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Vietnam History Timeline

3000BC - 1200AD
  • (3000BC - 1000BC) Tribes from southern China moved into Red River Delta area
  • (208BC) Chinese general, Trieu Da, made himself emperor of Nam Viet (part of present-day northern Vietnam and China)
  • (111BC) Han Chinese Emperor Wu conquered Viet people, began nearly 1,000 years of Chinese rule in north
  • (40AD) Two Trung sisters led rebellion against Chinese; China regained rule; capital moved to Hanoi
  • (939) Chinese were overthrown, Viet kingdom reestablished
  • (1200s) Mongols invaded, rebelled by Dai Viet and Champa
1400 - 1600
  • (1471) Dai Viet conquered Champa, annexed most of territory
  • (1524) Feudal war raged between Trinh from the north and Nguyen from the south
  • (1600s) Last of Champa territory conquered by Dai Viet
1800s
  • (1802) Prince Nguyen Anh united northern, central, southern regions, called it Vietnam
  • (1847) French launched first major attack by firing at port of Danang
  • (1859) France captured Saigon, extended control to Laos and Cambodia, formed French Indochina
  • (1883) France took control of Vietnam; made it a French colony
1900s
  • (1930) Ho Chi Minh founded Indochinese Communist Party (ICP)
  • (1940) World War II began, Japan invaded Vietnam
  • (1940) France lost control of Vietnam to Japan
  • (1941) ICP leader, Ho Chi Minh, organized groups to fight for Vietnam's independence
  • (1945) Viet Minh seized power, Ho Chi Minh announced Vietnam's independence
  • (1945) French reoccupied the south
  • (1946) Chinese, French, Viet Minh competed for control over Viet territory, negotiations failed, war began between French and Viet Minh
  • (1946 - 1954) French-Viet Minh War (First Vietnam War)
  • (1946 - 1954) During French-Viet Minh War, China and USSR (Russia) supported Ho Chi Minh; USA supported France in order to contain spread of Communism
  • (1954) French defeated by Vietnam at Dien Bien Phu
1900s continued
  • (1954) Meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland with representation from Vietnam, France, U.S.; agreement made to divide country into two parts: Communist-ruled north, republic in the south
  • (1955) Anti-Communism leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, refused to implement Geneva accords, declared himself president of Republic of South Vietnam; received backing from the West
  • (1959) Communist Party began military operations in the South; constructed Hi Chi Minh Trail
  • (1960) National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) formed as anti-Diem, anti-US in South
  • (1961) USA President Kennedy increased military aid to South Vietnam
  • (1963) Viet Cong defeated units of the South Vietnamese Army
  • (1963) Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated in military coup
  • (1964) North Vietnamese attacked USA destroyer in Gulf of Tonkin
  • (1964) USA President Lyndon Johnson given war powers
  • (1965) 200,000 American combat troops arrived in South Vietnam, beginning of (Second) Vietnam War
  • (1968) Tet Offensive - assault by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army on USA positions, more than 500 civilians died at My Lai in USA counter-offensive
  • (1969) North Vietnamese leader, Hi Chi Minh died
  • (1969) USA President Nixon began removing US ground troops in exchange for increased funding of South Vietnamese

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