Pre-history and chinese domination

Posted at: TUEsday - 06/07/2010 15:41 - post name: Bùi Hồng Ninh

Bôn vai xuôi

Bôn vai xuôi

For thousands of years, the legend of the Vietnamese origin has been handed down from generation to generation. According to it, Vietnamese are children of a Fairy and Dragon. However, it is just a myth.

The artifacts found at some archeological sites showed that, during the Palaebiological Period (about 400,000 years ago), human beings did exist in present-day Việt Nam's territory. These were the pre-Việt-Mường (also called Pro to-Việt-Mường) tribes, and it is not surprising that there might have existed archaic Tày ethnic groups.

Archaeologists, also found on Việt Nam's territories remnants of the Palaeolithic Age (300,000 years ago) with the Đọ Mountain (in Thanh Hóa) and Sơn Vi (in Phú Thọ) cultures; of the Mesolithic Age (about 10.000 years ago) with peculiarities of the Hòa Bình culture; of the Neolithic Age {about 5,000 years ago) with the Bắc Sơn (in Lạng Sơn) culture. The artifacts show that during the Stone Age, people began to raise animals and grow wet-rice.

Legend has it that the first state of the Vietnamese inhabitants was formed in the Bronze Age under the Đông Sơn (in Thanh Hoá) culture (its most famous artifacts are bronze drums). The Hung Kings ruled this state for tens of centuries.

During the 2nd century Bc, in the year 111, the State of Âu Lạc was invaded by the Han aggressors, and since then Việt Nam was repeatedly occupied and ruled by the Chinese feudal powers until the year 938 when Ngô Quyền regained independence.


Hùng Temple festival, Phú Thọ

Throughout ten centuries under Chinese domination, the Vietnamese 'people were not daunted and continually stood up against their agreessors.

Some insurrections enjoyed success. However, any independence that they achieved did not last long. Most noticeable was the insurrection by Sisters Trưng during the period 40-43 AD. The two sisters Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị rose up at Mê Linh (now on the outskirts of Hà Nội) against the Han governor Su Ding and his troops, to gain independence. But later the insurrection was suppressed by General Ma Yuan who led 200,000 Han troops to re-invade Chiao Chih (Vietnamese territory). After that, the insurrection led by Lady Triệu (Triệu Thị Trinh, a woman from the mountainous regions of Quan Yên, Thanh Hoá) in 248 AD drove the Eastern Wu aggressors away. However, the insurrection finally ended in failure. The insurrection by Ly Bi (in 542) against the Liang army forced governor Xiao Si (of the Liang Dynasty in China) to hurry back to his own country. Twice the Liang rulers sent their troops to invade Việt Nam, and twice they were defeated.


Bà Triệu

In 544, Ly Bi came to the throne and declared himself the King (Lý Nam Đế), named the country Vạn Xuân and set up the capital city in Long Biên (now Hà Nội). Nevertheless, the Vạn Xuân State only existed until 13 April 548, when Lý Nam Đế died of illness. The Liang immediately sent their army to occupy the Vạn Xuân State and the country fell into slavery.

The uprising led by Mai Hắc Đế (aka Mai Thúc Loan, from Thạch Hà, Hà Tĩnh) in 722 fought against the Tang's domination and used the Vạn An citadel (in Nghệ An) as the capital. The Tang sent 100,000 troops to suppress the insurrection. Mai Hắc Đế army was unable to deal with a force of this size and had to retreat into forests. Mai Hắc Đế then died of illness. The uprising was a failure.
In the insurrection led by Phùng Hưng (or Bố Cái the Great Emperor, during 791-802), he and his two brothers, Phùng Hải and Phùng Dĩnh, furthered the cause against the Tang's rule. The fight lasted over 20 years from 766 to 791 and finally resulted in victory. Phùng Hung set up the capital in Tống Bình (Hà Nội) and intended to build a sustainable sovereignty. Unfortunately he died seven years later. He was honored by the people with the title "Bo Cái the Great Emperor." Phùng An succeeded his father's throne and ruled for two years before, being defeated by the Tang army led by ZhaoChang.

The insurrection led by Khúc Thừa Dụ (905-907) ended when Khúc Thừa Dụ died, and was succeeded by his son Khúc Hạo (907-917). When Khúc Hạo died, his own son Khúc Thừa Mỹ succeeded him (917-923). Despite the efforts made by three generations of this family, the country was then reoccupied by the Southern Han army. An insurrection led by Dương Đình Nghệ (931) managed to drive the Southern Han army away. He was on the throne for six years (until 938) before he was killed by Kiều Công Tiễn, a general.

Ngô Quyền was Dương Đình Nghệ’s son-in-law. When his father-in-law was assassinated and the Southern Han army was intruding into the country, Ngô Quyền raised an army to fight the aggressors. With the Bạch Đằng Victory during November 938, he put an end to the thousand-plus years of domination by Chinese feudal dynasties, and ushered in a new era of independence for the Đại Việt State.


1. Mai Ly Quang: Glimpses of Vietnam - The gioi Publishers, Ha Noi, 2004, 223p.

2. Nguyen Hong Sam: Vietnam Today - Van hoa Thong tin publishers, Ha Noi, 1997, 206p.

3. Vietnam - Lanscape, Ha Noi, 40p.

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