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(hăn`oi, hənoi`), city (1997 est. pop. 3,500,800), capital of Vietnam, on the right bank of the Red River. It is the transportation hub of the country, with two airports and rail connections to Kunming, China, as well as to the main Chinese system centering on Beijing; it is also linked by rail with Haiphong and Ho Chi Minh City. Manufactures include machine tools, plywood, textiles, chemicals, matches, automobiles, tires, building materials, and handicrafts. The city is known for its European-style public squares and tree-lined boulevards. It is also a cultural center; in the city are the National Univ. (formerly Hanoi Univ.), the National History Museum, the Revolution Museum, and several historic monuments, including the Temple of Literature, the Mot Cot Pagoda, and the Temple of the Trung Sisters.

Hanoi became (7th cent.) the seat of the Chinese rulers of Vietnam. Its Chinese name, Dong Kinh or Tong King, became Tonkin and was applied by Europeans to the entire region. Hanoi was occupied briefly by the French in 1873 and passed to them 10 years later. It became the capital of French Indochina after 1887. The French developed Hanoi industrially, centering railway repair shops and small processing industries there.

Occupied by the Japanese in 1940, Hanoi was liberated in 1945, when it became the seat of Vietnam's government. From 1946 to 1954, it was the scene of heavy fighting between the French and Viet MinhViet Minh
, officially Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh [League for the Independence of Vietnam], a coalition of Communist and nationalist groups that opposed the French and the Japanese during World War II.
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 forces. After the French evacuated Hanoi in accordance with the Geneva Conference (July, 1954), the city became the capital of North Vietnam. Under the North Vietnamese it was greatly expanded industrially.

During the Vietnam WarVietnam War,
conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. The war began soon after the Geneva Conference provisionally divided (1954) Vietnam at 17° N lat.
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 its transportation facilities were continually disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways, which were, however, immediately repaired. The city remained remarkably intact despite heavy U.S. bombings, although widespread destruction occurred after the massive attacks of Dec. 18–30, 1972, when many nonmilitary targets, including the French embassy and large residential areas, were hit. Much of the civilian population had been evacuated and factories had been dismantled and reassembled in forested and rural areas. After the cease-fire, much of the machinery was returned and functioned again in ruined structures. Hanoi was established as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2, 1976.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) and the country’s principal economic and cultural center. Hanoi lies 10 m above sea level in a plain along the banks of the Red River; it is located 175 km upstream from the Gulf of Tonkin of the South China Sea.

Hanoi has a tropical monsoon climate, with an average January temperature of 16°C and an average July temperature of 29°C. Annual precipitation is 1,800 mm, with the heaviest rainfall occurring from May through October. Typhoons are frequent in the second half of the summer and in autumn.

In 1974, Hanoi had an area of 597 sq km, as compared to 152 sq km in 1953. In 1976 its population was 1.5 million, as compared to 644,000 in 1960. The city is divided into four districts: Ba Dinh, Hoan Kiem, Dong Da, and Hai Ba Trung. Hanoi includes the suburbs of Tuy Li Yem, Thanh Tri, Gia Lam, and Dong Anh.

Administration. Hanoi is administered directly by the central government. The city’s ruling body is the municipal people’s council, whose members are popularly elected to a three-year term. Executive authority rests with the people’s committee, whose members are elected by the people’s council to a three-year term. Each district of Hanoi elects the members of its district people’s council and people’s committee to a two-year term. In carrying out their work the district bodies are supported by mass public organizations.

History. A settlement is known to have existed on the site of modern Hanoi in the third century. The city appears to have been founded in the fifth or, according to some data, the eighth century. It was known as Dai La from the ninth to 11th centuries; from the 11th century to 1833, it was called Thang Long (Soaring Dragon) or Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital). When the capital was moved to Hue in 1804, Hanoi remained northern Vietnam’s principal city.

After French rule was established in Vietnam in the mid–1880’s, Hanoi was the capital of the French protectorate of Tonkin; in 1902 it was made the capital of French Indochina. In the 1920’s it became a center of the national liberation and working-class movements. In late 1940, during World War II, the city fell to the Japanese. On Aug. 19, 1945, during the August Revolution of 1945, power in Hanoi passed into the hands of the people. On Sept. 2, 1945, the formation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was proclaimed in the city. The Constitution of 1946 officially established Hanoi as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

During the Indochina War (1945–54), Hanoi was occupied by French troops, which were withdrawn in October 1954 under the Geneva Agreements (seeGENEVA AGREEMENTS OF 1954 ON INDOCHINA). During the American aggression in Vietnam (1965–73) Hanoi underwent repeated aerial bombings; government institutions and important industries, together with the civilian population, were evacuated from the city. Upon the conclusion of the Paris Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam, which was signed on Jan. 27, 1973, extensive housing construction began, and major projects were undertaken to rebuild and develop industry. When North and South Vietnam were reunited in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Hanoi was proclaimed the country’s capital on July 2, 1976.


