Chronography of Vietnam

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Demography of Vietnam


Box Index,

9.0, Vietnamese �boat people� crisis 1981-91

8.0, Vietnam-Cambodia conflict 1977-88

7.0, Final surrender of South Vietnam to the North, 1975-76

6.0, North Vietnam overruns the South 1973-75

5.0, USA completes withdrawal from South Vietnam 1969-73

4.0, Deeper US involvement in Vietnam War 1965-68

3.0, Major escalation of US involvement in Vietnam 1962-65

2,0, Vietnam divided into North and South 1954-60

1,0, Fight against Vietnamese Communists. France pulls out, USA escalates the conflict 1950-54

0.0, Vietnam gains independence from France, 1945-49


2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organisation.

7 November 2006, Vietnam, nominally still one of the world�s last 5 Communist countries (the other 4 being China, Cuba, Laos and North Korea) was accepted into the World Trade Organisation, as its capitalist economy boomed.

1997, Tran Duc Luong was elected President; Phan Van Kai was elected Prime Minister.

11 July 1995. The USA resumed full diplomatic relations with Vietnam; Vietnam joined ASEAN. In 2000 Bill Clinton became the first US President to visit Vietnam since the Vietnam War.

16 January 1994, Canadian rock musician Bryan Adams performed in front of 2,500 people in Ho Chi Minh City. He was the first Western entertainer to perform in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War, 1975.

1992, Vietnam began to allow foreign investment, but remained under Communist rule.


9.0, Vietnamese �boat people� crisis 1981-91

8 November 1991. Hong Kong began to repatriate its Vietnamese boat people.

29 December 1989, Riots in Hong Kong after forcible repatriation of Vietnamese boat people began.

13 December 1989Hong Kong began to forcibly repatriate Vietnamese boat people by plane.

27 July 1989, More �boat people� were arriving in Hong Kong, hoping to reach California.

26 July 1982. The West German rescue ship, Cape Anamur, entered its home port of Hamburg with 285 Vietnamese boat people who were fleeing the Communist regime which took over South Vietnam after the withdrawal of the USA. Boat people faced a perilous journey even before they tried to find asylum, facing dangers such as rape, robbery, murder, and abduction on the seas from pirates.

28 February 1981, In the first 8 weeks of 1981, 451 Vietnamese boat people arrived in Hong Kong, twice as many as in the same period in 1980.In nearby Macao, 240 Vietnamese refugees were arriving every day.Many were moving on from China, which had taken 250,000 Vietnamese since 1979.The Hong Kong government asked the Chinese to step up naval surveillance along the Chinese coast.


8.0, Vietnam-Cambodia conflict 1977-88

26 June 1988. Vietnam said its troops would withdraw from Kampuchea, formerly Cambodia.

14 March 1988, Three days of conflict between China and Vietnam began over the disputed Spratly Islands.

1986, Death of Le Duan. The Doi Moi policy reforms began in Vietnam, instigated by Nguyen Van Linh.

18 April 1979, China and Vietnam held talks on issues raised by Vietnam�s invasion of Cambodia and China�s subsequent invasion of Vietnam. The talks ended in deadlock for now.

16 March 1979, Vietnam fought a brief nine-day war with China. The Chinese withdrew this day.

3 March 1979, Chinese forces in Vietnam took Lang Son.

25 December 1978, Vietnam launched a major offensive against the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia.

1 October 1978 Vietnam attacked Cambodia.

31 December 1977, Cambodia broke off diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and suspended air services between them. Fighting between the two countries had erupted in the Parrot�s Beak area, where Cambodia juts out into (South) Vietnam. The Chinese-backed Cambodian regime accused Vietnam of not being sufficiently �revolutionary�. Troubles began when many Cambodians moved across the border into the Mekong Delta area, after Saigon fell and before North Vietnam had fully established control of the area.


7.0, Final surrender of South Vietnam to the North, 1975-76

2 July 1976. North and South Vietnam were reunited to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

24 June 1976, At a government conference in Hanoi, the unification of North and South Vietnam was approved, as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, see 30 April1975.

