Location: This relic of an ancient urban area and military citadel is located in Co Loa Village, Dong Anh District, Ha Noi.
Characteristic: Throughout history, Co Loa was nominated twice as the capital of Viet Nam: the first time during the An Duong Vuong era in the late 3rd and early 2nd century BC, and the second time during the Ngo Vuong Quyen reign in the middle of the 10th century.
The three ramparts archeological relics from the Bronze and Iron ages are 16km long. The complex of religious and commemorative relics includes Ngu Trieu Di Qui Communal House, My Chau Temple, and Bao Son Pagoda. Mystical relics such as Ngoc Well, Flag Tower, and Ngu Xa Castle make of this area a culturally and historically interesting area.
Located on a beautiful countryside, outskirt of Hanoi, 17km away from Hanoi downtown, Co Loa Citadel is completely different to other historical relics. This relic is considered as the special cultural cradle of both Hanoi City and Vietnam generally. In the past, Co Loa was the capital of Au Lac Kingdom – An Duong Vuong dynasty (3rd century BC) and of Dai Viet kingdom – Ngo Quyen dynasty (10th century). Co Loa is a vestige and prominent evidence that still exist until now. Co Loa Citadel is regarded as the most ancient citadel with largest size and highest scale, its design is also listed into the most unique citadel in Vietnam’s history of constructing ramparts during the old days.
Co Loa Citadel was built in a spiral-shaped type (hence called Loa citadel – a speaker shape citadel). According to the legend, the citadel has 9 walls, and is surrounded by deep moats which could let boats transfer easily. Nowadays, there are only 3 walls left, with total length of 16 km: the Outer Wall (Thành ngoại) with perimeter of 8km, the Middle Wall (Thành trung) has polygonal shape and perimeter of 6.5 km and the Central Wall (Thành nội) has rectangular shape, perimeter of 1.6 km, used to the residence of King An Duong Vuong with the court, today it’s the place where the temple is built and as well as other historical relics of Co Loa.
It was said that long times ago, the wall was built up simultaneously with the ramparts and all three walls were surrounded by moats. Located at the eastward of the wall, the Đầm Cả (Main Lagoon) has 5 streams with the purpose of bringing water into the Middle Wall and the Central Wall, created a closed circle for making comfortable and flexible infantry bases and sailor bases. Today, the walls’ height is 4-5 meter on average, somewhere is up to 12 meters high, while the wall base is 20-30 meter wide.
At that time, the weapons used in the citadel were only swords, spears, bows and arrows, and the scale of Co Loa Citadel was very solid.
Co Loa Citadel is connected closely with miraculous and interesting legend of the Vietnamese, for example: An Duong Vuong King established its kingdom, constructed the Citadel; the magic crossbow gift from the golden turtle which can kill hundreds of invaders; the sorrowful love story between My Chau (Hung King’s daughter) and Trong Thuy (son of Trieu Da King – enemy of Hung King), etc. Throughout many dynasties, this ancient Citadel together with its historic figures has become a legend in every sub-conscious mind of Vietnamese people.
Traveling to Co Loa historic Citadel Complex, the Thuong Temple (An Duong Vuong Temple) is the most attractive place to visit. It was built in 1687 in Le Hi Tong King’s dynasty, on an old hill that once situated the King’s palace. In front of the temple there is a dragon stone which is carved very sophisticated, describing a pair of dragons stroking their mustaches vividly. Hence, it becomes the typical icon of sculpture art in Le dynasty.
Nowadays, Co Loa Citadel has not only been a cultural heritage but also a lively evidence of the creation, the technique skill as well as the ancient Vietnamese culture in their struggle of protecting Vietnam from its invaders, it also becomes the ideal destination for travelers who want to discover the cultural values, the familiar landscape of a peaceful northern village.
Every year, on the 6th of first month lunar calendar, the Co Loa villagers organize a solemn festival to commemorate those built up the Citadel, especially express their great attitude to An Duong Vuong King – the founder of feudal Au Lac Kingdom. The best way to travel to Co Loa citadel is to take a biking tour and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and natural landscape of the countryside of Hanoi with moat, rivers, mounds.
Co Loa from 16th – 18th centuries
Since the sixteenth century, the history of Co Loa turned to a new page. Nearly a century affected by large fluctuations which had a direct impact on the process of rural development here because Co Loa original residents had been evicted by the Mac, the village formed in the XI – XV centuries within the Citadel would have been seriously disturbed by wars and chaos. These events affected the development of Co Loa village, causing the melting pot in this process seems to return to the starting mark with the migration of groups of residents from other provinces in the country.
Since the late sixteenth century and early seventeenth century, Co Loa witnessed the migration of many groups of residents from other provinces to settle. The genealogy of oldest families in Co Loa showed that their ancestors migrated here during this time. The stele in house of worship of the Dao family in Cho Hamlet said they settled here about 400 years ago. The earliest families had only about 12 – 15 generations. For example, the Nguyen Dang family in Mit Hamlet has gone through 13 generations; the Nguyen Kim family in Ga Hamlet – considered to be the oldest family in Co Loa has gone through 15 generations; the Lai family in Lan Tri with 14 generations. According to steles, the 4 oldest and largest families in Co Loa were Nguyen, Dao, Hoang and Truong, settled here about 300 – 400 years ago. Other families settled in Co Loa for about 5 – 7 generations. Co Loa now has up to 62 families; the main families are Nguyen, Dao, Hoang, Truong, Lai, Do, Chu, Tai, Pham, Tran, Vu, Chu, Le, Ha, Dang, Cao, Bui, Ngo, Duong, Dong, Vuong, etc. Compared to other villages in the northern midland plains, the number of families in Co Loa is quite a lot, partly because Co Loa Commune is a quite large area, but mainly because Co Loa is a commune of immigrants.
After the Co Loa original population drifted away, this became a deserted place to facilitate the settlement of people from other provinces. They came from lots of places to settle in Co Loa, but the process of occupying this new land was a gradual process. The genealogy of the families in Co Loa also shows that the origins of Co Loa residents are diverse: Ga Hamlet with the Nguyen Kim family from Thuong Tin, Son Nam; the Truong family in Huong Hamlet from Ha Dong, Son Nam Thuong, etc. In particular, Co Loa had a large number of families from Thanh – Nghe areas closely related to Le – Trinh army who defeated the Mac in the sixteenth century. They settled in critical areas or areas around the stations, of which Co Loa was an important position.
The families moving to Co Loa generally concentrated together in a certain geographical area; gradually, neighborly families formed hamlets. In Co Loa, each hamlet usually was the residence of a some families such as Chua Hamlet with the Nguyen Van, Truong, Chu, Hoang, Lai and Do families; Cho Hamlet with the Dao and Nguyen Tai families; Ga Hamlet with the Nguyen Kim, Do and Hoang families; Lan Tri hamlet with the Lai, Do, Dao and Ha hamlets; Nhoi Hamlet with the Hoang, Lai and Truong families, etc.
