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 Cambodia History

The sparse evidence for a Pleistocene human occupation of present day Cambodia are quartz and quartzite pebble tools found in terraces along Mekong River, in Stung Treng and Kratié provinces, and in Kampot Province, but their dating is not reliable.

Some slight archaeological evidence shows communities of hunter-gatherers inhabited Cambodia during Holocene: the most ancient Cambodian archeological site is considered to be the cave of Laang Spean, in Battambang Province, which belongs to the so-called Hoabinhian period. Excavations in its lower layers produced a series of radiocarbon dates as of 6000 BC.

Upper layers in the same site gave evidence of transition to Neolithic, containing the earliest dated earthenware ceramics in Cambodia

Archeological records for the period between Holocene and Iron Age remain equally limited. Other prehistoric sites of somewhat uncertain date are Samrong Sen (not far from ancient capital of Oudong), where first investigations started just in 1877, and Phum Snay, in the northern province of Banteay Meanchey. Prehistoric artifacts are often found during mining activities in Ratanakiri.

The most outstanding prehistoric evidence in Cambodia however are probably "circular earthworks", discovered in the red soils near Memot and in adjacent region of Vietnam as of the end of the 1950s. Their function and age are still debated, but some of them possibly date from 2nd millennium BC at least.

A pivotal event in Cambodian prehistory was the slow penetration of the first rice farmers from North, which begun in the late 3rd millennium BC. They probably spoke ancestral Mon-Khmer.

Iron was worked by about 500 BC. The most part of evidence come from Khorat Plateau, Thai country nowadays. In Cambodia some Iron Age settlement were found beneath Angkorian temples, like Baksei Chamkrong, others were circular earthworks, like Lovea, a few kilometers north-west of Angkor. Burials, much richer, testify improvement of food availability and trade (even on long distances: in the 4th century BC trade relations with India were already opened) and the existence of a social structure and labor organization.

Pre-Angkorian and Angkorian polities

During the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries, the Indianised states of Funan and Chenla coalesced in what is now present-day Cambodia and southwestern Vietnam. These states are assumed by most scholars to have been Khmer. For more than 2,000 years, Cambodia absorbed influences from India and China passing them on to other Southeast Asian civilisations that are now Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The Khmer Empire flourished in the area from the 9th to the 13th century. Around the 13th century, Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the area through monks from Sri Lanka.

From then on Theravada Buddhism grew and eventually became the most popular religion. The Khmer Empire declined yet remained powerful in the region until the 15th century. The empire's centre of power was Angkor, where a series of capitals was constructed during the empire's zenith. Angkor could have supported a population of up to one million people. Angkor, the world's largest pre-industrial settlement complex, and Angkor Wat, the most famous and best-preserved religious temple at the site, are reminders of Cambodia's past as a major regional power.

Dark ages of Cambodia

After a long series of wars with neighbouring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Thai and abandoned in 1432 because of ecological failure and infrastructure breakdown. The court moved the Capital to Lovek where the kingdom sought to regain its glory through maritime trade. The attempt was short-lived, however, as continued wars with the Thai and Vietnamese resulted in the loss of more territory and Lovek was conquered in 1594. During the next three centuries, the Khmer kingdom alternated as a vassal state of the Thai and Vietnamese kings, with short-lived periods of relative independence between.

Modernity and French Indochina

In 1863, King Norodom – who had been installed by Thailand –[24] sought the protection of France from the Thai and Vietnamese, after tensions grew between them. In 1867, the Thai king signed a treaty with France, renouncing suzerainty over Cambodia in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand. The provinces were ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Thailand in 1906.

Cambodia continued as a protectorate of France from 1863 to 1953, administered as part of the colony of French Indochina, though occupied by the Japanese empire from 1941 to 1945.[25] After King Norodom's death in 1904, France manipulated the choice of king and Sisowath, Norodom's brother, was placed on the throne. The throne became vacant in 1941 with the death of Monivong, Sisowath's son, and France passed over Monivong's son, Monireth, feeling he was too independently minded. Instead, Norodom Sihanouk, a maternal grand-son of king Sisowath, who was eighteen years old at the time, was enthroned. The French thought young Sihanouk would be easy to control.[25] They were wrong, however, and under the reign of King Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953.

