Vietnam's recorded history stretches back to the mid-to-late 3rd century BCE, when Âu Lạc and Nanyue (Nam Việt in Vietnamese) were established (Nanyue conquered Âu Lạc in 179 BCE). Pre-historic Vietnam was home to some of the world's earliest civilizations and societies—making them one of the world's first people who practiced agriculture.[better source needed] The Red River valley formed a natural geographic and economic unit, bounded to the north and west by mountains and jungles, to the east by the sea and to the south by the Red River Delta. The need to have a single authority to prevent floods of the Red River, to cooperate in constructing hydraulic systems, trade exchange, and to fight invaders, led to the creation of the first Vietnamese states approximately 2879 BC. Another truly influential part of history in Vietnam occurred during the late Bronze Age, when the Đông Sơn culture dramatically advanced the civilization. Vietnam's peculiar geography made it a difficult country to attack, which is why Vietnam under the Hùng kings was for so long an independent and self-contained state.
Once Vietnam did succumb to foreign rule, however, it proved unable to escape from it, and for 1,100 years, Vietnam had been successively governed by a series of Chinese dynasties: the Han, Eastern Wu, Jin, Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang, Sui, Tang, and Southern Han; leading to the loss of native cultural heritage, language, and much of national identity. At certain periods during these 1,100 years, Vietnam was independently governed under the Triệus, Trưng Sisters, Early Lýs, Khúcs and Dương Đình Nghệ—although their triumphs and reigns were temporary.
During the Chinese domination of North Vietnam, several civilizations flourished in what is today central and south Vietnam, particularly the Funanese and Cham. The founders and rulers of these governments, however, were not native to Vietnam. From the 10th century onwards, the Vietnamese, emerging in their heartland of the Red River Delta, began to conquer these civilizations.
When Ngô Quyền (King of Vietnam, 939–944) restored sovereign power in the country, the next millennium was advanced by the accomplishments of successive dynasties: Ngôs, Đinhs, Early Lês, Lýs, Trầns, Hồs, Later Trầns, Later Lês, Mạcs, Trịnhs, Nguyễns, Tây Sơns and again Nguyễns. At various points during the imperial dynasties, Vietnam was ravaged and divided by civil wars and witnessed interventions by the Songs, Mongol Yuans, Chams, Mings, Dutch, Manchus, French.
The Ming Empire conquered the Red River valley for a while before native Vietnamese regained control and the French Empire reduced Vietnam to a French dependency for nearly a century, followed by an occupation by the Japanese Empire. Political upheaval and Communist insurrection put an end to the monarchy after World War II, and the country was proclaimed a republic.
Main article: Prehistoric Vietnam
Early dynastic epoch (c. 2879–111 BC)
Hồng Bàng period/dynasty (c. 2879–258 BC)
Main article: Hồng Bàng dynasty
According to mythology, for almost three millennia — from its beginning around 2879 B.C.(or early 7th century BC) to its conquest by Thục Phán in 258 B.C. — the Hồng Bàng period was divided into 18 dynasties, with each dynasty being based on the lineage of the kings. Throughout this era, the country encountered many changes, some being very drastic. Due to the limitation of the written evidence, the main sources of information about the Hồng Bàng period are the many vestiges, objects and artifacts that have been recovered from archaeological sites - as well as a considerable amount of legend. The land began as several tribal states, with King Kinh Dương Vương grouping all the vassal states at around 2879 BC. The ancient Vietnamese rulers of this period are collectively known as the Hùng kings (Vietnamese: Hùng Vương).
Early Hồng Bàng (c. 2879–1913 BC)
Main articles: Càn line, Khảm line, Cấn line, and Chấn line
From ancient times, modern northern Vietnam and southern China were peopled by many races. Lộc Tục (c. 2919 – 2794 BC) succeeded his predecessor as tribal chief and made the first attempts to incorporate all tribes around 2879 BC. As he succeeded in grouping all the vassal states within his territory, a convocation of the subdued tribes proclaimed him King Kinh Dương Vương, as the leader of the unified ancient Vietnamese nation. Kinh Dương Vương called his newly born country Xích Quỷ and reigned over the confederacy that occupied the Red River Delta in present-day Northern Vietnam and part of southeastern China, seeing the beginnings of nationhood for Vietnam under one supreme ruler, the Hùng king, also starting the Hồng Bàng period.