According to folk materials, originally, the families only settled in the old citadel and used the land bank as a natural boundary to separate the hamlets. The first nine hamlets established during this period mainly located in the Inner and Middle Citadels. Chua and Cho hamlets were in the Inner Citadel; Nhoi, Vang, Ga, Lan Tri, Dong, Thuong and Huong hamlets were in the Middle Citadel.
On the other hand, the families grew increasingly strongly; the families were split into several parts and moved from one populous hamlet to the more sparse areas. For example, the Truong and Nguyen families in Huong Hamlet were immigrants from the Chua and Vang Hamlets; the Le family in Mit Hamlet was immigrants from Thuong Hamlet; the Nguyen family in Ga Hamlet was from Chua Hamlet, etc. From the initial focus, the housing switch and a number of other causes led to the intermingling among the family residence.
The large families settled in Co Loa soon had the largest and increased membership, so they were present in all the villages in Co Loa. The transition from one populous area to sparse areas – mostly expanding to the outer citadel – was the reason of the formation of new hamlets next to the first nine hamlets: Bai, Mit, Trai Xom Vang and Tu Xom Vang hamlets. Some of the families went beyond the Outer Citadel and established a new small village named Trai Xom Vang. The first residents of the Bai Hamlet included a person from Chua Hamlet, two people from Vang Hamlet; Mit Hamlet had some people from Thanh Hoa province and the main families of this hamlet were Nguyen Dang, Le and Tran. But the neighborhood was originally just a small area of residence; it was not regarded as an independent hamlet. Along with the development of the families here, the area became an independent hamlet, and merged with the hamlets in Co Loa. The merger of these hamlets was in 1704.
Thus, in the early eighteenth century, Co Loa had 11 hamlets, including nine old hamlets plus Bai and Mit Hamlets; Trai Xom Vang was incorporated into Vang Hamlet and was not regarded as an independent hamlet.
The gathering and development of families in Co Loa from the end of the sixteenth century formed the basis of the residence units – hamlets, and larger units – giáp. Folk documents in Co Loa show that giáp in this area was often the gathering of a number of nearby hamlets. The specific development of hamlet structure in Co Loa in this period still needs further study, but it can be claimed that Co Loa was composed of many parts, including different hamlets and the main factors to connect these parts into a common village were the intermix of residence areas and the effect of mental factors.
The majority of Co Loa residents during this period were immigrants. To live in a foreign land which had a long and majestic history, they made the brightest history of Co Loa, the period under King An Duong Vuong’s reign, their spiritual fulcrum. They resided into hamlets in the old citadel, worshipped King An Duong Vuong and bound together in the affection of villages and hamlets. So, the event the residents built Thuong Temple for worshipping An Duong Vuong can be seen as the time the residents of the hamlets in Co Loa consolidated into a large village. The time of construction of Thuong Temple can not be determined. However, according to the most ancient stone steles, i.e. Tạo lập thạch bi, Cung phụng sắc lệnh tôn phong chuẩn cấp and Nhiêu miễn tô dịch khắc chí, ký phụng sự established in 1654, 1683 and 1711 respectively, etc., we can guess that the temple was built in the seventeenth century.
Therefore, Co Loa Village was probably formed as a large unified village consisting of many hamlets during this time. Thuong Temple stele says that there was a land dispute between Co Loa and Duc Tu; however, the disputed land was part of the Co Loa village. This proves that in the XVIII century, Co Loa was a separate village, independent of the other villages in the region.
Therefore, the end of the seventeenth century was probably the time marking the merger of hamlets in Co Loa into a large village and also marking the formation of the villages here. The command of King Le – Lord Trinh at the second half of XVII such as the command in 1671 and 1864, etc. specified as Co Loa commune, Dong Ngan District.
Thus, at the end of the XVII century, Co Loa became an incorporated village from many hamlets and was also a commune – a base-level administrative unit in the feudal system. From the second half of XVI century to the second half of XVII, after living for nearly a century, the residents from many places to Co Loa turned this area into a developed rural area.
In the seventeenth century, the most prominent event was the land dispute between Co Loa and Duc Tu villages. This event was recorded quite specifically on the steles of Pháp điện sắc lệnh carved in 1708, Xã hội bằng tích in 1717, Đông thành bi kỷ in 1919. The disputed land was in the east of Co Loa – Sa market. Co Loa and Duc Tu Communes traded together in Sa market, but according to the Official Land Register, this market belonged to Co Loa Commune. To keep the concord, Co Loa commune did not charge market-fees to Duc Tu villagers; so the boundary between the two villages blurred. However, Duc Tu Commune claimed more space for the market and field, making Co Loa Village to sue to regain the land of the village. The proceedings extended to the 1708 and this land was claimed to belong to Co Loa. To confirm the ownership of the land and to avoid disputes later, Co Loa Village established the stone stele Pháp điện sắc lệnh in 1708.
In addition, there was a land dispute over the 50-hectare field of Luong Quan and Duc Tu Communes adjacent to the land citadel of Co Loa Commune. Because the villagers of the Luong Quan and Duc Tu Communes resided far away so they often sold the land to Co Loa people to grow agricultural products; while the Royal Annals Eunuch Hoang Nhu Long occupied the worship field of Co Loa villagers for cultivation. The high-raking mandarin gave a verdict that he had to return the fields to Co Loa village for worshipping King An Duong Vuong and allowed him to use the 6 hectares of land of Luong Quan and Duc Tu villages contiguous to Co Loa Commune on condition of paying annual tax.
According to folk memories of An Duong Vuong, Au Lac State was a factor linking small hamlets in the village into a large melting pot – Co Loa Village and also the factor linking Co Loa village to nearby villages. Co Loa was twinned with seven other villages who worshipped An Duong Vuong, including Co Loa, Cau Ca, San Gia, Dia Bi, Van Thuong, Mach Trang, Thu Cuu and Ngoai Sao which had close relations to one another. On the Thuong Temple Festival, the eight villages together donated money for organizing the festival. In the procession celebration of An Duong Vuong’s palanquin, the villages were clarified.
Besides Thuong Temple, for convenience and also to be the worship place for the whole village to gather in the festival and discuss general affairs, at the end of the seventeenth century, a common house of the village was built on the land which was considered the old court of King An Duong Vuong – Ngự triều di quy Communal House. Legend had it that the communal house had been moved from Manh Tam Tao Forest, so Co Loa later was twinned with both villages. Ngự triều di quy Communal House was situated in the cluster of communal house, Bao Son Temple and small temples for worshipping My Chau. At the end of the seventeenth century, Co Loa village had communal houses, temples, pagodas and small temples as the place of worshipping like other villages in the North.
