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History of the formation and development of Hai Duong

Updated: 10/12/2020 00:00

Hai Duong has emerged as a dynamic locality in socio-economic development during recent years. The vitality of the province has its source in the deep cultural and historical roots of the land. Traditions serve as the foundation and also a driving force for the locality to develop quickly and strongly.

Hai Duong is located in the centre of the Red River Delta and the northern key economic zone. It borders Hai Phong city to the east, Hung Yen province to the west, Bac Ninh, Bac Giang and Quang Ninh to the north, and Thai Binh to the south. The province has a natural area of 1,660.9 square kilometres.

The name of Hai Duong, meaning “light from the coastal area”, officially dates back to 1469.

Hai Duong citadel gate during the 1884-1885 period

Administrative border of Hai Duong through different historical periods

Through ups and downs of the history, the land of Hai Duong had its name and administrative border changed many times. Initially, it was part of Duong Tuyen (one of the 15 “bo” – the highest administrative unit under Hung King’s reign); Giao Chi, Giao Chau (administrative units under the Chinese rule in the first millennium, comprising present northern Vietnam); then became Nam Sach Lo and Hong Lo (under Ly and Tran Dynasties) (“lo” – the highest local administrative unit during the period when Vietnam was named “Dai Viet” or “Great Viet”), Hong Chau, Nam Sach Chau (at the end of the 16th century) (“chau” – an administrative unit equivalent to a district at present); Thua Tuyen (an administrative unit equivalent to two or three provinces at present) and Hai Duong (in the tenth year of the reign of King Le Thanh Tong (Quang Thuan) in 1469). Hai Duong province was officially established in 1831, also known as Dong (East) province, comprising:

+ Thuong Hong county with Duong Hao, Duong Yen, Cam Giang, Thanh Mien, Ty Ky and Vinh Bao districts.

+ Nam Sach county with Nam Sach, Chi Linh, Thanh Ha and Tien Lang districts

+ Kinh Mon county with Giap Son, Dong Trieu, Thuy Duong, An Lao, Nghi Duong, Kim Thanh and An Duong districts.

In 1887, An Duong and An Lao districts and part of Thuy Duong district were separated from Hai Duong to form Hai Phong province. In 1889, the entire district of Thuy Duong was merged to Hai Phong, and Tien Lang district and part of Kim Thanh and Kinh Mon districts were also merged to Hai Phong in 1893.

During the war against French colonialists in 1947, Dong Trieu, Chi Linh, Nam Sach and Kinh Mon were transferred to Hong Quang province. The districts were returned to Hai Duong again in 1954. However, in 1960, Dong Trieu district was transferred to Hong Quang province and Vinh Bao district was merged to Kien An province in 1960.

As from 1960, Hai Duong province encompassed Ninh Giang, Ty Ky, Gia Loc, Thanh Mien, Binh Giang, Cam Giang, Nam Sach, Kinh Mon, Kim Thanh, Thanh Ha and Chi Linh districts, and Hai Duong town.

In March 1968, Hai Duong and Hung Yen provinces were merged into Hai Hung province under Resolution 504/NQ-TVQH issued by the National Assembly Standing Committee. The province then had 20 districts and two towns, with Hai Duong town being the province’s capital.

In April 1979, Tu Loc district was formed from Gia Loc and Tu Ky districts, Ninh Thanh district was formed from Thanh Mien and Ninh Giang districts, Cam Binh district was formed from Cam Giang and Binh Giang districts, Nam Thanh district was formed from Nam Sach and Thanh Ha districts, and Kim Mon district was formed from Kinh Mon and Kim Thanh.

In June 1996, Ninh Thanh and Tu Loc districts were divided into Ninh Giang, Thanh Mien, Tu Ky and Gia Loc districts.

In January 1997, Hai Hung province was divided into Hai Duong and Hung Yen provinces, with Hai Duong town being the capital of Hai Duong province.

In April 1997, Cam Binh was divided into Cam Giang and Binh Giang districts, Kim Mon district was divided into Kim Thanh and Kinh Mon districts, and Nam Thanh district was divided into Nam Sach and Thanh Ha districts.

In August 1997, the Government issued Decree No. 88/ND-CP on upgrading Hai Duong town to Hai Duong city. As from 1997, Hai Duong province comprises 11 districts namely Gia Loc, Tu Ky, Ninh Giang, Thanh Mien, Cam Giang, Binh Giang, Nam Sach, Thanh Ha, Kim Thanh, Kinh Mon and Chi Linh, and Hai Duong city.

A brief history of Hai Duong

Located in the Red River Delta region, Hai Duong was once one of the “four towns” defending the Thang Long royal city. It has experienced ups and downs along with the nation. Its history is also the history of heroic feats.

In 905, Khuc Thua Du, a resident in Cuc Bo village (Ninh Giang district) led people to overthrow the ruling of the northern feudalism, gaining independence for the nation.

During the 13th century when Yuan-Mongol troops invaded Dai Viet, King Tran Nhan Tong convened a meeting of mandarins at Binh Than Wharf (in present Nam Sach district) to discuss how to fight the enemies (historically known as Binh Than meeting).

The Yuan-Mongol troops were defeated by the Tran Dynasty in May 1285, with its general Suo Du killed. Prince Hung Dao Vuong Tran Quoc Tuan chased after general Tuo Huan and stopped him and his troops in Van Kiep. During the Van Kiep battle on June 10, 1285, more than half of the Yuan-Mongol troops were killed and Tuo Huan had to hide in a copper tube to escape. In 1287, Tuo Huan led Yuan troops to invade Dai Viet again. However, they were defeated by Hung Dao Vuong at Bach Dang River. In April 1288, Tuo Huan and his remaining troops fled to the border via Van Kiep.

In 1873, French colonialists began their invasion in Hai Duong but the fierce resistance of locals forced them to quit the plot. Only ten years later (in 1883) could they occupy the province. However, anti-French movements flourished and spread throughout the province. The French Envoy to Hai Duong admitted that France’s victory came at too high a cost.

At the beginning of the 20th century, bourgeois democracy-oriented patriotic movements developed strongly in Hai Duong, with the most noteworthy being the Dong Du and Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc movements (1905 - 1907); movements to demand the release of Phan Boi Chau and the mourning for Phan Chu Trinh (1925 - 1926). In 1928-1930, the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (Vietnam Quoc Dan Dang) established bases in Hai Duong town and Vinh Bao, Kim Thanh, Nam Sach, Chi Linh, Thanh Ha, Tu Ky and Dong Trieu districts. On February 15, 1930, an uprising broke out in Co Am village (Vinh Bao), during which insurgent forces stormed into the office of district chief Hoang Gia Mo and killed him. The uprising was then suppressed but it demonstrated the passionate patriotism and indomitable fighting will of Hai Duong people.

Since 1930, under the Party's leadership, people in Hai Duong joined the nation in the fight for power with undaunted spirit (1930-1945) and engaged in two resistance wars against French colonialists and US imperialists (1946 - 1975).

Proud of the resounding victories and thousand-year traditions, Hai Duong has affirmed its position with big strides in social-economic development. The province has made continuous efforts to keep up with the daily change of the nation and carry forward the traditions of a wealthy and heroic land./.