Ho Chi Minh City, also widely known by its former name of Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam by population. It was known as Prey Nokor prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam 1955–75. On 2 July 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Định Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City after revolutionary leader Hồ Chí Minh.
The metropolitan area, which consists of the Ho Chi Minh City metropolis, Thủ Dầu Một, Biên Hòa, Vũng Tàu, Dĩ An, Thuận An and surrounding towns, is populated by about 12 million people, making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam. The city's population is expected to grow to 13.9 million by 2025. The population of the city is expanding faster than earlier predictions, and it wasn't until August 2017 that the city's Mayor, Nguyen Thanh Phong, admitted that previous estimates of 8-10 million were drastic underestimations.