In addition to land for housing, Co Loa residents quickly renovated the remaining land into arable fields for agricultural production. The remaining sections of the dry moat were turned into canals for irrigation. Much of high land was turned into fields for growing other agricultural products. Many remaining citadel sections were used to prevent flooding and protecting crops.
In addition to agricultural production, the village developed a number of handicraft villages tied to ceremonial occasions of worshipping An Duong Vuong such as popcorn and rice-cake which were indispensable in the festival at the shrine. Co Loa people also traded in Sa market with the nearby villages. And Sa market brought an important source of income for Co Loa village.
Co Loa in 16th century
To the sixteenth century, the history of Vietnam began a turbulent period with the war among different feudal corporations for power struggle; the country was always in a state of confusion and chaos. Co Loa was adjacent to the capital, so it was badly affected by fluctuations in the history.
While still under the reign of the Le Dynasty, Mac Dang Dung led the military to crack down on rebel forces here many times and there were failures. Until 1525, Dong Ngan in Kinh Bac was almost stabilized. However, many other forces continued to emerge in Co Loa in the infancy of the Mac. Under the reign of Le Trung Hung, the Trinh also organized many attacks to put down the rebel forces in this area, etc. So, along the length of the XVI century, Kinh Bac in general and Dong Ngan in particular were a volatile place with wars and famine. At the moment, Co Loa was a village in the Dong Ngan District and could not escape from the vortex of intense volatility.
These fluctuations also remained traces in Co Loa folk consciousness to this day. Co Loa village legend has it that “under the Le disorder, the Mac revolted; 18 people performing rites in Thuong Temple carried King Le (?) to hide in the temple, avoiding the pursuit of the Mac military. Thus, in order to punish the village, the Mac “changed the direction of Thuong Temple”, forcing Co Loa people drifting away”.
Although the legend was a little different from the royal history, it can be seen that Co Loa was one of the districts in Dong Ngan which supported pro-Le forces to kill the Mac and when the Mac took the authority, they punished this land. Maybe the punishment was so harsh that Co Loa people were forced to scatter everywhere. The explanation for this incident by folk legend was that because Thuong Temple was rotated and the good layer of earth was cut, the people could not live peacefully and had to leave the village. The rationality of this legend is that, the oldest families in the current Co Loa are also immigrants from other places with a history of several hundred years. These people must have come from other places and settled in Co Loa when the village became deserted because the original population migrated.
The fact that Co Loa was an important area for forces loyal to the Le is also certified by the decree and command of Kings Le – Trinh to the village. The Royal Proclamation in 1679 clearly stated that “He [An Duong Vuong] was straightforward and intelligent, etc. He supported the military to eradicate the Mac and take over the land”. The story of King Thuc Phan An Duong Vuong compiled by Nguyen Binh in 1572 and transcribed by Nguyen Hien in 1736 said that “At that time, (Le Loi rose up in Lam Son), General under the Le Dynasty sent troops to King Thuc temple and prayed the god help them to fight against the enemy successfully. At the midnight, King Thuc warned in the dream, etc. Le Loi acceded to the throne, conferred King Thuc Temple as Supreme God Temple, etc. Later, the god supported Le Trang Tong to regain the country; he chose Co Loa as the main temple of the country.” The details authenticate that Co Loa was an important area of the forces loyal to the King Le rising up against the Mac.
Because of such role of Co Loa at the beginning of the sixteenth century, King Le Trung Hung attached great importance to the area; An Duong Vuong Temple was considered to be the country’s main temple; Co Loa commune residents were exempted from tax collection, mainly for the worship of An Duong Vuong. These were clearly and specifically defined in commands for Co Loa Village in 1645, 1767, 1776 and 1790.
The stone stele Cung phụng sắc lệnh tôn phong chuẩn cấp carved in 1683 at the Thuong Temple also specified that “all residents of Co Loa Commune, Dong Ngan District, Tu Son Prefecture built the stone stele to record the worship of King An Duong Vuong decreed by reigns, etc. 50 hectares of field for worshipping, so that the fate of the nation could last for long.” Co Loa was ordained as a faithful commune; the worship of King An Duong Vuong was considered a great influence work to the ups and downs of the countries. Co Loa in the mind of Kings Le – Trinh was a sacred land.
Co Loa from 11th – 15th centuries
In 1010, the Ly Dynasty set up the capital in Dai La Citadel – later renamed it Thang Long. After more than 40 years (968 – 1009) moved to Hoa Lu – Ninh Binh, the capital of the country was back to the center of Red River Delta.
According to the Geography book of Co Loa, during this period, Co Loa acted as a land adjacent to the new capital of the north, no longer the political center of the country. Unlike the ongoing strong construction process in Thang Long – Co Loa entered a process of “ruralization” with the formation of the new villages in the old Citadel. The citadels of the ancient capital no longer functioned as the protection of the court but acted as the system of protecting the village in the process of formation. At the same time, these citadels became a natural boundary to separate villages and hamlets.
Thus, the function of the citadels changed in the process Co Loa transferred from a city to a rural area. The citadel used to hold all three functions, i.e. capital – military – business functions become a ruin with gradually subsided citadel sections and the tale of a majestic and heroic history among folks.
After setting up the capital in Thang Long, Ly dynasty divided the country into 24 provinces and prefectures (lộ – phủ), assigned chiefs of prefectures and urban districts; under prefecture, there were county, township and village levels. At this time, Co Loa belonged to Thien Duc Prefecture, Bac Giang Province (Thien Duc Prefecture was the name of Co Phap Urban District under Tien Le Dynasty).
To the Tran Dynasty, in terms of administrative organization there were some changes compared to the Ly. The Tran extended the range of provinces, in which the number of roads decreased from 24 under the Ly to 12, including Bac Giang province. Bac Giang province under the Tran Dynasty was no more named Thien Duc Prefecture but included 3 urban districts, i.e. Gia Lam, Vu Ninh and Bac Giang with a total of 11 districts. Co Loa under the Tran Dynasty belonged to Dong Ngan District – one of the five districts of Vu Ninh 3 urban district (including Tien Du, Vu Ninh, Dong Ngan, Tu Son and Yen Phong Districts). Old historical documents known to date do not have any notes about Co Loa under the Ly, Tran. During the archaeological excavations carried out in Thuong Temple area – Co Loa in early 2005, archaeologists found a large amount of ceramics under the Tran. This shows that, under the Tran, ceramic craft can be quite developed in this area besides agriculture.
