05/10/2009 | 11:03:07

The pre-Thang Long period

Archeological discoveries suggest that the presence of the graves in Co Loa date back to the same years as those found in Lao Cai and Nghe Tinh.

They have found the cutting tools of primitive people living in the Stone Age, about 10,000-20,000 years ago.

At the end of the Ice Age as natural changes occurred ancient Hanoi became a flooded area and the inhabitants left for the mountains. About 10,000-7,000 years ago ancient Hanoi was turned into a hilly tree-covered area and the population moved back to settle down.

Archeological excavations have revealed the existence of different cultures a discernible lineage ranging from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age (about 20 centuries BC).

The Hanoi people at that time were engaged in agriculture, livestock breeding, hunting and fishing. In the excavated areas people have found a lot of axes, bronze plough-heads, burnt-rice, husks, etc. and especially bronze arrows.

This evidence of the prehistoric age suggests the existence of the legendary Hung Kings. Next to the Hung dynasties came the Thuc King who really seems to have existed.

About 218 B.C. Qin Shi Huangdi sent a 50,000 strong army to invade Bach Viet where they fought against the eminent leader, Thuc Han. In this period the two groups, Tay Au belonging to Thuc Han and Lac Viet belonging to Hung King, were merged by a reunion. After defeating Tan, Thục Han was enthroned as An Duong Vuong to rule the Au Lạc Kingdom, with Co Loa as its capital, where a spiral citadel was built.

Co Loa citadel, strategically located in Chạ Chu, the intersections of the land and river routes was claimed to be an undefeated fortified palace. The citadel was constructed with a sophisticated compound of walls, moats (connected to the surrounding rivers) and ramparts, which were shaped like the spirals of a snail. This served as a military base for attack and defense, for fights on the water and on the land. Co Loa was built into three enclosures: the outer city, the middle city and the inner city. One entrance to a city is hidden from the others constructing a maze. Co Loa, an amazingly creative fruit of hard labour, has many times witnessed the tragic defeat of Trieu Da, the invaders.

A famous legend relates that Trieu Da, a Han origin, has many times invaded the Au Lạc Kingdom but been defeated. He changed his strategic scheme by offering peace to An Duong Vuong and proposed a marriage between Mỵ Chau, An Duong Vuong daughter and his son, Trọng Thuy who was masquerading as a defector in An Duong Vuong army. Mỵ Chau betraying her father showed her husband An Duong’s magic crossbow trigger made with a claw from a Golden Turtle, which never missed a shot. Her husband stole the bow and gave it to his father, who was then able to defeat An Duong. Co Loa hides in itself a tragedy of a family, a marriage and more than that of a nation. The Au Lac Kingdom fell into the hands of the Trieu, opening an era of the first Chinese domination in Vietnam history.

The conquered Au Lac Kingdom was divided into three provinces: Chiao Chih, Cuu Chan and Nhat Nam. Hanoi used to be a department which belonged to Chiao Chih, later on it was called Tong Binh. Tong Binh department saw development and later it became a province consisting of three prefectures: Nghia Hoai, Tu Ninh (now Tu Liem, Hoai Duc) and Xuong Quoc (now Đong Anh, Gia Lam). The centre of the town is the current inner city.

From the Emperor Thuc An Duong to the Ly dynasty, the Vietnamese people experienced more than a thousand years of wars against the invaders from the north. Numerous sporadic uprisings such as those led by the Trung Sisters, Ly Nam De and Ngo Quyen had achieved independence and sovereign integrity for the nation. During this time, the ancient Hanoi became the capital of the central government.

In 544 Ly Bi built a fortress at To river to successfully wipe out the Luong invaders. He made himself King of the new dynasty, renamed the country Van Xuan, with Long Bien as its capital (present-day Bac Ninh). Then his grandson, Ly Phat Tu, chose Co Loa as its capital and reigned his dynasty until 602 when he was defeated by the Tuy (Chinese) dynasty. Later the Duong dynasty conquered Vietnam and renamed the country An Nam with 12 provinces among which Tong Binh was the capital, later (about the midterm of Duong dynasty) it was called Dai La.

In 938, after defeating the Tangs (Chinese), Ngo Quyen proclaimed himself Emperor and Co Loa (after a thousand years) was again chosen to be the capital which later on was shifted to Hoa Lu, a mountainous area. This became a stable foundation for the Dinh Bo Linh in the early days of his dynasty when he won victories over the twelve feudal warlords to reunify the nation, which was then renamed Dai Co Viet. This ushered in a new era, an era with Dai Viet as an independent state./.

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