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By K. W. Taylor

The background of Vietnam ahead of the 19th century is never tested in any element. during this groundbreaking paintings, ok. W. Taylor takes up this problem, addressing a wide range of issues from the earliest occasions to the current day - together with language, literature, faith and battle - and issues - together with Sino-Vietnamese kinfolk, the interactions of the peoples of other areas in the state, and some of the kinds of govt followed by way of Vietnam all through its heritage. A historical past of the Vietnamese relies on basic resource fabrics, combining a complete narrative with an research which endeavours to work out the Vietnamese earlier in the course of the eyes of these who lived it. Taylor questions long-standing stereotypes and clichés approximately Vietnam, drawing awareness to sharp discontinuities in Vietnam’s prior. Fluently written and available to all readers, this hugely unique contribution to the learn of South-East Asia is a landmark textual content for all scholars and students of Vietnam.

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1 The provincial era The empire comes south After conquering the Yangtze River basin and proclaiming the Qin Empire in 221 BCE, Qin Shi Huang, “The First Emperor of China,” sent thousands of his soldiers over the mountains into the valleys and coastlands of what is now South China. He also sent convicts and women to establish a population of northerners there. After years of hard fighting against local people, Qin commanders built a city on the site of modern Guangzhou (Canton), the main seaport for trade into the southern seas.

Local society and the people who ruled it do not appear to have experienced any major disruption as Han officials garrisoned headquarters at a few strategic locations and began to attract immigrants from the north. As years went by, however, contradictions between imperial policy and local practice grew ever more apparent and eventually led to the violence of the 40s CE. Stories about relations between imperial administrators and the local society during this long era of coexistence were compiled in a book annotated in its present form around five centuries later entitled Shui Jing Zhu (Commentary on the Waterways Classic).

The people who lived in the Red River plain before this time and those who lived there after this time would surely be unrecognizable and unintelligible to each other. At the same time, from generation to generation and from dynasty to dynasty, a population of “northerners” accumulated and became a critical mass of people that were the governing class and its most reliable followers. It is not surprising that, intellectually, Vietnamese history later came to be written as a discussion, even an argument, with imperial Chinese history, for Vietnamese history can be understood only in reference to Chinese dynastic history.

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