Ho Chi Minh Timeline

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Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969):
Major Events in the Life of a Revolutionary Leader

1890On May 19, HO Chi Minh was born the second son to a family of farmers living in Kim Lien, a small village in Annam (Central Vietnam). He was born NGUYEN Sinh Cung but later adopted the name Ho Chi Minh (“He who enlightens”). When Ho Chi Minh was born in 1890, Vietnam was under French control. The French had split what is known today as Vietnam into three separate states — Cochin China (South Vietnam), Annam (Central Vietnam), and Tonkin (North Vietnam). In 1887, France combined these three states with Cambodia, also under French control, to form a federation of states called Indochina. Later, in 1893, Laos would also be incorporated into Indochina. Of the four states, France directly governed only Cochin China, but it indirectly controlled the other regions of Vietnam through a colonial administration that governed the entirety of Indochina as a single unit. The people living in French Indochina had little influence in the administration of their government and few rights. Vietnam was the jewel of the French colonial crown, providing ample natural resources and abundant cheap labor.

1907After receiving a primary education at a local school, Ho and his brother traveled to the city of Hué to attend a prestigious Franco-Vietnamese academy. Three years later, Ho left the academy before graduating and worked briefly as a schoolteacher in the town of Phan Thiet.

1911Ho traveled to Saigon and obtained a job as a cook aboard a French steam ship bound for the French city of Marseille. Although the details of his journey are not well documented, Ho spent the next two years traveling around the world, visiting cities in Europe, Asia, North America, and, according to some accounts, Africa and South America as well. Ho eventually settled in London.

1917Ho moved to Paris during the height of World War I.He adopted the name NGUYEN Ai Quoc (“Nguyen the Patriot”) and became involved in leftist and anti- colonial activism.

1919Ho worked to found the Association for Annamite Patriots, an organization composed of Vietnamese nationals living in France who opposed the French colonial occupation of Vietnam. He authored a petition demanding the end of the French colonial exploitation of Vietnam, which he attempted to present to the world powers at the Versailles Peace Conference held in the aftermath of World War I. His petition was never officially recognized, but his effort was well known in Vietnam.

1920Ho became a founding member of the newly created French Communist Party.

1922Ho founded the journal Le Paria (The Pariah), which served as a venue for anti- colonial activists to express and disseminate their views about the French colonial regime.

1923Ho traveled to Russia for the first time. After subsequent visits, he became acquainted with the most influential Soviet leaders including Nikolai BUKHARIN, Leon TROTSKY, and Joseph STALIN. While in Russia, Ho was trained as an agent of the Comintern*. He studied the thought of Marx and Lenin as well as organizational and revolutionary techniques.

*Founded in 1919 by Vladimir Ilyich LENIN in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Comintern was dedicated to organizing an international socialist movement. Comintern agents were deployed throughout the world, promoting revolution, socialism, and organizing communist branch organizations abroad.

1925Ho traveled to China where he worked closely with Mikhail BORODIN, a fellow Comintern agent, to foment socialist revolution in China. While in China, Ho formed the Thanh Nien Cach Menh Dong Chi Hoi...
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