Vietnam - History
Archaeological evidence suggests that the early people of Vietnam may have been some of the first East Asian people to practice agriculture. It is believed that by the first century BC, these people who had settled in the Red River Delta, were part of a successful and advanced Bronze Age civilisation. The first century BC also witnessed invasions in northern Vietnam by the Han Empire of China. Confucianism became the central ideology and Chinese-styled art, literature and music began to flourish. While there was some resistance to the Han Empire beginning in 39AD, the attempts were intermittent and Vietnam remained conquered establishing the start of China’s thousand year rule of Vietnam.
A new dynasty was formed by Nguyen Anh in the first years of the 19th century. During this time, French missionaries were beginning to convert parts of the population and were viewed as a threat by the Nguyen Dynasty. During the 1830s, French Roman Catholics and those that had converted to the religion were persecuted, some were executed. French retaliation began and before the end of the century, Vietnam became a French protectorate. The French brought many improvements to the country including transportation, communication and commerce, however, the everyday lives of the people did not improve greatly.
In 1930, the Indochinese Communist Party was formed seeking independence. Japan occupied Vietnam during the Second World War, leaving the Communists to hold off launching any attacks until after the war. Once Japan surrendered in 1945, Viet Minh forces (Communists) began springing up around the country. War broke out between Viet Minh forces and the French and fighting lasted for eight years. After many losses on both sides an interim compromise, the Geneva Accord was decided upon which left the country divided along the 17th parallel with Viet Minh forces in the North and the French and those who supported them in the South. In order to avoid permanent partition, it was agreed that an election would be called two years later to unite the country. However, Bảo Đại the Emperor and Ngô Dình Diem, the Prime Minister of the South along with the United States who supported them, disregarded the Geneva Accord as well as the election because they feared a Communist win.
War broke out in 1965 with Southern Communist guerillas (Viet Cong), the North Vietnam Army and the Soviet Union on one side and the South Vietnamese Army and the Americans on the other. The Vietnam War was a horrific and bloody battle with many casualties that left lasting effects on the country long after the war was ended. While the Americans withdrew in 1973, fighting continued until 1975 when Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam fell to North Vietnamese troops. The country was unified under Communist rule the following year.
Vietnamese troops occupied Cambodia beginning in 1978 with the goal of ridding Cambodia of the genocidal Khmer Rouge. Vietnamese troops remained in the country until 1989. After leaving Cambodia, the government of Vietnam focused on rebuilding their economy which was suffering due to the withdrawal of aid from the former USSR and Eastern Europe. There was also a trade boycott with the US that had been implemented after the American withdrawal.
Diplomatic relations with the United States were restored in 1995 and Bill Clinton became the first American president to visit North Vietnam in 2000. President George W. Bush visited in 2006 as Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation. They also became a member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and as a result, the Vietnamese economy is growing. Tourism has been a major factor in Vietnam’s economy in recent years, and due to its immense history as well as its beautiful landscapes and cultural offerings, Vietnam has become a very in demand location for people who visit Asia.
Vietnam Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Vietnam.
Learn about the history and culture of Vietnam, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Vietnam's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Vietnam for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Vietnam tours today!
Extend Your Trip
After your Vietnam tour consider taking the time to visit other destinations. Goway offers exciting China vacation packages, India tours and Thailand vacation packages plus a comprehensive selection of vacation packages in many other Asian countries.
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