Hanoi (hănˈoi, hənoiˈ) [key], 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 Minh 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 War 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.