City (pop., 2004 est.: city, 3,452,100; 2005 est.: urban agglom., 5,065,000), southern Vietnam. It lies along the Saigon River north of the Mekong River delta. The Vietnamese first entered the region, then part of the kingdom of Cambodia, in the 17th century. In 1862 the area, including the town, was ceded to France. After World War II Vietnam declared its independence, but French troops seized control and the First Indochina War began. The Geneva conference in 1954 divided the country, and Saigon became the capital of South Vietnam. In the Vietnam War, it was the headquarters for U.S. military operations; it was captured by North Vietnamese troops in 1975 and renamed for Ho Chi Minh. Rebuilding since the war has promoted its commercial importance.