Quang Binh province, Central Vietnam
Region: North Central Coast
Capital: Đong Hoi
Area: 8,065.8 km² (3,114.2 sq mi)
Population: About 900,000
Density: 110/km² (280/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Bru-Vân Kieu, Chut, Tày
Calling code: 52
Quang Bình, formerly Tiên Bình under the reign of Lê Trung Hung of the Lê Dynasty, this province was renamed Quang Bình in 1604. Quang Binh province has an area of 8,065.8 square kilometres and population of 857,818 inhabitants (as of 2008). The province borders the Laotian Khammouane province to the west, the East Sea to the east, Hà Tinh province to the north and Quang Tri province to the south. Historically, this region belonged to Văn Lang and later the kingdom of Champa. Later it was claimed by both the Đai Viet and Champa and officially annexed into Đai Viet by Ly Thuong Kiet, a Lý dynasty general (under the reign of Lý Thánh Tông).
The site of present-day Quang Binh province was battlefields between Champa and Vietnam until the Vietnamese territory was expanded further south by subsequent dynasties. Quang Bình’s importance expanded after Nguyen Hoàng, a prince of Nguyen Lords was sent to the south by a king of the Lê dynasty. Hoàng built his estate and turned it into Đàng Trong, a rival of the de facto Trinh-controlled Đàng Ngoài. Quang Bình became an important front to defend Đàng Trong from attack by Đàng Ngoài.
Under French rule, Quang Binh province was part of Annam.
During the Vietnam War, Quang Binh province was part of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (aka North Vietnam), only 20 km from the DMZ. This province was severely devastated by bombing from U.S. B-52s. This province is home to the World Heritage Phong Nha-Ke Bàng National Park. Quang Binh is also home to several famous Vietnamese persons, including general Vo Nguyên Giáp, poet Hàn Mac Tu, writer Bao Ninh and the family of former South Vietnamese president Ngô Đình Diem.
Location and area
Coordinates 16°55’ to 18°05’ North and 105°37’ to 107°00’ East. It borders Hà Tinh Province on the north with the Ngang mountain pass as the natural frontier, Quang Tri province to the south, Laos to the west, and faces the East Sea to the east. The narrowest part from the east (seaside) to the west (Laotian border) is just 40 km. The provincial topography is characterized by a general slope, higher in the west and lower in the east, with hilly and mountainous areas accounting for 85% of the total area.
The Annamite Range is the natural border between Quang Binh province and Laos with peaks ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 m, the summit of which is peak Phi Co Pi with the height of 2,017 m. In the east of Quang Binh province are lower hills and then several narrow plains and river deltas. The seaside sand dunes belt is a natural dam that protects the land from the ocean tides.
The provincial land area is 8,037.9 km² and divided as follows:
inhabited land: 41.45 km²
Agriculture: 1635.46 km²
Forest: 4912.62 km²
Specific usage: 199.36 km²
Unused: 26.01 km²
The sand area accounts for 5.9% of the land, and alluvial soil accounts for only 2.8% of the land. The province’s east coastline is 116.04 km long and the western borderline with Laos is 201.81 km long. The province owns 4866.88 km² of forests, of which 4478.37 km² is the natural jungle, and 388.54 km² is reforestation (including 175.97 km² of pines).
The province is located at the coordinates:
The northernmost point: 180 5’12 N
The southernmost point: 170 5’02 N
The westernmost point: 106 59’37 E
The westernmost point: 105 36’55 E
The coastline is 116.04 km on the east, the borderline with Laos is 201.87 km on the west.
Rivers and sea
There are some major rivers in this province, as follows:
– Gianh River (this historic river used to be the border splitting Vietnam into two countries during the Trinh-Nguyen War)
– Ron River
– Nhat Le River (the confluence of the Kien Giang and Long Đai rivers)
– Ly Hoa River
– Dinh River
– Kien Giang River, Le Thuy District
– Son River, Phong Nha-Ke Bàng
Most of the rivers originate in the Truong Son Range and empty into the South China Sea. River and stream density is 1.1 km/km². There are some 160 natural and man-made lakes with total water deposit of 234.3 million cubic metres of fresh water, Quang Binh province’s sea area includes a continental shelf and special economic area up to 20,000 km². Off the sea, there lie Hòn La islet, Hòn Gió islet, Hòn Nom islet, Hòn Co islet, Hòn Chùa islets with the total fishery capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes. Hòn La bay is a 4-square-km marine bay with the depth up to 15m and a surrounding land of 4 km² suitable to develop sea deep-water port and industrial park.
The province has six huyen (districts) and one city (Đong Hoi)
– Bo Trach
– Le Thuy
– Minh Hóa
– Quang Ninh
– Quang Trach
– Tuyên Hóa
The districts are further divided into 154 communes (xã) and these communes are divided into villages (lang or thon). Like the administrative system of Vietnam, the leader of each administrative unit is the secretary of the local Communist Party Cell. Each administrative unit includes a people’s council, who elects a people’s committee to execute its daily affairs.
