With the colonization of Vietnam by France in 1858 the city officially ceded to the French in 1859.The colonization influence this city heavily, so much so, that it was called “Paris in the Orient”. Many of the old colonial buildings and villas still stand today and hark of those times.
In 1954, Communist Viet Minh defeated the French in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, and the French withdrew from Vietnam. However the Communists were not recognized as the new government. The Emperor Bao D?i became the head of state and set up Saigon as his capital. During this time Saigon and the area of Cholon were combined into one city. Vietnam was partitioned into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Republic of Vietnam. The latter, led by President Ngo Dinh Diem, made Saigon its capital.
Today, the city centre boasts of broad elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings, war and history museums and ancient pagodas.