The History of the Hundred Việts

Earlier this month, I presented the ancient Vietnamese legend of Lạc Long Quân, the Dragon Prince, in order to illustrate the origins of the Vietnamese people.  It chronicles the life of the Prince, his meeting with Âu Cơ the Fairy Princess, and the birth of their hundred sons.  These hundred sons would become known as the Hundred Việts, otherwise known as the Bách Việt, or Bai Yue civilization.

In turning our sights from the story of the Hundred Sons over to the history of the Hundred Việts, we have crossed the line from myth into reality.  The Hundred Việts were an actual people, who once inhabited the vast region now known as Southern China, as far back as 4000 B.C.  They were an agricultural people who engaged in farming, fishing, and the raising of animals.  The traditions of these people included dying their teeth to black, as well as the art of tattooing.

The culture of the Bách Việt people was rich with folklore, poetry, and humanistic teachings.  The system of government was at the village level, as many clans, tribes, and families cooperated with each other, with a king or village chief at the top.  It is from these numerous clans that the people, as a whole, became known in modern history as the Hundred Việts.  The main source of food for these societies was rice, as the rich fertile soil of the south made it perfect for rice cultivation.

In reality, there were about ten to twenty different clans, the name Bách Việt (Hundred Viet, Bai Yue), is just the general title to describe the society as a whole.  Bách Việt was a peaceful society that did not engage in warfare with other regions.  The philosophy of the Bai Yue always spoke of peace, compassion, and the importance of the human heart.  Unfortunately, due to their peaceful nature, the society became highly vulnerable to the nomadic tribes from the north, who raided and captured much of the Bách Việt’s land, along with their culture.

As a result of their peaceful ways and unpreparedness for combat, the clans of Âu Việt, Ư Việt, Hồ Việt, Mân Việt, Đông Việt, and many others, slowly fell to the northern invaders, one by one.  The invaders subsequently erased the history of these clans in order to assimilate them, a strategy that proved to be devastating to the people of Bách Việt.  The plans resulted in the vanishment of Việt culture for over two thousand years, only to be rediscovered in the 21st century.

Of the dozen Việt clans that existed throughout history, only one has prevailed in the face of northern aggression.  This one surviving clan, the one clan able to resist the relentless invasions of the north for more than 4000 years, is the clan of Lạc Việt.  The Lạc Việt clan was the main branch of the Hundred Viets, they were the most powerful, and the only clan equipped to fight back.

The descendants of the Lạc are the forefathers of Vietnam today, carrying on the traditions of a culture that has existed for more than 6000 years.  In distant history, they were the warriors of Nam-Việt, Jiaozhi, and then Đại Việt.  Today, they represent the 3 million people oversees, who live from places like Europe, to Australia, to North America.  They are also the 87 million inhabitants of Vietnam today, a population that is slowly preparing to fight for their freedom, no matter what the cost.

28 Responses to “The History of the Hundred Việts”

  1. This is a very interesting piece of information for the cilvilization of the East and History. What are left to be called “the Chinese Civilization” that people on this globe have been led to believed?. Whatever information regarding chinese civilization that are writen and taught at school appears to be not History but only an expression of the writer’s attitude, nothin more and nothing less.

    The people who live in the southern part of current China are mostly the Viet Chinese if new information and science proven it to be true.

    Impressive work.

