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PRE HISTORY (Paeolithic Age)
12,000 B.C. to
10,000 B.C.
Pre-historic Vietnamese of the Hoa Binh culture abandoned nomadic life to settle in the Red River valley. While mostly hunters, they also cultivated plants for fruit and roots.
STONE AGE (Neolithic Age)
10,000 B.C. to
5,000 B.C.
Bac Son tools were made with ground and polished stone, a significant improvement over Hoa Binh tools. Bac Son people lived in tribes headed by female leaders and introduced pottery-making.
8,000 B.C. to
6,000 B.C.
At about the same time as the Bac Son culture, the Quynh Van people occupied the coast of north central Vietnam, largely living off of fishing.
6,000 B.C. to
5,000 B.C.
Da But culture.
5,000 B.C. to
4,000 B.C.
During the Phung Nguyen period, stone hand tools and weapons and pottery improved markedly. Other crafts also existed including thread and fabric making and rope making. Rice became a staple diet, and some bronze tools were introduced later on.
4,000 B.C. to
2,000 B.C.
The Dong Dau and Go Mun cultures started replacing stone tools and weapons with bronze ones, increasing to around 60% bronze.
2,000 B.C. to
200 A.D.
Vietnamese historians characterize the Dong Son culture as the start of the Vietnamese nation. It included Van Lang, the first kingdom of Vietnam, which was ruled as a royal dynasty by 18 Kings Hung. With a professional administrative class assisting the rulers, the Dong Son culture's impact was felt as far away as Thailand and Burmah. Skilled agriculturalists, their fishermen and sailors traversed the China Sea.
257 B.C.
Van Lang under the Hung (or Lac) Dynasty.
257 B.C. to 207 B.C.
Au Lac was a small Vietnamese kingdom under the Thuc Dynasty in the heart of eth Red River valley.
221 B.C.
The Ch'in Dynasty in China completed its conquest of neighboring states and became the first to rule over a unified China.
207 B.C.
Upon the death of Shih Huang Ti, founder of China's Ch'in Dynasty, the unified Chinese empire collapsed. The Chinese commander in the south proclaimed himself king over his own kingdom, which he named Nam Viet. He included the kingdom of Au Lac.
207 B.C. to 11 B.C.
Nam Viet under the Trieu Dynasty.
111 B.C.
Chinese armies reconquered Vietnam and incorporated it into the expanding Han Empire. The Chinese attempted to impose Chinese institutions, politics, language, art, music, architecture and religion on the Vietnamese, and imported Chinese administrators to replace the local nobility. Vietnamese resistance continues sporadically.
11 B.C. to 3 B.C.
Tonkin was invaded by Chinese of the Han Dynasty.
3 B.C.
The Chinese Han Dynasty established rule in the province of Giao Chi in northern Vietnam, which continued to 203 A.D.
39 A.D.
The most famous of several early Vietnamese revolts was led by the Trung sisters, both widows of local aristocrats. Their revolt was successful and the older sister, Trung Trac, became ruler of an independent state for three years.
43 A.D. to 203 A.D.
China reconquers Vietnam. It is again ruled by the Han Dynasty. Vietnamese rebellions continue sporadically during Chinese rule.
203 A.D.-544 A.D.
The second part of the Chinese Han Dynasty rule over the northern part of Vietnam, known as Giao Chau. It continues to 544 A.D.
1st Century A.D. to 6th Century A.D.
The south was part of the Indianized kingdom of Funan.
2nd Century A.D. to 8th Century A.D.
The Hindu kingdom of Champa was established around Danang by Chams following the collapse of the Han Dynasty in the late 2nd Century. Champa spread south to Nha Trang by the 8th Century.
2nd Century A.D.
The Chinese conquered the Red River Delta and began a "1000-year" rule marked by Vietnamese resistance and repeated rebellions.
544 A.D.-603 A.D.
Van Xuan under the Ly Dynasty
603 A.D.-939 A.D.
An Nam under the Duong Dynasty
938 A.D.
With China in domestic chaos, Ngo Quyen vanquishes the Chinese armies at the Bach Dang River.
939 A.D.
Chinese are finally driven out of Vietnam, and Ngo Quyen sets up an independent Vietnamese state. Civil strife returned with his death a few years later.
968 A.D.-1054 A.D.
To the south, Dinh Bo Linh created the unified empire of Dai Co Viet in Vietnam. Dai Co Viet was independent of China.
LY DYNASTY 1009-1225
The first of the great Vietnamese Dynasties was founded. It retained many of the political and social institutions introduced by Chinese rule. The economy thrived, and the Ly Dynasty became a force in Southeast Asia.