According to stories of the period, the First Hùng dynasty only had one ruler, Kinh Dương Vương himself, and witnessed the first two capitals in Vietnamese history, at Ngàn Hống and Nghĩa Lĩnh. Sùng Lãm (c. 2825 BC – ?) was Kinh Dương Vương's successor and founded the Second Hùng dynasty. The next line of kings that followed renamed the country Văn Lang.
The Third Hùng dynasty lasted from approximately 2524 BC to 2253 BC. The administrative rule of the Lạc tướng, Bố chính, and Lạc hầu began.
The period of the Fourth Hùng dynasty (c. 2252–1913 BC) saw the evidence for early Vietnamese calendar system recorded on stone tools and the population from the mountainous areas moved out and began to settle in the open along the rivers to join the agricultural activities.
Mid-Hồng Bàng (c. 1912–1055 BC)
The Fifth Hùng dynasty lasted from approximately 1912 BC to 1713 BC.
Then, during the Sixth Hùng dynasty, Văn Lang was invaded by the mysterious people called the Xích Tỵ, as the king battled Văn Lang back to greatness.
The Seventh dynasty started with Lang Liêu, a son of the last king of the Sixth dynasty. Lang Liêu was a prince who won a culinary contest; he then won the throne because his creations, bánh chưng (rice cake), reflect his deep understanding of the land's vital economy: rice farming. The Seventh dynasty and well into the early first millennium BC was a period of stabilizing, saw a civilization flourishing to continue its greatness.
Late Hồng Bàng (c. 1054–258 BC)
Main articles: Đinh line, Mậu line, Kỷ line, Canh line, Tân line, Nhâm line, and Qúy line
The first millennium BC was a period that included went the Twelfth dynasty to the Eighteenth dynasty. It was when the Vietnamese Bronze Age culture further flourished and attained an unprecedented level of realism[clarification needed], finally culminating in the opening stage of the Vietnamese Iron Age.
The Eighteenth dynasty was the last ruling dynasty during the Hùng king epoch. It fell to the Âu Việt in 258 BC after the last Hùng king was defeated in battle.
This period contained some accounts that mixes historical facts with legends. The Legend of Gióng tells of a youth going to war to save the country, wearing iron armor, riding an armored horse, and wielding an iron staff, showed that metalworking was sophisticated. The Legend of the Magic Crossbow, about a crossbow that can deliver thousands of arrows, showed extensive use of archery in warfare.
Fishing and hunting supplemented the main rice crop. Arrowheads and spears were dipped in poison to kill larger animals such as elephants. Betel nuts were widely chewed and the lower classes rarely wore clothing more substantial than a loincloth. Every spring, a fertility festival was held which featured huge parties and sexual abandon. Religion consisted of primitive animistic cults.
Since around 2000 BC, stone hand tools and weapons improved extraordinarily in both quantity and variety. Pottery reached a higher level of technique and decoration style. The Vietnamese people were mainly agriculturists, growing the wet rice Oryza, which became the main staple of their diet. During the later stage of the first half of the 2nd millennium BC, the first appearance of bronze tools took place despite these tools still being rare. By about 1000 BC, bronze replaced stone for about 40 percent of edged tools and weapons, rising to about 60 percent. Here, there were not only bronze weapons, axes, and personal ornaments, but also sickles and other agriculture tools. Toward the closure of the Bronze Age, bronze accounts for more than 90 percent of tools and weapons, and there are exceptionally extravagant graves – the burial places of powerful chieftains – containing some hundreds of ritual and personal bronze artifacts such as musical instruments, bucket-shaped ladles, and ornament daggers. After 1000 BC, the ancient Vietnamese people became skilled agriculturalists as they grew rice and kept buffaloes and pigs. They were also skilled fishermen and bold sailors, whose long dug-out canoes traversed the eastern sea.
Modern central and southern Vietnam were not originally part of the Vietnamese state. The peoples of those areas developed a distinct culture from the ancient Vietnamese in the Red River Delta region. For instance, the 1st millennium BC Sa Huỳnh culture in the areas of present-day central Vietnam revealed a considerable use of iron and decorative items made from glass, semi-precious and precious stones such as agate, carnelian, rock crystal, amethyst, and nephrite. The culture also showed evidence of an extensive trade network. The Sa Huỳnh people were most likely the predecessors of the Cham people, an Austronesian-speaking people and the founders of the kingdom of Champa.