Independence and Vietnam War

Cambodia became a constitutional monarchy under King Norodom Sihanouk. When French Indochina was given independence, Cambodia lost official control over the Mekong Delta as it was awarded to Vietnam. The area had been controlled by the Vietnamese since 1698 with King Chey Chettha II granting Vietnamese permission to settle in the area decades before.

In 1955, Sihanouk abdicated in favour of his father in order to be elected Prime Minister. Upon his father's death in 1960, Sihanouk again became head of state, taking the title of Prince. As the Vietnam War progressed, Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality in the Cold War although he was widely considered to be sympathetic to the Communist cause. While visiting Beijing, he was ousted in 1970 by a military coup led by Prime Minister General Lon Nol and Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak with the back-up support of the United States. The King urged his followers to help in overthrowing the pro-United States government of Lon Nol, hastening the onset of civil war. Soon the Khmer Rouge rebels began using him to gain support.

Between 1969 and 1973, Republic of Vietnam forces and U.S. forces bombed and briefly invaded Cambodia in an effort to disrupt the Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge. Some two million Cambodians were made refugees by the war and fled to Phnom Penh. Estimates of the number of Cambodians killed during the bombing campaigns vary widely, as do views of the effects of the bombing. The US Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city. However, journalist William Shawcross and Cambodia specialists Milton Osborne, David P. Chandler and Ben Kiernan argued that the bombing drove peasants to join the Khmer Rouge. Cambodia specialist Craig Etcheson argued that the Khmer Rouge "would have won anyway", even without US intervention driving recruitment although the US secretly played a major role behind the leading cause of the Khmer Rouge.

Khmer Rouge rule

As the war ended, a draft US AID report observed that the country faced famine in 1975, with 75% of its draft animals destroyed, and that rice planting for the next harvest would have to be done "by the hard labour of seriously malnourished people". The report predicted that "Without large-scale external food and equipment assistance there will be widespread starvation between now and next February ... Slave labour and starvation rations for half the nation's people (probably heaviest among those who supported the republic) will be a cruel necessity for this year, and general deprivation and suffering will stretch over the next two or three years before Cambodia can get back to rice self-sufficiency".

The Khmer Rouge reached Phnom Penh and took power in 1975. The regime, led by Pol Pot, changed the official name of the country to Democratic Kampuchea. They immediately evacuated the cities and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. Over a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease.

Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million, with two million (or about one-third of the population) being the most commonly cited figure. This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. The regime disproportionately targeted ethnic minority groups. The Cham Muslims suffered serious purges with as much as half of their population exterminated.

In the late 1960s, an estimated 425,000 ethnic Chinese lived in Cambodia, but by 1984, as a result of Khmer Rouge genocide and emigration, only about 61,400 Chinese remained in the country. The professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers, were also targeted. According to Robert D. Kaplan, "eyeglasses were as deadly as the yellow star" as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.

In November 1978, Vietnamese troops invaded Cambodia. The People's Republic of Kampuchea, a Pro-Soviet state led by the Salvation Front, a group of Cambodian leftists dissatisfied with the Khmer Rouge, was established.

In 1981, three years after the Vietnamese invasion, the country was divided up between a further three factions that the United Nations euphemistically referred to as the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea. This consisted of the Khmer Rouge, a royalist faction led by Sihanouk, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. The Khmer Rouge representative to the United Nations, Thiounn Prasith was retained.

Throughout the 1980s the Khmer Rouge, supplied by Thailand, the United States and the United Kingdom continued to control much of the country and attacked territory not under their dominance. These attacks, compounded by total economic sanctions from the United States and its allies, made reconstruction virtually impossible and left the country deeply impoverished.

Peace efforts began in Paris in 1989 under the State of Cambodia, culminating two years later in October 1991 in a comprehensive peace settlement. The United Nations was given a mandate to enforce a ceasefire, and deal with refugees and disarmament known as the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC).

