Country's official name
the beginning of the Bronze Age, the Viet tribe groups had settled down
in the North and in the north of Central Vietnam. There were about 15
groups of Lac Viet tribesmen living mainly in the northern highland and
delta and a dozen Au Viet groups of tribesmen living in Viet Bac, the
northern region of old Vietnam.
♦ Van Lang (2876 BC – 258 BC) |
that time, the two ethnic tribes of the Lac Viet and Au Viet lived
together in many areas with other inhabitants. Due to the increasing
need to control floods, fight against invaders, and exchange culture and
economy, these tribes living near each other tended to gather together
and integrate into a larger mixed group. Among these Lac Viet tribes was
the Van Lang, which was the most powerful tribe. The leader of this
tribe joined all the Lac Viet tribes together to found Van Lang Nation,
addressing himself as King Hung. The next generations followed in their
father’s footsteps and kept this appellation. Based on historical
documents, researchers correlatively delineated the location of Van Lang
Nation to the present day regions of North and north of Central
Vietnam, as well as the south of present-day Kwangsi (China). The Van
Lang Nation approximately lasted from the beginning of the first
millennium B.C. to the 3rd century B.C.
♦ Au Lac (257 BC – 207 BC)
221 BC, Qin Shihuangdi (Tan Thuy Hoang), King of Qin (China), invaded
the land of the Viet tribes. Thuc Phan, the leader of the alliance of
Au-Viet tribes was respected as the chief of the resistance war against
the Tan enemy that later, in 208 BC, was forced to withdraw. With his
imposing power, Thuc Phan nominated himself as King An Duong Vuong and
founded Au Lac Nation with groups of Lac Viet and Au Viet tribes. In 207
BC, Trieu Da, King of Nam Viet (China), invaded Au Lac
country. The resistance of An Duong Vuong failed soon after this
invasion. As a result, the northern feudalist took turns dominating the
country over the next seven centuries, establishing their harsh regime
in the country and dividing the country into administrative regions and
districts with unfamiliar names. However, the country’s name of Au Lac
could not be erased from the people’s minds in their everyday life.
♦ Van Xuan (544-602)
the spring of 542, Ly Bi rose up in arms and swept away the Chinese
administration, liberating the territory. He declared himself King of Van Xuan
Kingdom in February 544, acknowledging the national superiority complex
of the independent spirits to live in eternal peace. However, the
existence of Ly Bi’s administration was very brief. He was defeated by
the Chinese imperial army, and the country returned to feudal Chinese
domination again in 602. The name Van Xuan was restored only after the
victory over the Han army at the Bach Dang River led by General Ngo
Quyen in 938. This victory marked the end of the Chinese domination
period in Vietnam.
♦ Dai Co Viet (968 – 1054)
In 968, Dinh Bo Linh defeated the twelve lords and unified the country. He declared himself King and named the country Dai Co Viet.
This name remained throughout the Dinh Dynasty (968-980), Pre-Le
Dynasty (980-1009) and the beginning of Ly Dynasty (1010-1225).
♦ Dai Viet (1054 – 1802)
1054, a flaming bright star appeared in the sky for many days, which
was considered a good omen. As a result, the King Ly changed the name of
the country to Dai Viet. This name remained until the
end of Tran Dynasty (1126 - 1400). The name Dai Viet remained under the
Le Dynasty (1428-1788) and the Tay Son Dynasty (1788-1802).
♦ Dai Ngu (1400 – 1406)
In March 1400, Ho Quy Ly usurped the throne of King Tran Thieu De, founded the Ho Dynasty and changed the country’s name to Dai Ngu,
meaning peace in the ancient language. This name only lasted for very
short time, until April 1407, when the Ming enemy invaded Dai Ngu and
defeated the Ho Dynasty (1400- 1407).
After 10 years of resistance
against the Ming occupation (1418-1427), Le Loi had achieved a
victorious triumph. In 1428, Le Loi declared himself King of Le Dynasty
and changed the name of the country back to Dai Viet. At this time, the
territory of Vietnam had expanded to the region of present-day Hue.
♦ Viet Nam
1802, Nguyen Anh claimed his coronation to become the first King
Nguyen, starting the Nguyen dynasty and changing the country’s name to Viet Nam.
This name was officially recognized in many diplomatic missions in
1804. However, the words "Viet Nam" had already appeared very early in
history. In the 14th century, there was a book of code entitled "Viet
Nam the Chi", edited by Doctor Ho Tong Thoc. In the book by scholar
Nguyen Trai entitled "Du Dia Chi" at the beginning of 15th century; the
words "Viet Nam" were repeated several times. Doctor Trinh Nguyen Binh
Khiem (1491-1585) had written on the first page of his work "Trinh Tien
Sinh Quoc Ngu" the following: "... Viet Nam have constructed its
foundation..." The words "Viet Nam" were also found in some carved
stelae of the 16th - 17th century in Bao Lam Pagoda, Haiphong (1558), in
Cam Lo Pagoda, Ha Tay (1590), in Phuc Thanh Pagoda, Bac Ninh (1664),
etc. In particular, in the first sentence on the stele Thuy Mon Dinh
(1670) at the landmark on the border at Lang Son, it was written: "This
is the gateway of Viet Nam that guards the northern frontiers..." In
terms of meaning, there are many theories that prove the words "Viet
Nam" are created by combining two racial and geographic elements, which
is understood as "Viet people from the south". During the reign of King
Minh Mang (1820-1840), the name of the country was changed to Dai Nam,
but Viet Nam was still widely used in many literary works, civil
business affairs, and social relations.
Following the triumph of the
August Revolution on August 19th 1945, which had entirely swept away
Vietnamese feudal and French colonial oppression and began a new era in
the country, President Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the nation’s independence
and the national name Democratic Republic of Vietnam
was born on September 2nd 1945. Although Vietnam suffered from war and
separation in the following 30 years, the sacred words "Viet Nam" were
very popularly used from the North to the South, and were deeply
imprinted in the hearts of the Vietnamese people.
liberation of Southern Vietnam on April 30 1975, the entire country of
Vietnam was completely unified. In the first meeting of the National
Assembly of the Unified Vietnam on July 2nd 1976, the assembly decided
to name the country The Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The constitution of 1980, and 1992, continued its affirmation of the country’s official name, legally and actually.