Along the coast of the Indochinese Peninsula lies the present-day country of Vietnam. The ancient Viet was one of the first people in Southeast Asia to develop their own state and culture. During the early a.d. 900s, the Viet rebelled against China's weakened Tang dynasty. In a.d. 938, the Viet forces defeated a fleet of Chinese warships in the Battle of the Bach Dang River. The Viet had finally won independence. The new state modeled the government of China, with government officials and civil service examinations. The Khmer Empire; In ancient times, this region was the home of the Khmer (Kuh • MEHR) people. During the a.d. 1100s, the Khmer founded an empire that covered much of mainland Southeast Asia. They became wealthy from growing rice. In Khmer architects designed a new style of building, based on Indian and local designs. The most magnificent structure was the Angkor Wat, which still stands today. It served as a religious temple, a royal tomb, and an astronomical observatory. The Thai developed a writing system and made the kingdom a center of learning and the arts. Artisans from China taught the making of porcelain. Buddhist monks from India converted many Thai to Buddhism. The Thai were influenced by Hinduism in their political practices, dance, and literature. West of the Thai kingdom, a people known as the Burmese developed a civilization. The capital was Pagan, which became a major learning influence in the western part of Southeast Asia. Attacks by the Mongols in the late 1200s weakened Pagan. To escape Mongol rule, many people in Burma moved south and built fortified towns along the rivers. Burmese culture was preserved, but the kingdom did not arise again until the 1500s. The Malay States; On the Malay Peninsula and the islands of Indonesia, independent states developed around seaport cities. They traded porcelain, textiles, and silk, as well as Southeast Asian spices and wood.