29 April1975. A US helicopter evacuated Americans and a few lucky Vietnamese from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon to a nearby US warship a day before Saigon fell to the Vietcong. The picture of the helicopter evacuation became an iconic symbol of US humiliation in Vietnam. In the US Embassy, some Vietnamese women quickly �married� Americans in order to gain a place in the evacuation; the marriage ceremony was rather brief, �Do you? I do�. Conditions in the embassy corridors quickly deteriorated as the air conditioning broke down. In all, 1,373 Americans, 5,595 South Vietnamese and 85 other nationals were evacuated in the last days of the war.

25 April1975, The Australian Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, shut as North Vietnamese forces closed in.

23 April1975, US President Ford announced that US involvement in Vietnam was to end. US forces began the final evacuation of personnel from Saigon by aeroplane, see 28 and 29 April1973.

21 April1975, President Thieu of South Vietnam, aware that the North would never negotiate with him, resigned in a last ditch attempt to find an agreement by appointing a new leader in his place. Thieu escaped to Taipei with 3.5 tons of gold. General Duong Van Minh became leader in his place.

20 April1975, South Vietnamese forces were now driven back to Long Binh and Bien Hoa airbases, just 12 miles from Saigon. Saigon was now surrounded by 15 divisions, and defended by just four.


6.0, North Vietnam overruns the South 1973-75

6 April1975, A plane carrying 99 Vietnamese orphans landed at Heathrow Airport, London.

4 April1975, A Galaxy transport plane carrying 243 Vietnamese orphans from Saigon to the US crashed shortly after take-off, killing over 200 children and 44 adults.

30 March 1975. North Vietnamese forces captured the port of Da Nang. Ships attempted to rescue over 1 million refugees.

25 March 1975. In South Vietnam, Hue fell to the North.

20 March 1975, In Vietnam, Communist forces overran Da Nang,

19 March 1975, In South Vietnam, Quang Tri Province fell to the North, leaving the provincial capital of Hue exposed.

7 January 1975, North Vietnamese forces captured the southern province of Phuoc Long (see 29 March 1973) and were now just 75 miles from Saigon. There was no reaction from the US. On 10 March 1975 North Vietnam captured the strategic town of Ban Me Thuot in the Central Highlands. Within four days South Vietnam decided to abandon the entire Central Highlands to concentrate on the defence of Saigon. This strategic withdrawal became a rout, with hundreds of thousands of civilians, and fleeing soldiers, clogging the roads as the Communists advanced. By 1 April1975 half of South Vietnam was occupied by the North and the South Vietnamese army was disintegrating. US Congress had no intention of further aid to the South; they did not even intend to organise an evacuation of US citizens and pro-US Vietnamese, instead hoping to persuade the North to stop short of total conquest and accept a coalition government in Saigon.President Thieu of South Vietnam resigned on 28 April1975 and was replaced by the neutralist General Duong Van Minh. By then North Vietnamese forces were in the suburbs of Saigon. A few fortunate personnel were evacuated from the roof of the US Embassy by helicopter (see 29 April1975).However in the last-minute chaos nobody thought to destroy the records of South Vietnamese who had supported the US. On 30 April1975 a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace in Saigon and a soldier raised the North Vietnamese flag. Then the event was repeated for the benefit of TV cameras who had missed the original. Meanwhile in Cambodia the Khmer Rouge had entered Phnom Penh and begub deporting hundreds of thousands of its population to the killing fields. The defeat of the US was total and complete.

For more events of Vietnam War see USA

22 December 1974, The North Vietnamese General Van Tra, to prove that the South Vietnamese Army was on the point of collapse, made a ferocious attack on Don Luan. The town fell within four days, enabling the North to push on southwards towards Phuoc Long province.

24 May 1974, Fierce fighting in Vietnam, just 50 km from Saigon.


5.0, USA completes withdrawal from South Vietnam 1969-73

29 March 1973, US pulled its last troops out of South Vietnam. The quadrupling of oil prices by OPEC worsened the finances of the USA. Nixon was in trouble with Watergate and Congress reasserted its power over US foreign policy. The War Powers Resolution of November 1973 removed the President�s power to make war without prior Congressional approval, nullifying Nixon�s promise to send troops to support South Vietnam if the Communists threatened again. In 1974 Congress slashed the budget for the war in Vietnam. US influence also declined in Cambodia, where extensive bombing had disrupted society and promoted the growth of the Communist Khmer Rouge, backed by Prince Sihanouk. Many Cambodians regarded Sihanouk as their legitimate leader, and by 1974 Sihanouk�s US-backed replacement, General Lon Nol, controlled just one third of Cambodia. In Laos an extensive bombing campaign to destroy the Ho Chi Minh trail, a network of routes used to supply the Communist Vietcong, simply resulted in the strengthening of the Pathet Lao, the Laotian Communists. Throughout 1974 the North Vietnamese quietly built up strength in the border regions of South Vietnam, and on 7 January 1975 they captured the South Vietnamese province of Phuoc Long.

