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     History

History
 
The archaeological excavations carried out recently have proved the presence of human beings in the territory of Vietnam since the Paleolithic Age or the Old Stone Age (300,000 -500,000 years ago). In the Neolithic Age (New Stone Age), Hoa Binh - Bac Son cultures (about 10,000 BC) witnessed the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, including even the technique of wet rice cultivation.

The Vietnamese as an ethnic group had been formed and developed early in the Red River and Ma River Deltas situated in the northern part of the present-day Vietnam. Generations to generations, people reclaimed land for cultivation. They have constructed a system of irrigation works including dams and dykes to tame the mighty Red River which often caused devastating floods every year. It is the process of paints-taking continuous labour to harnass the river and combat other natural calamities including storms and droughts for crop cultivation that shaped the paddy rice civilization and the communal culture.

In the Bronze Age, a unique and distinct civilization had been formed that scaled up to a high level in technical skills as well as arts - the brilliant Dong Son culture. The recent ethnological, historical and archaeological studies and researches have asserted the existence of the Hung Kings' period in Van Lang Kingdom (later Au Lac Kingdom) about 1,000 years BC. In around 200 BC, Au Lac Kingdom was invaded and annexed by the northern giant empire of the Han feudalism. Nevertheless, the ten-century domination of Chinese feudalism failed to assimilate Vietnamese culture and break the Viet people?s brave resistance.

In the 10th century AD, the Vietnamese had won back their freedom and built up an independent state named Dai Viet. The country was under the ruling of many national feudal dynasties, among which the most important ones are the Ly Dynasty (11th and 12th century), the Tran Dynasty (13th and 14th century), the Le Dynasty (15th, 16th and 17th century) with their centralized administration, strong army forces and a highly developed economy and culture. During this period, Vietnam as a nation had to ceaselessly fight vicious conquering conspiracies of Chinese and Mongolian feudal empires. Vietnam's long and arduous struggles of resistance against the invasions of the Song (11th century), the Yuan or the Mongols (13th century), the Ming (15th century) had acquired glorious victories. Vietnam grew stronger with a broad unity of all its ethnic groups and the country moved into a new prosperous period after each struggle.
Dong Son culture which was enriched by the influence of Chinese culture developed from centuries to centuries in a framework of an independent state. Buddhism and Confucianism entered Dai Viet and brought with them many popular cultural features and distinct forms. None the less, Vietnam still preserved its own language and a highly developed agricultural civilization.

In the 17th and 18th century, feudalism in Vietnam was considerably weakened. Peasants ceaselessly rose up in revolts the culmination of which was the Tay Son movement (1771-1802). Tay Son overthrew all regional feudal lordship that divided the country into two parts, united the country, swept away the Qing (Manchus) invaders from China, and simultaneously implemented many social and cultural reforms. However, with foreign aid, Nguyen Anh soon took over the ruling power and the Nguyen Dynasty was established, which was the last royal dynasty in Vietnam.

In the middle of 19th century (1858), French colonialists began to invade Vietnam. The incompetent governance of the Nguyen dynasty gradually gave in and from 1884, French colonists established a protectorate and colonial government that reigned the whole territory of Vietnam. In 1887, in compliance with the French Government's decree, Indochina was established. Indochina consisted of the north, center, and south of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. At that time, French social and economic policies were expedited gradually whilst a policy on the large-scale exploitation of colonies was pursued with the practice of obscurantism. Vietnamese patriots of different ideologies struggled for the country's independence and freedom. One patriotic movement was the Dong Du (Go East) led by Phan Boi Chau. Those who advocated the policy of raising the people's general understanding and intellectual standards included Phan Chu Trinh and the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Group. Nguyen Thai Hoc and his fellows were sentenced to death by the French for their leading role in an armed revolt and patriotic struggle. Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh) founded the Communist Party of Vietnam (later named the Indochinese Communist Party and then renamed CPV) in 1930. Under the Party's leadership, the Vietnamese people rose up in arms against the French colonization and Japanese occupation. They succeeded in the general insurrections in August 1945 which gave birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 2 September 1945. From 1945 to 1954 Vietnam carried out a nine-year war of resistance against the French, which ended with the world-known victorous military campaign in Dien Bien Phu valley and the 1954 Geneva Agreement on Vietnam. Before long after the struggle against the French, Vietnam had to enter another war of resistance against the American and their puppet regime in the South for national independence and reunification. With the great victory of the military operation known as Ho Chi Minh Campaign in spring 1975, the Southern part of Vietnam was liberated and the country was eventually reunified. On April 25, 1976, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was renamed the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the whole country embarked on the path of national reconstruction and development in peace and stability.

 

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