Vietnam’s history has been one of long-running struggles and resistance against foreign occupation, from where the country drew its strong character and sophisticated culture. The family unit is viewed as being of the utmost importance (see Family Chapter page links for further reading), while hard work and perseverance are the nation’s virtues. It is with those traits that the Vietnamese survived and thrived against centuries of occupation by successive Chinese dynasties from 111 BCE until 938. They also overcame civil wars, a period of French colonisation in the late 19th century, and the American War - as the Vietnamese call the American military intervention from 1965 to 1973. Following the years of USSR influence in politics and governance, the government introduced its Doi Moi ("Renovation") policy in 1986, marking the beginning of economic reform to open up Vietnam’s economy to internal and external market forces. Since then, Vietnam has experienced substantial economic growth across the nation.
A chronicle of key events in Vietnam’s history: