South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975 and comprised the southern half of what is now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", which was a constitutional monarchy (1949–1955). This became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.