Thục dynasty (257–179 BC)
Main articles: An Dương Vương and Cổ Loa Citadel
By the 3rd century BC, another Viet group, the Âu Việt, emigrated from present-day southern China to the Red River delta and mixed with the indigenous Văn Lang population. In 257 BC, a new kingdom, Âu Lạc, emerged as the union of the Âu Việt and the Lạc Việt, with Thục Phán proclaiming himself "An Dương Vương" ("King An Dương"). Some modern Vietnamese believe that Thục Phán came upon the Âu Việt territory (modern-day northernmost Vietnam, western Guangdong, and southern Guangxi province, with its capital in what is today Cao Bằng Province).
After assembling an army, he defeated and overthrew the eighteenth dynasty of Hùng kings, around 258 BC. He proclaimed himself An Dương Vương ("King An Dương"). He then renamed his newly acquired state from Văn Lang to Âu Lạc and established the new capital at Phong Khê in the present-day Phú Thọ town in northern Vietnam, where he tried to build the Cổ Loa Citadel (Cổ Loa Thành), the spiral fortress approximately ten miles north of that new capital. However, records showed that espionage resulted in the downfall of An Dương Vương. At his capital, Cổ Loa, he built many concentric walls around the city for defensive purposes. These walls, together with skilled Âu Lạc archers, kept the capital safe from invaders.
Triệu dynasty (207–111 BC)
Main article: Triệu dynasty
In 207 BC, Qin warlord Triệu Đà (pinyin:Zhao Tuo) established his own independent kingdom in present-day Guangdong/Guangxi area. He proclaimed his new kingdom as Nam Việt (pinyin: Nanyue), starting the Triệu dynasty. Triệu Đà later appointed himself a commandant of central Guangdong, closing the borders and conquering neighboring districts and titled himself "King of Nam Viet" In 179 BC, he defeated King An Dương Vương and annexed Âu Lạc.
This period is controversial as on one side, some Vietnamese historians consider Triệu's rule as the starting point of the Chinese domination, since Triệu Đà was a former Qin general, whereas others consider it still an era of Vietnamese independence as the Triệu family in Nam Việt were assimilated to local culture. They ruled independently of what then constituted the Han Empire. At one point, Triệu Đà even declared himself Emperor, equal to the Han Emperor in the north.
The Chinese millennium (111 BC – 939 AD)
Main article: Chinese domination of Vietnam
Han domination (111 BC – 40 AD)
Main article: First Chinese domination of Vietnam
In 111 BC, Han troops invaded Nam Việt and established new territories, dividing Vietnam into Giao Chỉ (pinyin: Jiaozhi), now the Red River delta; Cửu Chân from modern-day Thanh Hóa to Hà Tĩnh; and Nhật Nam (pinyin: Rinan), from modern-day Quảng Bình to Huế. While governors and top officials were Chinese, the original Vietnamese nobles (Lạc Hầu, Lạc Tướng) from the Hồng Bàng period still managed in some of the highlands.
Trưng Sisters (40–43)
Main article: Trưng Sisters
In 40 AD, the Trưng Sisters led a successful revolt against Han Governor Su Dung (Vietnamese: Tô Định) and recaptured 65 states (including modern Guangxi). Trưng Trắc became the Queen (Trưng Nữ Vương). In 43 AD, Emperor Guangwu of Han sent his famous general Ma Yuan (Vietnamese: Mã Viện) with a large army to quell the revolt. After a long, difficult campaign, Ma Yuan suppressed the uprising and the Trung Sisters committed suicide to avoid capture. To this day, the Trưng Sisters are revered in Vietnam as the national symbol of Vietnamese women.
From Han to Liang domination (43–544)
Main article: Second Chinese domination of Vietnam
Learning a lesson from the Trưng revolt, the Han and other successful Chinese dynasties took measures to eliminate the power of the Vietnamese nobles. The Vietnamese elites were educated in Chinese culture and politics. A Giao Chỉ prefect, Shi Xie, ruled Vietnam as an autonomous warlord for forty years and was posthumously deified by later Vietnamese emperors. Nearly 200 years passed before the Vietnamese attempted another revolt. In 225 another woman, Triệu Thị Trinh, popularly known as Lady Triệu (Bà Triệu), led another revolt which lasted until 248. Once again, the uprising failed and Triệu Thị Trinh threw herself into a river.