Economy. Hanoi produces approximately one-sixth of the nation’s industrial output. In addition to production in plants and factories, cottage industries and handicrafts are highly developed; approximately 60,000 craftsmen and artisans are united in 350 cooperatives and cooperative brigades. Part of the suburban population is engaged in agriculture; as of early 1977, the suburban peasantry was united in more than 300 agricultural cooperatives that are almost totally communal.

Hanoi has plants for the repair of steam locomotives and motor vehicles. The city’s products include railroad cars, machine tools, ships, electrical equipment, wood products, lumber, building materials, garments, tobacco products, and earthenware. Plants of the chemical industry process natural rubber and produce rubber and rubber goods. Products of the textile industry include cotton and silk fabrics; those of the food-processing industry include polished rice. Cottage industries produce a variety of household goods. The city is noted for such handicrafts as basketry, lacquer ware, embroidery, and articles made of cast metal; its artisans also produce carved ivory and wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

Hanoi is an important transportation junction: the Trans-Vietnam Railroad and five highways pass through the city. An international airport is located in the suburb of Gia Lam. Hanoi’s river port can accommodate small vessels. The capital’s outport is Haiphong, which is connected with Hanoi by highway and rail.


Architecture and city planning. The plan of modern Hanoi developed in the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries. The old section of the city, which is concentrated near the Lake of the Returned Sword (Hoan Kiem Lake), encompasses 36 blocks, which vary in character according to the occupations of their inhabitants. The old section is densely built up, primarily with two-story buildings that have stores or workshops on the ground floor; the area has few parks. The new section of Hanoi, which surrounds the old city on the west and south, has European-style buildings of two and three stories and numerous gardens and parks.

Hanoi’s medieval architectural landmarks include the One Pillar Pagoda (Mot Kot Pagoda, 1049); the Ha Loi Temple, dedicated to the two Trung sisters; the Temple of the Nephrite Mountain, on the Lake of the Returned Sword; the Tran Vo Pagoda; and the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Pagoda, 1070), dedicated to Confucius.

Since 1954 intensive industrial, residential, and public construction has been carried on. Noteworthy buildings include the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (1975) and the Polytechnic Institute (1960’s), which was built by a team of Soviet architects that included E. S. Budnik. In the 1970’s, Soviet architects, such as E. G. Rozanov, and Vietnamese architects drew up a new general plan for Hanoi. The plan called for the reconstruction and improvement of the old blocks, the construction of industrial plants and housing blocks (including satellite cities) in open areas, and the building of two new bridges across the Red River.


Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. In the 1975–76 academic year Hanoi had 377 secondary schools, several specialized secondary educational institutions with a total of more than 50,000 students, and 25 higher educational institutions. The last category includes the University of Hanoi and institutes in such fields as agriculture and forestry, pedagogy, finance, medicine and pharmacology, transport, irrigation and power engineering, economics and planning, electrical engineering, light industry, the arts, mining, communications, and the teaching of foreign languages. Also located in Hanoi are the School of the National Musical Theater, the Higher Drama School, a conservatory, and a school of cinematography.

Under the State Committee for the Social Sciences of the SRV are scientific research institutes of literature, economics, history, philosophy, and law. The State Committee for Science and Technology of the SRV oversees the scientific research institutes of measures and standards, mathematics, chemistry, and physics and the Scientific Research Center of the SRV. Hanoi’s libraries include the State Library of the SRV, the Central Scientific Library, and the University Library. The city’s museums include the Historical Museum, the Museum of the Revolution, the Museum of the People’s Army of Vietnam, and the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum. Hanoi has a botanical garden. The city’s cultural institutions include the Central Drama Theater, the Municipal Theater, the Puppet Theater, a circus, and a film studio.


Shchedrov, I. M. Khanoi. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Vietnam, on the Red River: became capital of Tonkin in 1802, of French Indochina in 1887, of Vietnam in 1945, and of North Vietnam (1954--75); university (1917); industrial centre. Pop.: 4 147 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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