The country’s history counts both war and colonization. The narrative is harsh, but the story has taken a beautiful turn. Despite a gloomy past, the Vietnamese today stand with their heads held high, united as one population.
Travel to Vietnam is marked by the country’s incredible, fascinating and dramatic history. Vietnam opened up many trade opportunities, across the oceans, and was therefore the target of many great powers.
The story leaves food for thought as it involves one of the world’s most intense wars, which only had its end shortly before the 21st century.
It is not entirely clear to what extent the origins of the Vietnamese people are to be traced. Vietnam’s historical identity is thought to have originated between 200 BC and 200 AD.
After the dissolution of the Tang Dynasty, the Dai Viet Empire was established in the early 900s, which was attempted to be taken over by Mongol and Chinese invasion groups. The kingdom expanded south to the Champa kingdom then to the Mekong Delta.
In 1802, Vietnam was united into one, with the leader of the Nguyen family making Hue the capital of the new empire of Viet Nam – Emperor Gia Long.
The time as a French colony
However, the unification of one united kingdom did not last long. As early as 1858, Vietnam was conquered by France. Here the French colony was divided into three Vietnamese parts – Tonkin, Annam and Cochinkina. This historic time led to several modern industries, including textiles, beer, cement production, and mining.
Large land estates were conquered by French powers, and confiscated for rice cultivation – in particular Cochinkina. A large portion of the rice was exported to Chinese intermediaries and rice mill owners. In addition, the car industry in the western countries grew, leading to a large rubber production on French plantations from the 1920s.
During the Japanese occupation during World War II, there was renewed enthusiasm in the independence movement. After Japan’s capitulation, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam independent, on September 2, 1945. France denied independence, leading to war between the party and Viet Minh. A decisive military defeat in 1954 finally forced France out of Indochina.
History of the Vietnam War
The Vietnam War had a significant impact on the country’s history. The war was an extension of the long struggle for independence from the colonial power France, and the starting point is therefore difficult to date.
Communist North Vietnam and South Vietnam with the United States behind them broke out in war in 1955 after many years of strife. It was a time of military coups, numerous bombing raids and a country so insecure and dilapidated that it is quite difficult to imagine today.
The human cost in Vietnam was terrible. Secret peace talks in 1968 in Paris, were to prove to be a lengthy process. Despite a superior North Vietnam, Nixon continued with secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos, to weaken the supply lines in the north.
Only in 1973 did it succeed in getting all parties involved to sign a peace agreement. In 1975, almost 30 years after Ho Chi Minh declared independence, Vietnam was reunited under one government. Millions of Vietnamese were killed and wounded during the war, 58,000 American soldiers lost their lives, and more than 300,000 were wounded.
Questions from the travelers
Should we choose Vietnam or Thailand?
Vietnam and Thailand each offer unique experiences, so it will no doubt be a matter of taste. At Tourist Travel, we only offer (of these two destinations) trips to Vietnam, as we think Vietnam offers more unspoiled and beautiful experiences. Despite Vietnam’s great popularity, it is still significantly less touristy than Thailand, providing stronger nature and cultural experiences.
Do you need a visa to Vietnam?
On journeys lasting a maximum of 15 days, a visa is not required. If the trip is more than 15 days, you must have a visa, which can be applied for online.
Which city is the capital of Vietnam?
The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi, but the largest city in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City (formerly named: Saigon).
When is the Rainy Season in Vietnam?
The rainy season fluctuates a bit depending on whether we are talking about southern, central or northern Vietnam. In North and South Vietnam, the rainy season is from May to September, while the rainy season in central Vietnam is a little later – namely from September to December.