VIETNAM—Timeline of Historical Periods

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

ca. 500 BCE

Xa Huynh culture

ca. 200 BCE

Kingdom of Nan Yue encompasses northern area of Vietnam along with what today are the two southern Chinese provinces of Guandong 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"

ca. 111 BCE

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

Buddhism enters Chiao Chih from both India and China.

192 CE

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

939 CE

Champa kingdom

939 CE

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 (present-day Hanoi)

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

1428-1527, Le dynasty; "2nd Golden Age" in Dai Viet

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

1528-1771, Three families vie for power

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

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 in 1969 before the country united

1976, Socialist Republic of Vietnam proclaimed; capital Hanoi

• 1978 Vietnam invades and occupies Cambodia
• 1979 Sino-Vietnamese border war
• 1985-89 Vietnam removes troops from Cambodia; 1991 formal end
• 1988 Beginning of economic and institutional reforms
• 1995 U.S. and Vietnam establish diplomatic relations
• 1996 Vietnam joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
• 2007 Vietnam joins World Trade Organization (WTO)