history is a long, exciting and fascinating one, with the
oldest archaeological findings showing that people have been
living there as far back as about a half million years ago -
making them among the very first East Asians who practiced
agriculture in that area.
first truly influential part of history in Vietnam occurred
during the Bronze Age, when the Dong So culture was in
Vietnam, dramatically advancing their level of civilization.
200BC and 938AD, the Chinese ruled over this region, having
conquered the Red River Delta in the 2nd century
BC - a critical expanse in Vietnamese history.
This led to the inclusion of Chinese population and
culture within the Vietnamese borders.
The native culture, though, hung on strong, with a
strong sense of national identity among the people, and
though many Chinese influences still exist in Vietnam, the
traditional Vietnamese culture has hung on throughout the
years and is still greatly predominant in that country.
The Chinese influences that continued were
Confucianism and Taoism, which was the official ideology, as
well as the Chinese ideographs (writing) which was used to
express the Vietnamese language.
the Chinese rule, the south of what we know as Vietnam, was
called the Funan kingdom - which was actually more
influenced by Indian culture than by the Chinese rulers.
Similarly, Champa, in the extremely far south, was
considered a Hindu kingdom and grew dramatically between the
2nd and 8th centuries.
the 10th century, China had moved out of the Tang
dynasty with a huge collapse, and Vietnamese revolutionaries
took the opportunity (under the leadership of Ngo Quyen) to
stage continual revolts, overthrowing the Chinese soldiers
and ending their rule by the year 938.
Ngo Quyen died, Vietnam was plunged into a century of
anarchy, disorder and chaos, until the very first Vietnam
dynasty was formed.
This dynasty was called the Ly Dynasty, which existed
from 1010 to 1225, and was founded by Ly Thai To.
Within the two hundred years of the Ly Dynasty, its
rulers created the Temple of Literature in Hanoi -
Vietnamís first university - established an enormous
system of organization, promoted agriculture and created the
first system of flood control along the banks of the Red
The Ly Dynasty also greatly faded out the ideology of
Confucianism and Buddhism grew.
the Ly Dynasty, came the Tran Dynasty, which remained until
the year 1400.
By this time, Vietnam was prosperous, heading off
many new Chinese attempts to regain the Red River Delta and
other important regions.
The Later Le Dynasty followed, lasting until 1524,
when Vietnam was once again conquered by the Chinese, but
only for two decades, when revolutionary and self-declared
emperor Le Loi defeated them once more.
the Ly Dynasty declined, during the 17th and 18th
centuries, Vietnam was divided into two zones, ruled over by
the Trinh Lords in the north and the Nguyen Lords in the
These two families were so strong, because the Nguyen
were supplied weaponry by the Portuguese, while the Trinh
had armaments from the Dutch.
1771-1802, Vietnam broke into rebellion in Tay Son, lead by
three brothers of the Nguyen: Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Hue and
Nguyen Lu. The result was the crowning of Nguyen Lu as king
of the South, Nguyen Nhac as king of central Vietnam and
Nguyen Hue as emperor Quang Trung of the north.
Again the Chinese attacked, in 1789, but once again
they were fought off, making it one of the largest victories
in Vietnam history.
Nguyen Anh soon stepped in, taking most of the
country and declaring himself emperor Gia Long.
Nguyen Dynasty then began in 1802 and continued until 1945.
This involved a great deal of social, ideological and
organizational change. Especially when the French moved in
from 1859 until 1954, at first making Vietnam a protectorate
and then making it a colony.
This created a strong anti-colonialism feeling among
Though the appreciated the improvements in
communication, commerce and transportation brought by the
French, they had a deep seeded historical desire for
national independence. So in 1941, the most successful
Vietnamese revolutionary in Vietnamese history stepped up,
creating the Indochina Communist Party called Viet Nam Doc
Menh Lap Dong Minh Hoi better known as Vietminh.
Vietminh grew greatly in strength, gaining power over
both the north and south and declared Vietnam the Democratic
Republic of Vietnam in 1945.
Though many negotiation talks existed between the
French and Vietnam, war finally broke out in 1946, ending 8
years later with the Geneva Accords, leaving Vietminh in the
North and the French and their Vietnamese supporters in the
South. A political protocol was then signed to reunify the
country 2 years after the treaty was signed.
In 1955 the south experienced an uprising, led by Ngo
Dinh Diem and continuing and building until the North
announced the formation of the National Liberation Front (NLF),
later known as Vietcong. In 1963, Diem was overthrown and
killed by a military coup, leading to the Vietnam war which started
in 1964. By 1965, the South was losing badly and the US
Military committed combat troops to the war.
This presence grew and grew with the increasing
success of the Vietcong. By December 1967, there were almost
half a million American men in the Vietnam War with the
death number of 16,021. Frustrations built in US fighting
units, discipline and moral began to decline, use of drugs
and alcohol increased, and the fighting capabilities
continued to erode.
Paris agreements were signed by USA, South Vietnam, North
Vietnam and Vietcong in 1973 followed by the total
withdrawal of US combat forces. The guerrilla war still
continued and the south fell.
is no longer involved in the conflict and as a result,
Vietnam has enjoyed its first true peace.
Tourism is now on Vietnamís top priority list.