Vietnam - Anthropology Culture Study

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Alexander David Garsez
ANT 1310 -21 – Hughes
4/28/2012
Colonization Project

Southeast Asia is home to many people and countries today. The United States is very familiar with the state internationally recognized as the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam; it is commonly referred to as Vietnam in verbal and printed English-American language. This is because of the relatively recent U.S. and Vietnam War between 1963 and 1974. The influence of this war is still seen today. The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam was formed in 1975 after the fall of Saigon and the South Vietnamese government. U.S. involvement with the state extends back roughly twenty years before this when Japan was forced to surrender to the U.S. in 1945. Japan had occupied much of Southeast Asia during WWII after defeating the French colonial empire that had been established since 1893. Vietnam is a peninsular coastal country located in a very pivotal area. When the French first established colonial power there, it was in competition with Britain for dominance in the region. This region was the corner sea passage to the Eastern markets, China and Japan. Trade routes from Africa and the Suez Canal, seeking to reach China, would have to pass under India and around the Southeast Asian peninsula to turn northward up the Chinese coast. Vietnam is right where that turn is. It is filled with natural resources for production items that include tin, rubber, and rice. All of which became highly valued manufactured goods during the industrial revolution and the advancements of modern industrial warfare. French occupation of the land was adjacent to the British occupation of Burma, further Southeast on the opposite side of the Thailand delta. This middle region was kept independent from colonial powers for the sake of a buffer zone between French and British imperialism. France’s political realm of influence had been called French Indochina, and its land encompassed the areas today known as Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The inhabitants of Vietnam have lived a remarkably similar lifestyle for thousands of years. During the Vietnam War, American military forces were directed to root out linked communist activity in local villages. This was done by objectively destroying the function of the villages by burning farming lands and buildings, storage centers, and relocating the people of the village. The effect this had in the broad scale situation was the altered state of the Vietnamese culture and economic system. The Vietnam coastline is richly abundant with moisture and vegetation. The temperature and climate are suited just right for the production of rice fields in a regional wide network. Dynastic histories cover the age before European colonial contact had been made in the middle 1800s. However when this happened, the major difference brought into Vietnam besides European contact and thought, was the Catholic religion and its missionaries. For the first time in centuries, Southeast Asians who had been under the effective control of China now had access to organized schools of learning with the production attitudes of imperialistic traders and manufacturers. Vietnamese culture is heavily influenced by the ancient styles of the Chinese in art, philosophy, and religion; however the Vietnamese resent China for the eight centuries of occupation and control which it had exerted in the Vietnamese region. The submission that Vietnam endured came to a halt with the introduction of France in the region. When Vietnamese and French forces had pushed out Chinese control, the Vietnamese were generally relatively relieved to be controlled by a state “not as bad” as the Chinese had been for so long. This era of French colonial power began to change when popular communist and national organizations began to grow in power and influence. Through historical hindsight, this seems like a very natural and predictable public movement for a relatively small underdeveloped country during the 20st...
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