In 1407, the Ming Dynasty defeated the resistance of the Ho and began to rule Viet country. They divided the dependent administrative units into 15 prefectures and 5 major urban districts under the general management of Giao Chi provincial treasurer. Bac Giang Province was renamed as Bac Giang Prefecture; they established Giao Chau headquarter to rule. The place of Giao Chau headquarter was probably in Dieu Dieu in Gia Lam District. Along with the change of name, Co Loa under the Ming’s domination still belonged to Dong Ngan District, Bac Giang Prefecture, but directly under the rule of Giao Chau headquarter of the Ming domination authority.
To Early Le Dynasty, the administrative organization of the country continued to change, leading to administrative changes in Co Loa. The Le Dynasty divided the country into 12 đạo thừa tuyên (provinces), changed the province under the Tran to prefecture, changed town to urban district and set up the national map. Bac Giang Prefecture was changed to Kinh Bac. The geological book says that “Kinh Bac has 4 provinces and prefectures, 21 districts and 1,147 villages”, etc. In Kinh Bac during the Le Dynasty, there was not urban district level, but prefecture and district levels. Of the prefectures of Kinh Bac, Tu Son Prefecture had 5 districts, i.e. Dong Ngan, Tien Du, Yen Phong, Que Vo and Vo Giang. Basically, the districts compared to the previous periods did not change. Thus, Co Loa under the Early Le still belonged to Dong Ngan District.
According to the geography book: the “Tu Son prefecture has six districts, including Dong Ngan District which had 88 communes and 1 urban district”. Co Loa was one of the 88 communes of Dong Ngan District, Tu Son prefecture, Kinh Bac. The royal history did not have any more information on this issue; the deity story about Thuc An Duong Vuong compiled by Nguyen Binh in 1572 and transcribed by Nguyen Hien in 1736 said that “Thuc An Duong Vuong acceded to the throne, set up the capital in Co Loa Citadel, in Kinh Bac; the old name was Vu Ninh District, Tu Son Prefecture, Yen Phong District, Phong Khe camps (before belonging to Yen Phong); later it was renamed Kim Lu (Dong Ngan District) and Co Loa. The names of the areas recorded in deity stories were the name of those areas at the time of writing the deity stories and the name of later historical periods were used for the previous historical periods. Camps, villages or hamlets neighbors were all forms of rural organization.
Historians believe that in the process of ruralization from the second half of the tenth century, Co Loa Citadel became Phong Khe Camp, and then changed to Kim Lu; to the period of the Le, it was Co Loa in Dong Ngan District. According to the information, in a period, Co Loa belonged to Yen Phong District, not Dong Ngan District. Thus, from the XI – XV centuries, Co Loa changed its name showing that it was in the process of ruralization with the growing population of the peasantry, leading to the formation of larger scale residential units.
Co Loa after Ngo Quyen dynasty
Co Loa was the capital of Early Ngo Dynasty, but in fact it only existed with the proper function of a capital in 6 years under Ngo Quyen’s reign. After Ngo Quyen died, Co Loa became the focal point of the battle for power and in fact, it was just as the base of one of the forces.
The ruling areas of 12 warlords along Red River, Duong River and Tich River, mainly in Red River Delta, were areas surrounding and adjacent to the capital of Co Loa. Besides the reason of occupying the land, it seemed that the warlords intended to develop the power not far from the capital so that they were able to easily strike Co Loa Citadel – the power center of the state, when conditions permitted.
Dinh Bo Linh built his own force in Hoa Lu, away from Co Loa Citadel; moreover, from Hoa Lu to Co Loa, there were many other ruling forces, but when conducting the unification of the country, Dinh Bo Linh attacked Co Loa Citadel first, and then defeated the other warlords. Dinh Bo Linh was prepared on his force for many years to be able to defeat Co Loa, and after less than two years, he defeated all the remaining forces, completing the national reunification. Co Loa Citadel in the unification of Dinh Bo Linh also had an important role. It was the basis, a springboard to develop the offensive to beat warlord Nguyen Thu Tiep in Tien Du (Bac Ninh), Nguyen Khoan in Tam Dai (Vinh Phuc), Do Canh Thac in Do Dong (Ha Tay), etc.
In 968, Dinh Bo Linh completed the unification of the country and crowned himself to the throne. He did not continue to choose Co Loa, but Hoa Lu – his homeland as the royal capital. Co Loa again lost central role in the country. Metropolitan and military values of Co Loa Citadel therefore declined and almost lost with the change of the Yellow River. From a large river, Yellow River gradually became a creek, not enough water to supply for the system of protection moat of the citadel and dried up the waterway which was the source of life of the capital for a thousand years.
In 981, Le Hoan acceded to the throne, founded the Early Le Dynasty and continued to set up the capital in Hoa Lu. In order to stabilize the country, along with implementing policies to encourage production, Le Hoan directly appointed his sons (including adopted sons) to defend vital areas. The king sent 8 out of 9 princes to rule the north of Hoa Lu capital, on both sides of Red River.
The land in the heart of Red River Delta the King attached special importance included Co Loa, because this was the area of the 7th Prince, Dinh Phien Vuong who garrisoned in Tu Doanh Citadel on the bank of Ngu Huyen River. Cương mục chính biên page 27a noted that “Ngu Huyen River flowed through the Kim Anh and Dong Ngan Districts to Yen Phong, Tien Du Districts and then run into Nguyet Duc River (Cau River). This was the Yellow River which flowed in the south, east and south-east of Co Loa Citadel. Tu Doanh Citadel described in this way was probably Co Loa Citadel. The 7th prince must have taken advantages of available land ramparts under the Ngo Dynasty to garrison his troops; and from this citadel, he sent his troops to suppress the rebel forces and stabilized an important area.
Administratively, Co Loa under the Dinh Dynasty belonged to Co Lam Urban District – including a wide strip of land to the north bank of Duong River. To the Early Le, Co Lam Urban District was renamed to Co Phap Urban District. Co Loa under Early Le was dependent on Co Phap Urban District under the rule of Dinh Phien Vuong.
King Ngo Quyen and Co Loa Royal Capital
Ngo Quyen was born in Mau Ngo year (898), 5th year of Can Ninh reign, in the local influential family in Duong Lam commune, Son Tay town, Hanoi.
He was the son of Ngo Man, an influential mandarin official in Duong Lam commune, his Ngo surname is a local influential and patrician family.
The legend has it that, when Ngo Quyen was born, he had three beauty spots on his back. A physiognomist saw and guessed that he can become a lord-over of the region, hence he was named Quyen. Ngo Quyen look handsome, “lightning-bright eyes, leisurely walk like a tiger”, “he had unrivalled health”.
