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By Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, Ltd.- PERC

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Instead of chiefs’ taking authority and power by force in forming a chiefdom-level polity, war leaders may have been elected or nominated into a chief’s position with temporary or ad hoc authority over several autonomous villages in order to lead a war campaign. The ethnographic record strongly supports the existence of military alliances between autonomous villages, alliances that did not involve any centralized leadership (Carneiro 1998: 22). In this scenario, a war leader would be given temporary power until the war campaign was completed.

The Red River Delta is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, and is the northwestern landward continuation of the Gulf of Bac Bo (also known as Tonkin), which in turn is a broad shelf area at the northwestern edge of the South China Sea (Hanebuth et al. 2006: 121). The sedimentary basin, approximately 500 kilometers long and 50 to 60 kilometers wide, is filled with Neogene and Quaternary sediments with a thickness of more than 3 kilometers (Li et al. 2006: 6). 1. Topographic map of Vietnam. Vietnam’s stretch of mixed coastal and mountainous land is readily visible.

On the other hand, a supraregional or macro-level scale is equally important to consider. A state, even a pristine one, does not emerge in a complete social or environmental vacuum, and interpolitical interactions are likely to be instrumental in shaping the policies and strategies of leaders as they centralize and consolidate power and authority. As I will discuss in a Chapter 10, the Co Loa Polity’s proximity to models of statehood to the north probably resulted in emulative strategies for local leaders and rulers.

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