Archaeological excavations of fossils in the caves in Bac Son, Lang Son Province, as well as the discovery of some artifacts at Do Mountain, in Thanh Hoa Province, which are believed to belong to the Stone Age, have proved that human life started in Viet Nam hundreds of thousands of years ago and Viet Nam has been considered as one of the earliest cradles of mankind.
Archaeological artifacts of the Phung Nguyen, Dong Dau, Go Mun, and Dong Son cultures, especially the Ngoc Lu bronze drums have proved that Viet Nam had a developed and glorious culture a thousand years before Christ (Dong Son culture). Besides, the vestiges of the historic period of the Kings Hung have revealed that Viet Nam was one of the first countries to be formed.
Viet Nam is a nation with thousand years of glorious history. Viet Nam’s history can be divided into four main periods:
- Prehistoric Era (from 2879 to 208 B.C): Kings Hung founded a country; Au Lac Nation was established
- Chinese domination period and the struggle for national independence (208 B.C – 938 A.D): This period was one of the fiercest periods of hardship in Viet Nam’s history.
- National construction and defense for independence (938 – 1945): This period was a brilliant era for national revival and development of the country and was marked by the glorious victory of the Vietnamese people against the aggressors.
- National independence and socialism (1945 up to now): For nearly 100 years under French oppression, the Vietnamese people had constantly fought for independence. The revolution succeeded in August 1945 under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Communist Party proclaimed its independence on September 2, a date which became the National Day.
During the following 30 years, the Vietnamese people continued to resist and protect their independence. Viet Nam has been unified ever since the great victory in spring 1975. Since 1976, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam was proclaimed, with Ha Noi as its capital. Viet Nam enters a new stage of peace and development as a country.
The Vietnamese culture, endowed with a long and rich heritage, is deeply stamped with national pride. Famous ancient cultures include the Nui Do culture, followed by the Son Vi culture founded over 10,000 years ago, then by the Hoa Binh-Bac Son culture.
The Dong Son culture received the most brilliant development and was deeply connected with the Red River civilization, the wet rice and the emergence of the primeval states (Van Lang-Au Lac in the North; in the Central region, the Sa Huynh culture, which belongs to the Cham people and in the South, the Oc Eo culture of Phu Nam State).
Despite of historical contingencies, there are still approximately 7,300 preserved historic and cultural sites over Viet Nam, thousands of which have been listed as national sites. These relics are concentrated mainly in Ha Noi and Hue. For example, the relics of the Kings Hung in Phong Chau (Phu Tho Province) date back to the period of the formation of the country. There are also the Co Loa citadel of the Au Lac State, the ancient capital of Hoa Lu, and the My Son Sanctuary in the Central region.
Specific features of Viet Nam are likewise reflected in other cultural tokens such as legends, festivals, traditional theater, water puppetry, music, dances and customs (funerals, weddings, betel nut chewing, etc.).