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History of Vietnam

History of Vietnam

Vietnam History - The Van Lang Nation

Văn Lang (Hán tự: ) was the first nation of the ancient Vietnamese people, founded in 2879 BC and existing until 258 BC. It was ruled by the King Hùng. Van Lang history is mostly myth and legend as little reliable historical information is available. Hùng Vương as the title of a line of kings and the Van Lang kingdom are attested in Chinese (Ch’in and T’ang dynastic) sources. 

 Lạc Việt

The people of Văn Lang were referred to as the Lạc Việt or sometimes simply the Lạc. According to the 15th century book Đại Việt Sử ký Toàn thư (Đại Việt Complete History), this nation had its capital in Phong Châu now in Phú Thọ Province. It was bordered to the east by the South China Sea, to the west by Ba Thục (today Sichuan), to the north by Dongting Lake (Hunan) and to the south by Lake Tôn (Champa). 

According to Tran Trong Kim in the book "Việt Nam sử lược" ( a Brief History of Vietnam), this country was divided into 15 regions.  Regions of Văn Lang are Phong Châu (King's capital), Phú Thọ ProvinceChâu Diên Sơn TâyPhúc Lộc Sơn TâyTân Hưng Hưng Hóa (part of Phú Thọ) and Tuyên QuangVũ Định Thái Nguyên and Cao BằngVũ Ninh Bắc NinhLục Hải Lạng SơnNinh Hải Quảng Yên (a part of Quảng Ninh)Dương Tuyên Hải DươngGiao Chỉ Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Nam Định, and Ninh BìnhCửu Chân Thanh HóaHoài Hoan Nghệ AnViệt Thường Quảng Bình and Quảng TrịCửu Đức Hà TĩnhBình Văn unknown Việt Sử Lược (Việt Brief History) notes that Văn Lang consisted of 15 regions; in it there are 10 names recorded similar to those given in Đại Việt Complete History (Giao Chỉ, Vũ Ninh, Việt Thường, Ninh Hải, Lục Hải, Hoài Hoan, Cửu Chân, Bình Văn, Cửu Đức, and Văn Lang), and five regions with different names (Quân Ninh, Gia Ninh, Thang Tuyền, Tân Xương, and Nhật Nam).

The founder of Văn Lang was Hùng Vương (King Hùng). The Hùng Vương throne was hereditary. The Hùng Kings were military commanders and religious leaders at the same time.Văn Lang was supposedly ruled by 88 Hùng Kings, but only 18 names are recorded (or, according to recent research, 18 names of 18 Dynasties, like Ancient Egyptian):1. Hùng Dương (Lộc Tục)2. Hùng Hiền (Lạc Long Quân)3. Hùng Lân (vua)4. Hùng Việp5. Hùng Hy6. Hùng Huy7. Hùng Chiêu8. Hùng Vỹ9. Hùng Định10. Hùng Hy11. Hùng Trinh12. Hùng Võ13. Hùng Việt14. Hùng Anh15. Hùng Triều16. Hùng Tạo17. Hùng Nghị18. Hùng DuệVăn Lang ended when, in roughly 258 BCE, the Âu Việt tribe invaded. The Âu Việt king, Thục Phán, defeated the last Hùng Vương, uniting the two kingdoms, naming the new nation "Âu Lạc," and proclaiming himself King An Dương Vương.[4]

Battles with Chinese are a major part of VN's history

We are running short of places to visit in Hanoi. This morning we walked to the French Quarter to the Vietnam History Museum. Vietnam’s history goes back 30,000 years and they have the now familiar Stone Age relics to prove it. We followed the history from the Bronze Age through regular invasions and occupations by the Chinese, feudal dynasties and revolutions until independence in 1954. Pottery, sculpture, Buddhist and Hindu religious artifacts, tapestries, and funerary relics gave us a good idea of the main events even though the descriptions were mostly in Vietnamese.

The ethnic exhibit at the Vietnamese Women’s Museum has been closed for nearly two years. What remains is mostly a tribute to the women who fought against the French until 1954 and more recently against the American ‘aggressors.’ That would be me! It was mostly the party line but it gave me an idea of what life was like for the other side and why America had little hope of winning the conflict.

The other exhibit was about the street Hanoi’s street vendors. No one wants to come to Hanoi from remote villages to sell produce or whatever but it is the only way many families can make ends meet. Most make less than 50,000 VND a day, hardly a living. In February of this year the government banned vendors from many locations in the city. Unfortunately they offered no options for making money so the vendors are forced to operate illegally or their families go hungry. When people are forced to rely on the government for their well-being and the government lets them down things can become ugly. I forgive the woman who overcharged us for bananas the other day.

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