Fifty years after the controversial Gulf of Tonkin incident, which became the pretext for America’s 10-year involvement in the Vietnam War, Vietnam's biggest city, then known as Saigon, has gone through political, economic and social turmoil to become what it is today: Ho Chi Minh City.
Under the name Saigon, the city was the capital of the French colony of Cochin-China, which was part of French Indochina, the colony encompassing all of today's Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which the French left in 1954. Saigon was then the capital of independent South Vietnam from 1955 to 1975, under a government propped up by American arms and money that was fighting the Communist North Vietnamese.
In 1975, as the Americans fled Saigon, North Vietnamese troops entered the city, which was renamed the following year Ho Chi Minh City in honor of the founder of Communist Vietnam. With the opening of Vietnam to a market economy, while still nominally a Communist country, Ho Chi Minh City has turned into a capitalist metropolis of 9 million with bustling traffic and nonstop activity, as these before-and-after images show.