Vo Nguyen Giap was born on August 25, 1911, in An Xa, Quang Binh, French Indochina (present-day An Xa, Quang Binh, Vietnam). He was one of five children in the family of Vo Quang Nghiem and Nguyen Thi Kien, who were poor farmers.
At the time of Giap's birth, Vietnam was a colony of France. His father strongly opposed French colonial rule and often took part in demonstrations, demanding Vietnamese independence. He was arrested for subversive activities by the French colonial authorities in 1919 and died in prison a few weeks later.