Vietnam Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Michael Gott

Mike is a veteran of the New Hampshire public school system and has worked in grades 1-12. His role has varied from primary instructor to special needs support.

Vietnam is a country in Southern Asia. Vietnam recently achieved independence in 1975 after hundreds of years of being controlled by other countries. As a young country, it is still struggling to establish a successful government and economy.

So, Just How Small Is Vietnam?

Vietnam is a slim-shaped country in Southern Asia, and is only 30 miles wide at its narrowest point. The Vietnamese government is about 40 years old. For years, other countries controlled it against the wishes of the people. It is important to remember this when examining the country. Just like the smallest kid in school is often bullied, many countries have tried to control Vietnam. Because of this, their history is a history for independence.

Map of Vietnam
Vietnam Map


The first people to live in Vietnam can be traced back 5,000 years. It was later in 207 B.C. that China took control of the area, naming it 'Nam Viet'. Ninety-six years later, 'Nam Viet' became part of China. About 1,000 years later, Ngo Quyen led an army that forced the Chinese out of 'Nam Viet' and renamed the country 'Dai Viet'. The country of 'Dai Viet' was unstable, and in the 1500s, it broke into two countries, 'Trinh' in the North and 'Nguyen' in the south.

In 1802, the 'Nguyen' formed an alliance with the French and took control of the entire country, naming it Vietnam. Ninety years later, the French took all power in Vietnam from the Vietnamese people, and would control Vietnam until World War II, when Japan invaded the country. After World War II ended, Japan returned Vietnam to the French, but the people of Vietnam resisted, and in 1954 forced the French out of the country. The United States tried to take control of the country after the French left, but failed. In 1975, Vietnam became an independent country recognized by the rest of the world.

Vietnam Is Free! Now What?

After becoming an independent country, Vietnam instituted a communist government and tried to build an economy around government-controlled farms. The government closed off ties with the rest of the world, cutting Vietnam off from the global economy. Learning that Vietnam could not thrive when cut off from the rest of the world, the government opened Vietnam to international trade in the late 1980s.

Politics In Vietnam

A political party is different than a birthday party. In Vietnam there is only one political party allowed: the Communist Party. Communism is an economic/social system in which all (or nearly all) property and resources are collectively owned by a classless society and not by individual citizens. Vietnam's president was chosen by leaders of the Communist Party. The President focuses on the military and chooses a prime minister who is in charge of the government. Citizens speaking out against the Communist Party are jailed.

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