Ngo Quyen’s boyhood was also the stormy period of Duong’s domination in An Nam. An Nam mandarin increasingly proved incapable of controlling the local forces as well as the external forces. Nam Chieu people had onslaught with Giao Chau from the year 858 to 866. After disturbance of An Su (755 – 763) and especially revolt of Hoang Sao (874-884), Duong dynasty have to deal with victims of division into feudal realms, the control of the central mandarin for An Nam is increasingly weaker. The power of the mandarin was dispersed into small areas, so it appeared the village notables who played an increasingly important role in the governance apparatus. Therefore, Khuc family, Hong Chau village notable have established a self-control mandarin in An Nam easily and without much disturbance in the year 905. Khuc family’s forces was weak, confrontative and defeated by the invasion of Nam Han dynasty. But Nam Han’s dominance was not sustainable: in 931, Duong family’s forces in Ai Chau defeated Nam Han dynasty’s mandarin officials as Ly Tien, Tran Bao at the foot of Dai La citadel, Duong Dinh Nghe became a governor of self-control Vietnamese’s mandarin.
Domination of Duong family’s force in Dai La was supported by many other local forces, including Ngo family of Ngo Quyen.
The history described that Ngo Quyen was a talent hero, “having wisdom and courage”. After marriage with Duong Dinh Nghe’s daughter whose name is Duong Thi, Duong Tam Kha’s younger sister, Ngo Quyen became a general and son-in-law of Duong Dinh Nghe, trusted and assigned by the governor to manage Ai Chau, basic land of Duong family in the year 932.
In 937, Kieu Cong Tien, village notable of Phong Chau, murdered Duong Dinh Nghe and became a final Tinh Hai Quan governor in the Self-control period. But the new governor had not firm political support. His scramble for power was protested by many local forces and even Kieu family’s internal force was also separated seriously. In segregation, Kieu Cong Tien hastily asked Nam Han dynasty for help.
Ngo Quyen and His Historical Victory at Bach Dang river
On days of the Winter of Mau Tuat year (938), from Ai Chau, Ngo Quyen led his troops to the North to punish the traitor Kieu Cong Tien.
According to the stories of the gods, the legend from generation to generation among the common people and Duong surname families in Rang village (Duong Xa commune, Thieu Yen district, Thanh Hoa province), Duong Tam Kha (Duong Dinh Nghe’s son) and Do Canh Thac, under Ngo Quyen’s direction, led the troops to attack Dai La citadel, killed Kieu Cong Tien.
When internal strife finished, Ngo Quyen went to the citadel to meet with the generals to discuss the plans against invasion. Dai La citadel became the nerve- center of the war against Nam Han for the second time. Heroes from the four direction led their troops to Dai La under the righteous flag of national hero Ngo Quyen. Here, an ingenious fight and victorious plan was discussed and approved by Ngo Quyen and the generals. In a meeting, Ngo Quyen, with confidence and self-control, expressed his opinion as follows:
“Hoang Thao is such a foolish child, leading his troops from the far land, his soldiers were still tired, eventually they completely feared when they heard that Cong Tien was killed and there were no information about the situations happened right here. Our troops are strong, the enemy is weak, we can surely victory this war. But they have an advantage at warships, if we don’t plan our defend first, we don’t know who will control the battle. If we order to place the iron-headed stakes under the water of the sea gate, their ships will follow the tide of sea into the poles, then we can easily dominate them without letting any ships of their escaped, it is the best plan”. The plan and selection of the battlefield for the “strategic battle” has been decided. The Generals and officers were happy and believed the victory. Then, Ngo Quyen and the headquarter temporarily left Dai La citadel, led the troops to the northeast coastal region to prepare the battlefield for the battle with Nam Han enemy.
According to the stories of the gods and the legend from generation to generation among the common people, villages and over 30 temples to Ngo Quyen and the generals defeating Nam Han enemy have been discovered, Ngo Quyen’s garrison was from villages Binh Kieu, Ha Doan to Luong Khe, the general headquarter located at hamlets Luong Sam, Gia Vien (all under An Hai district, Hai Phong).
Formerly, most troops of Ngo Quyen were Ai Chau people, where he governed. Upon Nam Han enemy’s aggression, these troops were added and strengthened quickly. People everywhere enthusiastically brought weapons, warships to join and support the troops. Only a Gia Vien hamlet where Ngo Quyen located the general headquarters also had some tens of young men under the command of Dao Nhuan and Nguyen Tat To voluntarily joined in the army.
River gate region and upstream region of Bach Dang river selected by Ngo Quyen to be a decisive battle.
Bach Dang river is gateway in the Northwest and an important traffic from the Eastern sea to Viet’s land. Following Nam Trieu gateway into Bach Dang, the enemy could go to Co Loa citadel or Dai La citadel by river way. Bach Dang river flows through a rugged and mountainous area, there are many tributaries flowing into. Bach Dang river’s downstream is low, is affected strongly by tide. Tide rises from midnight to the morning. Seagate is vast, its water spreads on both sides of more than 2km. Near noon, the tide pulls up strongly and runs very fast.
The foundation of Au Lac State
According to the Complete History of Dai Viet, Au Lac State existed from 257 to 208 BC. But this book also notes that the resistance war against the Qin occurred in 214 BC and Tuong District established by the Qin was Viet country, i.e. Qin troops had captured Au Lac. However, the book also records the resistance war against the Trieu Dynasty by King An Duong Vuong from 210 to 208 BC. This is the confusion and conflict in our history, which historians are still working to verify.
According to the hypothesis of the resistance war, the tribal alliance of Tay Au of Thuc Phan had close relationship with Van Lang State of Hung King. The exchange, link, struggle and conflict between the two ethnic groups close to each other in the bloodstream, geography, economy and culture were the basis and the preparation for the merge the two ethnic Viet – Tay Au groups to expand and develop Van Lang State. The resistance war against the Qin further boosted this trend.
When entering the country, Qin troops firstly invaded Tay Au’s residence. Thuc Phan as a leader of Tay Au allied tribes, of course, organized and directed the resistance war against the Qin. The more Qin soldiers moved to the south, the more fierce resistance from both Tay Au and Lac Viet people they encountered. As required by the requirements of the war, the ancient Viet leaders proclaimed Thuc Phan as the highest commander.
The five to six years fight further strengthened the inherent unity between Tay Au and Lac Viet people. The glorious victory of the resistance reinforced and enhanced the prestige of Thuc Phan in Tay Au community as well as Lac Viet community.
All events taken place before and during the war against the Qin were the preparation for the foundation of Au Lac State to replace Van Lang State and transferred the throne from Hung King to An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan.
