Quảng Trị Province

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Quảng Trị Province
Tỉnh Quảng Trị
Province
Nickname(s): Serenity under Reign
Location of Quảng Trị within Vietnam
Location of Quảng Trị within Vietnam
Coordinates: 16°45′N 107°0′E / 16.750°N 107.000°E / 16.750; 107.000Coordinates: 16°45′N 107°0′E / 16.750°N 107.000°E / 16.750; 107.000
Country  Vietnam
Region North Central Coast
Capital Đông Hà
Area
 • Total 4,745.7 km2 (1,832.3 sq mi)
Population (2004)
 • Total 616,600
 • Density 130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Demographics
 • Ethnicities Vietnamese, Bru – Vân Kiều, Hoa, Tà Ôi
Time zone ICT (UTC+7)
Calling code 53
ISO 3166 code VN-25
Website Official website

Quảng Trị (About this sound listen) is a province on the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, north of the former imperial capital of Huế.

Geography[edit]

Sampans along the Thạch Hãn River (August 1967)

Located in northern Central Vietnam, Quảng Trị Province is surrounded by Quảng Bình Province on the north, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province on the south, Savannakhet, Laos on the west, and the East Sea on the east, with 75 kilometres (47 mi) of seaside. Except for the narrow piedmont coastal plains, the terrain is dominated by hills and the Annamite Mountains.

The highlands, characterized by steep slopes, sharp crests, and narrow valleys, are covered mainly by a dense broadleaf evergreen forest. Most of the peaks are from 4,000 feet (1,200 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m) feet high, but some rise above 8,000 feet (2,400 m). The narrow coastal plains flanking the highlands on the east have rocky headlands and consist of belts of sand dunes and, in areas where the soil is suitable, rice fields. From the crests that mark the drainage divide in the highlands, streams flow either east towards the East Sea or west into Laos or Cambodia. Those flowing eastward follow short courses through deep narrow valleys over rocky bottoms until they reach the coastal plains, where they slow down and disperse. The westward flowing streams follow longer traces, sometimes through deep canyons which are subject to seasonal flooding. The weather features a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, with hot and dry south-west winds during the Southwest Monsoon (May through September), and much cooler wet weather during the rainy season (November to mid-March). Annual average temperature is 24 °C (75 °F), but temperatures can drop as low as 7 °C (45 °F) during the rainy season.

Area

4,760.1 square kilometres (1,837.9 sq mi)

Population

625,800 inhabitants (2006)

Capital

Đông Hà City

Administrative divisions
  • Town: Quảng Trị
  • Districts: Vĩnh Linh, Gio Linh, Cam Lộ, Triệu Phong, Hải Lăng, Hướng Hóa, Cồn Cỏ and Đa Krông

History[edit]

In the immediate prehistorical period, the lowlands of Quảng Trị and central Vietnam as a whole were occupied by Cham peoples (Champa), speaking a Malayo-Polynesian language, and culturally distinct from the Vietnamese to the north along the Red River. The Qin conquered parts of present day Central Vietnam at the end of the 3rd century BCE, and administered the indigenous peoples of the area through a commandery, Rinan, for several centuries. A rebellion by the Cham in the 2nd century CE overthrew Chinese control and reestablished local government.[1] Beginning in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Chams were defeated in the area by Vietnamese armies, and ethnic Vietnamese gradually displaced or absorbed those Chams who had not fled. Over time a distinct Vietnamese dialectical and cultural subgroup developed in the area. The region was seized by the French by 1874. In 1887 it became part of French Indochina, i.e. the Annam protectorate.

The Quảng Trị Citadel and part of Quảng Trị City looking south, as they were in 1967

Upon the division of Vietnam in 1954 into North and South, Quảng Trị became the northernmost province of the Republic of Vietnam. Beginning 1964, the province gradually became a center for American bases, particularly after October 1966, when the 3rd Marine Division moved to bases just south of the demilitarized zone. In 1966, North Vietnamese forces also began occupying the northern region and pushing deeper into the province. The provincial capital, Quảng Trị City, was overrun and occupied briefly by Communist troops in April 1967, and was a principle battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive when it was again overrun by North Vietnamese troops and held for a short period before being recaptured by South Vietnamese government and U.S. forces.[2][3] The Battle of Khe Sanh (1968) was a part of the North's steady efforts to occupy the whole of the province. After Khe Sanh was evacuated in July 1968, the North Vietnamese continued their efforts to take the entire province. The most notable achievement of the North Vietnamese offensive in 1972 was capturing Quảng Trị (First Battle of Quảng Trị), although they lost much of the territory gained during the South Vietnamese counter-offensive from June through September 1972 (Second Battle of Quảng Trị).

