Exhibition on Hoang Sa, Truong Sa to open in Da Lat

An exhibition displaying maps and documents on Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos will be opened in the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city, Central Highlands province of Lam Dong starting from July 3rd.

(VNF) - An exhibition displaying maps and documents on Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos will be opened in the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city, Central Highlands province of Lam Dong starting from July 3rd.

On display are documents, items and historical evidence collected at home and abroad, including China, proving Vietnam’s scared sovereignty over the two archipelagos in the East Sea.

The exhibition will display copies of documents written in Han (classical Chinese), Nom (old Vietnamese writing using Chinese characters), Vietnamese and French, which were issued under the Vietnamese feudal dynasties and French administration in Indochina from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

Especially, for the first time, Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) wood blocks (moc ban) confirming Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands will be published.

Exhibition on Hoang Sa, Truong Sa to open in Da Lat

“Hoang Sa Island lies east of Cu Lao Re (Re Islet). Found on the archipelago is a vast golden sand bank, stretching for several thousands of miles, which is known as ‘Van ly truong sa’ (Long sand bank of tens of thousands of miles). [Wood block of the Nguyen Dynasty Historical Bureau, Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi (Geography of the Unified Great Vietnam)]. (Source: National Archives Centre IV)

Exhibition on Hoang Sa, Truong Sa to open in Da Lat

In 1816, King Gia Long ordered troops and Hoang Sa flotilla, to cross the sea to Hoang Sa for surveying, inspection, marker planting and map drawing. [Wood block of the Nguyen Dynasty Historical Bureau, Dai Nam Thuc Luc Chinh Bien (Veritable Records of Great Vietnam)]. (Source: National Archives Centre IV)

The content on the block is seen as evidence of Vietnam's early control over offshore archipelagos, as well as affirming the country's sovereignty over the Paracels (which were totally and forcibly taken by China in 1974), and the Spratly islands as well.

Nguyen Dynasty’s administrative documents were made during the state administration of Vietnam’s last feudal period between 1802 and 1945, including those issued by Kings and State administrative bodies submitted to the Kings and a number of diplomatic documents. They were recognised as documentary heritage of the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Committee for Asia and Pacific.

Currently, more than 34,000 woodblocks, which were recognised as world documentary heritage items in 2009, are being preserved in the National Archives Centre IV in Da Lat city. Many of them contain valuable content affirming Vietnam ’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

They show that the Vietnamese states managed, protected and affirmed sovereignty over the two archipelagos continuously and peacefully over centuries.

The exhibition is expected to help raise awareness and responsibility among local authorities and residents in safeguarding the country’s sacred sovereignty over seas and islands./.

Chau Pham

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