Their descendants formed the diverse mountainous tribes. The first Vietnamese believed they were the descendants of a dragon and an angel.
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The other 53 ethnic minority groups, totaling over 8 million people, are scattered over mountain areas (covering two-thirds of the country’s territory) spreading from the North to the South.
These groups include the Tay, Thai, Muong, Hoa, Khmer, Nung, Hmong, Mien, Cham, Brau, Roman, and Odu (Embassy of Vietnam, London/United Kingdom, 2007).
Contributor(s): Binh Duong, Program Manager, Division of Refugee Assistance at the Department of Social and Health Services, Olympia, WA; Many Vietnamese community members. Vietnam occupies the eastern coast of the Southeast Asian peninsula.
It is bordered by the South China Sea on the west and south, China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west.
The Khmer (people of Cambodia) are thought to have migrated east from India, the Laotians came from the highlands of China's Yunan province, and the Vietnamese came south from the lower Yhangtze valley.
The newer arrivals settled in the rich delta areas and coastal regions, forcing the Austronesian peoples into the mountains.Rice production requires complex irrigation and collective farming, which led to the development of a strong sense of community in Vietnamese villages. This was the beginning of a long Chinese occupation and domination.The terrain of Vietnam is varied, with mountainous regions, thick forested areas, and lowlands leading down from the rugged mountains to coastal plains and river deltas.Major Vietnamese cities include Hanoi in the north, Da Nang in the mid coastal region, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) to the south.Early history Vietnamese culture is very complex, in part due to the participation of many groups in Vietnamese history.The earliest known inhabitants of the Indochinese peninsula were Austronesian tribes that migrated north from the islands of the South Pacific.