111 BC (BCE): Vietnam is ruled by the Chinese, who named the country Annam, which meant 'Pacified South'. The Vietnamese people resented Chinese rule and tried always to resist.

40 AD (CE): The Chinese executed one of the leaders of a Vietnamese tribe. His wife and her sister, who became known as the Trung Sisters, rallied other tribal leaders. Their armies defeated the forces of the Chinese governor, who fled Vietnam. The Trung Sisters became queens of their part of Vietnam. Three years later, the Chinese defeated the Vietnamese. The Trung Sisters, rather than surrender, threw themselves into a river.

150 CE: Another famous and heroic woman, Trieu Au, led an army of 1000 men into battle against the Chinese. She rode on an elephant and wore gold armour. Her army was defeated.

939 CE: The Chinese were defeated and Vietnam was now independent. Many different families now different parts of Vietnam.

Part of the Citadel in Hue. ©kidcyber

Part of the Citadel in Hue. ©kidcyber

1802: Nguyen Phuc Anh took control of Vietnam and declared himself Emperor Gia Long, and in 1804 he began work on his palace and citadel in Hue on the banks of the Perfume River. It was similar to the Forbidden City where Chinese Emperors lived. Much of this still remains today, and sections are being restored to they way they looked.

1859: The French occupied Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City Hall, a fine example of French architecture that can be seen in Vietnam still.  ©Getty Images

Ho Chi Minh City Hall, a fine example of French architecture that can be seen in Vietnam still.  ©Getty Images

1885: All of Vietnam was colonised by the French, together with Cambodia and Laos in an area that was then known as French Indo-China.

1940: During the Second World War, France was defeated by Germany. Germany's ally, Japan, occupied Vietnam.

1945: The Vietnamese, led by Ho Chi Minh, drove the Japanese out of the country. Vietnam was declared to be the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. The French returned, and Ho Chi Minh’s troops continued to fight for another 8 years.

1954: The French were defeated and left Vietnam. A conference of world leaders decided to divide Vietnam into two separate states. The north was the Communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam with its capital in the city of Hanoi. The south was the non-communist Republic of Vietnam, with its capital in the city of Saigon.

Now called Reunification Palace, this is where the President of South Vietnam lived. ©Getty Images

Now called Reunification Palace, this is where the President of South Vietnam lived. ©Getty Images

In the south, the government was unpopular and was replaced by military rulers (men from the armed forces). People in the south who wanted south and north to become one country of Vietnam, were called the Viet Cong. They fought against the army of the south. The North Vietnamese supported the Viet Cong in their fight.

In 1965, the United States of America sent troops to south Vietnam to help fight against the Viet Cong and the Northern Vietnamese. A few weeks later, Australia and New Zealand also sent troops to South Vietnam. In the west, this was called the Vietnam War, but the Vietnamese called it The American War.

Ho Chi Minh remains a hero of Vietnam: his vision was for a united country under one government. Photo©Getty Images

Ho Chi Minh remains a hero of Vietnam: his vision was for a united country under one government. Photo©Getty Images

U.S. planes dropped bombs and sprayed poisonous chemicals onto large areas of land, to destroy the forests which gave shelter and food to the Viet Cong fighters. Bombs were also dropped on North Vietnam.

In 1970, the Australian Government decided to bring Australian troops home from Vietnam. The last Australian troops returned home in 1972.

In 1972, the North Vietnamese invaded South Vietnam. Fearing that other countries would become involved and enlarge the war, a ceasefire agreement was signed between North and South Vietnam, the Viet Cong and the U.S.A. All American troops were gone from the country by 1974.

In 1975, after a bit more fighting between the North and the South, the war was over. The North had won and the country became known as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh, the man whose vision it was that Vietnam should be united as one country run by Vietnamese people rather than other nations, did not live to see this. He remains a hero to Vietnamese people.

In total, 223,748 South Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives, approximately 4 million Vietnamese people were killed or injured during the war, in both North and South Vietnam. The number of Americans killed was 58,183 and thousands more were wounded. The number of Australians killed was 496 and 2398 were wounded.

Today, the Vietnamese people are still suffering the harmful effects of the poisonous chemicals that were sprayed over their land during the war.

Read about Australians in the Vietnam War:

http://vietnam-war.commemoration.gov.au