Vietnam History From 1400s
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 (1400- 1407).
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 Hue. The name Dai Viet remained under the Le Dynasty (1428-1788) and the Tay Son Dynasty (1788-1802).
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 Nam. 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.