15 March 1973, The last American PoWs from the Vietnam War were released by the North Vietnamese.

27 January 1973. The war in Vietnam ended, as President Nixon signed the ceasefire agreement in Paris. One million combatants had been killed. The last US troops left Vietnam on 29 March 1972. However fighting later continued between North and South Vietnam, see 30 April1975.

7 September 1972, South Korea withdrew the 37,000 troops it had in South Vietnam.

15 June 1972, Soviet President Podgorny began a 4-day visit to North Vietnam.

19 May 1972, In Beijing, China, the USDSR and North Vietnam discussed how to combat the US which was now mining North Vietnamese ports.

8 May 1972, President Nixon ordered a blockade and mining of North Vietnamese ports.

1 May 1972, Quang Tri fell to the North Vietnamese (retaken by South Vietnam, 15 September 1972).

30 March 1972, North Vietnam launched a major attack on the South. On 15 April1972 the US made heavy bombing raids on North Vietnam. North Vietnam abandoned guerrilla tactics and launched a major conventional invasion, with tanks and heavy artillery. The South Vietnamese city of Quang Tri fell on 1 May 1972 and South Vietnam seemed to have lost the war. However the US responded with massive air power and smart bombs. North Vietnamese forces were driven back to the dividing line and Hanoi proposed peace talks in October 1972. Under domestic pressure to end US involvement in Vietnam, Nixon could not refuse this offer.

29 February 1972, South Korea withdrew 11,000 of its 48,000 troops from Vietnam.

26 January 1972, Henry Kissinger, attempting to mediate a peace deal in Vietnam, complained that the North Vietnamese were only pretending to negotiate whilst in fact holding out until the US tired of the War and allowed the North to take over South Vietnam by force. This was indeed the North�s strategy, and Kissinger�s complaint did not alter its effectiveness. US President Nixon was concerned about the image of the USA and its power should it fail in Vietnam.

12 November 1971, US President Nixon announced an end to America�s �offensive� role in Vietnam, and the withdrawal of a further 45,000 troops. After this only 182,000 US troops would remain.

11 October 1971, Switzerland officially recognized North Vietnam.

3 October 1971, President Thieu of South Vietnam retained office after all other contenders withdrew in protest at rigged elections.

18 August 1971, Australia and New Zealand announced they would withdraw their troops from Vietnam.

24 March 1971, The South Vietnamese forces who invaded Laos on 8 February 1971 were forced to withdraw due to heavy resistance by the Vietcong.

8 February 1971, South Vietnamese forces invaded Laos, to try and shut down the supply of arms to the Vietcong along the Ho Chi Minh Trail (see 24 March 1971).

20 April1970. President Nixon announced that a further 150,000 troops would be withdrawn from Vietnam.

1 April1970, After a 6-month lull, the Vietcong launched major assaults across South Vietnam.

25 January 1970. Eleven arrests were made as police clashed with anti � Vietnam War protesters at the entrance to Downing Street.

15 November 1969. Huge anti Vietnam War demonstration in Washington.

3 September 1969. Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam during the Vietnam War, died of a heart attack aged 79. He was succeeded by Le Duan.

8 July 1969, The first US army units were withdrawn from South Vietnam

May 1969, The US now had 543,000 troops in Vietnam.

10 January 1969, Sweden became the first European country to recognise North Vietnam.

USA (and other nations) begin withdrawal from South Vietnam

For more events of Vietnam War see USA


4.0, Deeper US involvement in Vietnam War 1965-68

8/1968, The US now had 541,000 troops in Vietnam.

20 June 1968, Total US war deaths in Vietnam now exceeded 25,000.

13 May 1968, US and North Vietnamese negotiators began peace talks in Paris.

11 May 1969, The Vietcong launched ground and rocket attacks throughout South Vietnam.

6 May 1968, The Vietnam War continued with house to house fighting in Saigon. The Home Secretary James Callaghan told the Ministry of Public Building and Works that he had no power to deport Tariq Ali back to his native Pakistan. Mr Ali was a member of the Vietnam Solidarity campaign in Britain.