TRAN DYNASTY 1225-1400
The Tran Dynasty succeeded the Ly Dynasty and continued as a regional power.
Kublai Khan , grandson of Genghis Khan, founds the Yuan Dynasty in China,. He conquered Korea and twice tried to invade Japan.
The Mongol armies of Kublai Khan attack Vietnam to reintegrate it into the Chinese empire, but are defeated in several battles and driven back across the border.
Marco Polo arrives in China during Kublai Khan's rule and stayed for 17 years. His writings increased European interest in the East.

Kublai Khan dies and a series of weak rulers follow.

Vietnam battles the Kingdom of Champa south along the central coast near Danang. After decades of conflict, Vietnamese forces defeat the Cham and destroy their kingdom.
HO DYNASTY 1400-1407
Dai Ngu.
Chinese establish rule over Annam. The Ming Dynasty attempts for 20 years to reintegrate Vietnam into China.
The Kingdom of Cham is annexed.
LE DYNASTY 1428-1789
Rebel leader Le Loi drives out Chinese from Annam, and founds Le Dynasty. Le Loi became the first emperor. After about a century of strong rule, court power struggles between the Trinh and Nyuyen clans weakens the government.
Portuguese conduct first known Western visit of the region.
When the Trinh clan becomes dominent in the court of the Le Dynasty, they grant the Nguyen clan a fiefdom in the south, effectively dividing Vietnam between ruling dynasties in the north and south.
Further expansion south to the Mekong and then westward begins to pit the Vietnamese against the waning Khmer state.
With the split Le empire becoming increasingly corrupt, squabbling and weak, angry peasants led by the Son Tay brothers revolt. The ruling lords in the north and south are toppled during the Tay Son rebellion.
French missionary Pierre Pigneau de Behaine persuades the French court to assist in restoration of the Nguyen, in expectation of rtrading and missionary privileges to the French.
Last Le emperor flees to China. Nguyen Hue proclaims himself emperor and unifies Vietnam briefly, but dies in 1789 shortly after ascending to the throne.
Chinese invade Vietnam in support of the Le.
Chinese invasion in support of the Le defeated.
The Nguyen under Nguyen Anh defeat the last of Tay Son forces, with help from a mercenary force raised by French missionary Pierre Pigneau de Behaine. Nguyen Anh accedes to throne as Gia Long and establishes his capital at Hue.
Death of Gia Long. Succeeded by his son, Minh Mang; This is the approximate date of the publication of Nguyen Du's epic, "The Tale of Kieu".
While de Behaine hoped that the new emperor would provide France with privileges, Eurpoean influence is effectively eliminated from the Vietnamese court because the Nguyen Dynasty was suspicious of the French. They persecuted missionaries and their converts, even executing some in the 1830s. Religious, commercial and military pressure steadily mounted in Paris to take action.
The Opium Wars give Europeans control over China through a series of unequal treaties; including the Treaty of Nanking.
USS Constitution lands in Da Nang. A company of US Marines moves overland to Hue and rescues a French Bishop who had been captured by the Vietnamese. America's first combat involvement in Vietnam; 120 years later two battalions of US Marines will return to Vietnam via Da Nang.
French vessels bombard Da Nang.
Sept. 1858
Authorized by Napoleon III to launch a naval expedition to punish the Vietnamese and force them to accept a French protectorate, French and Spanish forces seized Da Nang (in their second attack) after several missionaries had been killed.
Feb. 1859
French forces capture Saigon.
Feb. 1861
The French defeat the Vietnamese army and gain control of Gia Dinh and surrounding provinces.
June 5, 1862
The Treaty of Saigon ceded three southern provinces (Bien Hoa, Gia Dinh, and Dinh Tuong in the Mekong Delta) to the French.
France had conquered all of southern Vietnam, which became the French colony of Cochin China.
French troops move to northern Vietnam to expand control of Indochina. The Chinese also lay claim to Vietnam, and oppose the French move prompting the Sino-French War over Indochina .
Annam and Tonkin become French Protectorates.
France wins the Sino-French War, and completes French control over Vietnam and other Indochina domains.
Cambodia joins the French holdings in Vietnam to form French Indochina (the Indochina Union).
Laos is added to French Indochina.
The first national government in Vietnam is formed in a vacuum left by the Japanese defeat of the French in WWII and the abrupt collapse of the Japanese occupation by their military defeat.
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[ south vietnam's peace | after the fall | lessons learned ]