At the same time, in present-day Central Vietnam, there was a successful revolt of Cham nations in 192. Chinese dynasties called it Lin-Yi (Lin village; Vietnamese: Lâm Ấp). It later became a powerful kingdom, Champa, stretching from Quảng Bình to Phan Thiết (Bình Thuận).
Early Lý dynasty (544–602)
Main article: Early Lý dynasty
In the period between the beginning of the Chinese Age of Fragmentation and the end of the Tang dynasty, several revolts against Chinese rule took place, such as those of Lý Bôn and his general and heir Triệu Quang Phục; and those of Mai Thúc Loan and Phùng Hưng. All of them ultimately failed, yet most notable were those led by Lý Bôn and Triệu Quang Phục, whose Early Lý dynasty ruled for almost half a century, from 544 to 602, before Sui Chinareconquered their kingdom Vạn Xuân.
From Sui to Tang domination (602–905)
Main article: Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
During the Tang dynasty, Vietnam was called Annam until 866. With its capital around modern Bắc Ninh, Annam became a flourishing trading outpost, receiving goods from the southern seas. The Book of the Later Han recorded that in 166 the first envoy from the Roman Empire to China arrived by this route, and merchants were soon to follow. The 3rd-century Tales of Wei (Weilüe) mentioned a "water route" (the Red River) from Annam into what is now southern Yunnan. From there, goods were taken over land to the rest of China via the regions of modern Kunming and Chengdu.
In 866, Annam was renamed Tĩnh Hải quân. Early in the 10th century, as China became politically fragmented, successive lords from the Khúc clan, followed by Dương Đình Nghệ, ruled Tĩnh Hải quân autonomously under the Tang title of Jiedushi (Vietnamese: Tiết Độ Sứ), Virtuous Lord, but stopped short of proclaiming themselves kings.
Main articles: Khúc clan, Dương Đình Nghệ, and Kiều Công Tiễn
In 938, Southern Han sent troops to conquer autonomous Giao Châu. Ngô Quyền, Dương Đình Nghệ's son-in-law, defeated the Southern Han fleet at the Battle of Bạch Đằng (938). He then proclaimed himself King Ngô and effectively began the age of independence for Vietnam.
Late dynastic epoch (939–1945)
The basic nature of Vietnamese society changed little during the nearly 1,000 years between independence from China in the 10th century and the French conquest in the 19th century. The king was the ultimate source of political authority, the final dispenser of justice, law, and supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces, as well as overseer of religious rituals. Administration was carried out by mandarins who were trained exactly like their Chinese counterparts (i.e. by rigorous study of Confucian texts). Overall, Vietnam remained very efficiently and stably governed except in times of war and dynastic breakdown, and its administrative system was probably far more advanced than that of any other Southeast Asian states and was more highly centralized and stable governed among Asian states. No serious challenge to the king's authority ever arose, as titles of nobility were bestowed purely as honors and were not hereditary. Periodic land reforms broke up large estates and ensured that powerful landowners could not emerge. No religious/priestly class ever arose outside of the mandarins either. This stagnant absolutism ensured a stable, well-ordered society, but also resistance to social, cultural, or technological innovations. Reformers looked only to the past for inspiration.
Literacy remained the provenance of the upper classes. Initially, Chinese was used for writing purposes, but by the 13th century, a set of derivative characters known as Chữ Nôm emerged that allowed native Vietnamese words to be written. However, it remained limited to poetry, literature, and practical texts like medicine while all state and official documents were written in Classical Chinese. Aside from some mining and fishing, agriculture was the primary activity of most Vietnamese, and economic development and trade were not promoted or encouraged by the state.
