|Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)|
Vietnam (वियतनाम) is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, with Ho Chi Minh City as the most populous city.
Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.
The name Việt Nam (Vietnamese pronunciation: [viə̀t naːm]) is a variation of Nam Việt (Chinese: 南越; pinyin: Nányuè; literally "Southern Việt"), a name that can be traced back to the Triệu dynasty of the 2nd century BC. The word Việt originated as a shortened form of Bách Việt (Chinese: 百越; pinyin: Bǎiyuè), a group of people then living in southern China and Vietnam. The form "Vietnam" (越南) is first recorded in the 16th-century oracular poem Sấm Trạng Trình. The name has also been found on 12 steles carved in the 16th and 17th centuries, including one at Bao Lam Pagoda in Hải Phòng that dates to 1558. In 1802, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (later become Emperor Gia Long) established the Nguyễn dynasty, and in the second year, he asked the Jiaqing Emperor of the Qing dynasty to confer him the title 'King of Nam Viet/Nanyue' (南越 in Chinese) after seizing Annam's ruling power but the latter refused since the name was related to Zhao Tuo's Nanyue which includes the regions of Guangxi and Guangdong in southern China by which the Qing Emperor decide to call the area as "Viet Nam" instead. Between 1804 and 1813, the name Vietnam was used officially by Emperor Gia Long. It was revived in the early 20th century by Phan Bội Châu's History of the Loss of Vietnam, and later by the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (VNQDĐ). The country was usually called Annam until 1945, when both the imperial government in Huế and the Việt Minh government in Hanoi adopted Việt Nam.
Places of interest
The northern part of Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939. An independent Vietnamese state was formed in 939, following a Vietnamese victory in the battle of Bạch Đằng River. Successive Vietnamese imperial dynasties flourished as the nation expanded geographically and politically into Southeast Asia, until the Indochina Peninsula was colonised by the French in the mid-19th century.
Prehistory: Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of humans in what is now Vietnam as early as the Paleolithic age. Homo erectus fossils dating to around 500,000 BC have been found in caves in Lạng Sơn and Nghệ An provinces in northern Vietnam. The oldest Homo sapiens fossils from mainland Southeast Asia are of Middle Pleistocene provenance, and include isolated tooth fragments from Tham Om and Hang Hum. Teeth attributed to Homo sapiens from the Late Pleistocene have also been found at Dong Can, and from the Early Holocene at Mai Da Dieu, Lang Gao and Lang Cuom. By about 1,000 BC, the development of wet-rice cultivation and bronze casting in the Ma River and Red River floodplains led to the flourishing of the Đông Sơn culture, notable for its elaborate bronze Đông Sơn drums. At this time, the early Vietnamese kingdoms of Văn Lang and Âu Lạc appeared, and the culture's influence spread to other parts of Southeast Asia, including Maritime Southeast Asia, throughout the first millennium BC.
Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria) writes .... When the Saka people moved still further in the far eastern countries, they founded a city named Vaisali in Burma, which became the capital of Arakan, ruled over by the Hindu dynasty of
The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of p.196
Dhanyawati from 8th century AD. to 11th century A.D., and which is now identified with Vaithali village, surrounded by monuments ancient Vaisali. It is further interesting to note that the ancient Kambuja (modern Cambodia and Cochin-China, or Kampuchia Kambojia, Thailand-Dahiland?) and Ayuthya = Ayodhya, which was made capital by a chief of Utong, who assumed the title of Ramadhipat in 1350 A.D. in Siam (Thailand or Dahiland) are unmistakably reminicent of the migrations and settlements of the Sakas, Kambojas and probably Manvas (Manns)  also in those countries in olden times (For ancient Indian Literature in Java and Bali islands, see Weber, 1914; 189 195, 208,229, 271, 280). Jitra or Jatra, a place name in the plains of Malaya, may well be attributed to the old Saka Jats (Mall or Malli from ancient Malloi) in that peninsula, probably known as Malaya after them.
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- Mathur op.cit., p. 883. Radha Kumud Mukerji, Anc.Ind. Allahabad, 1966, pp. 489f
- Radha Kumud Mukerji, op.cit., p. 492.
- Ibid. Mathur, op.cit., p. 37. Takakusu, A record of the Buddhist Religion as practised in Ind. and the Malay Archipelago, Delhi, 1966, p. 41. Chaturvedi, Vimalkant: Bankok City of Buddha Temples. in 'The Suman Sauram' (Hind i), Jhandewala Estate, Rani Jhansi Marg, New Delhi, May 1988, p. 49. The city was destroyed by the Burmese army.
- Ency. America, No, 28, p.107. about 100,000 Indians [of Jat tribes of Dahiya (Dahae) and Mann?) migrated to Vietnam in prehistoric time. (within brackets mine).