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[Video] Watch Vietnamese History Unfold in This 1896-1945 Video

For a 14-minute crash course in early 20th century Vietnamese history, look no further than the following video, posted to YouTube by user Duc Duong. Beginning as far back as 1896, its choppy black-and-white footage takes viewers from turn-of-the-century Vietnam, a time of heavily decorated emperors and imperial mandarins, through the ups and downs of colonial rule to the arrival of Japanese soldiers in Vietnam.

Even those who don't understand the narrator – the video is in French – will appreciate its footage, which captures life at a very different time in the country's history. 

Throughout, the narrator throws in historical details from the early 20th century, including the story of celebrated revolutionary De Tham and a particularly gruesome uprising in 1908 which resulted in the public beheadings of several of his compatriots. These disembodied heads were later photographed and made into a series of disturbing postcards before being sent home to France. Tensions between the still-ruling Nguyen dynasty and French colonial powers also play a role in the video, as do the hardships faced by average Vietnamese during the time, most of whom were treated less than favorably by the French.

Take a look below:

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