Ngô, Đinh, & Early Lê dynasties (939–1009)
Main articles: Ngô dynasty, Đinh dynasty, and Early Lê dynasty
Further information: Anarchy of the 12 Warlords
Ngô Quyền's untimely death after a short reign resulted in a power struggle for the throne, resulting in the country's first major civil war, the upheaval of Twelfth Warlords (Loạn Thập Nhị Sứ Quân). The war lasted from 944 to 968 until the clan led by Đinh Bộ Lĩnh defeated the other warlords, unifying the country. Đinh Bộ Lĩnh founded the Đinh dynasty and proclaimed himself Đinh Tiên Hoàng (Đinh the Majestic Emperor) and renamed the country from Tĩnh Hải quân to Đại Cồ Việt (literally "Great Viet Land"), with its capital in Hoa Lư (modern-day Ninh Bình Province). The new emperor introduced strict penal codes to prevent chaos from happening again. He then tried to form alliances by granting the title of Queen to five women from the five most influential families.
In 979, Emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng and his crown prince Đinh Liễn were assassinated, leaving his lone surviving son, the 6-year-old Đinh Toàn, to assume the throne. Taking advantage of the situation, Song China invaded Annam. Facing such a grave threat to national independence, the commander of the armed forces, (Thập Đạo Tướng Quân) Lê Hoàn took the throne, founding the Early Lê dynasty. A capable military tactician, Lê Hoan realized the risks of engaging the mighty Song troops head on; thus he tricked the invading army into Chi Lăng Pass, then ambushed and killed their commander, quickly ending the threat to his young nation in 981. The Song dynasty withdrew their troops and Lê Hoàn was referred to in his realm as Emperor Đại Hành (Đại Hành Hoàng Đế). Emperor Lê Đại Hành was also the first Vietnamese monarch who began the southward expansion process against the kingdom of Champa.
Emperor Lê Đại Hành's death in 1005 resulted in infighting for the throne amongst his sons. The eventual winner, Lê Long Đĩnh, became the most notorious tyrant in Vietnamese history. He devised sadistic punishments of prisoners for his own entertainment and indulged in deviant sexual activities. Toward the end of his short life – he died at the age of 24. Lê Long Đĩnh had become so ill that he had to lie down when meeting with his officials in court.
Lý, Trần, & Hồ dynasties (1009–1407)
Main articles: Lý dynasty, Trần dynasty, and Hồ dynasty
When the king Lê Long Đĩnh died in 1009, a palace guard commander named Lý Công Uẩn was nominated by the court to take over the throne, and founded the Lý dynasty. This event is regarded as the beginning of another golden era in Vietnamese history, with the following dynasties inheriting the Lý dynasty's prosperity and doing much to maintain and expand it. The way Lý Công Uẩn ascended to the throne was rather uncommon in Vietnamese history. As a high-ranking military commander residing in the capital, he had all opportunities to seize power during the tumultuous years after Emperor Lê Hoàn's death, yet preferring not to do so out of his sense of duty. He was in a way being "elected" by the court after some debate before a consensus was reached.
The Lý dynasty is credited for laying down a concrete foundation for the nation of Vietnam. Leaving Hoa Lư, a natural fortification surrounded by mountains and rivers, Lý Công Uẩn moved his court to the new capital in present-day Hanoi and called it Thăng Long (Ascending Dragon). Lý Công Uẩn thus departed from the militarily defensive mentality of his predecessors and envisioned a strong economy as the key to national survival. The third emperor of the dynasty, Lý Thánh Tông renamed the country "Đại Việt" (大越, Great Viet). Successive Lý emperors continued to accomplish far-reaching feats: building a dike system to protect rice farms; founding the Quốc Tử Giám, the first noble university; holding regular examinations to select capable commoners for government positions once every three years; organizing a new system of taxation; establishing humane treatment of prisoners. Women were holding important roles in Lý society as the court ladies were in charge of tax collection. The Lý dynasty also promoted Buddhism, yet maintained a pluralistic attitude toward the three main philosophical systems of the time: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.
The Lý dynasty had two major wars with Song China, and a few invasive campaigns against neighboring Champa in the south. The most notable battle took place on Chinese territory in 1075. Upon learning that a Song invasion was imminent, the Lý army and navy totaling about 100,000 men under the command of Lý Thường Kiệt, and Tông Đản used amphibious operations to preemptively destroy three Song military installations at Yongzhou, Qinzhou, and Lianzhou in present-day Guangdong and Guangxi, and killed 100,000 Chinese. The Song dynasty took revenge and invaded Đại Việt in 1076, but the Song troops were held back at the Battle of Như Nguyệt River commonly known as the Cầu river, now in Bắc Ninh province about 40 km from the current capital, Hanoi. Neither side was able to force a victory, so the Lý dynasty proposed a truce, which the Song emperor accepted. Champa and the powerful Khmer Empire took advantage of the Lý dynasty's distraction with the Song to pillage Đại Việt's southern provinces. Together they invaded Vietnam in 1128 and 1132. Further invasions followed in the subsequent decades.