During the war, in fact, the community of Lac Viet – Tay Au was formed. However, the fact that Thuc Phan replaced Hung King, claimed himself An Duong Vuong and founded Au Lac State probably took place after the successful resistance. According to Đại Việt sử lược (Brief history of Dai Viet): “Hung King was defeated and replaced by King Thuc’s son whose name was Phan”. Another legend has it that, after many conflicts, at the end of Hung King, taking the advice of his son-in-law, Saint Tan Vien, the King ceded the throne to Thuc Phan.
Au Lac name consisted of two components (Tay Au, Au Viet) and Lac (Lac Viet), reflecting the alignment of the two groups of Lac Viet and Tay Au. Under the reign of King Thuc, there were still Lạc hầu (civil mandarins) and localities were governed by Lạc tướng (martial mandarins). The territory of Au Lac was also expanded on the basis of the two territories of Van Lang and Tay Au. The foundation of Au Lac State was not the result of a war of annexation or destruction, but a fusion of land and residents of Lac Viet and Tay Au by Hung and Thuc States. Thus, Au Lac was a new development which was higher than Van Lang. Just so, not only Tay Au, but also Lac Viet and their descendants considered An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan was a great hero in the building and defending the country.
According to the Geography book of Co Loa, historians say that Au Lac only existed for a short time, i.e. nearly 30 years (about 208-179 BC). Therefore, the lifetime of Au Lac was not considered a separate historical period, but a further development phase of Van Lang State in the same era: the era of founding the nation during Hung King and King An Duong Vuong time.
Economy, society, politics and culture during Au Lac time continued to develop on the basis of the achievements of Van Lang State. Dong Son culture was still the basis of the general culture of Van Lang and Au Lac, but there were new developments in various respects. Particularly, due to the urgent demands of the struggle against foreign aggression, in Au Lac time, military techniques advanced.
An important weapon improvement during this period was the invention named multi-arrow crossbow which could fire many arrows at the same time. This dangerous new weapon was regarded as “Deity crossbow” in folklore. In 1959, archaeologists discovered in Cau Vuc, the south of Co Loa, few hundred meters from the Outer Citadel, an armory with tens of thousands of brass arrows. The long arrows had tri-side heads. The arrows were also found in many other places with various designs.
A large labor construction and a famous military architecture representing many development targets of Au Lac was Co Loa Citadel.
After the foundation of Au Lac, An Duong Vuong chose Co Loa to set up the capital and built there a large citadel. It was Co Loa Citadel, the capital city of Au Lac under An Duong Vuong’s reign.
Co Loa was in the plain contiguous to midland in Red River Basin, on the northern bank of Yellow River. Today, Yellow River is a river that has been filled and renovated into an irrigation canal. But according to the ancient geographical documents, Yellow River was a large river, connecting Red River to Cau River in Qua Cam – Tho Ha. On the map and in the field, traces of an old river were clear in Thiep River or Ngu Huyen Khe River (the River flowing through five districts: Yen Lang, Kim Anh, Dong Ngan, Yen Phong and Tien Du).
From Co Loa, the residents could follow Yellow River to Red River, Da River and Lo River to mountains and forests in the north and northwest; or following Red River, Day River, they could go downstream to the plains and the sea. From Co Loa, the residents could also follow Yellow River to Cau River, Thuong River and Luc Nam River to mountains and forests in the northeast; or following Luc Dau Giang to Thai Binh River, Kinh Thay River to the coastal plains.
Co Loa was located among the plains in the center of the country and the hub of the waterway system with dense population and thriving economy. The movement of the capital to Co Loa, with such geography, transport and economy conditions demonstrated new development requirements of Au Lac. The capital of Au Lac could not be in the midlands anymore, but a center for all aspects of the country.
The demotic script (Ancient Vietnamese script) of Co Loa was chạ Chủ. Legend has it that when building a new capital, An Duong Vuong moved chạ Chủ’s residents to the end of the Yellow River alluvial land, explored the wilderness and established new villages. It’s Quay Village including Quay Ca, Quay Rao, Quay Con in Lien Ha Commune (Dong Anh, Hanoi). Co Loa Citadel was built on a land that had been explored and the villagers had resided for a long time.
Although there are many issues that need further research and discussion, but no one can deny that, Co Loa was firstly built by An Duong Vuong and served as the capital of Au Lac. There is also no doubt that after An Duong Vuong, Co Loa citadel was used, renovated and rebuilt by many authorities in different periods.
Co Loa Citadel was an indicator reflecting the development in many aspects of Au Lac under An Duong Vuong’s reign. It not only demonstrated the talent of creative labor, technical advances in construction, engineering and military arts of the ancient Vietnamese people, but also represented a new development of Au Lac State, social power and social differentiation.
The resistance war against the Qin Dynasty and the foundation of Au Lac State
The foundation of Qin Empire was the inevitable result of a long and complicated history, marking a new development of China with the establishment of a strong centralized monarchy. In 221 BC, the Qin defeated six countries in the war among “seven powers” in Warring States and acquired the entire Chinese territory. The king of the Qin, Doanh Chinh self-proclaimed Emperor Qin and set up a centralized autocratic monarchy.
As for internal affairs, the Qin implemented an active policy of agricultural development, industrial and commercial expansion, writing, monetary unit and measurement consistency, indicating a stride of Chinese history. But the Qin was a tyrannical totalitarian regime.
As for foreign affairs, the Qin launched a large-scale war to conquer the North and mostly the South, founding the first vast empire in Chinese history.
In 215-215 BC, Qin Shi Huang sent troops to defeat the Xiongnu and occupied the southern area of Ha Sao. Basing on the rampart of 3 former countries Qin, Yen and Zhao, the Qin built into a new wall of 5,000 miles long running from Lam Thao in the west to Lieu Dong in the east. It was the famous Great Wall of China, aiming at preventing the advance of the Xiongnu and protecting the northern border of the Qin Empire.
To the South, follow the policy of “ruling Bach Viet” of the former Chu, Qin Shi Huang sent 50 thousand troops to invade the land of Bach Viet in the south of the Yangtze.
According to historical evidence, the historical researchers think that it can be roughly defined: the Qin army started the invasion of Bach Viet in 218 BC.
According to Huainan Zi, 500 thousands Qin soldiers were divided into five armies, in which two armies garrisoned in Dam Thanh and Cuu Nghi Mountain Passes invaded Quang Tay, the land of Tay Au (or Au Viet). Their food boats went upstream Tuong River which flowed from Ngu Linh Mountain to Dong Dinh Lake. However, when they reached the origin of Tuong River, there was no waterway to Ly River aka Que River, to enter Quang Tay. So, Do Thu commanded Giam Loc to “order troops to dig canals to transport food” (Huainan Zi). That was Linh Cu Canal or Hung An Canal connecting Tuong River to Ly River, which still exists. Loc was a Viet resident who was holding the position of court counselor under the Qin Dynasty. Because Loc understood the terrain of Linh Nam and was good at waterway, Do Thu assigned him to take charge of the transportation of food and digging of Linh Cu Canal to connect Tuong River to Ly River.