End of Khmer Rouge rule and transition

In recent years, reconstruction efforts have progressed and led to some political stability under the form of a multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy. Norodom Sihanouk was restored as King of Cambodia in 1993.

The stability established following the conflict was shaken in 1997 by a coup d'état, but has otherwise remained in place. Cambodia has been aided by a number of more developed nations like Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

US dollars are as commonly used as the Cambodian Riel and even Thai Baht is acceptable in many places. Most hotels and many restaurants and shops set their prices in dollars. Small transactions are usually done in Riel. Always carry some small Riel for motorcycle taxis, snacks, beggars and other small purchases.

Laos History

Laos united the Federation of French-Indochina and the country was divided into twelve provinces.

Previously, in April 1895, French officially recognized the Kingdom of Luangphrabang as the protective zone and Laos was divided into two parts ; the north and the south. The northern part is from Muong Sing to Khammounce and the south is from Khammouae to Cambodia border.

Vientiane was looked like the home land of the tigers and elephant after the war. Most of the temples were burnt down.

Only one main road along the bank of the Mekong river linking from Bane That Kao to Pakpasak was founded in Vientiane. Two motor cycles and one horse cart owned by the French rulers.

The first train was used in Lao-Cambodia bordeer, from Banekhone - donekhong. Distance is 6.5 km.

The first road accident in Vientiane; The French motor hit the oxen cart along the bank of the Mekong.

That Luang stupa restored by French. It was damanged for many times; (1) Destroyed by Burmese in 1577, (2) Ruined by Siamese in 1779, (3) Burnt down by Siamese in 1827 and (4) damanged by the Ho black banners in 1873.

Acute cholera decease outbreak through Laos from the north to the south. The large numbers of corpses were floated along the Mekong.

French built facilities for general education.Some primary and secondary schools were founded in the big towns.

French used labour force to construct the "National road" There was only one main road linking from Pakse to Luangphrabang. Other roads were linking from Xiengkhouang to Vinh and from Thakhet to Vinh.

Navigation route were cleared by the dragging and the explosives of rocks along Mekong from Vientiane to Savannakhet. The ship run by fire wood energy was firstly used.

The first flight from Savannakhet (Laos) to Kachae (Cambodia) was opened by French.

Mr. Vandy CHANTHALAT, person at Bane Donetai was reculted to be the captian of the train when he was 18 years old.

Household census were surveyed and issued. There were only 800,000  population and the average inhabitants is 4 persons per 1 km2

French built facilities for public heath care and veterinary.

The foundation of indochinese Communist Party under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh.

That Luang stupa was restored after the thunder destroy its top for two times.

French prepared to fight against Japanese and Siamese. They permitted Lao to print the press release named "Lao-Nhai" (the big Lao) and the Lao National Anthem composed by thongdy. Then Lao modern songs were composed.

Japanese Army intervened and coquered Vientiane then 5 days later conquered Laungphrabang.

October 12, Lao Itsara goverment headed by Prime Minister Khammao, Souphanouvong, the commander-in-chief. Then, Prince Phetsalat was invited to the leader.

French returned to govern Laos after Japan lost the World War Two and they suppress then put the Lao Ekkalat goverment down.

French administration given the rights for domestic administration or so called independence to the Kingdom of Laos,selection of people assembly,formed the government of Chao Souvannaj as Prime Minister.

January 20, Kaysone PHOMVIHANE formed Latxavong military unit which its name is then changed to be the Lao People Liberationary Army.

Lao Resistance goverment was formed under the leadership of Prince Souphanouvong.

Geneva treaty was signed and French recognized the indepence, unity, democracy and the intergrality of Laos Vietnam and Cambodia. The French colonial administration was collapsed.

March 22, the foundation of Lao People Revolutionary Party under the leadership of its general secretary Kaysone PHOMVIHANE.

French upgrades the education system to the upper secondary level; name of the school changed from College de Pavie to Lyce'e de Vientiane.

Flooding disaster in the century. It damaged a large numbers of lives and properties of Lao people.

Two hydropwers constucted: Namdong (Luangphrabang) 900 kw. Seabam (Champasak) 5,000 kw.

