Binh Dinh Province, South Central Coast
Region: South Central Coast
Capital: Qui Nhon
Area: 6,025.1 km² (2,326.3 sq mi)
Population: About 1.6 million
Density: 260/km² (660/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Chăm, Ba Na
Calling code: 56
Binh Dinh is a province of Vietnam. It is in Vietnam’s South Central Coast region.
Binh Dinh province has one city (Qui Nhon) and 10 districts:
– An Lao
– An Nhon
– Hoài An
– Hoài Nhon
– Phù Cát
– Phù My
– Tuy Phuoc
– Tay Son
– Vân Canh
– Vinh Thanh
Binh Dinh province was probably one of the places where the Cham first arrived in what is now Vietnam. Its favourable geography led to the rise of the Cham Port of Thi Nai where Quy Nhon is now located. The city-state of Vijaya was located around this port and the main city, which was further inland. Its centre was in the southern lowland of Binh Dinh. However, its architecture implies that it did not become important until the eleventh or twelfth century.
Vijaya’s architecture also distinguishes it from other Champa centers, since it used a combination of stone and brick elements, while most other Cham structures only used bricks. This suggests some influence from Cambodian Angkor. It also points to the relative abundance of labour in Vijaya compared to other Champa centers of powers, because processing stones for construction was more labour-intensive than the production of bricks.
Vijaya was involved in various wars with neighbouring countries. Major wars were fought with Angkor (now Cambodia) in the 12th and 13th centuries. Around this time Vijaya seems to have been associated with and at times even dominated by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Major wars with Vietnam were fought in 1069 and again in the 15th century, which eventually led to the defeat of Vijaya and the demise of Champa in 1471.
Mountains or hills covers the majority of Binh Dinh Province. Elevations range from 0 at the coast to around 1200 meters above sea level in An Lao District in the north-west of the province. While most of the mountains as well as the highest peaks are in the west, there are mountains throughout the province, even near the coast. Most districts of Binh Dinh have a topography that is a mix of mountains or hills and lowlands. The districts of An Lão in the north-west, Vinh Thanh in the west, and Vân Canh in the south-west are mostly mountainous. All other districts have some lowlands.
The largest lowland area is located in the south of the province along the lower Côn River. It encompasses much of Quy Nhon City, the districts of Tuy Phước, An Nhơn, the western part of Phù Cát, and the eastern part of Tây Sơn. Given its size, and the access to a major port as well as Binh Dinh’s major river, it has long been the place where most of Binh Dinh’s people and economic activities concentrate. It was the site of Vijaya, one of the major city-states of Champa. The majority Binh Dinh’s population lives in the districts around this plain.
Other lowland areas are located in the coastal districts of Hoai Nhon, Phù My, Phù Cát, as well as the inland district of Hoài Ân. There are some hills or mountains near the coast in all of the coastal provinces, with the highest peak in Phù Cát at 874m (Ba mountain, Núi Bà) and in Phù My at 602m.
Mountains form natural borders to the neighbouring provinces. Cu Mong pass (đèo Cù Mông) is the main border crossing to Phu Yen Province. National Road 1A passes through this pass, while there is another road (1D) along the coast. The border to Gia Lai Province is the most mountainous, with the only road connection at An Khe pass (đèo An Khê) between the towns of Phu Phong in Tây Son District and An Khe in Gia Lai. The border to Quang Ngai Province is also very mountainous, with the major road and railway passing through Binh De Pass (đèo Bình Đê) near Tam Quan.
Côn River is the largest and most important river in Binh Dinh. It forms a small delta north of Quy Nhon. Most of it can be used as an inland waterway for transportation. This is probably one of the reason why a major centre of power of Champa emerged along this river. Other rivers are Lai Giang River at the centre of the lowland areas of Hoai Nhon and Hoai An in northern Binh Dinh, My Cat River in central Binh Dinh, and Ha Thanh River along the valley in Van Canh District in southern Binh Dinh.
The largest lake is Dinh Binh Lake, an artificial lake is mainly for irrigation in the highlands of western Binh Dinh. Also in western Binh Dinh is Vinh Son Lake (hồ Vinh Son) at Vinh Son Hydropower Station. Other major lakes include Nui Mot Lake (ho Núi Mot) in the south and Hoi Son Lake (ho Hoi Son) in the centre of the province.
Binh Dinh had a population of 1.488 million in 2009, making it the most populous province of the South Central Coast. It has been growing slowly from 2000 to 2007 – at just 0.92% per year on average. As of 2009, 27.8% of the population live in urban areas, up from 19% in 1995 and 24.2% in 2000. More than 40% of the total population live in Quy Nhon and the two suburban districts of An Nhon and Tuy Phuoc. There is another relatively large concentration in the northern Hoai Nhon District with a population of 206,700 (2009) and a population density of 499/km². Population density in the rest of the province range from 30 to 40 in Van Canh, An Lao, and Vinh Thanh to 982 in Quy Nhon.
The eastern lowlands and Tay Son District are largely ethnically homogeneous. There are minorities of Ba Na people in the remote districts of An Lao, Vinh Thanh and Van Canh. Some Hre people live in An Lao and some Cham in Van Canh. Hoai An’s population is mostly Kinh, but there are some remote communes with large communities of Ba Na and Hre people.
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