19 April1968, The USA began Operation Delaware to oust the North Vietnamese from the A Shau Valley, 50 km SW of Hue, which they had occupied in March 1968 and made into a logistics base to support the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The US succeeded in taking the Valley, but with heavy casualties. However they could not hold it whilst large forces were tied up defending the Vietnamese Lowlands against the North.

3 April1968, The US and North Vietnam agreed to establish direct contact as a first step towards peace.

17 March 1968, Violent anti-Vietnam War demonstrations outside the US Embassy in London. 25,000 Vietnam Solidarity Campaign (VSC) marchers fought with police. The VSC, which wanted a victory for North Vietnam, had been organised by the Trotskyist International Marxist Group, whose members included Pat Jordan, Tariq Ali and David Horowitz.

16 March 1968. The My Lai massacre; US soldiers massacred 700 Vietnamese civilians in a raid on hamlets in Son My district, where Communist Vietcong rebels were suspected to be hiding out. US forces believed that 250 Vietcong guerrillas were hiding in My Lai and that all civilians would have left for market. As the 30 US troops went in under the command of Lieutenant William Calley they threw grenades and deployed flamethrowers on the thatched roof huts; it was soon clear that only women, children and the elderly were present. There was no counter fire. However a �contagion of slaughter� had set in and the rape and murder continued. Senior US army officials turned a blind eye to the event; only five people were ever court-martialled, with just one, Lieutenant Calley, found guilty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but served 3 � years before release on parole. This event turned many civilians within the US against the Vietnam War.

30 January 1968. The Vietcong launched the great Tet Offensive against South Vietnam, named after the Tet holiday of January 31, when south Vietnamese soldiers would be off-guard. Militarily the Tet offensive was disastrous for the North; they held none of the towns they captured. The last town, Hue, was recaptured by US Marines three weeks after the Tet Offensive began. However the North won the propaganda war, with massive damage inflicted on the South during the Offensive, much of by US forces whilst evicting the Communists. Martial law was proclaimed in Vietnam. US casualties now amounted to 1,000 per day. Questions were asked why the US and South were suffering so many losses without obvious success in the war.

4 January 1968, The US now had 486,000 troops in Vietnam.

26 December 1967, The South Vietnamese threatened to pursue and attack Communist troops in Cambodia. China assured Cambodia of its support against this. Chinese workers had already been repairing bomb-damaged parts of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

31 October 1967, Nguyen Van Thieu was sworn into office as the 4th President of South Vietnam. In his inaugural address, President Thieu said, "I will make a direct proposal to the North Vietnamese government to sit down at the conference table" to seek a way of ending the Vietnam War.

6 October 1967, The South Vietnamese Government began its new policy of curbing student protesters by drafting 12 of them into the South Vietnamese Army.

3 September 1967, General Nguyen Van Thieu was elected President of South Vietnam.

29 June 1967. The American child psychologist Dr Benjamin Spock led a march of nearly 5,000 people in London in protest against the Vietnam War. Eighteen people were arrested as the march headed towards the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square.

14 February 1967. 100 Labour MPs in Westminster condemned the US bombing of Vietnam. On 26 February 1967 the US stepped up the war by attacking the Vietcong's HQ.

23 September 1966. USA planes dropped tons of herbicides on Vietnam turning the demilitarised zone between North and South Vietnam into a barren wasteland.

2 April1966, Protests in Saigon as demonstrators demanded an end to military rule.

8 March 1966, Australia tripled its force in Vietnam to 4,500 troops.

18 February 1966, Dean Rusk stated that the USA had exhausted all possibilities for bringing peace to Vietnam.

12 January 1966, US President Lyndon Johnson said that US forces should remain in South Vietnam until Communist aggression ceased.

8 January 1966. US launched biggest offensive to date in Vietnam.

For more events of Vietnam War see USA

29 December 1965. North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh rejected US peace talks.

29 September 1965, The USSR admitted supplying weapons to North Vietnam.

12 August 1965, 19 days after the US learned that North Vietnam had bases around its capital from which to fire surface-to-air missiles, the North Vietnamese revealed that they had mobile missile units that could be taken to any location, shooting down a U.S. Navy A-4 Skyhawk attack jet flying 50 miles southwest of Hanoi. Lieutenant Donald H. Brown of the USS Coral Sea was killed in the crash, becoming the first U.S. Navy flier to be downed by a SAM missile.

