Kingdoms - Ancient Cultures - Vietnam
|Northern Vietnam remains
every important regarding Chinese history, as it depicts
the Southeasterly corner of modern China, and the development
of the Cantonese 'Yue States' in conflict and in harmony
over millennia, with North Vietnam's 'Lav Viet (Van
It also centres focus upon: Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces
of modern China; and the modern countries of: Vietnam,
Laos, Cambodia, and northern Burma. It also shows conflicts
and independence from the Khmer Empire through the ages,
and ultimately Thailand (Siam) is also involved.
Let's begin with modern northern Vietnam and see how
this history unfolds across this diverse Asian peninsular...
The Eastern World 550 BC - map for representation purposes
only, until I and Thomas Lessman make a new one...
Courtesy Thomas Lessman - Click to Enlarge:
This page is not about Vietnamese history, nor that
of the Khmer Empire and other Kingdoms. It is written
from the perspective regarding millennia when Northern
Vietnam and parts of Guangxi and Guangdong Provinces
were ruled by the same King or Dynasty.
We are basically looking at a period spanning the last
5, 000 years; over half of which Northern Vietnam was
under the control of the Yue Peoples (Cantonese), or
vise-versa. Later history shows the breakaway of the
Lac Viet states, before the dominance of China as a
whole came to bear upon the region.
Beijing does not have any claims upon Vietnam in modern
times, and no desire for this either. Please realise
that the peoples inhabiting both Northern Vietnam and
the extreme Southeastern Provinces of China all speak
a common language (Cantonese). They have a very long
and shared history, which extends further into neighbouring
regions of China and the Asian Peninsula (Thai counting
is very close in sound to Cantonese for example - to
the extent that my recent Siamese girlfriend could barter
using Cantonese sounds so-similar to her local speaking
- in the local Foshan wet-markets!)
Think about that for a moment, and know it happened
for real in 2007. It is from this perspective we write
this and related pages, and in order to understand the
real truth of the history of this most fascinating of
Vietnam - A condensed modern history
Vietnam’s lush northern river valleys presented the
perfect backdrop for civilisation to blossom. Archaeological
digs reveal the existence of Stone Age man 300,000 years
ago, and cave dwellers and agriculture appeared by 10,000
Patches of civilisation popped up prior to the 1st
millennium BC around the Red River, central Vietnam
and the Dong Nai River Delta. These were the ancient
Viet people, who began paddy farming, irrigation projects
and developing handicraft skills in the area that
evolved into the Van Lang state.
By 1000 BC, the Hung Vuong Dynasty controlled a kingdom
from China to 500 kilometre south of Hanoi. An Duong
Vuong transformed this into the Au Lac Nation in the
3rd century BC, but in 207 BC, Chinese General Chao
T’o invaded and annexed the territory to the Red River,
establishing Nam Viet. In 111 BC, Chinese Han General
Chiao Chih took control, thus starting 10 centuries
of Chinese control.
Mandarins administered “Chiao Chih”, and it prospered.
By the 3rd century, paper and glass items appeared,
and Chiao Chih grew as a trading port. However, descendants
of mandarins and Viet landowners decided to revolt
in 931. They defeated the Han, and the first independent
Vietnamese state was established in 939.
The Chinese Sung attacked in 967, but General Le
Hoan stepped in to repel them, secure the country
and set up a monarchy. In 1010, Ly Thai To took the
throne, moved the capital to present-day Hanoi and
founded the 200-year Ly Dynasty, while renaming the
country Dai Viet in 1054.
The Tran Dynasty took charge in 1225, with a centralised
bureaucracy and a solid defence, which was tested in
1253 when Kublai Kahn arrived. The Tran battled the
Mongols, finally driving them out in 1287.
The Chinese Ming then set their sights on the Tran,
and by 1413 controlled Dai Viet. Le Loi, a Trinh landowner,
formed a group to fight the Ming, and proclaimed himself
king in 1418. The Ming withdrew by 1428, and in 1460,
18-year-old King Le Thanh Tong, a Confucian scholar,
ushered in the “The Flood of Virtue” era. He died
in 1497, and chaos ensued until 1527 when Mac Dang
Dung usurped the throne.
The Trinh revolted, and battled the Mac over Hanoi
for 60 years, finally defeating them in 1592. War
broke out between the southern Nguyen and the Trinh
in 1622, ending in a stalemate and peace in 1673,
which divided Vietnam in two.
The Nguyen began expanding south, pushing the Khmer
out of Saigon in 1700 and driving deeper towards Phnom
Penh, when in 1771, the Siamese came to help expel
them. This triggered three brothers from Tay Son to
revolt against their Nguyen lord. The Trinh then ended
their truce and attacked Saigon in 1776. The Tay Son
drove the Trinh to China, and then the brothers clashed
for control. Hearing of the chaos, an exiled Nguyen
ruler returned with the French and retook the country
Nguyen Anh Gia Long ascended to the throne and founded
Vietnam’s final dynasty. In 1858, the French invaded,
the Nguyens eventually gave in, and the country became
a French protectorate in 1884 with the French appointing
all subsequent emperors through Bao Dai, who abdicated
to Ho Chi Minh after WW2.
Led by Ho Chi Minh, the Viet Minh defeated the French
at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and the subsequent Geneva
Accord divided the country into north and south. The
Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north sided
with China and the Soviet Union during the Cold War,
while the United States backed the Republic of South
Vietnam. War between the two broke out in 1965, and
raged until the US pulled out in 1975.
Today's unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established
on 25 April 1976, with its capital in Hanoi, not far
from where the Viet people got their start over 10,000
The first archaeological signs of human occupation come
from near Hanoi (Ho Chi Min City), and date from approximately
300, 000 bc. This study is not interested in that, but
is interested in remains found dating from 10, 000 bc
in virtually the same area. This shows a very long period
of existence and cultural development.
We will finish this page here for today - as integral
are developments and the displacement of tribes and
Kingdoms far away in the Northeastern parts of China
- who mainly head West. The Bon head into Tibet,and
this displaces the proto-Burmese peoples, who then follow
the river valleys to the sea = Northern Vietnam and
Thailand. Immediately North the Zhang Zhang flourish
as an Empire, as does the Kingdom of Dali in what is
nowadays called Yunnan Province.
Therefore in order to make sense of the real history
of this region we need to make sense of the Anglicised
names, and follow who went where ... and why?
The modern people of Northern Vietnam owe it to their
ancestors for staying put - but then I am British, and
it is easy for me to realise that if your back is to
the sea ... then you don't actually have many places
We aim to have some semblance of understanding published
here for you in late summer 2010 - but as nobody has
even attempted this before + we need to create maps;
call back later and know we will state on our homepage
when this section is completed. It really is quite fascinating!
information is as supplied by Wikipedia, as dated March
2009 or later, and/or other reliable sources.
Maps (Unless stated otherwise)
are provided in association with Thomas Lessman
Please check this information yourself as it may alter
without notice, and whilst we try our best to ensure
it is correct, please do not hold us responsible for
any errors - this is intended as a simple guide only
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