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Map of Vietnam showing the conquest of the South over 900 years

Tonkin (Bắc Kỳ in Vietnamese), also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region". Located on the fertile delta of the Red River, Tonkin is rich in rice production.

The term derives from Đông Kinh ()[citation needed], a former name of Hanoi, which was the capital of Vietnam since the 7th century. (The name means "eastern capital", and is identical in meaning and written form in Chinese characters to that of Tokyo.)Le Loi (1428-1788)was a notable land owner in the Lam Kinh region, had a following of more than 1,000 people before rising up against the Chinese Ming regime. Following his victory he mounted the throne and established himself in the old capitol of Thang Long (Ascending Dragon), now Ha Noi, which was also called Dong Kinh meaning 'Royal Capital of the East' - is spelled exactly like Tokyo using the Chinese script. As evidenced in 'The Gio Publishers' a reputable publication in SRV historic writings (VN-TG-8-103-1) 'wandering Through Vietnamese Culture' by Huu Ngoc.


The area was called Văn Lang by Vietnamese ancestors at around 2000-100 BCE. Evidence of the earliest established society other than the Đông Sơn culture in Northern Vietnam was found in Cổ Loa, the ancient city situated near present-day Hà Nội. According to Vietnamese myths the first Vietnamese peoples descended from the Dragon Lord Lạc Long Quân and the Immortal Fairy Âu Cơ. Lạc Long Quân and Âu Cơ had 100 sons before they decided to part ways. 50 of the children went with their mother to the mountains, and the other 50 went with their father to the sea. The eldest son became the first in a line of earliest Vietnamese kings, collectively known as the Hùng kings (Hùng Vương or the Hồng Bàng Dynasty). The Hùng kings called the country, which was then located on the Red River delta in present-day northern Vietnam, Văn Lang. The people of Văn Lang were referred to as the Lạc Việt.

Tonkin (French colony)

France assumed sovereignty over all of Vietnam after the Sino-French War (1884-1885). The French colonial government then divided Vietnam into three different administrative territories. They named the territories: Tonkin (in the north), Annam (in the center), and Cochinchina (in the south). These territories were fairly arbitrary in their geographic extent. The vast majority of the Vietnamese regarded their country as a single land and fought for much of the next 90 years to achieve unification. This occupation of the French was essentially pre-WW II as during part of the war Japan had taken over, until the Allies had the Northern part surrender taken by China and the Southern surrender by the British as decided by Truman at the Potsdam Convention stating an intending to hand back to French rule as before two colonies and a Protectorate, so it is a little confusing and needs further expansion with <citations> of the Tonkin part for this article. However in 1954 the Viet Minh Army defeated the French at Dien Bien Phu battle,then Ho Chi Minh declared it the DRV (Democratic Republic of Vietnam) in Ba Dinh square that same year. Cross references to the other two parts of the Puppet Kingdom of Emporer Bao dai under the French at Hue for the Central part of Vietnam (formerly Cochin China) and the Southern portion (Formerly Annam).

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