Learn About the History of the Hồng Bàng Dynasty

In Vietnamese historiography, the Hng Bàng period, also known as the Hng Bàng dynasty, was a legendary, largely fictitious period that lasted from the beginning of Kinh Dng Vng’s control over the kingdom of Văn Lang in 2879 BC to An Dng Vng’s conquest of the state in 258 BC.

The first Hùng king, a term utilized in many contemporary discussions of the ancient Vietnamese emperors of this period, was allegedly Kinh Dng Vng, according to a Vietnamese chronicle written in the 15th century. The Hùng king ruled the nation as an absolute monarch and, at least in principle, had total authority over all of its resources. The I Vit s k toàn th also said that Văn Lang was bordered to the west by Ba-Shu, modern-day Sichuan, to the north by Dongting Lake, to the east by the East Sea, and to the south by Champa. The nation’s capital was allegedly Phong Châu in modern-day Ph Th Province in northern Vietnam.

A Brief History

With some archaeological sites in Thanh Hóa Province reportedly dating back as far as 500,000 years ago, the region that is today known as Vietnam has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. Before more sophisticated material cultures emerged, the prehistoric people had lived constantly in nearby caverns from around 6000 BC. There is evidence that several generations of early people lived in certain caves. Between 5000 and 3000 BC, there were more tribes in northern Vietnam since it was a region with mountains, woods, and rivers.

The population thrived and spread throughout all of Vietnam during a few thousand years of the Late Stone Age. Most prehistoric people resided close to the Hng (Red), C, and M rivers. During this period, the dominant tribes were those of Vietnam. Their domain stretched from the banks of the Hung River in northern Vietnam to the present meridian lands of China. Tribal states and communal settlements grew because of centuries of creating a civilization and economy based on the cultivation of irrigated rice. More information can be found in the amazing history of Vietnam which features its earlier developments onwards. 

The First Hùng King

When Lc Tc assumed control in roughly 2879 BC, legend claims a momentous political event took place. According to historical records, Lc Tc was descended from the fabled Chinese emperor Shennong. He successfully combined all the vassal states or autonomous communities within his domain into a single nation by combining the other tribes. Lc Tc declared himself Kinh Dng Vng and referred to his young country as Xch Qu. Lc Tc established the first monarchical government in Vietnam’s history as well as the country’s first dynasty. He is revered as the founding father of Vietnam, the ancestor of the Hùng kings, and a Vietnamese cultural hero who is credited with passing on the art of rice cultivation to his people.

Văn Lang Kingdom

Kinh Dng Vng was replaced by his son Lc Long Quân, who established the second dynasty of Hùng kings and continued to rule as the Hùng king’s male successors in 2793 BC. The capital was established at Phong Châu, at the confluence of three rivers where the Red River Delta starts at the base of the mountains, and the kingdom was renamed Văn Lang in 2524 BC. From 2200 to 2000 BC, carvings on stones show that the Vietnamese were able to compute the lunar calendar. As a counting device using the lunar calendar, parallel lines were cut on the stone implements.

Âu Lạc Kingdom

The last Hùng monarch was overthrown in about 258 BC by the Shu prince Thc Phán, who also ruled the nearby upland u Vit tribes. Following his conquest of Văn Lang, Thc Phán merged the Lc Vit and u Vit tribes to create the new kingdom of u Lc. In the present-day Hanoi neighborhood of Dong Anh, he established himself as An Dng Vng and constructed his capital and castle, C Loa Citadel.


Rice paddy cultivation was the mainstay of the economy, which also included handicrafts, fishing, hunting, and collecting. Particularly, bronze casting required a high level of skill. The ông Sn Bronze Drums, which depict homes, costumes, customs, habits, and cultural activities from the Hùng era, is the most well-known artifacts.

With the help of the Lc Tng, who managed the communal settlements surrounding each irrigated area, coordinated the building and upkeep of the dikes, and managed the water supply, the Hùng Vngs ruled Văn Lang in a feudal manner. The inhabitants of Văn Lang also grew other crops, beans, and stock, primarily buffaloes, chickens, and pigs, in addition to rice. The arts of making pottery and working with bamboo, as well as those of making baskets, working with leather, and the silk, jute, and hemp weaving.

By the sixth century BC, a major development had taken place: the irrigation of rice fields using a complex network of canals and dikes. This type of advanced farming system would later come to define Vietnamese culture. To collaboratively administer its irrigation systems, it required close-knit village groups. In turn, these systems generated crop yields that were significantly larger than those of rival food production techniques, allowing for much higher population densities.


The most famous artifacts are pieces of pottery from the Red River Valley’s various cultural eras. Here, three pre-Dong Son cultures are identified by Vietnamese archaeologists: Phùng Nguyên, ng u, and G Mun. Despite the use of various decorative techniques, these three cultures’ pottery possesses characteristics that point to a continuity of cultural evolution in the Red River Valley. Vietnamese archaeologists also identify three pre-Dong Son phases of cultural development in the Ma River Valley in Thanh Hóa Province: Con Chan Tien, Dong Khoi, and Quy Chu. The various civilizations in the region between the Red and C River basins eventually merged to become the ông sn culture, which covered an area far bigger than any other culture before it. Archaeologists think it came from a variety of local sources. While ông Sn bronzes, for example, are largely the same throughout northern Vietnam, the regional characteristics of the ceramics are obvious. The majority of ông Sn pottery is made with high firing temperatures and has a variety of forms, but compared to earlier times, the decorative patterns are significantly less and mostly just included impressions from cord-wrapped or carved paddles. Almost no decoration is incised.

Bronze Tools

The ông Sn culture, known for its intricate bronze drums, emerged around 1200 BC as wet-rice cultivation and bronze casting advanced in the plains of the M River and Red River. The bronze drums, tools, and weapons found at the ông Sn sites have Southeast Asian influences, pointing to a native source for the bronze-casting technique. In northern Vietnam, numerous tiny, historic copper mining sites have been discovered. The existence of boat-shaped coffins and burial jars, stilt homes, and proof of teeth-blackening and betel-nut chewing habits are some of the similarities between the ông Sn sites and other Southeast Asian sites.

Vietnam just like the other countries in Southeast Asia evolved from a very rich history. It cradles amazing natural highlights and cultural diversity that is awesome. It offers regional variations of Vietnamese cooking that you can try should you plan to visit the place or try their top three Vietnamese dishes for esteemed guests and enjoy the sumptuously rich cuisines that the country can offer.