At 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.
At 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
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
Hung King. 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Based on historical documents, researchers correlatively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
The Van Lang Nation approximately lasted from
the beginning of the first millennium B.C. to
the 3rd century B.C.
In 221 BC, Tan Thuy Hoang, King of Tan (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 179 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.
In 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
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 (868-979), Pre-Le
dynasty (980-1009) and the beginning of Ly dynasty
In 1054, a flaming bright star appeared in the
sky for many days, which was considered a good
omen. As a result, the Ly King changed the name
of the country to Dai Viet. This name remained
until the end of Tran dynasty.
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 Minh enemy invaded Dai Ngu and defeated
the Ho dynasty.
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
The name Dai Viet remained under the Le dynasty
(1428-1787) and the Tay Son dynasty (1788-1810)
In 1802, Nguyen Anh claimed his coronation to
become the first Nguyen King, starting the Nguyen
dynasty and changing the country's name to Viet
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.
Following the 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.