3 August 1965, After coming under attack by Viet Cong sniper fire, U.S. Marines burned down the South Vietnamese village of Cam Ne.

24 June 1965, South Vietnam severed relations with France.

23 June 1965, The USSR rejected a Vietnam peace initiative proposed by Harold Wilson.

4 June 1965, The first contingent of Australian troops arrived in Vietnam.

31 May 1965. Major US air strikes in Vietnam saved the South Vietnamese forces from annihilation, reported The Guardian.


3.0, Major escalation of US involvement in Vietnam 1962-65

8 March 1965, The US stepped up military action in Vietnam. 3,500 American Marines, the first combat troops to arrive in Vietnam, landed, welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd. By July 1965 there were 75,000 US troops in Vietnam, by end-1965 184,000, and by early 1968, 510,000. A majority of the British public were opposed to the US escalation, and believed that Britain�s role should be to act as peacemaker.

2 March 1965, In response to the 6 February 1965 attack at Pleiku, and to another attack a few days later on US soldiers at Qui Nhon, the US launched Operation Rolling Thunder, a saturation bombing campaign against North Vietnam combined with the first deployment of US ground forces against the North Vietnamese.

7 February 1965. US aircraft bombed North Vietnam. The US hoped that by relying on a sustained air bombing campaign, US casualties would be minimised.

6 February 1965, The Vietcong attacked a US barracks at Pleiku, killing 9 US soldiers. In retaliation, President Johnson authorised Operation Flaming Dart, bombing raids on North Vietnam.

23 January 1965, Rioters in Hue, South Vietnam, burned down the U.S. Information Agency after South Vietnam's Prime Minister Tran Van Hương increased the Army draft to fight the Viet Cong.

19 December 1964, The military junta in South Vietnam dissolved the High National Council and arrested some of its members.

19 November 1964. Major offensive by South Vietnam against the North began.

1 November 1964, North Vietnamese attack on the airfield at Bien Hoa. Four US servicemen were killed and a large number of US aircraft damaged. This prompted the US to escalate its involvement in Vietnam. The airfield was expanded into a large US military base.

30 October 1964, Tran Van Huong became Prime Minister of South Vietnam

7 August 1964, In South Vietnam, General Nguyen Khanh proclaimed a State of Emergency and ousted President Duong Vanh Minh.

2 August 1964, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US destroyer Maddox. North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US destroyer Maddox, which was patrolling 16 km off the North Vietnamese coast. One Vietnamese boat was sunk, another badly damaged; the Maddox was undamaged and continued her patrol. On the stormy night of 4-5 August 1964 the radar allegedly spotted five Vietnamese boats in �attack formation�; in fact these boats almost certainly did not exist. Either the radar image was misinterpreted, or were fabricated to justify further US actions in Vietnam. US President Johnson got the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed through Congress; authorising �any necessary measures� to repel attacks on US forces or US allies, including South Vietnam. This resolution justified a large escalation in US activity in Vietnam from 1965 onwards.

30 January 1964, Coup in South Vietnam; General Duong Van Minh was replaced by General Nguyen Kanh. However Minh remained as nominal head of state.

2 November 1963, The first President of Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated, along with his brother, in a military coup encouraged by the CIA.

1 November 1963, In South Vietnam, a coup organised by General Duong Van Minh overthrew President Ngo Dinh Diem.

22 September 1963, South Korea began sending the first of a total of 312,853 soldiers to fight the North Vietnamese.

21 August 1963,Martial law was declared in South Vietnam.

2 January 1963, End of the Battle of Ap Bac. This was a turning point in the Vietnam War. In late December 1962 a contingent of 2,000 South Vietnamese soldiers (ARVN, Army of the Republic of Vietnam) encountered 300-400 People�s Liberation Armed Force (PLAF) fighters near a canal close to Ap Bac. Despite US assistance, advice, and the presence of US planes, helicopters and armoured personnel carriers, the ARVN suffered 165 casualties and lost 5 helicopters, whilst the PLAFlost less than a dozen fighters. This battle forced the USA to reconsider whether advice and material assistance alone was enough to help South Vietnam win against the Communist North.

