Vietnam is a country with a long and complex history and cultural traditions that vary a good deal in the different regions. Culturally, in many ways, the Vietnamese have more in common with Confucian China than Buddhist Southeast Asia. Many Southeast Asians regard the Vietnamese as fighters and are not particularly fond of them.
Trong hình ảnh có thể có: đám mây, bầu trời, đại dương, chạng vạng, ngoài trời, thiên nhiên và nước
According to Lonely Planet: "Vietnam has a history as rich and evocative as anywhere on the planet. Sure, the American War in Vietnam captured the attention of the West, but centuries before that Vietnam was scrapping with the Chinese, the Khmers, the Chams and the Mongols. Vietnamese civilisation is as sophisticated as that of its mighty northern neighbour China, from where it drew many of its influences under a thousand-year occupation. Later came the French and the humbling period of colonialism from which Vietnam was not to emerge until the second half of the 20th century. The Americans were simply the last in a long line of invaders who had come and gone through the centuries and, no matter what was required or how long it took, they too would be vanquished. If only the planners back in Washington had paid just a little more attention to the history of this very proud nation, then Vietnam might have avoided the trauma and tragedy of a horribly brutal war. Visitors to Vietnam can’t help but notice that the same names pop up again and again on the streets of every city and town. These are Vietnam’s national heroes who, over the last 2000 years, have led the country in its repeated expulsions of foreign invaders and whose exploits have inspired subsequent generations of patriots." [Source: Lonely Planet]
One dominant theme that characterized the first three quarters Vietnam’s history was "the grim resistance by the population against Chinese imperialist domination, which persisted century after century, time and again, broke out in the form of armed insurrection.
Names for Vietnam
Formal Name for the country: Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cong Hoa Xa Hoi Chu Nghia Viet Nam). Short Form: Vietnam. Term for Citizen(s): Vietnamese. Viet is the name of the people. "Viet" was a pronunciation of a Chinese word for "far", which described a nomadic (wandering hunter) people in that region of Asia. These wanderers migrated southward into current-day Vietnam. "Nam" means South. Therefore, Vietnam means "Viet (ethnic) people of the South." The name Viet Nam is composed from the two words viet and nam. In the second half of the twentieth century, the country came to be frequently referred to as Vietnam in the West. In recent years the original Vietnamese spelling has been used by the United Nations and increasingly in scholarship.
According to the Vietnam Travel and Living Guide: "Vietnam should be correctly written as Viet Nam. Viet is the name of the people, which covers the 54 different ethnic groups in the country. Nam means South. Viet Nam means the Viet people living in the South. The name Vietnam came about when Emperor Gia Long desired to rename the country Nam Viet which was the combination of names of regions in Vietnam, including An Nam and Viet Thuong, and later change to Vietnam as seen today. There are many other assumptions about the meaning of the name and the most rational explanation is that the name is the fine combination of both geographical and ethnical factors. In brief, Vietnam means the Viets of the South according to the second explanation or is synonymous with the reunification of different regions in Vietnam in accordance with the first explanation." [Source: Vietnam Travel and Living Guide]
According to Wikipedia: The name Viet Nam is a variation of "Nam Viet" (literally "Southern Viet"), a name that can be traced back to the Trieu dynasty of the 2nd century B.C. The word Viet originated as a shortened form of Bách Viet, a word applied to a group of peoples then living in southern China and Vietnam. The form "Vietnam" is first recorded in the 16th-century oracular poem "Sam Trang Trình" by Nguyen Binh Khiem. The name has also been found on 12 steles carved in the 16th and 17th centuries, including one at Bao Lam Pagoda in Haiphong that dates to 1558. Between 1804 and 1813, the name was used officially by Emperor Gia Long. It was revived in the early 20th century by Phan Boi Chau's History of the Loss of Vietnam, and later by the Vietnamese Nationalist Party. The country was usually called Annam until 1945, when both the imperial government in Hue and the Viet Minh government in Hanoi adopted Viet Nam. Since the use of Chinese characters was discontinued in 1918, the alphabetic spelling of Vietnam is official. [Source: Wikipedia +]
"Annam", which originated as a Chinese name in the seventh century, was the common name of the country during the colonial period. Nationalist writer Phan Boi Chau revived the name "Vietnam" in the early 20th century. When rival communist and anti-communist governments were set up in 1945, both immediately adopted this as the country's official name. In English, the two syllables are usually combined into one word, "Vietnam." However, "Viet Nam" was once common usage and is still used by the United Nations and by the Vietnamese government. +
Throughout history, there were many names used to refer to Vietnam. Besides official names, there are names that are used unofficially to refer to territory of Vietnam. Vietnam was called Van Lang during the Hùng Vuong Dynasty, Âu Lac when An Duong was king, Nam Viet during the Trieu Dynasty, Van Xuan during the Anterior Lý Dynasty, Dai Co Viet during the Dinh Dynasty and Early Lê Dynasty. Starting in 1054, Vietnam was called Dai Viet (Great Viet). During the Ho Dynasty, Vietnam was called Dai Ngu. +
Official names of Vietnam since the foundation of Vietnam. These names are recorded in history books and/or officially used in international diplomacy. 1)Van Lang is considered the first official title of Vietnam. This state was located in Phong Chau (present-day Phú Tho. province). The territory consisted of the Red River Delta and Thanh Hóa, Nghe An and Hà Tinh provinces. This state existed until 258 B.C. Names that followed: 2) Âu Lac; 3) Nam Viet; 4) Van Xuân; 5) Dã Nang; 6) Dai Co Viet; 7) Dai Viet; 8) Dai Ngu; 9) Viet Nam; 10) Dai Nam; 11) Empire of Vietnam; 12) Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North); 13) Republic of Cochinchina (South); 14) State of Vietnam (South); 15) Republic of Vietnam (South); 17) Republic of South Vietnam (South); 18) Socialist Republic of Vietnam. +
Themes in Vietnamese History
Ancient Vietnamese civilization has traditionally been centered in the north not in the south. The traditional Vietnamese homeland is the Red River Delta near present day Hanoi. Saigon remained part of the Kingdom of Champa until 1698.
The Vietnamese trace the origins of their culture and nation to the fertile plains of the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam. After centuries of developing a civilization and economy based on the cultivation of irrigated rice, in the tenth century the Vietnamese began expanding southward in search of new rice lands. Until the mid-nineteenth century, the Vietnamese gradually moved down the narrow coastal plain of the Indochina Peninsula, ultimately extending their reach into the broad Mekong River Delta. Vietnamese history is the story of the struggle to develop a sense of nationhood throughout this narrow, 1,500-kilometer stretch of land and to maintain it against internal and external pressures. [Source: Library of Congress ]
Vietnam has traditionally been more closely linked with China than the other countries of Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese were profoundly influenced by Confucianism and modeled their imperial system after the Chinese imperial court. Theravada Buddhism hasn’t played a big part in the history and development of Vietnam as it has in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The mountains that divide Laos and Vietnam are also a dividing line between Confucianism and Buddhism.
The two most characteristic features of Vietnam’s history are the country’s struggle against foreign occupation and intervention, which has been going on for a good part of the last two thousand years, and the ability of the Vietnamese people to learn from their occupants and finally overcome the foreign rule. The invaders were mostly, but not exclusively the Han Chinese, who ruled Vietnam for over one thousand years from 111 B.C. to the fifteenth century. Vietnam’s own history of dynasties is a characterized by a new dynasty destroying all traces of the one the one that existed before it.

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