A Brief History of Ha Noi, History of Hanoi, the history of Ha Noi

Posted on May 16, 2012


Hanoi in Vietnam centered around Hoàn Kiem Lake, has a history dated back to 3000 years. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is located along Red River. It is considered to be the treasure of political and social evolution of Vietnam. With a population of more than 3 million, Hanoi in Vietnam will haunt you back to its past through the remnants of history preserved along the silent alleys of the Old Quarter. If you trace History of Hanoi, you will realize that Hanoi on one hand, offers scenic beauty and shadows of French-colonial rule in the city’s architecture, on the other, it is a city adapting it self to the mall and bar culture of cosmopolitan times.

History of Hanoi says that Hanoi is known by various names like Long Bien, Tong Binh and Long dol as well. Co Loa citadel in Hanoi originated in 200 BC and the locale was turned into a citadel in 866 as Ðai La. It was in 1010, when Lý Thái To, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty shifted Ðai Viet or the then capital of Vietnam to Ðai La Citadel. This place served as the capital of Vietnam till 1397 when it was again shifted to Thanh Hóa ( later known as Ðông Ðô). This place then fell to Chinese troops from the Ming Dynasty in 1408. Ðông Ðô was called Ðông Quan by the Chinese force till it was liberated in 1428 by Lê Loi, the founder of the Le Dynasty.

The Nguyen Dynasty shifted this capital to present Hue in 1802 and named the place as Thang Long. However, the original locale of Dong Quan, which was renamed by the Nguyen Dynasty as Hà Noi (meaning- around the bend of the river or River Interior) in 1831, fell to French regime in 1873. More than a decade later, it became the capital of French Indochina. However, it again succumbed to Japanese annexation in 1940 but in five years, it attained freedom. Interestingly enough, Hanoi even after its freedom, witnessed war between French and Viet Minh forces for some time when it served as the capital of North Vietnam. Only after North Vietnam reunited with South Vietnam on July 2, 1976 to form a united Vietnam, Hanoi became the capital of the consolidated Vietnam.
History of Hanoi also adds that in 2004, the relics of a citadel almost a century old, was spotted in central Hanoi adding to the historic impression of the place for the tourists.

(source: asiarooms.com)



The site where Hanoi stands today has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. Emperor Ly Thai To moved his capital here in AD 1010, naming it Thang Long (City of the Soaring Dragon). There should be some spectacular celebrations in honour of the 1000th birthday of the city in 2010. The decision by Emperor Gia Long, founder of the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, to rule from Hué relegated Hanoi to the status of a regional capital for a century.

Down the centuries, Hanoi has been called many names, including Dong Kinh (Eastern Capital), from which the Europeans derived the name they eventually applied to all of northern Vietnam – Tonkin. The city was named Hanoi (The City in a Bend of the River) by Emperor Tu Duc in 1831. From 1902 to 1953, Hanoi served as the capital of French Indochina.

Hanoi was proclaimed the capital of Vietnam after the August Revolution of 1945, but it was not until the Geneva Accords of 1954 that the Viet Minh, driven from the city by the French in 1946, were able to return.

During the American War, US bombing destroyed parts of Hanoi and killed hundreds of civilians; almost all the damage has since been repaired. One of the prime targets was the 1682m-long Long Bien Bridge, originally built between 1888 and 1902 under the direction of the same architect who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. US aircraft repeatedly bombed the strategic bridge, yet after each attack the Vietnamese managed to improvise replacement spans and return it to road and rail services. It is said that the US military ended the attacks when US prisoners of war (POWs) were put to work repairing the bridge.

(source : lonelyplanet.com)



Hanoi: A Brief History

Aug 18, 2004 – © John Walsh

Hanoi is the northern capital city of Vietnam and is officially the political capital of the country. Most people who travel to Vietnam these days prefer to visit Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City) in the south as this is more lively and is more of a commercial centre. When businesses want to locate to Vietnam, they generally open their main operation in the south but are obliged also to open another smaller office in Hanoi to keep abreast of government regulations and establish relationships. When I first visited Vietnam some five or six years ago, the country was still in the throes of the transition from the communist economic system to a capitalist system. This required the creation of a completely new legal system and, as a result, regulations and amendments were issued in profusion every day. Firms needed to retain lawyers full-time just to keep up to date with the daily changes.

Those days have passed, to some extent, since the entrepreneurial spirit of the Vietnamese people is now in full swing and management education has also been established. Yet Hanoi still retains much of an old-fashioned charm, with numerous pleasant cafes, lakeside walks and interesting restaurants and sites. It also has a most chaotic traffic system – well, system is a word that rather overstates the degree to which the anarchy of motor cycles, bicycles, trucks and buses all charge around the city with horns blaring continuously and all seemingly determined to get to their destination by means of the shortest possible route irrespective of anything or anyone who might happen to be in the way.

