Ho Chi Minh City before 1975 had been named as Saigon. Until today some overseas Vietnamese and foreigners still call it Saigon. Perhaps you also need to understand its origin.
There are lots of way to explain the name Saigon.
Researcher Huynh Tinh Cua thought that the word “Sai” came from Chinese. It means wood. Gon came from Vietnamese. It means silk-cotton. So, Saigon means silk-cotton wood. He thought that This land area had lots of silk-cotton wood before.
The researcher Truong Vinh Ky explained the word Saigon was transcribed from the word Prei Noko of Khmer people. Prei Noko was the name of the palace of deputy king Chanlap. Prei Noko means the town in the forest.
In the work Histoire et description de la Basse-Cochinchine of Aubaret and the work Cholen of Francis Garnier, when Chinese came to Cholon area, he used the word Tay Cong (西貢) to call the area of Vietnamese living (Ben Thanh Market now). Tay Cong was pronounced the same as Saigon.
In 1975 the history of the country changed. The two regions concluding North and South were united into one. On 2/7/1976, the first congress of united Vietnam decided to change Saigon City into Ho Chi Minh City following name Mr Ho Chi Minh, the leader of Vietnam Communist Party.
The name Ho Chi Minh was anticipated by Vietnam Communist Party for a long time.
Following the piece of news on Cuu Quoc Newspaper published on 27-8-1946, In a meeting Doctor Nghiep, an officer of Vietnamese Communist Party suggested changing Saigon into Ho Chi Minh City.
We also need to understand more. In early twentieth century, French government called Saigon with the beautiful name Pearl of far east (la perle de l’Extrême-Orient in French).
Some people think that far east is three colony countries in the French east pole of France including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia.
Until now, lots of Vietnamese people still call Saigon and think that Saigon is the city developing to the first position of Southeast Asia.
However, some people think that Saigon only developed to the first position of three countries in Indochina including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and still less than the big cities like Singapore, Hongkong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila or Bangkok in early twentieth century.
Generally, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City or the beautiful phrase Pearl of far east are different names to call a land area having three-hundred history and developing dynamically.
Now, when remembering memories, people usually call this land area of Saigon City. When traveling, trading, living people usually call it Ho Chi Minh City.