Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh), formerly known as Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn), is the largest city in Vietnam. Situated in the south and the southeastern region, the city straddles the Saigon River and covers about 2,095 km2 (809 sq mi).
Prior to Vietnamese settlement in the 17th century, the city was a scarcely populated area that had been part of the historical empires of Funan, Chenla, and Cambodia. With the arrival of the Vietnamese, the area became more populated and officials established the city between 1623 to 1698. After it was ceded by the last Vietnamese dynasty to the French in 1862, the name Saigon was adopted and the city underwent urbanization to become the financial center of the region. The city was the capital of South Vietnam until the end of the Vietnam War with the North Vietnamese victory in 1975. In 1976, the government of unified Vietnam renamed Saigon in honor of Hồ Chí Minh, the Chairman and founder of the Workers’ Party of Vietnam.
Now the primary economic center of all of Vietnam, it is also an emerging international destination, with popular landmarks related to remnants of its history showcased through its architecture. A major transportation hub, the city hosts the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the busiest airport in Vietnam. Sài Gòn or Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh is also undergoing construction of educational institutions and transportation, and also serves as a major media and entertainment outlet.