My visit to Hanoi in January 1991 included a brief tour north of the city to Co-Loa, the site of an early Vietnamese kingdom known as the Kingdom of Au-Lac. This kingdom lasted from 257 to 208 B.C.E. and was one of the earliest in the ancient period of Vietnam's history.

The ruler of the kingdom and builder of Co-Loa, its citadel and capital, was An-Duong-Vuong. He was the first king of the Thuc Dynasty.

Co-Loa is today a village in the countryside in which traditional social and economic activities occur.





When visiting in 1991, the local Vietnamese were restoring a temple, using primitive implements.


The original temple was built in honor of King An-Duong-Vuong.



His kingdom was a military one based on conquest and force. This is still suggested by the studies of Vietnamese archaeologists and by the illustration here. Co-Loa was once called "Old Snail City" because the citadel's walls resembled concentric rings of a snail shell. Co-Loa today remains a major archaeological site in northern Vietnam.




Rice culture and brick-making were the most evident economic enterprises in Co-Loa in 1991.



The kingdom ended when a Chinese general conquered Co-Loa in 208 B.C.E. and replaced it with the Kingdom of Nam-Viet. Over long periods of time, northern Vietnam was an area of maximum Chinese influence, but Co-Loa was once more the Vietnamese capital under the Ngo Dynasty (939-965 C.E.). The Chinese, however, were long a formidable neighbor, and Co-Loa was difficult to defend, being located on vast plains.




Return to Pre-Colonial Vietnam Page

Return to Interactive Outline History of Vietnam