In the 3 years (218 – 215 BC) since the dispatch of troops, the Qin had to dig canal and deal with the struggle of the Viet people, thus “three-years without taking off armors” (Huainan Zi). Then, thanks to Linh Cu Canal, the Qin soldiers moved to Ly River (Que River) and then into the Tay Giang River basin which was the area of Tay Au tribe. Qin troops killed a chief of Tay Au tribe, i.e. Dich Hu Tong, but they had to face fierce resistance of the Viet people.
In 214 BC, the Qin conquered Luc Thuong and set up the land into three districts: Nam Hai, Que Lam and Tuong. Nam Hai was Quang Dong region (invaded by the third army). Que Lam was the northern and eastern part of Quang Tay. Tuong County was in the west of Quang Tay and a part of southern Que Chau. Thus, the three districts of Nam Hai, Que Lam and Tuong captured by Qin troops were within Quang Dong, Quang Tay and a part of Que Chau in southern China. When setting up Nam Hai, Que Lam and Tuong Districts, Qin troops had entered the Tay Giang basin and basically occupied this area. On the verge of victory, with the favorable waterway for transporting food, of course Qin soldiers did not stop there. From Tay Giang, Qin troops could go downstream Ta Giang and Ky Cung Rivers to the north and northeast of Vietnam. Tay Au and Lac Viet tribes stood up to fight against the Qin invaders. There was no record of this struggle; however, Ly Ong Trong legend partly reflects the clash between the Qin and An Duong Vuong.
“Lĩnh Nam chích quái” (Stories of ghosts and spirits in Lĩnh Nam) had a story about Ly Ong Trong as follow: “At the end of Hung King’s reign, there was a person in Huong Thuy commune, Tu Liem district, in Giao Chi, named Ly Than. He was enormous; he was presumptuous and often killed people. He deserved to be killed, but Hung King kept him alive. To the An Duong Vuong time, Qin Shi Huang wanted to send troops to attack our country. Ly Than paid was paid tribute to the Qin by King An Duong Vuong”.
Thuc Phan was a leader of Tay Au tribe in the north of Van Lang State at that time including the southern part of Quang Tay and the center was Cao Bang. After the chief of Tay Au tribe, Dich Hu Tong sacrificed, Thuc Phan and many other leaders of Tay Au and Lac Viet tribes continued to fight against the Qin.
Prior to the initial strength of the Qin army, “the Viet people stay in the forest with animals; no one let himself captured by the Qin army” (Huainan Zi), “Viet people fled” (Chronicles). It was not an escape because of fear and failure; on the contrary, it was a way to fight against the enemy. The Viet people withdrew into the forest to avoid strength of the Qin army at the beginning; they did not want to combat when they did not have favorable conditions. In the meantime, “together, they selected talents to become generals and led the military to fight against the Qin at night” (Huainan Zi). Obviously, this was a tenacious, intelligent and organized combat. Viet people relied on the social structure of available tribes, made use of jungle terrain to endure a long-term resistance war. They chose to fight in small groups and at night or ambush to drain the enemy and plunder their food sources. It can be said that this was an embryo of guerilla war.
The ingenious, durable resistance of the Viet military made the Qin “lack of food” and “garrison in useless land; face dilemma” (Old historical documents). The Invaders were increasingly drawn into tension, danger and despair.
At that time, the Viet people gathered forces and fight back to destroy enemy forces, crushing the invasion of the Qin army. As a result, the Viet people “crushed the Qin army and killed Do Thu. Tens of thousands of the Qin troops were annihilated” (Huainan Zi). In 208 BC, the Qin soldiers were disarmed.
Bach Viet invasion war of the Qin Dynasty lasted 10 years (218-208 BC). Many Viet groups participated in the war against the Qin and helped destroy the Qin army. The resistance war against the Qin by the people of Tay Au and Lac Viet in the territory of Van Lang-Au Lac State lasted about 5 or 6 years, from about 214 BC to 208 BC.
The war against the Qin was the first historical conflict between Viet people with a Great Han Empire in China. It was the resistance of a nation fighting against the invasion of a brutally powerful empire in the East.
Facing fierce challenges, Viet people won a glorious victory. Qin troops were heavily defeated, “crushed”, knocked out of Viet country and had to gather troops to keep the three districts established in the north of country.
The five to six years fight further strengthened the inherent unity between Tay Au and Lac Viet people. The glorious victory of the resistance reinforced and enhanced the prestige of Thuc Phan in Tay Au community as well as Lac Viet community.
All events taken place before and during the war against the Qin were the preparation for the foundation of Au Lac State to replace Van Lang State and transferred the throne from Hung King to An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan.
Co Loa before King An Duong Vuong dynasty
According to old documents of Vietnam and China, in accordance with the common folk legends, Van Lang State of Hung Kings was followed by Au Lac State of An Duong Vuong. Au Lac was a historical fact and An Duong Vuong was a real historical figure.
However, about the history of Au Lac State with the central character An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan, so far, there are many problems to be solved, first of all the origin of Thuc Phan and the foundation of Au Lac State.
After the synthesis of research results, historians researching Co Loa analyzed and hypothesized that the residents of Van Lang under Hung Kings were mostly Lac Viet people and a part of Tay Au (also known as Au Viet) in the northern midland and mountains, living together in many areas. The north of Van Lang was the residence of Tay Au people (known as Au Viet); some groups of Lac Viet people coexisted. Many ancient historical books of China demonstrated that Lac Viet people were present both in Tay Giang basin, in the region of Quang Dong, Quang Tay, Hai Nam and a part of Van Nam, Quy Chau (Tran Quoc Vuong: The problem of Lac Viet people, Scientific – Historical Notice, University of Hanoi, Volume II, 1966, p.47 – 73.)
Lac Viet and Tay Au were two southern groups of Bach Viet, living close to each other and alternately, in the basin of Red River and Tay Giang River. Both were the same species, neighbors, Lac Viet and Tay Au people had close economic and cultural relations for long. Perhaps because of the alternative living situation and the close relationship, in some Chinese ancient documents, Tay Au and Lac Viet were distinguished, in other documents, they were considered to be one tribe.
Thuc Phan was the leader of a coalition of Tay Au tribes in the north of Van Lang; according to legend of the Tay ethnic group, the tribal coalition was “Nam Cuong State” consisting 10 tribes (9 tribes of 9 Lords and the center tribe of Thuc Phan) with the residence of the southern Quang Tay, Cao Bang and perhaps, the northern mountains and forests in North Vietnam, and the center was Cao Bang. Legend has it that An Duong Vuong Thuc Phan was “a mountainous chief”, a native in the forests and mountains in the north.
