“Human civilization in Vietnam dates back to ancient times.
” (alphahistory.com) Vietnam has no exact date of when it was founded, but artifacts were found dated back to the Paleolithic Age. Historians say the first Vietnamese people were nomads from the north or Vietnam, and presumably descendants of nomadic Mongolians.
Vietnam had several geographical features causing the development of several ethnicities were developed and contributed to shaping the Vietnamese culture. Because Vietnam was so culturally diverse there was a variety of traditions, languages, values, and beliefs that were shared between the Vietnamese. However, in later years China, during the Han Dynasty, seeks out colonizing northern Vietnam because of its location. During what is known as ‘Medieval Vietnam’ Vietnam was split into two, the north was known as Bac Bo, and the south was called Champa. The south wasn’t as impacted by the Chinese as much but was influenced by their western neighbors, “especially the Khmer from Cambodia and journeymen traders from India” (alphahistory.com).
The south was known as the Kingdom of Champa and its people were called Cam, there lived several tribes which is due to Vietnam’s diversity and their main religion was Hinduism, that spread from India. The Kingdom of Champa doesn’t have much history but it is known to have traded mostly along the South China Sea and became an important region for the Cham. The north was mainly where China was conquered, and it had worked hard and sent Chinese officials “transform it into a Chinese province” and it had a very important trading port wanted by the Chinese, and is even known as the “maritime Silk Route.” In the Bac Bo, the people were known as Lac Viet people and were mainly peasants who were farmers, cattle herders, and fisherman. The Lac Viet people were opposed to the Chinese, because of the changes they had made such as introducing Confucianism. The Han Empire wanted to make Vietnam more “concerted program of paternal control in the economy” and in their normal daily lives.
(about-history.com) However, Vietnamese had favored “bilateral kin patterns”, meaning men and women in their society were treated equally. Whereas in China with Confucius ideas it says that men are entitled to more power naturally.
The Chinese heavily implemented the ideas of Confucius in the Vietnamese society. The Chinese didn’t want to spread Confucianism for conquest but so they could gain Vietnamese loyalty and obedience. The Chinese had demanded high taxes and reforms to agriculture, with that they also “suppressed Viet language and education and imposed Chinese social, cultural, and religious values.
” (alphahistory.com) China had claimed Vietnam to be part of south China and named it Annan. Vietnam from the start of ‘Chinese colonization’ was always opposed to the Chinese because of it integrating their ideas, which had caused countless rebellions that utterly failed. However, one rebellion was successfully and was lead by the Trung Sisters, who are still regarded as heroines in Vietnam today. The Sisters had led their revolt in 40 AD to 43 AD, and some may wonder how two women were able to lead such a rebellion in a time when women were severely suppressed, and this was because of Vietnamese culture where women and men are seen as equals.
The Trung Sister rebellion gave Vietnam three years of freedom only for China to come and invade later. After hundreds of years, the “Independence in Vietnam was not secured until the 10th century.” (alphahistory.com) It took several years of rebelling and discord against the Chinese that allowed the Vietnamese to gain their independence.
The Vietnamese were highly upset with the Chinese influence that had taken over their country, especially with the mix of “cultural interpretation as well as intermarriage”, that lead to problems between the Chinese and the Vietnamese. (alphahistory.com) “In 939, Viet general Ngo Quyen comprehensively defeated a Chinese force at Bang Dang River.” (alphahistory.com) It was at this battle that the Vietnamese had officially gained their independence from China that they had wanted so badly. After Vietnam had gained its independence from China it enjoyed 900 years of freedom and began forming its own dynasties. Dynasties such as the Le dynasty that unified the north and south, whereas before were continuously in conflict with each other and also led an end to the Champa Kingdom. The Nguyen Dynasty was also important, as it was the last dynasty of Vietnam before the French takeover.
Its founder was Gia Long who lived during the early 19th century, he was “cautious ruler, and his reign is notable for its conservatism” (britannica.com). This meant that the Vietnamese, like the rest of East Asia, viewed themselves as superior and causes for Long to make the mistake of not modernizing the country, and instead keeped to Vietnam practices. It was because of his conservatism that lead to his downfall, because he refused to engage in foreign trade as he deemed ‘unnecessary’ and “He failed to take advantage of the presence of Europeans to expand Vietnam’s commercial relations and did not borrow European technological skills or equipment to further scientific progress in his country.” (britannica.com) Vietnamese ethnocentrism is what lead to their downfall, because they had believed they didn’t need to modernise as the Europeans because they viewed themselves as superior to others. “Gia Long permitted French missionaries to preach Christianity in Vietnam, though he himself refused to be converted and disliked the new religion.
” (britannica.com) At this time many French missionaries had already begun to enter Vietnam and slowly spread its ideas without seeking to seize control over Vietnam. But as time went on more French officials would slowly but surely take over the colony. The earliest influence of the French was the spread of Christianity, one famous French missionary was Alexander de Rhodes who spent six years (1640-1646) in Vietnam preaching and was able to convert 6,700 Vietnamese to Christianity. The Vietnamese emperors began seeing him as a threat to the traditional beliefs of Confucius and exiled De Rhodes from the colony.
However, De Rhodes is most known for ‘perfecting’ the Vietnamese language, Quoc-ngu. De Rhodes “modified the Roman alphabet Quoc-ngu with accents and signs to suit the particular consonants, vowels, and tones of Vietnamese.” (britannica.com) As time went on more of the French missionaries continued to spread their ideas in Vietnam and have influence in Vietnamese politics. “France became more deeply involved in Vietnamese affairs in when a Nguyen lord—Nguyen Anh sent an entourage to Versailles to seek help from Louis XVI.
” (Hays Jeffrey, factsanddetails.com) This resulted in failure when Louis XVI had secretly sent orders not to provide supplies for Vietnamese, who were depending on ships and men in order to fight their rivals the ‘Trinhs and the Tay Son Dynasty’. By the end of the Nguyen Dynasty the empire began to fall apart “In the mid-19th century, Vietnam suffered under weak leadership, revolts in the 1840s and 1850s, floods, a smallpox epidemic and tribal uprisings…” (Hays Jeffrey) Because the Vietnamese empire began facing these issues it allowed for the French to easily seize control.