With South Vietnamese forces unable to hold the province during the final North Vietnamese offensive of the war, the entire province fell to North Vietnamese forces in March 1975. After Quảng Trị fell, the North Vietnamese Provisional Revolutionary Government lay claim to the province. Collective farms were set up and strict rules were enforced on villagers, many of whom eventually fled. According to Gary D. Murfin, who led a survey on Vietnamese refugees after 1975, the province was an area of particularly dense Catholic concentration, most of which was staunchly anti-communist. Murfin estimated that 41% fled the area in fear of Viet Cong reprisals, 37% feared fighting, shelling, and bombing, and others fled because they were a family related to a Nationalist soldier, or were at one point landowners. Today, the province is largely agricultural and rural. The provincial capital of Quảng Trị is Đông Hà.[citation needed]

Aftermath of the war[edit]

An estimated 800,000 tons out of the 7,8 million tons of munition dropped by U.S forces on Vietnam, failed to detonate, contaminating around 20% of the country. A smaller but unknown amount of unexploded ordnance from North Vietnamese (and allies) activities also remains. The most heavily contaminated province is Quảng Trị, where fighting was at its fiercest.[4] Over three decades after the war ended, Quảng Trị province is still affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW), which have killed and injured 7,081 people[5] (1.2% of its total population) since 1975. Recently released was a final report of ERW and landmine contamination, based on results of an impact assessment and rapid technical response project known as the Landmine Impact Survey (LIS), conducted by the Technology Centre for Bomb and Mine Disposal (BOMICEN) of the Ministry of Defense, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF). The survey results indicated that out of six provinces in central Vietnam, Quảng Trị province has the highest levels of ERW contamination: approximately 83.8% of the total land area is affected by ERW. These and many other findings indicate, that more than three decades after the war ended, ERW still remain a major threat to the safety of local people in their daily activities, and an obstacle to socio-economic development.[citation needed] It appears that a lot of the incidents, are caused by poor peoples uneducated handling of the explosives to sell for scrap metal, although it is illegal to pick up unexploded ordnance in Vietnam. Another highly represented group of victims are children.[6][7]

In 2000, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) paid the first visit to Quảng Trị. In 2001 the VVMF cooperated with Quảng Trị Province People's Committee (PPC) to embark on a comprehensive and integrated approach to address the problem of ERW. As a result, in August 2001, Project RENEW[8] was established. This effort harnesses the resources and good will of international NGOs and donors to bring skills and technology needed by the Vietnamese people. Since its inception, Project RENEW has had an effective implementation of a combination of programs: Mine Risk Education, Mine Victims Assistance, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) clearance teams, Information Coordination and Post-Clearance Support. Since 1998, the United States have spent over $65 million, in trying to make Vietnam safe and is planning an increased focus on so called "U.S. origin" unexploded ordnance in Southeast Asia in coming years.[4]

In 2000, Clear Path International (CPI) was still working to remove unexploded ordnance (UXO) left by the United States in Quảng Trị province, which was at the time the largest unexploded ordnance removal effort by an NGO in Vietnam's history. The CPI[9] continues to operate in Quảng Trị, providing victim assistance to those injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). Since 1999, Mines Advisory Group (MAG International) has maintained operations in Quảng Trị and neighbouring Quảng Bình Province, providing the only civilian staffed demining and UXO clearance operations in Vietnam.[citation needed] Slowly rebuilding in the areas cleared of mines is Roots of Peace[10] working with MAG on a demine-replant model, clearing areas and working with local farmers to plant high value crops.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Quảng Trị is divided into eight districts:

The city of Đông Hà and the town of Quảng Trị are also separate municipalities.

Non-Governmental Organizations[edit]

Currently, there are many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Quảng Trị. One of the biggest problems which they are focusing on is the explosive remnants of war (ERW). Below is the list of NGOs who are very active in helping Quảng Trị Province deal with this problem:

Transportation[edit]

The National Route 1A runs north-south of this province. Vietnam–Laos road also runs west-east of this province and has a junction with national road 1A. Hanoi–Saigon Railway goes through Quảng Trị. Quảng Trị Airport will be built 7 km north of Đông Hà.

Etymology[edit]

The province's name derives from Sino-Vietnamese .

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Murfin, Gary D., A. Terry Rambo, Le-Thi-Que, Why They Fled: Refugee Movement during the Spring 1975 Communist Offensive in South Vietnam Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 9. (Sep., 1976): 855–863
  • Pearson, Lieutenant General Willard. The War in the Northern Provinces: 1966–1968, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, (1975).
  • Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941–1975 (1997).

External links[edit]