After nearly 1000 year domination of China, Vietnam has been standing on its feet, step by step, to innovate the country to its current modernization but historical values still remain thanks to Great Dynasties of Viet Nam.
Ngo Dynasty (939-967)
Even after the Chinese were driven out, King Ngo had to deal with constant revolts by feudal lords.
Dinh Dynasty (968-980)
Established by the dominant feudal lord who finally unified the country.
Early Le Dynasty (980-1009)
Pronounced “Lay.” Incorporated the northern Champa kingdom into southern Viet Nam. During this period, Buddhism was established as the dominant religion of Viet Nam.
Ly Dynasty (1009-1225)
Pronounced “Lee.” According to tradition, the first Emperor Ly had a dream of a dragon rising out of the ground and ascending into heaven. This inspired him to move the capital to where he dreamt the dragon first rising out from the ground, in the city of Thang Long, which was later renamed “Hanoi.” This is also why Viet Nam is sometimes called the Land of the Rising Dragon.
Tran Dynasty (1225-1400)
This period successfully fought off the invasion attempts of the larger Mongol army, led by Kubali Khan. Marco Polo also briefly traveled through Viet Nam in 1295.
Ho Dynasty (1400-1428)
Toward the end of this dynasty, Ming invaders from China again briefly occupied the country.
Late Le Dynasty (1428-1776)
Under the leadership of Le Loi, a resistance movement was formed and successfully used guerrilla warfare tactics to again drive out the Chinese invaders. This strategy involved using brief but frequent surprise attacks targeting the enemy’s weakest points and avoiding direct combat against superior enemy forces — a tactic that would be used successfully throughout Viet Nam’s early and modern history. This period is also considered to be the “golden era” of Viet Nam.
Trinh and Nguyen Rulers (1543-1776)
The nation was divided in half in 1600 after numerous civil wars. The Trinh lords ruled northern Viet Nam while the Nguyen lords controlled southern Viet Nam. During this period, the Le emperors had little real power. The Nguyen lords also incorporated the remaining Champa and eastern Khmer empires into Viet Nam, as the nation reached its present size and shape by 1757 (except for the southernmost Soc Trang province).
Nguyen Dynasty (1792-1883)
Despite continuing revolts, the nation was again unified. The capital was moved to Hue and gained its current imperial splendor. This is also when the political influence of French missionaries became more prominent. However, the Nguyen rulers became increasingly suspicious of the French and ultimately became hostile toward French interests. As you’ll read in the next section, this would have very serious consequences.