November 21 (King's Cup) Lao National Football Team secored 4 goals over 3 goals against The Thai National Football Team and made Thai Team failure from this tournament.

And at the same year Lao football team gained the copper medal from Liemthong game (7 nations) in Burma. More over, Lao Football players namely: Vatthana (NA) OUTHENSACKDA, Oudom SENGSOULIVANH, Somneuk, Konekham, Saythong, Phengsavan and so on were hired to play football in Hongkong.

Namgnum Hydropower (the 1st phase of the project) was firstly operated in Laos.

February 21, cease fire treaty for the unification of Laos was signed. The Provisory Government of National Coalition and The national Council Policy of Coalition were formed.

August 23, the take over Vientiane administration power.

December 02 is the foundation of  Lao People Democratic Republic, the abolish of the king monarchy, the end of the revolution for national democracy and the victory day over the new colonial of the American imperialists and its followers.

National heroes Congress provided some medals and congratulation certificates to the revolutionary soldiers and best flighting groups who fought against the old and new colonial administration for thirty years.

Population survey. Laos has 3.5 million inhabitants.

The young writers club was formed under the Lao People Revolutionary Youth Union and has its branch offices in 8 provinces. There are more than 800 members. Wai Noum magazine is the organ of the club.

The IV general congress of Lao People Revolutionary Party was opened.

Lao writer association under the Ministry of information and Culture was organized. These were seven executive members and seventy members.
"Siengkhene Lao Magazine" is the organ of the association.

Vongkot CHINDA, Lao boxer recieved the silver medal in ASIAN GAMES held in China.

Lao - Thai Friendship Mekong bridge was opened.
The first Lao Concreate Factory in Vangvieng began their business operations.
Referring to the ststistic book of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, it is an half of the century (1941-94), that our country lost more than 7 million of forest land as 70% of the forests covered areas and reduced to 47%.

June 9, the national university involving 10 faculties was formed.

Lao PDR accepted as the member of Asian group.
The IV selection for the members of Nationall Assembly. 159 applicants were applied and 99 of them were voted.
December 13, the ceremony to mark the milestone for the construction of Kaysone Phomvihane museum was organised.

Luangphrabang approved as the world heritage city by UNESCO.
Dr.Thongkham ONEMANISONE, is one of the Lao poets and he is the first poets who recieved SEA WRITE prize (the award of Asian Group).

Houai Ho hydropower (Champasak) capacity of 150 mw and Namleuk (Bolikhamxai), capacity 60 mw. So far the capacities of the power houses are 623 mw.

Vilasone PHIKHAKHAM, Tae Know Do fighting made historical event in 20th SEA Games in Brunei by recieveing the gold megal.It was the first golden medal to Lao PDR. Hounourable welcoming ceremony was oranized in Vientiane.

Sept 4-5: In the 3th Asia-pacific Petangue Championship in Singapore, one-three persons Lao team Champasak province came the second of the 12 countries.

Sept 23; Chanthi DEUANSAVAN, Lao writer has won SEA WRITE AWARD.

Thailand History

Archaeological discoveries around the north- east hamlet of Ban Chiang suggest that the world's oldest Bronze Age civilisation was flourishing in Thailand some 5,600 years ago. Successive waves of immigrants, including Mons, Khmers and Thais, gradually entered the land mass now known as Thailand, most slowly travelling along fertile river valleys from southern China. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Khmers ruled much of the area from Angkor. By the early 1200s, Thais had established small northern city states in Lanna, Phayao and Sukhothai. In 1238, two Thai chieftains rebelled against Khmer suzerainty and established the first truly independent Thai kingdom in Sukhothai (literally, 'Dawn of Happiness'). Sukhothai saw the Thais' gradual expansion throughout the entire Chao Phraya River basin, the establishment of Theravada Buddhism as the paramount Thai religion, the creation of the Thai alphabet and the first expression of nascent Thai art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture and literature. Sukhothai declined during the 1300s and eventually became a vassal state of Ayutthaya, a dynamic young kingdom further south in the Chao Phraya River valley. Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya remained the Thai capital until 1767 when it was destroyed by Burmese invaders. During Ayutthaya's 417 years as the capital, under the rule of 33 kings, the Thais brought their distinctive culture to full fruition, totally rid their lands of Khmer presence and fostered contact with Arabian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and European powers. Ayutthaya's destruction was as severe a blow to the Thais as the loss of Paris or London would have been to the French or English. However, a Thai revival occurred within a few months and the Burmese were expelled by King Taksin who later made Thon Buri his capital. In 1782, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty, Rama I, established his new capital on the site of a riverside hamlet called Bangkok (Village of Wild Plums). Two Chakri monarchs, Mongkut (Rama IV) who reigned between 1851 and 1868, and his son Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910) saved Thailand from western colonization through adroit diplomacy and selective modernization. Today, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. Since 1932, Thai kings including the present monarch, H.M. King Bhumipol Adulyadej have exercised their legislative powers through a national assembly, their executive powers through a cabinet headed by a prime minister, and their judicial powers through the law courts.