Toward the end of the Lý dynasty, a powerful court minister named Trần Thủ Độ forced the emperor Lý Huệ Tông to become a Buddhist monk and Lý Chiêu Hoàng, Huệ Tông's young daughter, to become queen. Trần Thủ Độ then arranged the marriage of Chiêu Hoàng to his nephew Trần Cảnh and eventually had the throne transferred to Trần Cảnh, thus begun the Trần dynasty.
Trần Thủ Độ viciously purged members of the Lý nobility; some Lý princes escaped to Korea, including Lý Long Tường. After the purge, the Trần emperors ruled the country in similar manner to the Lý kings. Noted Trần dynasty accomplishments include the creation of a system of population records based at the village level, the compilation of a formal 30-volume history of Đại Việt (Đại Việt Sử Ký) by Lê Văn Hưu, and the rising in status of the Nôm script, a system of writing for Vietnamese language. The Trần dynasty also adopted a unique way to train new emperors: when a crown prince reached the age of 18, his predecessor would abdicate and turn the throne over to him, yet holding the title of Retired Emperor (Thái Thượng Hoàng), acting as a mentor to the new Emperor. Despite continued Champa-Khmer attacks, the Trần managed to arrange several periods of peace with them.
During the Trần dynasty, the armies of the Mongol Empire under Möngke Khan and Kublai Khaninvaded Annam in 1258, 1285, and 1287 88. Annam repelled all attacks of the Yuan Mongols during the reign of Kublai Khan. Three Mongol armies said to have numbered from 300,000 to 500,000 men were defeated. The key to Annam's successes was to avoid the Mongols' strength in open field battles and city sieges—the Trần court abandoned the capital and the cities. The Mongols were then countered decisively at their weak points, which were battles in swampy areas such as Chương Dương, Hàm Tử, Vạn Kiếp and on rivers such as Vân Đồn and Bạch Đằng. The Mongols also suffered from tropical diseases and loss of supplies to Trần army's raids. The Yuan-Trần war reached its climax when the retreating Yuan fleet was decimated at the Battle of Bạch Đằng (1288). The military architect behind Annam's victories was Commander Trần Quốc Tuấn, more popularly known as Trần Hưng Đạo. In order to avoid further disastrous campaigns, the Tran and Champa acknowledged Mongol supremacy.
It was also during this period that the Trần emperors waged many wars against the southern kingdom of Champa, continuing the Vietnamese long history of southern expansion (known as Nam tiến) that had begun shortly after gaining independence in the 10th century. Often, they encountered strong resistance from the Chams. Champa was made a tributary state of Vietnam in 1312, but ten years later regained independence and Cham troops led by king Chế Bồng Nga (Cham: Po Binasuor or Che Bonguar) killed king Trần Duệ Tông in battle and even laid siege to Đại Việt's capital Thăng Long in 1377 and again in 1383. However, the Trần dynasty was successful in gaining two Champa provinces, located around present-day Huế, through the peaceful means of the political marriage of Princess Huyền Trân to a Cham king.
The wars with Champa and the Mongols left Vietnam exhausted and bankrupt. The Trần dynasty was in turn overthrown by one of its own court officials, Hồ Quý Ly. Hồ Quý Ly forced the last Trần emperor to abdicate and assumed the throne in 1400. He changed the country name to Đại Ngu and moved the capital to Tây Đô, Western Capital, now Thanh Hóa. Thăng Long was renamed Đông Đô, Eastern Capital. Although widely blamed for causing national disunity and losing the country later to the Ming Empire, Hồ Quý Ly's reign actually introduced a lot of progressive, ambitious reforms, including the addition of mathematics to the national examinations, the open critique of Confucian philosophy, the use of paper currency in place of coins, investment in building large warships and cannons, and land reform. He ceded the throne to his son, Hồ Hán Thương, in 1401 and assumed the title Thái Thượng Hoàng, in similar manner to the Trần kings.