  2. I hate to say this but all of this Lac Viet nonsense is a fabrication of the Vietnamese Nationalist. The Lac Viet was created under the Han Dynasty and was written in the Han shu during 111AD. Prior to that there were no records of whatsoever about the Lac Viet/Luo Yue. Even the Shi Ji written by Sima Qian during 91BC did not mention anything about the Lac Viet/Luo Yue. The Northern province of Vietnam prior to Nam Viet/Nanyue conquest was not a province of the Yue/Viet…so spare me of the Dong Son culture which is an Austronesian culture that was share among the South East Asians that has nothing to do with Lac Long Quan or Au Co. Further, the story of Lac Long Quan and Au Co is a made up story by Ngo Si Lien, who is the author of Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu that was completed in 1427 during the late Le dynasty. FYI, Lac Long Quan was the uncle of Au Co, they both were the descendants of Than Nong/ Shennong. Ngo Si Lien used several sources from Shi Ji and Han Shu and then created a myth that if anything made the Bach Viet/Baiyue the descandants of a Hua Xia’s legend, Than Nong/Shennong. And if you think Than Nong/Shennong was from Yunnan then you are totally wrong, here’s a hint for you to consider. That is once you know what are the ngu coc or Shennong’s 5 cereals then you will know for sure that Shennong/Than Nong is not from the south as your imaginative mind would lead you to.
    I urge you to read:
    A) Barbarians or not? Ethnicity and changing conceptions of the ancient Yue (Viet) peoples, by Erica Brindley.
    B) Tattoed faces and stilt houses: Who were the ancient Yue?, by Heather Peters.
    C) The Viet peoples and the origin of Nom, by Michele C. Thompson.
    D) The birth of Vietnam, by Keith W. Taylor.
    F) Le Van Huu and Ngo Si Lien, A comparison of their perception Vietnamese history, by Yu Insun published by the University of Houston.

    We live in the U.S., and it’s funny that you still lingered on the myth written by the Vietnamese nationalist. When the world casts the light on us, we will be seen as some sort of joke, it’s like a Vietnamese saying, “frog sitting in the pit of the well”.

    • I don’t think this is the result of the Vietnamese nationalism party that led people to believe this. I found books that are written by both Westerners and Vietnamese Americans that have studied the Vietnamese culture that also stated that the Vietnamese culture is actually an independent culture of its own and that it has existed as a cradle of civilization even before the Chinese have known about it. Try to look at the book The Origins of Ancient Vietnam by a Vietnamese and look at the discoveries that are made about the tadpole alphabet that was founded by the Vietnamese archaeologist. i found there are more evidence that suggested that the Vietnamese were only dominated by the Chinese but they have a custom that goes long before even such invasion would happen. Furthermore, i found that your perception about the mythology of VIetnam to be mistaken because first, you have not realized that such myth was passed down orally and not written down until later on when the printing press came along and give people the ability to write such stories down for others to read. For your sake of understanding, I found that some of the names that you referred to are actually Chinese and they have a history of trying to erase the Vietnamese’s identity from the time we were conquered. This also gives the implication that there has been massive burnings and persecution of Vietnamese and their culture when the Chinese invaded them, which is evident in the Ba Trung sisters and many other brave heroes that you discounted in your argument. This only proves that you are sadly mistaken about your national identity and why you hated the Vietnamese culture when clearly I found the fact that the Westerners have only cast a small light on the culture without ever thinking that there is more to such cultures in Southeast Asia. I would even have to question the legitimacy of your argument for such matter.

      • Have you read my post? Did I name some sources from the Western academics? And all you gave me is a Vietnamese author? Am I supposed to believe some Vietnamese nationalist guru’s works without any credentials? Further, no one disputes that there were people in the Northern province long before the Chinese came down, but those were ethnic races of Malayopolynesian and Austronesian, they’re still inhabited in this earth, as well as in Vietnam. These original people can still be found in the Phillipines, Indonesia, Hawaii, Samoa and all the polynesian islands (and they are dark skin). The modern Vietnameses are admixture with Chinese, Thai and these people proven in the DNA (check out Vietnamese polymorphism DNA by the Hanoi School of Medicine), and they don’t look the same or acquire the majority DNA of these people. And possibly these ancient people were the ones that left the tadpole symbols. In fact, these prople did inhabited the southern coast of China from Zhejiang to Southeast Asia and the polynesian islands for thousands of years. Again, like I said, the original people still live in the regions I mentioned above and they don’t look like the majority modern Vietnamese nowadays. In addition, to your post, you stated that the myths were passing down orally, I find that is a weak argument because anthropologists and archeologists had debunked many cultures with the oral myths, including the Jewish culture. So I think it’s lame to accept that as a fact. Further, Lac Viet/Luo Yue is a Sino language (it makes more sense that the term seems to first came from the Chinese in Sima Qian’s book); therefore, these people wouldn’t call themselves as such because their language were not rooted in Sino. To be honest, I find your arguments are rather weak, and I was hoping you have something better for me to read instead of the same mumbo jumbo from the fanatic nationalist without any scientific evidence.

