Vietnam Before French Colonization

The history of Vietnam is one that is extensive, eventful, and intriguing. The earliest archaeological finds suggest that humans have been living there as far back as almost half a million years ago; this places them among the very first East Asians to conduct agriculture in that region.

The Dong So culture greatly elevated the level of civilization in Vietnam during the Bronze Age, making this period of Vietnam’s history the first one to have a significant impact on the course of the country’s history.

Following their conquest of the Red River Delta in the second century BC, the Chinese reigned over this area from 200 BC until 938 AD. This was an important period of time in the annals of Vietnamese history. This ultimately resulted in the incorporation of Chinese people and their culture inside the boundaries of Vietnam. Even though there are still many Chinese influences in Vietnam, the traditional Vietnamese culture has persisted through the years and continues to hold a significant amount of sway in that country. Although there are still many Chinese influences in Vietnam, the traditional Vietnamese culture has persisted and continues to hold a significant amount of sway. The Chinese religions of Confucianism and Taoism, both of which were adopted as the state religion, as well as Chinese ideographs (a kind of writing), were used in order to represent the Vietnamese language. These aspects of Chinese culture were maintained.

During the time when China ruled Vietnam, the region that is today known as the south of Vietnam was known as the Funan kingdom. Despite its name, the Funan kingdom was really more influenced by Indian culture than by the culture of the Chinese rulers. In a similar manner, Champa, which was located in the exceedingly remote south and was thought to be a Hindu state, had tremendous growth between the 2nd and 8th centuries.

By the 10th century, China had moved out of the Tang dynasty with a great collapse, and Vietnamese revolutionaries exploited the opportunity (under the leadership of Ngo Quyen) to organise constant revolts, ultimately toppling the Chinese troops and bringing an end to their control by the year 938.

After Ngo Quyen passed away, Vietnam was thrown into a century-long period of anarchy, instability, and turmoil, which lasted until the very first Vietnam monarchy was established. This dynasty was known as the Ly Dynasty, and it was established by Ly Thai To. It lasted from the year 1010 to the year 1225. During the two hundred years that the Ly Dynasty was in power, its rulers were responsible for the establishment of an enormous organisational structure, the promotion of agriculture, and the development of the first system for the control of flooding along the banks of the Red River. The Temple of Literature in Hanoi was Vietnam’s first university. The Ly Dynasty was also largely responsible for the decline of Confucianism and the growth of Buddhism during this time period.

Following the reign of the Ly Dynasty was the reign of the Tran Dynasty, which lasted all the way up to the year 1400. At this point in time, Vietnam had achieved economic success, which thwarted many fresh initiatives undertaken by China to reclaim the Red River Delta and other strategically significant territories. The Later Le Dynasty came next and ruled Vietnam until 1524, when it was once again overrun by the Chinese. This time, however, it was only for a period of twenty years, as the revolutionary and self-declared emperor Le Loi eventually overcame the Chinese once again and retook control of Vietnam.

As the Ly Dynasty fell into collapse in the 17th and 18th centuries, Vietnam was split into two zones and governed over by the Trinh Lords in the north and the Nguyen Lords in the south. These two groups of lords dominated their respective regions. These two families were so powerful because the Portuguese supplied the Nguyen with firearms, while the Dutch provided the Trinh with armaments. The Nguyen were able to dominate the Trinh.

Between the years 1771 and 1802, the region of Tay Son in Vietnam was the site of a revolt that was led by three brothers named Nguyen: Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Hue, and Nguyen Lu. As a consequence of this, Nguyen Lu was crowned king of the south, Nguyen Nhac was crowned king of the centre region of Vietnam, and Nguyen Hue was crowned emperor Quang Trung of the northern region. One of the most decisive wins in Vietnam’s history was achieved in 1789, when Chinese forces launched yet another assault, which was ultimately successful in driving them back. Soon after, Nguyen Anh took control of a significant portion of the nation and proclaimed himself emperor of Gia Long.

After that, in 1802, the Nguyen Dynasty was established, and it lasted until 1945. This required significant shifts in social norms, ideological perspectives, and organisational structures. Especially during the French colonisation of Vietnam, which lasted from 1859 through 1954 and consisted of Vietnam being a protectorate at first and then a colony later on. As a result, many Vietnamese developed a strong anti-colonialist sentiment as a result of this. Despite the fact that they were grateful for the advancements in communication, trade, and transportation that the French had given, the possessed a deeply rooted and historically motivated yearning for national independence. Therefore, in 1941, the most successful Vietnamese revolutionary in the history of Vietnam took over and established the Indochina Communist Party under the name Viet Nam Doc Menh Lap Dong Minh Hoi, which is more often referred to as Vietminh. The Vietminh gained a significant amount of power and eventually controlled both the north and the south of Vietnam. In 1945, they proclaimed Vietnam to be the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In spite of the fact that there had been numerous attempts at negotiation between France and Vietnam, war did not break out until 1946. It was not until the Geneva Accords, which were signed eight years later, that the war was finally brought to an end, placing the Vietminh in the north and the French and their Vietnamese supporters in the south. Two years after the signing of the treaty, a political protocol was subsequently negotiated in order to reunify the nation. An insurrection broke out in the south of Vietnam in 1955, and it was headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. The rebellion continued and grew in strength until the north of the country declared the establishment of the National Liberation Front (NLF), which would eventually be renamed the Vietcong. Diem was ousted and executed in a military revolution in 1963, which ultimately led to the beginning of the Vietnam War the following year in 1964. By 1965, the South was suffering severe defeat, and the United States military had begun sending combat soldiers into the conflict. With the Vietnamese Communist Party’s rising level of success came an ever-increasing presence. By the end of 1967, there had been approximately 500,000 American personnel killed in action throughout the Vietnam War, with the total number of casualties standing at 16,021. The United States military’s combat units saw a rise in frustration, which led to a fall in discipline and morale, an increase in the use of drugs and alcohol, and an ongoing deterioration in the military’s ability to fight.

After the signing of the Paris accords in 1973 by the United States of America, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Vietcong, the United States completely withdrew its combat troops from Vietnam. The guerilla struggle carried on, and eventually the south was defeated.

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