Ming domination & Later Lê dynasty (1407–1527)
Main articles: Fourth Chinese domination, Later Trần dynasty, and Later Lê dynasty
In 1407, under the pretext of helping to restore the Trần dynasty, Chinese Ming troops invaded Đại Ngu and captured Hồ Quý Ly and Hồ Hán Thương. The Hồ dynasty came to an end after only 7 years in power. The Ming occupying force annexed Đại Ngu into the Ming Empire after claiming that there was no heir to Trần throne. Vietnam, weakened by dynastic feuds and the wars with Champa, quickly succumbed. The Ming conquest was harsh. Vietnam was annexed directly as a province of China, the old policy of cultural assimilation again imposed forcibly, and the country was ruthlessly exploited. However, by this time, Vietnamese nationalism had reached a point where attempts to sinicize them could only strengthen further resistance.Almost immediately, Trần loyalists started a resistance war. The resistance, under the leadership of Trần Quĩ at first gained some advances, yet as Trần Quĩ executed two top commanders out of suspicion, a rift widened within his ranks and resulted in his defeat in 1413.
Vietnam the CountryAn introduction to the fascinating country of Vietnam.
Vietnam is officially known in English as the "Socialist Republic of Vietnam", sometimes abbreviated as SRV. The full name in Vietnamese is Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam.
In common usage, Vietnamese use two words "Viet Nam", and Americans use a single word "Vietnam".
Vietnam is part of South East Asia, bordered by ocean on the west and south, with China to the north and Cambodia and Laos to the west. Vietnam is about the size of New Mexico (329,560 sq km), but shaped in a long, narrow "S".
Vietnam has a hot tropical climate in the south and a monsoon climate in the north. The hot, rainy season lasts May to September and warm, dry season is October to March. (More on Vietnam weather).
Vietnam is a communist country. Religion, speech, press and other aspects of society remain under central control. Since Vietnam's "doi moi" (renovation) in 1986, Vietnam's economy and, to some extent, policies have become increasingly modernized and less restrictive.
Vietnam's flag is bright red with a yellow star. The red represents blood spilt during the country's fight for independence. The star represents Vietnam's unity and the points on the star represent the union of the people working together in building socialism. (Vietnam flag craft for children.)
South Vietnam's flag had three red stripes on a yellow background. Originally based on a design from the last Emperor of Viet Nam (Bao Dai), the red stripes represent the blood line of three regions of Vietnam and the yellow background represents the earth or skin color. This flag is still used by many Vietnamese American organizations, first generation Vietnamese immigrants, and Vietnam Veterans, symbolizing their sacrifices and the ideal of freedom.
Both flags call forth deep emotions for what they represent in Vietnam and in the Vietnamese American communities.
Vietnam is a populated country of over 85 million people. Although the villages have played a key role in Vietnam's psyche and social order, most people now live in the major cities where jobs are more plentiful. Due to the war, there are fewer older men in Vietnam (although they still are predominant in the government) and many younger people. Military service is still compulsory for 2 years.
The literacy rate is impressively high (over 90% are able to read). However, Vietnam is still a relatively poor and less healthy country.
Vietnamese is the primary language. It is a tonal language, relatively easy to read but difficult to speak. Luckily, English is growing in popularity. Some French is spoken in the North. Khmer and related languages are spoken in some areas. The 65 tribes speak their own languages Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian. (More on Vietnamese language.)
Trade agreements and increased modernization are making a great improvement in quality of life for Vietnamese and Vietnam's visitors. Tourism is increasing with better transportation, services and accomadations. Major exports are crude oil, marine products, rice, coffee and tea, rubber and clothing.
Vietnam's Three Regions
Vietnam is traditionally divided into three regions (North, South and Central) based on years of history, occupation and geopolitical settlement. These regions are known among Vietnamese for differences in dialect, food, history, culture and temperament of the people.
Vietnam Cities and Provinces
Hanoi is Vietnam's capitol, and the location of Vietnam's central government. Hanoi was the former capitol of North Vietnam under the French and during the war. It is an older gracious city. Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) was the capital of South Vietnam. It is the second largest city, and is a leader in business. Ho Chi Minh city is sprawling and vibrant, with a large Chinese center. (More on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.)
Vietnam has 5 major cities or municipalities (city-provinces): Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ha Noi, and Ho Chi Minh and 59 provinces. Most of these allow international adoption.
Back to: Vietnam & Vietnamese Culture