      • trunghq Says:

        This poor Keith doesn’t know about our bed-time stories nor did he read any kind of books about the oral stories told by our ancestors through centuries. Because of the disappearance of our written records, some crazy Chinese men like Keith can doubt any thing but ingore the great number of works we have collected so far.

      • To be honest, I have always known that poor Keith is going to give such argument to people like us because he is a Westerner thinking in his own perspective. We have a huge advantage where we have both our native culture and the Western ways to analyze our culture and our ancestral’s credibility on telling about such stories. I found it is sad how so many Westerners are too into their own definition of credibility that they don’t even know what credibility really means anymore or what they see as credible. I found that furthermore, his argument does not take into consideration of all perspectives of the story.

      • BTW, don’t criticize Westerners when you don’t have any peer reviewed reports. Unlike you, people with education do not take myths seriously as to your simpleton. Have a good day pondering.

      • I wonder what is more accurate in terms of speaking about the history of the native people in a region, the native that lives there or the scholar?
        When you refer to scholars, I found most of the Western scholars only spend time researching about the culture but has never talked to the locals that have been passing down such culture for a long time. I dare you and other scholars to look towards seeing those resources before criticizing and even considering any of us as ignorant fools.

      • I think even if you are a scholar of your education, without your ancestry, you are nothing. This is a common wisdom that the Vietnamese have and will teach to their kids. Do you even think that we will buy into what the West that easily? We have been scholars for a long time under the Chinese but in the end, it is our origin that kept us as a country together.

      • Oral myths can’t be subject to fact…! Many cultural myths had been debunked by scientific researches. Again, I’m going to ask you how did the 100 eggs become human? That is the foundation myth of the Vietnamese people, care to explain? I disproved many things you had stated from your posts, including the Hoabinian culture and the Haplogroup O3…and your only BS is the oral myth? Then again entertaining me how did those 100% become human in a scientific approach… If not then rest your case because nothing coming out of you has any weight to contribute to facts.

      • Here is one thing I can tell you about the myth: even if we don’t hatch out of an egg, we are born from one family and we see one another as brothers and sisters and that is something we cannot deny among us Southeast Asians. If you know experts like Joseph Campbell, there are many psychological elements in a myth that can lead a “hard-to-answer” question into an easy answer. What the West need is not more rationalization of what is real or not, but rather how to see through the unreal and see what is so true about it originally.

      • I am going to write my last input since feeding a troll like you would only make you look worse than you ability to think. Modern technology and research will rewrite history, not myth… People in the 21st and beyond will acquire knowledge of fact not lies. And lastly, although Vietnam’s geographically is in Southeast Asia (like the US in North America), the influx of people migration can change the ancient ethnic population… Thus, your nationalist and political lies can’t forever cover the truth, especially when modern science starts to infiltrate every culture to dig out the truth. Unless you have any scientific evidence to back your case, I wouldn’t waste my time talking with a brainwashed oral myth fabricator like you. Have a good day!

      • Addendum: The Hoabinhian may not be Malayopolynesian by ethnic origin but Melanesian of origin (Negrito), meaning they were dark skin resembling African. The later may have admixed with the Austronesian. They may look like today’s Semang people. Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=5eEASHGLg3MC&pg=PA286#v=onepage&q&f=false

      • trunghq Says:

        The man also doesn’t know about metaphor and the like. By using 100 eggs, the author wanted his readers to think of 100 clans of Yue peoples. Mine is Min Yue, while the country of Vietnam was once made up by the combination of Lou Yue and Ou Yue. Such a story might sound fabulous in the first time foreigners hear about this but gradually when they listen to the same story, it comes to the listeners naturally as if they are part of the community. Story-telling works well with kids whose parents are Vietnamese and are living far from the motherland. I don’t know who created such works but they are of great importance to the people to survive through centuries under the invasion of China. Men of today are not able to do such a thing.

