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Meanwhile, Buddhism flourished and became the state religion.Following the 1406–7 Ming–Hồ War which overthrew the Hồ dynasty, Vietnamese independence was briefly interrupted by the Chinese Ming dynasty, but was restored by Lê Lợi, the founder of the Lê dynasty.The northern part of Vietnam was part of Imperial China for over a millennium, from 111 BC to AD 939.

During this time, the Nguyễn expanded southern Vietnam into the Mekong Delta, annexing the Central Highlands and the Khmer lands in the Mekong Delta.

The division of the country ended a century later when the Tây Sơn brothers established a new dynasty.

In 1986, the Communist Party of Vietnam initiated a series of economic and political reforms which began Vietnam's path towards integration into the world economy.

Its successful economic reforms resulted in its joining the World Trade Organization in 2007.

Homo erectus fossils dating to around 500,000 BC have been found in caves in Lạng Sơn and Nghệ An provinces in northern Vietnam.

By about 1000 BC, the development of wet-rice cultivation and bronze casting in the Ma River and Red River floodplains led to the flourishing of the Đông Sơn culture, notable for its elaborate bronze Đông Sơn drums.However, Nanyue was itself incorporated into the empire of the Chinese Han dynasty in 111 BC after the Han–Nanyue War.Early independence movements, such as those of the Trưng Sisters and Lady Triệu, were only temporarily successful, though the region gained a longer period of independence as Vạn Xuân under the Anterior Lý dynasty between AD 544 and 602.Vietnam is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, with Ho Chi Minh City as the most populous city.Thereafter, Vietnam was divided politically into two rival states, North Vietnam (officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam), and South Vietnam (officially the Republic of Vietnam).

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