22 March 1962, With US aid, South Vietnam launched Operation Sunrise against Vietcong guerrillas.


2,0, Vietnam divided into North and South 1954-60

12 November 1960, Ngo Dinh Diem regained power as President of South Vietnam after a military coup.

21 January 1960, What became known as the Vietcong was formed in Vietnam. Communists in South Vietnam, opposed to the USA-backed rule of Ngo Dinh Diem, at first received little support from the Communist North Vietnamese government, but this changed after January 1960. The Southern Communists, in co-operation with the North, met outside Saigon to found the National Liberation Front (NLF).They called for the removal of Diem as a �colonial Western puppet� and the removal of all foreign bases from South Vietnam. Diem and the USA labelled the NLF disparagingly as the �Vietcong�, a derogatory abbreviation of the Vietnamese words for Vietnamese Communists. The name stuck, but lost its negative connotations.

22 October 1957. 13 US servicemen and 5 civilians were injured in Saigon, South Vietnam, by a bomb planted by Communist guerrillas. This was the worst incident since 1954 when the French admitted defeat in the fight against North Vietnam�s Viet Minh army and split Vietnam into North and South, two independent states.

23 October 1955. South Vietnam became a republic under Ngo Dinh Diem. Emperor Bao Dai was deposed.

7 December 1954, Bui Van Luong was replaced as the head of COMIGAL, Vietnam's government resettlement agency, by Pham Van Huyen.

10 October 1954, Ho Chi Minh returned to Hanoi as the French pulled out.

21 July 1954. An armistice divided Vietnam into North (Communist) and South (French). See 21 April1954.

7 May 1954. Communist Vietminh forces under General Giap captured Dien Ben Phu in Vietnam, a key French garrison, after a siege. Almost all the 16,000 French soldiers were killed. The Americans had considered using three atomic bombs, but Eisenhower was reluctant to start a new war after Korea, and did not wish to support colonialism.This effectively marked the end of French rule in Indo-China.Dien Ben Phu was a village in Vietnam, 75 miles south of the Chinese border and commanding a valley into Laos, which lay 20 miles further west, so occupied a strategic position.

2 May 1954, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden made it clear at Geneva that Britain could not support the US in a war in Vietnam when the course and scope of the war was unknown.

21 April1954. The US Air Force flew a French battalion to northern Vietnam to defend against the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu. Dien Bien Phu fell to the Communists on 7 May 1954.


1,0, Fight against Vietnamese Communists. France pulls out, USA escalates the conflict 1950-54

6 April1954. France informed the US that French public opinion would not support the war in Vietnam anymore and that France�s aim was now a negotiated settlement. The US wanted to carry on the fight against the Communists. The UK too was wary, in case a Soviet nuclear strike on US bases in England was carried out.

13 March 1954, The Vietminh assault on Dien Ben Phu began; see 7 May 1954.

20 January 1954, The French military Commander in Chief, General Henri Navarre, launched an attack on Vietminh positions in Annam, the narrow �waist� of the country between North and South. Annam had been abandoned by the French in the face of superior Vietminh numbers; the French hoped to control Annam as a buffer zone, �contain� the North, and pacify the South. However the Vietminh fought back strongly and forced the French to withdraw into the major towns.

26 November 1953, French airborne troops captured the Vietnamese village of Dien Ben Phu from the Vietminh, thereby gaining control of the Hanoi to Laos road.

25 April1952, Major French attack on the Vietminh baseof Tay Ninh.

18 January 1951, French troops forced the Vietminh to retreat from Hanoi.

11 January 1951, The French began a new offensive against the Vietminh.

25 May 1950, French troops fought the Vietcong guerrillas in Vietnam.

7 February 1950, The Soviet Union officially recognised the Marxist regime of Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam; the USA endorsed the French-backed regime of Emperor Bao Dai in South Vietnam. The two regimes had been at war since 1947.


0.0, Vietnam gains independence from France, 1945-49

30 December 1949. Vietnam gained sovereignty from France.

8 March 1949, Vietnam became independent within the French Union.

19/ May 1947, Vietminh troops attacked Saigon.

19 December 1946, An uneasy post-War period of tactical co-operation between the French and the Vietcong Communist forces ended. The French had wanted to regain their colony of Vietnam; the Vietcong also wanted Nationalist factions in the country eliminated. But on this day the Vietcong attacked French troops at Hanoi, starting the First Indo-China War. The Vietcong began a campaign of guerrilla warfare.

