Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s oldest civilisations. From 300 BCE, various dynasties ruled over the north, which was often subject to Chinese rule, whilst several Champa states existed in the south.
The final long period of Chinese rule was shaken off in the 10th Century, allowing the northern dynasties to expand south into the Champa domain. The country’s unity broke down in 1527 when the Mac Dynasty overthrew the Le Dynasty. The Nguyen and Trinh lords resisted the Mac takeover, and gradually destroyed the Mac Dynasty, leaving them in control.
A brief period of unity followed when a peasant revolt began in the 1770s, although the Nguyen lords were able to eventually put it down and rule a united Vietnam. This ended in 1885, when a protectorate was established by France over the entire country.
After independence in the 1950s, two new states emerged – North Vietnam and South Vietnam. The two fought a war involving many world powers, with the Socialist North eventually conquering the South.
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