The pre-historic era could be dated back to over 23,000 years ago in Paleolithic Age, as the relics of Homo Erectus were found in the caves of Lang Son and Nghe An province. Gradual evolution emerged to Bronze Age when inhabitants produced bronze tools, and arms with the raising of domestic farms of buffaloes, oxen and pigs. Three cultural groups developed during this age:
Pre-Dong Son Culture - lived in the North around Ma River, Ca River and Red River Delta
Pre-Sa Hyun - live in Southern area of Central Vietnam
Those inhabited in Dong Nai River
During Iron Age, only Pre-Dong son culture developed into Dong Son culture.
Birth of Vietnam
The first nation of Vietnam being recorded is the Van Lang Nation, founded by the ancient Viet race in the North. The most famous king is Hung King.
In 3 B.C, another nation was found by Au Duong Vuong and named Au Lac Nation. The historical remain of Co Loa Citadel is the evidence.
In Central Vietnam, another kingdom of Champa emerged from Sa Hyun culture around 2 B.C.
Chinese Domination: (111 BC - 936 AD)
The Au Lac Nation was first lost to Nan Yue in 179 BC, who in turn was conquered by the mighty Chinese Han Empire. In 111 BC, the Han Empire dominates the Au Lac Nation. This domination lasted over a thousand years with successive Chinese dynasties such as Sui and Tang. The Chinese domination had left great influence on Vietnam philosophy, culture, religions and almost every aspect of Vietnamese life. Many rebellions did occur, but all were cracked down. Not until 936 AD, the Chinese troop was defeated at Bach Dang River and ends the Chinese rule.
Independence from China:
After the liberation from Chinese domination, successive dynasties followed by Ngo, Dinh and Pre-Le Dynasty with the period from 939-1009 AD. Over this time, Chinese Empire made many invasions, but repulsed.
1009-1400 AD - Ly Dynasty and Tran Dynasty.
During this period, Vietnam rose into a powerful nation with much development in various fields such as agricultures, trading, religions, and cultures with prevailing of Buddhism and Confucianism. They were able to resist the assaults from Chinese Sung Dynasty as well as Mongolians.
1400-1407 AD. Ho Dynasty and 1408-1428 AD Chinese Domination
The decline began since late Tran Dynasty which was overthrown by Ho Dynasty who took power during 1400-1407, but Ho did not last long. Vietnam once again was conquered by Chinese invasion under Ming Empire who ruled Vietnam from 1408-1428. The Chinese Ming Army met strong resistance from the Viet patriots and lose its conquests to Le Loi at the battle of Lam Son. This led to new era of Vietnam History.
1428 - 1788 AD - LE Dynasty
The Chinese rule over Vietnam completely ended with the establishment of Le Dynasty in 1428 AD which lasted until 18th century. Trades, industry, agriculture, cultures, and literatures flourished, however, in 16th century, the nation was divided into two feudal states under Le Dynasty - Trinh State in the North and Nguyen State in the South.
1788 - 1802 TAY SON DYNASTY
During the late 18th century, the 3 brothers of Nguyen led the famous Tay Son Revolution, and overthrew the two feudal states of Trinh and Nguyen, and then the Le Dynasty. The new dynasty of Tay Son lasted for 14 years and was subdued to Nguyen Anh Gia Long who was supported by the French army.
1802-1954 NGYUEN DYNASTY
Nguyen Anh Gia Long succeeded the throne, and became the first monarch of Nguyen Dynasty. The country revived into a healthy state with expansion of economy. Trades, irrigation, agriculture, literatures and cultures again flourished. Vietnam began to open up new trades with western countries like France, England, and also Indonesia and India. Later on, gradual conflicts with its foreign counterparts piled up. In 1857, its rulers made a false move to closed-door polity and drove away oversea diplomats, which was a great turning point of Vietnam History and had its impact till present-day Vietnam. This led to French conquest and the establishment of the so-called Indochina.
French Domination (1887 - 1954)
After the break up of diplomatic tie, the French military troops started to invade Vietnam. Although being more organized and having superior weapons, the French army took 30 years to overcome repetitive Viet patriotic resistance and had its final conquest. In 1887, French Royal Decree ordered the establishment of Indochina - an aggregated French colony consisted of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The Nguyen Dynasty did survive but became powerless under French domination.
Not until early 20th century, the French seriously activated the social and economic welfare of Vietnam. Mining industry and big plantations of coffee, tea and rubber were popped up and exploited on a large scale, bringing huge benefits to the French. This had also bear a strong negative effect over the Vietnam society with clear separation of Vietnamese elites and the low working class.
The hidden resentment of the Vietnamese people was ignited, when the French colonialists ordered a land structural reform in 1904 with high taxation over the farmers. This led to many resistant movements against the French rules and resulted in the death or imprisonment of its leaders. Having strong support from the farmer class, Nguyen Ai Quoc succeeded to establish the Vietnam Communist Party in 1930. The world knows him in the name of Ho Chi Minh.
Birth Of To-Day Vietnam & Seed Of Vietnam War
At the end of World War II, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam Independence on 2 September 1945. The last French troop was crushed in the battle of Dien Bien Phu, resulted in the half liberalization of the Vietnam. The Geneva Accord had divided the country into the North, ruled under communist system and the South under democratic one.
President Ho was half satisfied, and determined to re-unite the country by invading the South. Being the world democratic leader, Americans entered the scenario and attempted to stop the communist's expansion in Southeast Asia against the Domino Theory. This had led to the Vietnam War (the Vietnamese called it - the American War!). Unable to fight against the powerful military strength of the Americans, North Vietnam military, called Vietcong, used guerrillas tactics. This war had turned out to be too costly for the Americans in term of life, social welfare and economy. Receiving heavy pressure at home, the Americans decided to withdraw its troops, resulted in the fall of South Vietnam. Finally, Vietnam became re-unified once again on 30 April 1975 and the Communist regime rules until the present day.