A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE NATION
As you know, Vietnam is located in South East Asia, with China to the North and the Republics of Laos and Cambodia to the West. The China sea is in the East and the South. This portion of land took our people more than 5,000 years to make a country as it is today, I will tell you in five minutes, how we put it on the map.
Let me begin with a legend, like any other old nations in the world, Vietnam has its own legend concerning its origin of its people and our history began with a fairy tale which was a love story between a dragon and a fairy, more than 5,000 years ago, somewhere in the Southern part of China.
Nation building (2879 B.C - 258 B.C)
Once upon a time, a handsome man encountered a beautiful lady. They fell in love, got married, and gave birth to 100 children at one time. Because they were a dragon and a fairy, they couldn't live together for a long time on earth. In order to take care of the children, they shared: the mother took 50 of them with her to the mountains and the other 50 went to the sea with the father. As the years passed, the children grew up; and when they became adults, the parents went back to the sky. All the 100 children remained on earth, living on their own, meeting together, helping each other, struggling for survival by working hard and saving big. Soon afterward, they became rich, educated and finally founded the Bach-Viet kingdom (100 principalities). Later on, the Bach-Viet Kingdom, renamed Van-Lang (country of the lettered), enjoyed a long period of peace, freedom and prosperity for 2622 years, under the reign of the 18 HungVuong kings of the Hong Bang dynasty (2879B.C-258B.C)
Throughout the years, the peaceful and prosperous country of Van Lang became an attractive prize to the emperor of China, our powerful neighbour in the North. The Emperor considered himself as the son of God, to whom everything must belong in this world. In 111B.C, he sent many of his legions to the South to take over the country and to establish a 1050 year domination which is not a legend but a very real thing.
Chinese domination (111 B.C - 939 A.D)
From 111B.C to 939A.D, the country of Van-Lang became a Chinese province under the new name of Giao-Chi. During this period, the Vietnamese people had a very hard time: forced labor, heavy taxes and paying tribute to the Emperor of China. In the meantime, they learned a lot from the Chinese who were the most civilized people in the area: farming methods, civil administration, a highly organised society, Confucianism and Buddhism. But they never considered themselves as a part of the Chinese Empire. They always believed that they were descendants of the dragon and the fairy, and only The Hung-Vuong kings were the true founding fathers of their nation, not the Chinese. The constant belief in this legend united the Vietnamese people into one nation, strong, confident, proud of their supernatural origin, their past independance and their culture. It helped them recover their independance.
In the year 40 of our calendar, two sisters Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led the army with a dozen female generals. They defeated the Chinese troops after taking over 65 of their forts. They threw out the Chinese governor To-Dinh and proclaimed themselves queens of the Giao- Chi, independant country. They reigned for 3 years before being overthrown by the Chinese troops. Instead of surrendering, the Two Sisters killed themselves by jumping from their elephants to the Red river, the second day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar. They are the first heroins of the Vietnamese histoy and the date of their death is celebrated each year all over the country and by all the Vietnamese communities all around the world as the Vietnam Women's Day.
Full Independence (939 A.D - 1874 A.D)
In the year 939 of our calendar, Vietnam recovered its independence when General Ngo-Quyen finally pushed back the entire Chinese invaders, and became the founder of the first national dynasty since then. The Ngo dynasty lasted only 26 years but it was succeeded by eight other dynasties (Dinh, Le, Ly, Tran, later Le, Nguyen...) which took turns reigning over the country, all were continually devoted to the task of building and expanding the kingdom, and gave to the Vietnamese people almost 1,000 years of full independence, until the French colonisation in 1874.
French Colonisation (1874 - 1945)
In 1874, our country lost its independence once more under the Nguyen Dynasty. During this period, the country was divided into three parts; the northern part called Tonkin, and the central part called Annam, became French protectorates, the southern part called Cochinchina, was a real colony depending on the French government with a French governor, French administration, French army, French education and French culture.
During World War II, the Japanese troops occupied the country and overthrew the French administration and established an independent Vietnamese government. It was led by a scholar and patriot named Tran-Trong-Kim whose histoy book (Viet Nam Su Luoc) is used to make this summary. It was the first time after nearly 100 years of being ruled by foreign powers that Vietnam had its own government, own authority.
First Vietnam War (1945 - 1954)
When WWII really ended in 1945, French troops came back to Vietnam in order to reoccupy the former colony. They encountered a fierce resistance from the Vietnamese nationalists to protect their newly-won independence. The first Vietnam war (1945-1954) was a war for independence against the French. It ended with the Geneva Agreement signed on July 21, 1954 granting Vietnam its independence. But, at the same time, it divided the country into 2 republics separated at the 17th parallel. In the North, was the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ruled by the communist party of Vietnam (CPV) In the South was the Republic of Vietnam, strongly supported by the United States, and almost all nations of the Free World.
Second Vietnam War (1954 - 1975)
During the Cold War, the Republic of Vietnam in the South became the outpost of the Free World, fighting against the 3rd international communism, (called Comintern) until the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. The Vietnamese nationalists lost this war, but those who came to the United States and to other Western countries after 1975 have been enjoying the biggest victory of the Free World since WWII, winning a war much more important than the war in Vietnam, that is the Cold War.
(The Cold War between the two sides: The Free world, one side, led by the USA and the other side, the 3rd Commintern, led by the Soviet Union and the Red China). And now, the fight against the communist party of Vietnam (CPV) by the oversea Vietnamese Communities all over the world still continues from the old generation to the young one, and until when the dictatorship of the Communist regime is driven far from our fatherland.