History of Vietnam

The history of Vietnam can be traced back to around 20,000 years ago. Archaeological findings from 1965, still under research, show the remains of two hominins closely related to Sinanthropus, dating as far back as the Middle Pleistocene era, roughly half a million years ago.[1] 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.[2][3] 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.[4] 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 legendary Vietnamese states approximately 2879 BC. While in the later times, archaeologists have suggested the Đông Sơn culture found in Northern Vietnam, Guangxi and Laos was around 700 BC.[5][6][7]

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 1,000 years, Vietnam was successively governed by a series of Chinese dynasties: the Western Han, Xin, Eastern Han, Eastern Wu, Western Jin, Eastern Jin, Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang, Sui, Tang, Wu Zhou, and Southern Han. During these 1,000 years there were many uprisings against Chinese domination, and at certain periods Vietnam was independently governed under the Triệu, Trưng Sisters, Early Lý, Khúc and Dương Đình Nghệ—although their triumphs and reigns were temporary.

When Ngô Quyền (King of Vietnam, 938–944) restored sovereign power in the country with the victory at the battle of Bach Dang River, the next millennium was advanced by the accomplishments of successive local dynasties: Ngô, Đinh, Early Lê, , Trần, Hồ, Later Trần, Later Lê, Mạc, Trịnh, Nguyễn, Tây Sơn and again Nguyễn. At various points during the imperial dynasties, Vietnam was ravaged and divided by civil wars and witnessed interventions by the Song, Yuan, Cham, Ming, Siamese, Qing, French, and Imperial Japan.

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. During the French period, widespread malnutrition and brutality from the 1880s until Japan invaded in 1940 created deep resentment that fueled resistance to post-World War II military-political efforts by France and the US.[8][9] Political upheaval and Communist insurrection put an end to the monarchy after World War II, and the country was proclaimed a republic.