The Âu Việt or Ouyue (Chinese: ) were an ancient conglomeration of Baiyue tribes living in what is today the mountainous regions of northernmost Vietnam, western Guangdong, and northern Guangxi, China, since at least the third century BCE. They were believed to have belonged to the Tai-Kadai language group. In the legends of the Tay people, the western part of Âu Việt's land became the Nam Cương Kingdom,[1] whose capital was located in what is today the Cao Bằng Province of Northeast Vietnam.[2][3][4] In eastern China, the Ouyue established the Dong'ou or Eastern Ou kingdom. The Western Ou (西; pinyin: Xī Ōu; Tây meaning "western") were other Baiyue tribes, with short hair and tattoos, who blackened their teeth[2] and are the ancestors of the upland Tai-speaking minority groups in Vietnam such as the Nùng and Tay,[5][6] as well as the closely related Zhuang people of Guangxi.

The Âu Việt traded with the Lạc Việt (Austroasiatic-speaking people), the inhabitants of the state of Văn Lang, located in the lowland plains to Âu Việt's south, in what is today the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, until 258 BC or 257 BC, when Thục Phán, the leader of an alliance of Âu Việt tribes, invaded Văn Lang and defeated the last Hùng king. He named the new nation "Âu Lạc", proclaiming himself "An Dương Vương" (literally "Peaceful Virile King").[2]

According to Chinese historians:

  • The Qin dynasty conquered the state of Chu, unifying China. Qin abolished the noble status of the royal descendants of the state of Yue. After some years, Qin Shi Huang sent an army of 500,000 to conquer the West Ou. After three years, Qin forces killed West Ou chief Yiyusong (譯籲宋). Even so, West Ou waged guerilla warfare against Qin and slew Qin commander Tu Sui (屠睢) in retaliation.[7]
  • Before the Han dynasty, the East and West Ou regained independence. The Eastern Ou was attacked by the Minyue Kingdom, and Emperor Wu of Han allowed them to move to between the Yangtze and the Huai River.[8] The Western Ou paid tribute to Nanyue until it was conquered by the Han.[9] Descendants of these kings later lost their royal status. Ou (區), Ou (歐) and Ouyang (歐陽) remain as family names.

According to Vietnamese historians:

  • 257 BC, An Dương Vương 安陽王 unified the Lạcviệt tribe (Austroasiatic) (chiefdom) of Hung Kings 雄王 (Hưng Vương) with his Âuviệt tribe (Tai-Kadai) (chiefdom) into a single tribe (The Âulạc chiefdom).
  • 208 BC, Zhao Tuo captured Âulạc and incorporated it into his Han kingdom of Nanyue, which was ruled by the Han dynasty.
  • In 938, Ngô Quyền 吳權 defeated the Southern Han army, opening a long period of independent Vietnam under the full monarchy.

The Âu Việt tribe is thought to have been one of the most important progenitors of the Vietnamese people, along with the Lạc Việt people and some of ancient Han Chinese customs and traditions that was imparted onto Vietnamese culture during Northern Rule.


  1. ^ "Cao Bằng và bí ẩn nơi thành cổ Bản Phủ". Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  2. ^ a b c Chapuis, Oscar (1995). A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-313-29622-7.
  3. ^ Vinh Phúc Nguyêñ Historical and cultural sites around Hanoi Thé̂ Giới Publishers, 2000 p24, 25 "became the king both of the Âu Việt and Âu Lạc"
  4. ^ Anh Tuấn Hoàng Silk for Silver: Dutch-Vietnamese Relations, 1637-1700 Page 12 2007 "people of Lạc Việt."
  5. ^ Sterling, Eleanor J.; Hurley, Martha Maud; Minh, Le Duc; Le, Minh Duc; Powzyk, Joyce A. (2006). Vietnam: a natural history. Yale University Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-300-10608-4.
  6. ^ Stevenson, John; Guy, John; Cort, Louise Allison (1997). Vietnamese ceramics: a separate tradition. Art Media Resources with Avery Press. p. 109.
  7. ^ Huainanzi, vol. 18
  8. ^ zh:s:史記/卷114
  9. ^ zh:s:史記/卷113