Vietnam, first of all, is an oddly shaped country, stretching like a letter "S- along the coast of mainland Southeast Asia from the Chinese border to the gulf of Thailand. Vietnam measures over 1,000 miles from north to south and often less than 100 miles from east to west. Its western border is a string of mountains known to the Vietnamese as Truong Son (Central Mountains). Beyond the Truong Son lie Vietnam's immediate neighbors, Laos and Cambodia. Its eastern border is the South China Sea. The entire country lies within the tropical zone. It is a region of dense jungles, swamps and lush rice paddies. The temperature rarely falls below fifty degrees, and usually averages in the eighties and the low nineties.
HISTORY AND CULTURE.
1. For one thousand years, Vietnam was part of China. Chinese officials administered the territory and attempted to assimilate the Vietnam population into Chinese civilization, then, one of the most advanced in the entire world. And honestly, who wouldn't want to be a part of the most advanced empire in the world? They invented firecrackers for Pete's sake!.
2. The Chinese had a great influence over the Vietnamese's way of life, including their educational, social, and political systems. Chinese political and social institutions were introduced. Vietnamese education was based on the Confucian concept of the civil service examination system. Chinese style also became dominant in literature and the arts. Educated Vietnamese conversed and wrote in Chinese, and the Chinese system of ideographic characters was adopted as the written form of the Vietnamese language. At the same time, much of the poetry, architecture and painting retained themes distinctive to Southeast Asia.
3. To the Chinese, the absorption of the Red River Delta represented the expansion of a superior civilization over people of a primitive culture, a concept of "manifest destiny- not unlike the westward expansion of the United States in the nineteenth century.