The provincial population is 807,787 (2000). There are 24 ethnic groups live here, predominantly Kinh, Vân Kieu and Chut. Other minorities are in very small quantity with 100 persons each. All of 23 minority ethnic groups live in mountainous areas.
The provincial population is unevenly distributed, with more than 90% live in around 10% of the provincial land while just 10% live in 90% mountainous and sand areas. 88.5% inhabitants live in rural areas, 11.5% lives in urban areas. 47.08% of the population (380,306) was in the labour force in 2000, 72% of whom work in rural sectors (agriculture and silviculture) and 10.9% in urban areas (industrial, service and commercial sectors). There are 10,720 university graduates and postgraduates (4,676 college graduates and 6042 university graduates) in 2000. Of blue-collar workers, only 35,000 have passed appropriate training courses.
Archaeological excavation in this area proved that human living in what is now Quang Binh province in Stone Age period. Many artefacts such as ceramic vases, stone tools, china were unearthed in Quang Bình.
in 1926, a French archaeologist, Madeleine Colani, discovered and excavated many artefacts in caves and grottoes in west mountainous areas of Quang Bình. She concluded that the Hòa Bình culture belonged to this region. Through C14 dating test, the artefacts dated back to 10,509 (plus or minus 950) years ago. From Quy Đat township (in Minh Hóa District) to 150 m southwest, the Hum grotto contains many stone tools and animal stones from an ancient human community. inside the Khai grotto near Quy Đat township, similar artefacts were also found. Especially, there are several ceramics of Dong Son Culture. Additionally, artefacts from the Stone Age were unearthed in some grottoes in Quang Bình. Owners of these artefacts lived in the caves and grottoes and hunted for their food.
Under the Hung kings, when Văn Lang nation founded Văn Lang tribal coalition, Quang Bình belonged to Viet Thuong group. Under Lê Trung Hung, this province was named Tiên Bình. The central and the south Vietnam (from Ngang mount pass to Bình Thuan Province was the long Champa Kingdom. The wars between Champa kingdom and Đai Viet before then had happened very regularly, most of the wars lodged by Champa Kingdom who was then stronger than Đai Viet (“Viet the great”).
Quang Bình became Đai Viet’s territory in 1306 following the marriage of the Tran Dynasty princess Huyen Trân to the Champa king, Jaya Sinhavarman iii (Vietnamese: Che Mân). Huyen Tran was King Tran Nhân Tông’s daughter and King Tran Anh Tông’s younger sister. Political matches made to acquire land were common traditional practices by Champa kings. Thanks to this marriage, Đai Viet acquired lands (as dowry) of what is now Quang Tri Province, and Thua Thiên-Hue Province (then known respectively as Chau O and Chau Ri or Chau Ly), the new map changed Quang Bình from being the southernmost land and the southern border of Đai Viet.
During the Trinh-Nguyen family war in 17th century, the Gianh River in Quang Bình Province became the border between Dang Trong (South Vietnam) and Đàng Ngoài (North Vietnam). Đong Hoi city was built as a fortress to protect the Nguyen family’s Dang Trong from Đàng Ngoài’s attacks.
in 1604 the provincial name was changed to Quang Bình. Lord Nguyen Phúc Khoát divided Quang Bình into 3 counties (dinh): dinh Bo Chính (formerly dinh Ngói), dinh Muoi (or dinh Luu Đon), and dinh Quang Bình (or dinh Tram). The province was established in 1831, with the part of phu Quang Ninh, then added phu Quang Trach. Under French colony (French Indochina, Quang Bình was situated in Annam of French Indochina and Đong Hoi air base in Quang Bình was used by the French to attack the Viet Minh in north-central Vietnam and the Laotian Pathet army in the northern and southern Laos.
In 1954, the Geneva Accord was signed by France and Vietnam and involved parties. According to which, Vietnam is temporarily divided into 2 part with Parallel 17 as a frontier. The North Vietnam was under communist control while the South Vietnam was in anti-communist and French collaborators control and a universal election would be held in 1956 to unify the country. However, in the South, Ngô Đình Diem held a referendum determined the form of government of the State of Vietnam, the nation that was to become the Republic of Vietnam and founded pro-American the Republic of Vietnam.
50 km north of the 17th parallel, during the Vietnam War, Quang Bình was the most heavily bombed province by U.S. B-52s due to its location. in 1976, Quang Binh province, Quang Tri province and Thua Thiên province were merged into Bình Tri Thiên province. However, in 1990 Binh Tri Thien province was split into three provinces as they were before.
For more details about other provinces and cities of Vietnam, please follow this link.