Myanmar History

Myanmar's prehistory begins with the migration of three groups into the country: the first were Mons from what is now Cambodia, then came Mongol Burmans from the eastern Himalayas and later came Thai tribes from northern Thailand. The 11th-century Burman kingdom of Bagan was the first to gain control of the territory that is present-day Myanmar, but it failed to unify the disparate racial groups and collapsed before a Tartar invasion in 1287. For the next 250 years, Burma remained in chaos, and the territory was not reunified until the mid-16th century when a series of Taungoo kings extended their domain and convincingly defeated the Siamese. In the 18th century, the country fractured again as Mons and hill tribes established their own kingdoms. In 1767, the Burmans invaded Siam and sacked Ayuthaya, forcing the Siamese to move their capital to Bangkok.

Occasional border clashes and British imperialist ambitions caused the British to invade in 1824, and then again in 1852 and 1883. Burma became a part of British India and the British built the usual colonial infrastructure, and developed the country into a major rice exporter. Indians and Chinese arrived with the British to complicate the racial mix. In 1937, Burma was separated from British India and there was nascent murmuring for self-rule. The Japanese drove the British from Burma in WW II and attempted to enlist Burman support politically. The Burmans were briefly tempted by an opportunity for independence, but a resistance movement soon sprang up. In 1948, Burma became independent and almost immediately began to disintegrate as hill tribes, communists, Muslims and Mons all revolted.

In 1962 a left-wing army revolt led by General Ne Win deposed the troubled democratic government and set the country on the path of socialism. The Burman economy crumbled over the next 25 years until, in 1987 and 1988, the Burman people decided they had had enough. Huge demonstrations called for Ne Win's resignation and massive confrontations between pro-democracy demonstrators and the military resulted in 3000 deaths in a six-week period. Several puppets were appointed by Ne Win and then a military coup (believed to be instigated by Ne Win) saw General Saw Maung and his State Law & Order Council (SLORC) take control. The new leader promised elections in 1989.

The opposition quickly formed a coalition party called the National League for Democracy (NLD), under the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero Bogyoke Aung San. In 1989, the government placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest, but despite her imprisonment, the National League for Democracy scored an overwhelming victory at the polls.

The junta prevented the elected party leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, from taking office and then went about the brutal business of quashing Karen rebels and engaging the private army of drug baron Khun Sa. Reports of Khun Sa's 'house arrest' at a cushy villa in Rangoon with personal aides, luxury cars, a military escort and a hotel and real estate empire has given rise to the suspicion of a smacked-out peace deal between Rangoon and Khun Sa's Heroin Inc.

During Aung San Suu Kyi's imprisonment, she won several international peace prizes, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Much to the joy of the Burmese people and her supporters abroad, the government released her in July of 1995. However, she was prevented from traveling outside of Rangoon, and was arrested again in September 2000 after trying to leave the city.

Hopes seemed dim for reform at that point, but by October 2000, Aung San Suu Kyi was holding secret talks with the government through a United Nations negotiator. The talks seem to have finally paid off - Myanmar's military government released her in May 2002. She is now 'at liberty to carry out all activities,' according to the government, without the restrictions that marred her previous release. Both sides pledge to continue discussions, and Aung San Suu Kyi intends to bring democracy to her country, even if it takes years. 'It's a new dawn for the country,' she said, 'we only hope the dawn will move very quickly.' Whether the junta is willing to make good on promises of reform remains to be seen, but Myanmar's future looks brighter than it has in more than a decade.

