HistoryThe known history of the Vietnamese people goes back to the beginning of the Bronze Age and 15 tribal groups known as the Lac Viet, who settled in North Vietnam. The Chinese dominated Vietnam for more than 1,000 years until the 10th Century AD, an influence that makes Vietnamese culture unique in Southeast Asia. Under a series of independent dynasties, however, Vietnam managed to maintain a language and a unique cultural identity.
Vietnam's influence expanded south at the end of the 15th century following its defeat of the Cham Kingdom. The Nguyen Dynasty of the early 1800s, the last of the Vietnamese dynasties, is regarded as the golden period of Vietnamese history. Vietnam was unified and Hue was its capital.
Jesuits had became an influence in the 17th century and their persecution provoked the French to attack and take Saigon in 1859. A peace treaty paved the way for eventual French control of the entire kingdom.
A series of nationalist movements, including one founded by Ho Chi Minh in 1930 kept hopes of independence alive and when the French returned after World War II they found that the communists were in control of much of the country. Almost three decades of brutal warfare followed ending in the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Americans in 1973 and the resignation of the South Vietnamese President in 1975.
The unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam came into being in 1976.
Jewels of the Mekong
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