    • While I did find through research that you were right that we are related to the Austronesians that settle in the area, I think that your argument is still have a flaw where you have not studied enough about the Chinese people since there are a ton of different groups that lives in China and unfortunately, the Bai Yues (or the hundred Viets as the Han Chinese called us) does exist and there has been archeological findings that show that what we Vietnamese do in those rural areas are similar to what our ancestors in the Southern Chinese province are doing, which is making drums, the custom of blackening our teeth, and speaking a tonal language. First thing I will say about the Vietnamese people is that we intermix with a ton of different people over time but originally, we are the ones that belongs to the Bai Yues and we are not related to those that comes from the Philipines or some of the groups in Indonesia (we are related to the Minangkabaus in Indonesia but that is about it on the number of ethnic groups that we are related to). Second, there are many different groups living in China and most don’t even see one another as brothers and sisters like us the Hundred Vietnamese (although the tale is a bit exaggerated, there are still a ton of facts and clues to help us trace our origins). Unfortunately, with your own understanding of Asian people by listening to what the foreigners say about us rather than seeing the original source about the Vietnamese and howe they present themselves to others, you as a Westerner and many other people don’t know that there were not just one Vietnamese ethnic group (the fact is that the Vietnamese that lives in Vietnam are one of those groups) but instead there are many Vietnamese ethnic groups all linked to one bloodline called the haplogroup O3 (which trace its origins to another group of people like the Hoabinhian culture and many others that settle on the area from 15000 BCE). Thus, if you spend the time to understand that, you will know why when you listen to Thai, Cantonese Chinese, and Vietnamese, you will know why these languages sound so similar to one another in tonal and also in words that was borrowed from one another. From this point, I personally felt very angry that the Han Chinese say that we are one of them and that we are a counterfeit of that culture when clearly we are the cradle of civilization that created not only the tadpole language but also the Chinese characters.

      Another thing that I would say about physical appearance. I found that the problem with Westerners don’t relate to Asians the same way as we Asians relate to one another in terms of identifying our “brothers and sisters” through physical appearance. There is a common knowledge among those that are Vietnamese is that our physical appearance (which distinguish us from other Asians) is that of first brown skin, flat nose, large eyes, thick black hair, and bulge heads (which means our heads does not shape like a sharp oval like the Han Chinese and Tibetans, but more like an egg shape where our heads curve or flat out at the back of our heads).

      • I find interesting that you are so uneducated in certain ways that you can’t bring a scientific evidence to your debate. First of all, Vietnamese, Thai and Cantonese are 3 different languages based on linguistics. Vietnamese is a Mon-Khmer language (originated in East India), Thai is a Tai Kradai (originated in Southwest China), and Cantonese is a Sino-Tibetan (orginated in the Tibetan plateau to the Central plain of China). Those 3 language are separately defined by linguistics. Although, languages are a tool to trace ethnic background but it had failed on occasionally to determine the true identity, such as the case of the British and the Irish. In which, their DNAs are closer to the Basques people than the Celts (Germanic tribe). DNA Polymorphism found in modern Vietnamese has been proven and you can’t argue anything from my findings that the modern Vietnamese are a admixture race of the Thai and Chinese, and the Haplogroup O3 can be found in East and Southeast Asia (including the people of the Philippines and Indonesa). While O3 primarily appears in Chinese, it spreads to other East and Southeast Asian, there are 50% found in Chinese males, 40% found in Vietnamese, Korean and and Machurian males, 35% found in Philippines, Indonesia and Melasia males, and about 15-25% found in the Zhuang (Tai), Mongol, Japanese and Polynesians males. So it seems you don’t know what you are talking about the Haplogroup O3! Based on archieological by Kris Hirst, the Hoabinian can be found in other parts of Southeast Asia, not only in Vietnam, ie: Thailand (Spirit Cave and Banyan Valley Cave) and Laos (Tam Hang Rockshelter). And they were Malayopolynesian (dark skin) by ethnic race. Further, you don’t know when the term “Bai Yue” was invented, and again the term “Bai yue” is a Sino language so it cannot be invented by these ancient people who lived in those regions because their languages were not Sino… How clueless can you be? As for mentioning your oral myth, may be you can entertain me to describe how the 100 eggs became human. You are such a comedian with no knowledge of any kind. May I suggest you start reading some reseaches?

