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Offroad Vietnam Motorbike Adventures – Quang Tri Province, Central Vietnam

QUANG TRI PROVINCE, CENTRAL VIETNAM

General Information

Quang Tri Province, Quang Tri Province
Region: North Central Coast
Capital: Đông Hà
Area: 4,745.7 km² (1,832.3 sq mi)
Population: About 650,000
Density: 130/km² (340/sq mi)
Demographics: Vietnamese, Bru – Vân Kieu, Hoa, Tà Ôi
Calling code: 53
Website: http://www.quangtri.gov.vn

Quang Tri is a province on the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, north of the former imperial capital of Hue.

Geography

In North Central Vietnam, Quang Tri province borders Quang Bình province in the north, Thua Thiên-Hue province in the south, Savannakhet, Laos in the west, and the East Sea on the east. In fact, Quang Tri province has 75 kilometres (47 mi) of the seaside. Except for the narrow piedmont coastal plains, the terrain is rather hilly with the Annamite Mountains.

The highlands, with steep slopes, sharp crests, and narrow valleys, has mainly a dense broadleaf evergreen forest. Most of the peaks are from 4,000 feet (1,200 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m) 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.

History

Old days

In the immediate pre-historical period, the lowlands of Quang Tri and central Vietnam as a whole were occupied by Cham people (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 people of the area through a commandery, Rinan, for several centuries. A rebellion by the Cham in the 2nd century CE overthrew Chinese control and re-established local government.

Beginning in the 14th and 15th centuries, the Chams lost the war with Vietnamese armies. Therefore, ethnic Vietnamese gradually displaced or absorbed those Chams who stayed. Over time a distinct Vietnamese dialectical and cultural subgroup developed in the area.

French war

The region was seized by the French by 1874. In 1887 it became part of French Indochina, i.e. the Annam protectorate.

American war

Upon the division of Vietnam in 1954 into North and South, Quang Tri became the northernmost province of the Republic of Vietnam. Beginning 1964, the province gradually became a centre for American bases. Then 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, Quang Tri City, Communist troops occupied partly in April 1967. Later, a principal battleground during the 1968 Tet Offensive gave North Vietnamese troops victory and held for a short period before South Vietnamese government and U.S. forces recaptured.

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 Quang Tri (First Battle of Quang Tri), although they lost much of the territory gained during the South Vietnamese counter-offensive from June through September 1972 (Second Battle of Quang Tri).

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 Quang Tri 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.

Aftermath of the war

Over three decades after the war ended, Quang Tri province is still affected by explosive remnants of war (ERW). This has killed and injured over 7000 people (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, Quang Tri 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 remains a major threat to the safety of local people in their daily activities, and an obstacle to socio-economic development.

Veterans visit

In 2000, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) paid the first visit to Quang Tri. In 2001 the VVMF cooperated with Quang Tri 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 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.

In 2000, Clear Path International (CPI) was still working to remove unexploded ordnance left by the United States in Quang Tri province. In fact, at the time it was the largest ordnance removal effort by an NGO in Vietnam’s history. The CPI continues to operate in Quang Tri, providing victim assistance to those injured by landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). In 2006, Mines Advisory Group (MAG) continues to operate in Quang Tri (and neighbouring Quang Bình Province), providing the only civilian staffed demining and UXO clearance operations in Vietnam. Slowly rebuilding in the areas cleared of mines is Roots of Peace working with MAG on a demine-replant model; clearing areas and working with local farmers to plant high-value crops.

Administrative Divisions

Quang Tri has eight districts:
– Cam Lo
– Con Co
– Đa Krông
– Gio Linh
– Hai Lăng
– Huong Hóa
– Trieu Phong
– Vinh Linh
The city of Đông Hà and the town of Quang Tri are also separate municipalities.

Etymology

The province’s name derives from a Sino-Vietnamese word.

For more details about other provinces and cities of Vietnam, please follow this link.

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