = Vietnam Democratic Republic (Post), Vietnam Buu-Chin = Vietnam Post
- North Vietnam: Regional issues North Central Vietnam 1946, Regional issues South Central Vietnam 1950-1954, Local issues Nga-Khe 1946
- South Vietnam: Vietcong, National Liberation Front 1963-1969, Vietcong, Republic of South Vietnam 1970-1976
- Other: Indian forces in Vietnam 1954-1965, Indian forces in Laos & Vietnam 1965-1968, Australian forces in Vietnam 1967
- North Vietnam: 1 Piaster = 100 Cent 1945-1946, 1 Dong = 100Xu 1946, 1 Dong = 10 Hao 1946, 1 Dong = 100 Cent 1946-1959, 1 Dong = 100 Xu 1959-1976
- South Vietnam: 1 Piaster = 100 Centimes 1949-1956, 1 Dong = 100 Xu 1965-1976
- Vietnam: 1 Dong = 100 Xu 1976-Present
Population: 24 834 000 in 1946, 47 613 000 in 1976, 89 710 000 in 2013
Political history Vietnam
Vietnam, in the 19th century, is an empire. From the mid 19th century, Vietnam, in parts, becomes a French possession. The French conquer parts of southern Vietnam in 1859. The territory is ceded by the Vietnamese emperor in 1862, and the French establish the colony of Cochin China in 1864. The territory of Cochin China is further extended in 1867. In central and northern Vietnam, the protectorates of Annam and Tonkin are established in 1874 and 1885 respectively. In 1887, the French form the federation of French Indochina of which Cochin China, Annam and Tonkin and the protectorates of Cambodia and Laos – established in 1893 – and the French leased territory of Kwangchow in China – established in 1900 – are a part. The territory of Tonkin is enlarged, in 1888, at the expense of Thailand. In 1904, part of Laos is transferred to Annam, thus defining the borders of Vietnam as we know them until today. The French establish direct colonial rule in Cochin China, in Annam and Tonkin the emperor is left in place. His powers are only nominal though, the real power is vested in the French colonial administration.
In WWII, Vietnam is occupied by Japan in 1940 and 1941. The Japanese leave the French colonial administration – loyal to the Vichy regime in France – in place. In 1945, the Japanese form the nominally independent empire of Vietnam. In the same year, Chinese forces enter the country to accept the Japanese surrender.
In southern Vietnam, the French colonial administration is re-established in 1945 under the flag of French Indochina. After a few steps of increasing self government, in 1949, the State of Vietnam is formed, a self governing republican state in association with France, with the former emperor as head of state.
In northern Vietnam, the communist Vietminh has been fighting a guerrilla war against the Japanese from 1941. After the Japanese capitulation in 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaims independence as the democratic republic of Vietnam. Following the withdrawal of the Chinese forces in 1946, the French manage to regain large parts of northern Vietnam in what is called the first Indochinese War. However, the Vietminh successfully continue the fight for independence. In 1954, the Geneva Agreements are signed. France relinquishes its claims on Indochina. Vietnam is divided: in the south, the State of Vietnam and in the north, the democratic republic of Vietnam are recognized as sovereign states – in everyday speech to be called North and South Vietnam. A demilitarized zone is set up as the border between the two countries. A United Nations peacekeeping force – the International Control Commission – is deployed, from 1954 until 1973, to supervise the execution of the Geneva Agreements.
In South Vietnam, the State of Vietnam, in 1955, becomes the republic of Vietnam. In South Vietnam the fight for a united communist Vietnam is continued by the Viet Cong – officially the National Liberation Front. The Viet Cong are supported by – and are, according to some, an extension of – the government in North Vietnam, which itself is backed by China and the Soviet Union. The Viet Cong, in 1969, form a provisional government – the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam.
The United States, in the 1960’s, becomes more and more involved in the conflict supported, among others, by Australia. The conflict – the Second Indochinese or Vietnam War – escalates into the largest conflict of the Cold War. The Viet Cong have base camps and supply routes – the Ho Chi Minh trail – in Cambodia and Laos, thus dragging these countries into the conflict. Cambodia and Laos are heavily bombed. The Viet Cong eventually gains the upper hand. The United States forces are withdrawn in 1973, based on the Paris peace agreements. The fight in Vietnam continues, and in 1975 the Viet Cong take Saigon. In 1976, Vietnam is united as the socialist republic of Vietnam.
In 1978, Vietnam invades Cambodia to end the Khmer regime. Vietnam will be in Cambodia until 1989. The invasion also leads to a short border conflict with China in 1979 – China supporting the Khmer regime.
The newly united Vietnam, initially, is isolated internationally and maintains a fully state run economy. From 1986, reforms are implemented to develop the country’s economy and to normalize diplomatic relations with the international community – diplomatic relations with the United States being established in 1995.
Postal history Vietnam
The first stamps used in what is currently Vietnam are the general issues for the French colonies used in Cochin China from 1863. The first stamps issued are those of Cochin China in 1886 and in Annam & Tonkin in 1888. These are superseded, from 1892, by the issues for French Indochina. During the Japanese occupation in WWII, these continue to be used.
Michel notes that for a short time British offices using stamps of Hong Kong have existed in Haiphong and Hanoi.
In North Vietnam, the Vietminh issues stamps from 1945. The first issues being overprints on previous issues from French Indochina. The first definitives are issued in 1946 showing president Ho Chi Minh. Regional issues appear for North Central Vietnam in 1946 and for South Central Vietnam between 1950 and 1953. In North Central Vietnam these are overprints on issues from French Indochina and the Vietminh, in South Central Vietnam overprints on issues from the Vietminh and a set of officials in local design and print. The issues for South Central Vietnam are a field of study as, so far, only selected issues have been cataloged. A local issue appears in Nga Khe, these being overprints on issues from French Indochina.The regional and local issues are only listed in Michel. An interesting feature are the officials issued with a value in ‘kilo of rice’ in the 1950’s, rice being the primary source of nutrition and of crucial importance in a wartime economy.
In South Vietnam, the issues for French Indochina are used until, in 1951, the first stamps are issued by the State of Vietnam. These, from 1955, to be superseded by the issues of the republic of Vietnam. In South Vietnam the Viet Cong has issued stamps from 1963 as the National Liberation Front and, from 1970, as the Provisional Government. The first are inscribed ‘MT DP Mien Nam Vietnam’ which translates to ‘National Liberation Front of South Vietnam’, the latter are inscribed ‘Cong Hoa Mien Nam Vietnam’ which translates to ‘Republic of South Vietnam’.Scott does not list the Viet Cong issues.
Special issues have appeared for use by the forces from India that were part of the United Nations International Control Commission from 1954 until 1973. Three sets were issued for use in Vietnam between 1954 and 1965, these being Indian stamps overprinted ‘International Commission in Vietnam’ in Hindi. Two sets were issued for use in Laos and Vietnam between 1965 and 1968, these being Indian stamps overprinted ‘ICC’. The ICC forces were deployed in both North and South Vietnam.
Australia in 1967 issued stamps for use by its forces in Vietnam. These were booklets of ten stamps, the booklet carrying the inscription ‘Australian Defence Forces’. The Australian forces were mainly stationed southeast of Saigon.Only Michel lists this booklet.
All issues of North and South Vietnam are, from 1976, superseded by the issues of the socialist republic of Vietnam.