Friday, June 25, 2010

March to the Front, The National Anthem of Vietnam

Nguyen Van Cao, a noted Vietnamese writer and composer, composed "Tien quan ca" (March to the Front) in 1944 while working for an independence group. It was published in a newspaper and was well-received by the citizens, and was sung often during demonstrations and meetings of the revolutionary council. The provisional government adopted it as the anthem in 1946, becoming the anthem of North Vietnam. In 1976, when unification with South Vietnam occurred, "Tien quan ca" was adopted as the anthem for the entire nation.

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea, referred to as East Sea, to the east. With a population of over 86 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world.

The people of Vietnam regained independence and broke away from China in AD 938 after their victory at the battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive dynasties flourished along with geographic and political expansion deeper into Southeast Asia, until it was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century. Efforts to resist the French eventually led to their expulsion from the country in the mid-20th century, leaving a nation divided politically into two countries. Fighting between the two sides continued during the Vietnam War, ending with a North Vietnamese victory in 1975.

Emerging from this prolonged military engagement, the war-ravaged nation was politically isolated. In 1986, the government instituted economic and political reforms and began a path towards international reintegration. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations. Its economic growth had been among the highest in the world in the past decade. These efforts resulted in Vietnam joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.

The stamp above features the original score of the Vietnamese National anthem, issued in 1980. There are several of these stamps, some with perforation errors available in the market.