Vietname History

Country's official name
 At the beginning of the Bronze Age, the Viet tribe groups had settled down in the North and in the north of Central Vietnam. There were about 15 groups of Lac Viet tribesmen living mainly in the northern highland and delta and a dozen Au Viet groups of tribesmen living in Viet Bac, the northern region of old Vietnam.

Van Lang (2876 BC – 258 BC)
 At that time, the two ethnic tribes of the Lac Viet and Au Viet lived together in many areas with other inhabitants. Due to the increasing need to control floods, fight against invaders, and exchange culture and economy, these tribes living near each other tended to gather together and integrate into a larger mixed group. Among these Lac Viet tribes was the Van Lang, which was the most powerful tribe. The leader of this tribe joined all the Lac Viet tribes together to found Van Lang Nation, addressing himself as King Hung. The next generations followed in their father’s footsteps and kept this appellation. Based on historical documents, researchers correlatively delineated the location of Van Lang Nation to the present day regions of North and north of Central Vietnam, as well as the south of present-day Kwangsi (China). The Van Lang Nation approximately lasted from the beginning of the first millennium B.C. to the 3rd century B.C.

Au Lac (257 BC – 207 BC)
In 221 BC, Qin Shihuangdi (Tan Thuy Hoang), King of Qin (China), invaded the land of the Viet tribes. Thuc Phan, the leader of the alliance of Au-Viet tribes was respected as the chief of the resistance war against the Tan enemy that later, in 208 BC, was forced to withdraw. With his imposing power, Thuc Phan nominated himself as King An Duong Vuong and founded Au Lac Nation with groups of Lac Viet and Au Viet tribes. In 207 BC, Trieu Da, King of Nam Viet (China), invaded Au Lac country. The resistance of An Duong Vuong failed soon after this invasion. As a result, the northern feudalist took turns dominating the country over the next seven centuries, establishing their harsh regime in the country and dividing the country into administrative regions and districts with unfamiliar names. However, the country’s name of Au Lac could not be erased from the people’s minds in their everyday life.

Van Xuan (544-602)
In the spring of 542, Ly Bi rose up in arms and swept away the Chinese administration, liberating the territory. He declared himself King of Van Xuan Kingdom in February 544, acknowledging the national superiority complex of the independent spirits to live in eternal peace. However, the existence of Ly Bi’s administration was very brief. He was defeated by the Chinese imperial army, and the country returned to feudal Chinese domination again in 602. The name Van Xuan was restored only after the victory over the Han army at the Bach Dang River led by General Ngo Quyen in 938. This victory marked the end of the Chinese domination period in Vietnam.

Dai Co Viet (968 – 1054)
In 968, Dinh Bo Linh defeated the twelve lords and unified the country. He declared himself King and named the country Dai Co Viet. This name remained throughout the Dinh Dynasty (968-980), Pre-Le Dynasty (980-1009) and the beginning of Ly Dynasty (1010-1225).

Dai Viet (1054 – 1802)
In 1054, a flaming bright star appeared in the sky for many days, which was considered a good omen. As a result, the King Ly changed the name of the country to Dai Viet. This name remained until the end of Tran Dynasty (1126 - 1400). The name Dai Viet remained under the Le Dynasty (1428-1788) and the Tay Son Dynasty (1788-1802).

Dai Ngu (1400 – 1406)
In March 1400, Ho Quy Ly usurped the throne of King Tran Thieu De, founded the Ho Dynasty and changed the country’s name to Dai Ngu, meaning peace in the ancient language. This name only lasted for very short time, until April 1407, when the Ming enemy invaded Dai Ngu and defeated the Ho Dynasty (1400- 1407).

After 10 years of resistance against the Ming occupation (1418-1427), Le Loi had achieved a victorious triumph. In 1428, Le Loi declared himself King of Le Dynasty and changed the name of the country back to Dai Viet. At this time, the territory of Vietnam had expanded to the region of present-day Hue.