Between Lac Viet and Tay Au, as well as between Hung and Thuc, there was a long-standing close ties. Legend of Lac Long Quan – Au Co contained the relationship between two factors of Lac and Au in the ancient roots of the ethnic groups in Vietnam. Many legends about Hung Kings and An Duong Vuong considered Thuc Phan to be a part of the “seed”, “sects” or “grandchild” of Hung King. The legend saying that Thuc Phan was the “Lord of Ai Lao” also considered him as the head of a “bộ” (province) in 15 bộ of Van Lang, a “Hung Kings lineage” (Hung Kings jade annals) rather than a foreign stranger.
But on the other hand, at the end of Hung King’s reign, between Hung and Thuc protracted conflict occurred. Many villages in Red River Basin worshipping St. Tan Vien and generals of Hung Kings followed St. Tan Vien to “fight against Thuc aggressors”. That was an inevitable conflict in the process of collection of close tribes and tribal alliances to form the state and expand the scope of state control.
During the ongoing conflict, Van Lang State as well as Lac Viet and Tay Au people and the entire groups in blocks of Bach Viet faced a threat. That was the large-scale invasion of the Qin Empire. This historical circumstance explained the reason why the conflict between Hung and Thuc ended by Hung King ceding the throne to Thuc Phan and the foundation of Au Lac was a successor development of Van Lang, an integration at a higher level and wider range of Lac Viet and Tay Au people.
Prehistoric Co Loa
According to archaeological researches, at the end of the Old Stone Age about 20,000 years to 11,000 years ago, there were vestiges of human habitation in Co Loa.
In 1971 – 1972, archaeologists found in Dong Thanh, Duong Ca (Main Road) area- also known as Duong Cam Xu (Forbidden Land Road) a few pebbles with traces of carving and processing by human hands. After expanding the searching area to Dam Ca, in Duong Bui and Duong Riu, archaeologists also found many similar pebbles. In March 1983, archaeologists found in Thu Cuu Mound in Cuu Hamlet some pebbles with traces of carving and processing. These tools are put into Son Vi culture by archaeologists.
Son Vi culture of Late Old Stone Age, was first discovered in Son Vi Commune, Lam Thao district, Phu Tho Province in 1968. The owners of Son Vi Culture resided in vast areas from Lao Cai, Son La and Lai Chau in Viet Bac, Tay Bac, through the hills of the provinces of Phu Tho, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh and Ba Vi (Ha Tay), Dong Anh (Hanoi) in the north, to Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Tri Provinces in Central Part and Lam Dong in the South. Then there were primitive groups who lived in limestone caves, but most of them lived outdoors, set up tents on hills and mounds, which were still jungles. Son Vi primitive people earned their living by hunting animals and picking fruits, in which the plant food was dominant. People also lived in groups; each group consisted of a number of families according to maternal line, etc.
But Son Vi primitive people did not have long-term stable living conditions on Co Loa mounds.
According to the Geography book of Co Loa, when primitive people were present in Co Loa, it was a period of marine transgression; the sea level rose and immersed low-lying areas in the south of Hanoi. Son Vi primitive people in Co Loa had to retreat to the foot of mountains in limestone caves or high shelves. During the Neolithic era, from about ten thousand years to approximately 4,000 years ago, Co Loa in particular and Hanoi in general was completely absent.
On the basis of stone processing technology developed to a high level, residents of the Neolithic era in our country found a new material, i.e. brass. One of the tribal groups was the owner of Phung Nguyen culture.
Phung Nguyen tribes were residents of rice agriculture in Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Ha Tay, Hanoi, Hai Phong. Phung Nguyen tribes reached the pinnacle of stone processing techniques with the proficiency in using saws, drilling holes, splitting cores, grinding, etc. where people from all previous and later stages were insurmountable. Phung Nguyen residents were talented potters. They used turning tables to produce pottery of various kinds, designs and harmonious decorations. The traces of their residence are ancient villages, permanent settlement in an area of tens of thousands of square meters. Phung Nguyen residents knew how to breed dogs, pigs, cattle and chickens. They knew about the brass alloy and used brass alloy to manufacture production tools, but in fact these new tools were not so important in the economic and social life. Phung Nguyen tribes therefore were not beyond the category of primitive forms of communalism. However, it is worth noting that at this time due to the emergence of metallurgy that the man initially had an important position in the production and in social life. At the time of Phung Nguyen culture, the first germ of the patriarchal regime appeared in the heart of primitive society. In Phung Nguyen period, people still lived in primitive society, but Phung Nguyen primitive society was vigorous, rising to negation itself. It had all the premises to step into a new higher form – class differentiation society and primitive state.
Phung Nguyen primitive residents needed to expand the scope of survival. It was also true that at this time the sea level decreased, leaving behind a delta with a series of depressions, which were gradually consolidated into swamps and jungles by Red River alluvial sedimentation, waiting for the human beings to explore. Co Loa began with exciting human life again.
On the high promontory on the banks of Yellow River, archeology discovered relics of Dong Vong (Duc Tu), Bai Men (Co Loa), Dinh Trang (Duc Tu), Xuan Kieu, Lo Khe (Lien Ha) during Phung Nguyen period; vestiges of Tien Hoi, Bai Men, Dinh Trang (Following Phung Nguyen), Xuan Kieu vestiges of Dong Dau and Duong May stages (Co Loa), Dinh Trang vestiges in Dong Son period. In Co Loa, archeologists sometimes found Dong Son bronze artifacts such as arrows, plowshares, kettledrums, axes, etc. In Dong Son artifacts found in Co Loa, there are many very typical and valuable relics. Co Loa kettledrums Type I and Ngoc Lu and Hoang Ha kettledrums were nice and the earliest of its kind in Vietnam. Arrows and plowshares in large volume have characteristics of types and designs. Particularly, recently archaeologists found bronze three-side arrow molds in Thuong Temple which was the testament to the processing of Dong Son typical weapons right in the center of Co Loa.
The relics are the traces of villages settling and living by farming, fishing and hunting, which existed for a long time, developed continuously from the early Brass era to early Iron era, i.e. the foundation of the nation. Under the Chinese Han Dynasty, Co Loa belonged to Tay Vu District with 32,000 households, accounting for about 1/3 of Giao Chi county’s households (92,440 households) and nearly equal to the number of households in Cuu Chan District (35,743 households). Districts in the early Chinese Han Dynasty were largely set on the basis of Van Lang-Au Lac, corresponding to the “ancient tribes”. Before becoming the capital of Au Lac, Co Loa – Tay Vu was a fertile, crowded area which was like a residential, political, economical and cultural center of great importance of the country.