      • I think that here is another link that is in Vietnamese but is written by a real expert and not by another Vietnamese nationalist that speaks about the race but it is pretty accurate about us Vietnamese and what I suspected about myself in relation to other Southeast Asians:

        http://chuvietcolacviet.vn/nghiencuu/detail/lac-viet-nghia-la-nuoc-viet-va-cung-nghia-la-bach-viet-5.html

      • Oh I forgot to mention, while 50% of males in China carry the Haplogroup O3, there are some provinces that have up to 80% of Haplogroup O3 found in Han males.

  3. It is clear now that history written by Chinese is not history at all, including Sima Qian. If you need proof, look at what the chinese are claiming their territory at this moment and in front of our eyes. For example, Tibet, Mongolia, Uigher, the South China Sea. I believe that the chinese have been writing future history rather than true history, and they are very good at it. I have no doubt in one hundred years or more from now the academic people would reference from the chinese’s today writing and publish their research in believing that they have credible sources, very much the same people have refereed to Sima Qian and other chinese researchers. By life experience, whatever made in China whether material or history or anyone refers from Chinese sources, I always have my reservation. Thanks to the advanced information technology available today.

  4. My girl-friend grew up in Việt Trì and I often visit Đền Hùng, Hung Temple when I go to her hometown. If Keith has a chance to come to Vietnam, I will give you a free tour to check whether or not we, Vietnamese people today – descendants of Lạc Việt/ Lou Yue clan, are some part of China.

    Exploring a country is not easy as reading a fake Chinese historical book. You must read about the culture of Vietnam before making such stupid comment of yours. I give you a hint, How we survived from the more-than-1,000-year invasion of China?

    To find an answer for this question is to know who we are. We are not Chinese and we are not Han. Please respect our ancestors and do not mix them with us. Even the Chinese agreesive young men on the Internet also disagree with your idea.

    • Geez weez! You better go read Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu and see where the whole myth started, but I guess you don’t because you are just a hearsay and say it without reading. Further, Lac Viet/luo Yue is a Sino language so I’m pretty sure those ancient Viet (Malayopolynesian and Austronesian) wouldn’t call themselves Lac Viet/Luo Yue since their language were not a Sino language. I posted a response to Andy Oceanic, you may want to go there and read what I posted, in case you don’t know who were the people that inhabited the northern region of Vietnam before the waves of migration from the north. Oh btw, better check the DNA polymorphism done by the Hanoi School Medicine to see if the modern Vietnameses are an admixture than your foolish notion that it’s a homogeneous ethnic of Malayopolynesian or Austronesian stocks.

      • trunghq Says:

        I read a lot of books written by Vietnamese historians but I don’t read any shit made by Chinese nationalists like you. Lac Viet is a name for a clan, not a language. We Vietnamese people speak a language called Vietnamese which is classifed into Austro Asiatic family of languages, though I don’t agree. I am also well aware of the fact that Kinh people today is a mixed clan because of many factors such as immigrations from China. My ancestors came from Fujian in China and they belonged to a clan named Min Yue. No one of us considers ourselves Chinese after knowing this fact.

    • Get a grip of yourself, dude! The DNA polymorphism study stated that Chinese all around not just only the Southern Chinese. By the way, if your ancestors came from Fujian with centuries, they were already an admixture of ethnics in China. Further, did you read what I posted on my initial post? Because those articles were written by scholars of Ivy League Universities in the U.S., not China… Lame argument as usual…! You lied to yourself and only accepted the Malayopolynesian and Austronesian as your only ancestors… But the fact is they had their genes in the modern Chinese as well.

