Vietnamese History: A Chronological Outline
Time Period North (Major City: Hanoi) Central (Major City: Hue) South (Major City: Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon)
4000 BCE-1000 BCE ca. 3000 BCE    
  Phung Nguyen culture    
  ca. 1200 BCE    
  Development of irrigated rice cultivation    
1000 BCE-300 CE ca. 500 BCE  
  Dongson culture Xa Huynh culture  
  ca. 200 BCE    
  Kingdom of Nan Yue encompasses northern area of Vietnam along with what are today the two southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi    
  ca. 111 BCE
  China’s Han dynasty emperor Han Wudi conquers Nan Yue and divides it into provinces;
northern area of Vietnam called "Chiao Chih"
  Funan major outpost of sea trade; Indian influence strong
  40 CE    
  Trung sisters lead revolt against Chinese domination trying to expel the Chinese but fail. (Their exploits and courage are legendary; Trung Nhac and Trung Nhi were daughters of a local Lac lord; they are believed to have committed suicide rather than submit to the Chinese.)    
  1st centuries CE 192 CE  
  Buddhism enters Chiao Chih from both India and China. Lin Yi establishes Cham kingdom around Hue  
300 CE-600 CE Contact with India;
spread of Buddhism
   
  570 CE    
  Ly Phat Tu (Son of the Buddha) establishes local power    
600-1000 617 CE    
  Tang dynasty established in China; later sets up Protectorate of An Nan ("Annam" in Vietnamese)    
  939 CE
  Ngo Quyen defeats a Chinese force and ends Chinese political domination Champa kingdom Khmer (Cambodian) kingdom of Angkor
1000-1450 1010-1225, Ly dynasty
"1st Golden Age"
   
 

Ly dynasty of the Viets established in area called Dai Viet;
capital Thang-long ("Emergent Dragon"), today "Hanoi"

Great Buddhist epoch:
• First university established
• Water puppets emerge as dramatic form
• Temple of Literature founded (1070)
• Chu Nom, a set of characters used to write Vietnamese, developed by the Vietnamese


   
  1225-1400    
  Tran dynasty of Chinese descent replaces the Ly;
scholars of classical Chinese learning (Confucianism) and Buddhism of Chinese style brought to capital of Thang-long
   
  1280s    
  Mongol invasions repelled    
    1306  
    Tran princess marries Champa ruler in Hue; marriage politics  
  1407-1427    
  Ming dynasty occupation of Dai Viet    
1450-1750 1428-1527, Le dynasty; "2nd Golden Age" in Dai Viet  
 

• Le Loi and Nguyen Trai lead revolt against the Ming (1418-28);
• Independent dynasty established; Confucian-style state with examinations;
• attack on Champa;
• Le Thanh-tong, king who implements changes

Viets destroy kingdom of Champa  
  1528-1771, Three families vie for power  
 

• Le family power declines
Mac and Trinh families compete in north while Nguyen family competes from center and south
• Trinh and Nguyen claim to restore the Le

Nguyen compete  
  1539-1786    
  Trinh lords 1558-1578  
 

Nguyen lords (also extend Viet influence over Khmer to south);
Civil war between Trinh and Nguyen

 
1750-1919

Tale of Kieu (epic poem in Chu Nom, Vietnamese characters), written by Nguyen Du (1765-1820)

   
    1771-1802  
    Tay Son Rebellion  
  Tay Son brothers defeat Nguyen and Trinh and unify country  
  1802-1945, Nguyen dynasty unites entire country
 

• established by Nguyen Anh, a southern prince, who fought and defeated the Tay Son to become the Gia-long Emperor; moved the capital to Hue in the center of the country.
• the second Nguyen ruler adopts a Chinese bureaucratic model, with scholar-officials chosen by examinations in the Confucian classics.

  1862-1945, French control Vietnam, dividing it into three "pays" (countries)
  Tonkin Annam Cochin-China
 

Hanoi is capital of French Indochina, including Laos and Cambodia
• Romanized script, "Quoc ngu," developed in the 17th century by missionaries to write Vietnamese language, is made official; literacy rate increases

1900-1945 1802-1945, Nguyen dynasty unites entire country
 

• established by Nguyen Anh, a southern prince, who fought and defeated the Tay Son to become the Gia-long Emperor; moved the capital to Hue in the center of the country.
• the second Nguyen ruler adopts a Chinese bureaucratic model, with scholar-officials chosen by examinations in the Confucian classics.

  1862-1945, French control Vietnam, dividing it into three "pays" (countries)
  Tonkin Annam Cochin-China
 

Hanoi is capital of French Indochina, including Laos and Cambodia
• Romanized script, “Quoc ngu,” developed in the 17th century by missionaries to write Vietnamese language, is made official; literacy rate increases

    1908  
 

 

Tax revolt in Annam  
  1925    
 

• Phan Chu Trinh dies
• Phan Boi Chau on trial
• Student activism begins

   
  1930

 

 
 

Indochinese Communist Party formed by Ho Chi Minh to oppose colonial rule

   
  1940-1945, Japanese Invasion and domination
  1941: League for the Independence of Vietnam formed by Ho Chi Minh ("Viet Minh")

 

 
1945-2000 1945, Japanese defeat
 

Ho Chi Minh declares Vietnam independent;
Establishes government in the north

French return after Japanese defeat;
United States and Britain support the French
  1954
 

• French defeated at Dien Bien Phu;
• Ho Chi Minh takes control of the north;
• Geneva conference;
• Vietnam divided into North and South;
• elections proposed for 1956 but never held.

  1956-1975, Vietnam War
  1965: United States involvement in South Vietnam replaces that of the French
  1968: Tet offensive
  1975, United States and all foreign support leave Vietnam
 

• North Vietnam takes control of South Vietnam and establishes a unified country
• Name of Saigon changed to "Ho Chi Minh City," after Ho, who died before country united

Consultant: John F. Whitmore, Adjunct Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan

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