23 November 1946, French troops bombarded Haiphong in NE Vietnam. This was the start of the French Indo-China War, which lasted until 1954.

6 March 1946. France agreed to allow Vietnam some autonomy, but only within the French Empire/ Nationalist resistance against the French continued.

2 March 1946. In North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh was elected President.

10 March 1945. Tran Kim declared Vietnam independent.


1941, Vietminh resistance to Japan founded in exile in China.

1940, Japan invaded Vietnam. For more details of World War Two in the Pacific, see Japan-China.

1930, Ho Chi Minh founded the Vietnamese Communist Party.

8 November 1927, Nguyen Khanh, Prime Minister of South Vietnam, was born.

6 November 1925, Khai Dinh, Emperor of Vietnam, died.

1920, Vietnam adopted the Roman script (Quoc Agu) in place of Chinese lettering.

13 October 1911, Le Duc Tho, Vietnamese politician, was born.

19 May 1890, Birth of Ho Chi Minh, President of North Vietnam (died 1969).


France sets up colony of French Indochina. See also China

25 August 1883, France and China agreed to French protecorates over northern Vietnam (Tonkin) and central Vietnam (Annam). Southern Vietnam (Cochin) was already under French control. In 1893 Siam (Thailand) gave up its claim on Laos, and France incorporated this territory into Ftrench Indochina.

25 April1882, France, aiming for colonial control of Indochina, occupied Hanoi in Tonkin. There was considerable local resistance to their rule.

25 February 1861, The French relieved a siege of Saigon by 20,000 Vietnamese, and consolidated their hold over Cochin China.

22 February 1860, In the face of Vietnamese attacks, French colonists evacuated Tourane.

31 August 1858, French forces under Admiral Rigault de Genouilly attacked the Vietnamese city of Tourane, to use it as a military base. The city fell to the French on 2 September 1858.

1847, The French began to interfere in the political affairs of Annam (Vietnam), on the pretext of protecting the |Christians there.


1820, Death of Nguyen Phuoc Anh (also known as Long Gia), emperor of Vietnam and founder of the Nguyen Dynasty. He fought to extend the influence of the Nguyen Clan, as the existing Tay Son order disintegrated. In 1802 he succeeded in unifying Vietnam for the first time, from the Chinese border down to the Mekong Delta.

17 February 1759, French forces took Saigon, Vietnam.

1516, A group of Portuguese explorers became the first Europeans to reach Vietnam.

1428, Annam (Vietnam) regained its independence from China.

1407, China regained control of Annam. See 1428.

1010, King Ly Thai To moved the capital of Vietnam from Ninh Binh to Hanoi, calling it Thang Long, meaning �soaring dragon�.

1009, The Ly Dynasty, the first independent dynasty in Vietnam, was proclaimed.

939, The Vietnamese expelled their Chinese rulers from Annam, meaning �pacified south� in Chinese.

938, Battle of Bach Dang. The Chinese, under Liu Yan, were attempting to invade Vietnam, Liu sent an army led by his son, Liu Hongcao, to invade Giao by sea. The Vietnamese leader, Ngo Quyen anticipated this invasion, and fixed a line of iron spikes across the mouth of the Red River, their tips a little underwater at high tide. Ngo then sent small boats out to taunt the Chinese fleet, and when these boats retreated upriver the Chinese, in much larger boats. gave chase. As the tide went out, the large Chinese vessels became impaled on the spikes and were attacked by Vietnamese soldiers. Half the Chinese army died, many by drowning, and China abandoned its attempt to conquer Vietnam.

150 AD, The Champa State existed on the east coast of Vietnam. It was a threat to the power of the Khmer and Vietnamese States.

214 BC, Annam (now Vietnam) was conquered by China.

257 BCE,The State of Au Lac was established un the Red River area of Vietnam. From here the Vietnamese people, mainly cultivating rice, spread south along the coast down to thye Mekong Delta. However they did not make inroads into the interior Highlands, where a different people lived, whom these Vietnamese disparagingly labelled �moi�, or �savages�. Enmity between the mountain peoples and the coastal plains dwellers has persisted, and hampered the US efforts, during the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 70s, to develop counter-Communist strategies in the Highlands.


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