      • trunghq Says:

        I think even the Chinese authorities and researchers have no idea about the admixture of ethnics as you said. I got involved in some debates with Chinese users on Youtube and one of them claimed that the population of the lands who were invaded by Han armies were 80-90% the same as their ancestors but most of them think of themselves as Han people (though Han was the one who defeated and enslaved their ancestors). The man who said that disagreed with me in tons of things but this idea of his is brilliant. He and so many other Chinese people dare to speak the truth. I doubt your knowledge is limited to such an extend. You have to interview a great number of people to get the idea that even people who call themselves Han people are really Han (or something else). Some people only claim that Han is a general and broad term regarding cultural invasions of the Han Dynasty or some other dynasties that follow it on other nations. When people learned to speak Chinese, started writing in Chinese, wore what Han people wore, etc and after generations they lost their cultures, wondering whether or not they would be descendants of Han immigrants or of those who had lived there for thousands of years. There have been many immigrations of Han people or those from other clans into Vietnam, but the number of them is quite small to make Vietnamese change into one thing as descendants of Han. I find it fortunate, at least we live far from those people. Your question regarding my ancestor traced back to the year around 1,000 and I thought they were still Yue people, many historians of Vietnam think the same way.

      • I don’t know why my previous post didn’t post but I am going to attempt one more. trunghq, you stated that no Chinese authorities or researchers have no idea about the admixture of ethnics? You argued with the Chinese morons on YouTube who never did their time in doing researches? Let me help you by saying that Chinese (either North or South) and Southeast Asians came from the same ancestors. Let me quote what Dr. Li Yin (renounce Chinese geneticist) had to say:

        “Li Jin is a professor of both the National Human Genome Center in Shanghai and the Institute of Genetics of Fudan University.

        Scientists found that the variations of Y-chromosome in north China are derived from those in south China, a result proved as that a small number of settlers of African origin moved to northern China due to the hurdle of the mighty Yangtze River. And Polynesians, who live in the islands in the Pacific Ocean, are found to have different Y-chromosome to Taiwanese, forcing scientists to reconsider the hypothsis that Polynesians were descendants of ancestral Taiwanese aborigines.

        As a whole, nearly all Y-chromosome variations in East Asia and the Oceania could be found among those in Southeast Asia, adds Li Jin.

        So, the findings also indicate that modern humans migrated from Africa to Southeast Asia nearly 60,000 years ago.

        Subsequently, the migrants were believed to have headed for two directions: one moved northwards to south China and then spread to the country’s northern areas by crossing the Yangtze River, and the other went to Indonesia and ultimately reached the Oceania.

        The Y-chromosome research is an important method for tracing the human migration patterns and the findings make clear the relationships between people groups in Southeast Asia, and East Asia and the Oceania, says another major Chinese researcher Jiayou Chu, who is a professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.

        This latest research result was published in today’s issue of the Proceeding of National Academy of Sciences, a U.S. journal.”

        Link: http://en.people.cn/200007/15/eng20000715_45573.html

        Over several thousands years, genes got mutated. And I’m not surprised of the soutward migration in the last 2-4 melliums which could have shared the DNA to the modern Vietnamese. I hope that would solve the case of your argument with those Chinese morons.

    • Oh lastly, I didn’t know Dai Viet Su Ly Toan Thu was written by a Chinese. What a tool you are. Keep up with the hilarious post, I’m delighted to read your absurdity.

      • I think it is time that you also evaluate your own arguments since the arguments from those scholars in the Ivy Leagues are not always as credible as the natives that lives in the area. There is a reason why my Vietnamese ancestors have such knowledge and speak about our heritage more often with better accuracy than those that are foreigners. Try to take a look at how you, the Westerner,and your ways of thinking in your own Western approach is not being inclusive of us natives in Vietnam. I bet you that even if you look at other countries with their natives, you will sooner or later found that there are a ton of things that you Westerners don’t even know or outright laugh at back then just to find that the natives were right all along about first the concept of their history or even their ways of treating diseases in their area.

      • trunghq Says:

        Đại Việt Sử Ký Toàn Thư was written by SOME writers. I wonder who is the Chinese author that you mentioned? The whole collection of books were written in Chinese and Chu Nom. Also, I don’t think it is the greatest source of information to look at. There are some other famous historians too.

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