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The historical peoples of Annam (now located in central Vietnam) after many years of contact with the Chinese culture were conquered by China about 214 B.C. The Annamese remained subject to China (with several brief interruptions after 923) until 1428 when they formed an independent kingdom. The kingdom included Tonkin in the north. The Cham kingdom in the south-central area was added in 1472.
When the French forces were defeated at Dienbienphu in 1954, they were forced to withdraw their territorial claims to the country. The Geneva convention divided Vietnam into separate North and South republics. 750,000 Catholics and others with western ties fled to the South. In 1961 the United States came to the aid of the South to resist Northern insurgency and full scale guerrilla war developed. In 1973 an agreement was signed ending the war in Vietnam. Hostilities continued however until 1975 when the South was defeated. Reunification of the country took place July 2, 1976. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the country, including 400,000 who returned to China. Many records were lost or destroyed in the wars. In 1995 Vietnam and the United States officially normalized relations and Vietnam became a member of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), and the United Nations, and signed a trade agreement with the European Union.<ref name="profile">The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Vietnam,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 2001.</ref>
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