Northern Vietnam was ruled by China during
the first thousand years. After expelling the Chinese,
the Vietnamese gradually conquered land south. In the
early 19th century, an emperor was proclaimed for all of
Vietnam today. From the middle of the century the
country was colonized by France and in 1902 it became
part of the Indochinese Union. During World War II,
Japan invaded but the French remained. A nationalist
national front, the Viet Minh, organized by the
Communist Party, took control of large parts of the
country at the end of the war and proclaimed 1945 the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
A community based on hunting, fishing and rice
cultivation began to emerge in the Red River delta about
10,000 years before our time count. From the 13th
century BC, a rich Bronze Age culture flourished, the
so-called Don Son culture, which reached its peak in the
300s BC. The century after, China began to conquer
Vietnam, which succeeded in an invasion in 112 BC.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Vietnam, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
For a thousand years, Northern Vietnam was a Chinese
sound empire. Chinese dominance influenced language and
culture, but also gave birth to nationalist trends that
have characterized the country's leaders into modern
times. Several insurgency attempts were fought before
the Chinese were expelled in 939.
The kingdom is expanding
Independent Vietnam grew into a strong feudal state,
which managed to fight back several new Chinese
conquests. The country expanded to the south and
eventually subjugated the Hindu kingdom of Champa (which
was then largely converted to Islam) in the middle of
today's Vietnam. Towards the end of the 18th century,
the Mekong Delta was conquered furthest south, which
until then had been part of the Cambodian Khmer Empire.
After civil war in the 18th century, the southern leader
Nguyen Anh succeeded in subjugating the entire country.
He was crowned emperor under the name Gia Long in 1802
and made Hué in central Vietnam the capital.
Catholic missionaries had been serving in Vietnam
since the late 16th century. In the 1850s, France used
persecution of the missionaries as a pretext for
military intervention. By 1867, France had colonized all
of southern Vietnam. The advance continued and in 1885
the rest of the country was internationally recognized
as a French protectorate. Eventually, Vietnam merged
with the French possessions of Laos and Cambodia into
the Indochinese Union.
Vietnam becomes independent
France mainly used Vietnam as a supplier of raw
materials. Investments were financed through hard
taxation of the Vietnamese. Plantations and mines
forcibly recruited workers for starvation wages.
At a congress in Hong Kong in 1930, Indochina's
Communist Party was founded by Ho Chi Minh, among
others. A year-long communist uprising was brutally
fought in the early 1930s.
During World War II, Vietnam was conquered by Japan,
which, however, allowed the French to continue to rule
the area. Jointly exploited Japanese and French Vietnam.
Their ruthless policies in the north led to famine,
which cost up to two million people their lives.
The Communist Party organized resistance through a
nationalist popular front, called Viet Minh. Ho Chi
Minh, who has been abroad since 1911, returned to lead
the fight. At the end of the chaotic war, Viet Minh took
control of much of the country and on September 2, 1945,
Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independent Democratic
Republic of Vietnam.
Minority members are sentenced to prison
Four members of the minority people, hmong, are sentenced to between three
and seven years in prison for, according to the court, having tried to overthrow
the government last year (see May 2011). Several other people
have previously been convicted of crimes in connection with the unrest.
Prison for regime-critical musicians
Two musicians, Vo Minh Tri and Tran Vu Anh Binh, are sentenced to four and
six years in prison, as well as two years of house arrest, for writing
government-critical songs. They were both arrested in 2011 since their songs
gained wide spread on the internet.
Prime Minister acknowledges failure
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung acknowledges that he has failed to get the
country's economy in order and promises to reform the state-owned companies that
have been the subject of corruption scandals. Tan Dung makes his statement after
a meeting with the leadership of the Communist Party which, however, fails to
Bank mogul Ly Xuan Hai is arrested
A bank mogul, Ly Xuan Hai, is arrested on suspicion of financial crime. The
arrest is interpreted as a sign of a power struggle within the Communist Party.
Shipping director is arrested
A former director of state-owned shipping company Vinalines is arrested
abroad and extradited to Vietnam where prosecution awaits financial crime.
Prison for regime-critical bloggers
Three bloggers are sentenced to 4, 10 and 12 years in prison for
regime-critical articles on the internet. The three are the founders of the
banned site The Free Journalists' Club. The one who receives the longest
sentence is Nguyen Van Hai, who was still imprisoned despite the fact that a
previous sentence expired a long time ago (see also April 2008
and Mass Media).
Residents storm government offices
A conflict over the right to use the land in a village in the Vietnamese
countryside leads to hundreds of villagers storming a local government office,
tearing down furniture and injuring two officials. In Vietnam, land conflicts
are common (see Agriculture and Fisheries).
Cooperation agreement with the EU
Vietnam and the EU sign a partnership and cooperation agreement, as well as
enter into negotiations on a free trade agreement.
Vietnam claims sovereignty
Vietnam adopts a law whereby the country maintains its sovereignty over the
Paracel and Sprat Islands (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Democracy activists are arrested
Four Catholic activists are arrested for distributing democracy material.
They are later sentenced to between 18 and 42 months in prison.
Managers are jailed for bankruptcy
Former chief of the crisis-hit state vessel Vinashin, Pham Thanh Binh, is
sentenced to 20 years in prison for nearly running the company into bankruptcy
(see August 2010). Eight other executives are sentenced to
between 3 and 19 years in prison.