Cities usually develop for either or both of political or economic reasons. Political reasons include strategic locations for military fortifications and the opportunity to house religious monuments to help with the legitimization of the temporal rulers. Economic reasons include the confluence of trade routes or proximity to important resources. Hanoi has a history of being a city for both economic and political reasons. It is first known at the beginning of the C11th CE as a riverside village which then assumed much greater importance when King Ly Thai To relocated his capital there. Subsequent kings have all attempted to improve upon the beauty and auspiciousness of the city, even during the periods when it has not been a capital city.

Much of Vietnamese history has been defined by the desire to resist Chinese domination while at the same time benefiting from Chinese cultural institutions. This was also true of the establishment of Hanoi which followed a Chinese model – the T’ang Dynasty capital of Chang’an was also created in a square shaped pattern with 120 different craft guild areas. Hanoi was not able to grow so large because of constraints to its size imposed by the Red and To Lich Rivers, the Kim Nguu River and the West Lake. Nevertheless, Hanoi has become famous for its 36 guilds. It was initially known as Thang Long and provided accommodation for Ly Thai To’s Dai La Citadel. Subsequent enlargement of the city and of the official buildings within it occurred periodically as respective monarchs felt the need and had the resources. Major constructions were carried out in the C17th and C18th by the Trinh lords, who were part of an aristocratic family dynasty who rivalled monarchs in their power. It was the Trinhs who built their own palace area outside the royal residence area – and rather overshadowing it.

These periods of building brought in many artisans and craftspeople to Hanoi and many of these stayed on after their employment, either inside or outside of the guild system, while the growth in bureaucracy and government meant a great increase in military and administrative personnel. These increases were matched by a growth of economic activity in both quantity and quality that have enabled Hanoi to remain a vibrant city until the present time. Most cities in the world that have lasted for a substantial period of time wax and wane over the centuries. Hanoi is unusual in that both the political and economic bases to sustain a city have remained strong over a lengthy period of time. Judging by the energy and determination of its people now, it seems likely that Hanoi will continue to thrive for the foreseeable future. 

(source : archive.suite101.com)


History of hanoi

Since the founding of the country, Ha Noi has been a critical area. For more than a thousand years, Ha Noi was the centre of all resistance movements against northern aggressors to secure the independence of the Vietnamese nation.

Twenty-three centuries ago, Co Loa (now part of Dong Anh District) was the capital of Thuc An Duong Vuong’s country of Au Lac. With a favorable topography and position at the centre of the Red River Delta, Ha Noi progressively developed into a major settlement. In the fall of 1010, Ly Cong Uan (the founder of the Ly Dynasty) moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La Citadel.

One day, Emperor Ly saw a golden dragon emerging from the waters of the Red River, near what is now Ha Noi. Interpreting this fact as a good omen, the Emperor ordered that the name of Dai La be changed to Thang Long (ascending dragon). The year 1010 was a historic year for Ha Noi as well as for the whole country.

Throughout the Ly, Tran and Le Dynasties, Thang Long developed into a strong capital with hundreds of palaces, royal residences, magnificent pagodas and temples. Buddhism and Confucianism developed strongly. The Temple of literature-Royal College (Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam), Viet Nam’s first University, was built (1076) and thousands of  talented scholars came here for training. Thang Long witnessed many glorious victories in the resistance against aggressors; the most symbolic of which were the three successive victories against the Nguyen – Mong army in 1258, 1285, and 1288.

Despite its changing names (Thang Long, Dong Do, Dong Kinh, and Ha Noi (1831), the capital has been the heart of the country for almost a thousand years.



(The establishment and development of Ha Noi)

208 BC An Duong Vuong chose Co Loa as his capital.
2 BC – 4 AD The capital belonged to Giao Chi District (under the Chinese Domination).
454 – 456 AD Establishment of Tong Binh District – including Ha Noi now (under the Chinese Domination).
544 Ly Nam De fixed his capital at Long Bien and built a citadel along the To Lich River.
866 Cao Bien built Dai La Citadel.
1010 Ly Thai To moved the capital to Dai La and named it Thang Long.
1397 Ho Qui Ly renamed the capital Dong Do.
1428 Le Loi renamed the capital Dong Kinh.
1831 Minh Mang established Ha Noi Province.
1888 The President of the French Republic issued a decree establishing the City of Ha Noi.
6 Jan 1946 Election of the National Assembly. The National Assembly elected Ha Noi as the capital of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (DRVN).
2 July 1976 After the reunification of the country, the National Assembly chose Ha Noi as the capital of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam (SRVN).


(source : discovery-vn.com)


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