Independent than around AD under Chinese rule with various dynasties. Roman merchants as early as 200AD followed by the likes of Marco Polo, the Portuguese and missionaries bringing Christianity. French Missionaries were being persecuted and sought help from motherland. France invaded under Napoleon III and renamed the area Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia). The people of Vietnam were starting to seek their independence in the 1900s after learning of Marxism from Russia rev. Japan invaded in WW2 and after they were defeated it left an opening for independent control. France attacked again in the first Indochina war in 1950s. France lost, but the south stayed communist-free with help from US backing. Concerned about the progression of Communism the US was involved in 2nd Indochina war (Vietnam War) as the North began attacking the south. US and others were up against the NVA (North Vietnam Army) along with a communist Gorilla force in the south (Viet Cong). The US lost and all off Vietnam fell under communist control. Vietnam remains communist with close ties to Russia but has recently began allowing more of a capitalistic economy to take root.