Viet Nam
In 1802, Nguyen Anh claimed his coronation to become the first King Nguyen, starting the Nguyen dynasty and changing the country’s name to Viet Nam. This name was officially recognized in many diplomatic missions in 1804. However, the words "Viet Nam" had already appeared very early in history. In the 14th century, there was a book of code entitled "Viet Nam the Chi", edited by Doctor Ho Tong Thoc. In the book by scholar Nguyen Trai entitled "Du Dia Chi" at the beginning of 15th century; the words "Viet Nam" were repeated several times. Doctor Trinh Nguyen Binh Khiem (1491-1585) had written on the first page of his work "Trinh Tien Sinh Quoc Ngu" the following: "... Viet Nam have constructed its foundation..." The words "Viet Nam" were also found in some carved stelae of the 16th - 17th century in Bao Lam Pagoda, Haiphong (1558), in Cam Lo Pagoda, Ha Tay (1590), in Phuc Thanh Pagoda, Bac Ninh (1664), etc. In particular, in the first sentence on the stele Thuy Mon Dinh (1670) at the landmark on the border at Lang Son, it was written: "This is the gateway of Viet Nam that guards the northern frontiers..." In terms of meaning, there are many theories that prove the words "Viet Nam" are created by combining two racial and geographic elements, which is understood as "Viet people from the south". During the reign of King Minh Mang (1820-1840), the name of the country was changed to Dai Nam, but Viet Nam was still widely used in many literary works, civil business affairs, and social relations.

Following the triumph of the August Revolution on August 19th 1945, which had entirely swept away Vietnamese feudal and French colonial oppression and began a new era in the country, President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the nation’s independence and the national name Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born on September 2nd 1945. Although Vietnam suffered from war and separation in the following 30 years, the sacred words "Viet Nam" were very popularly used from the North to the South, and were deeply imprinted in the hearts of the Vietnamese people.

Following the liberation of Southern Vietnam on April 30 1975, the entire country of Vietnam was completely unified. In the first meeting of the National Assembly of the Unified Vietnam on July 2nd 1976, the assembly decided to name the country The Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The constitution of 1980, and 1992, continued its affirmation of the country’s official name, legally and actually.

Pre-Paleolithic Age
Human civilization started in Vietnam a very long time ago. In fact, archaeologists have found vestiges of Homo Erectus in the caves of Lang Son and Nghe An Provinces. During the Pre-Paleolithic Age, also known as the Son Vi Era (between 10,000 to 30,000 years ago), the population of Vietnam was rather large and widespread.

Neolithic Age
During this period, groups of people with different cultural attributes mixed together. The people used sophisticated trimmed stone axes, produced stone rings, and designed pottery goods.

Foundation of the Nation
Metal Age (about 4,000 years ago): Vietnam existed three major cultural centers: Phung Nguyen - Dong Son (The North), Long Thanh - Sa Huynh (The Centre) and Cau Sat, Doc Chua - Dong Nai (The South) from Bronze Age to Iron Age. These three major cultural centers had close and long mutual relationship, contributed to specific traditional culture of Vietnam. It's unity in abundance.

Van Lang Nation
During the Dong Son period, only one state had formed. The unified culture prevailing in this region stretched from the Sino-Vietnamese border to the northern banks of the Gianh River. The nation of the ancient Viet people existed as the Van Lang Nation, which was ruled by the Kings Hung.

Au Lac Nation
A few centuries later, An Duong Vuong founded the Au Lac Nation in the third century BC. Records of this nation can be found in the annals written by the Chinese historian, Xi Ma Tin. Remains of the Co Loa Citadel, which was built during the An Duong Vuong period, can still be seen today.

Champa Nation
The Pre-Sa Huynh culture evolved in South Central Vietnam during the Iron Age. The people of this group lived between Thua Thien and the Dong Nai River Delta. At that time, people were buried in tombs which contained many tools made of iron and jewelry made of agate and jasper.. The Sa Huynh culture was founded by the ancestors of the Cham who founded the Champa Kingdom.

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