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Hanoi's History - Part 1

hanoi's history1. Introduction about Hanoi

Hanoi is Vietnam's capital and second largest city by population (7.7 million in 2015). The city mostly lies on the right bank of the Red River. Hanoi is 1,720 km (1,070 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh City and 105 km (65 mi) west of Haiphong.

From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam. It was eclipsed by Huế, the imperial capital of Vietnam during the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802–1945). In 1873 Hanoi was conquered by the French. From 1883 to 1945, the city was the administrative center of the colony of French Indochina. The French built a modern administrative city south of Old Hanoi, creating broad, perpendicular tree-lined avenues of opera, churches, public buildings, and luxury villas, but they also destroyed large parts of the city, shedding or reducing the size of lakes and canals, while also clearing out various imperial palaces and citadels.

From 1940 to 1945 Hanoi, as well as most of French Indochina and Southeast Asia, was occupied by the Japanese empire. On September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam). The Vietnamese National Assembly under Ho Chi Minh decided on January 6, 1946, to make Hanoi the capital of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. From 1954 to 1976, it was the capital of North Vietnam, and it became the capital of a reunified Vietnam in 1976, after the North's victory in the Vietnam War.

October 2010 officially marked 1,000 years since the establishment of the city. The Hanoi Ceramic Mosaic Mural is a 6.5 km (4.0 mi) ceramic mosaic mural created to mark the occasion.

On July 16, 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presented the title “City for Peace” to Hanoi.

2. Hanoi's name of History

Hanoi had many official and unofficial names throughout history.

  • + During the Chinese occupation of Vietnam, it was known first as Long Biên (龍邊, "dragon edge"), then Tống Bình (宋平, "Song peace") and Long Đỗ (龍肚, "dragon belly"). Long Biên later gave its name to the famed Long Biên Bridge, built during French colonial times, and more recently to a new district to the east of the Red River. Several older names of Hanoi feature long (龍, "dragon"), linked to the curved formation of the Red River around the city, which was symbolized as a dragon.[9]
  • + In 866, it was turned into a citadel and named Đại La (大羅, "big net"). This gave it the nickname La Thành (羅城, "net citadel"). Both Đại La and La Thành are names of major streets in modern Hanoi.
  • + When Lý Thái Tổ established the capital in the area in 1010, it was named Thăng Long (昇龍, "rising dragon"). Thăng Long later became the name of a major bridge on the highway linking the city center to Noi Bai Airport, and the Thăng Long Boulevard expressway in the southwest of the city center. In modern time, the city is usually referred to as Thăng Long – Hà Nội, when its long history is discussed.
  • + During the Hồ dynasty, it was called Đông Đô (東都, "eastern metropolis").
  • + During the Minh dynasty, it was called Đông Quan (東關, "eastern gate").
  • + During the Lê dynasty, Hanoi was known as Đông Kinh (東京, "eastern capital"). This gave the name to Tonkin and Gulf of Tonkin. A square adjacent to the Hoàn Kiếm lake was named Đông Kinh Nghĩa Thục after the reformist Tonkin Free School under French colonization.
  • + After the end of the Tây Sơn had expanded further south, the city was named Bắc Thành (北城, "northern citadel").
  • + Minh Mạng renamed the city Hà Nội (河內, "inside (the) rivers") in 1831. This has remained its official name until modern times.
  • + Several unofficial names of Hanoi include: Kẻ Chợ (marketplace), Tràng An (long peace), Hà Thành (short for Thành phố Hà Nội, "city of Hanoi"), and Thủ Đô (capital).

3. Hanoi's History

3.1. Pre-Thăng Long period

Hanoi has been inhabited since at least 3000 BC. The Cổ Loa Citadel in Dong Anh district served as the capital of the Âu Lạc kingdom founded by the Thục emigrant Thục Phán after his 258 BC conquest of the native Văn Lang.

In 197 BC, Âu Lạc Kingdom was annexed by Nanyue, which ushered in more than a millennium of Chinese domination. By the middle of the 5th century, in the center of ancient Hanoi, the Liu Song Dynasty set up a new district (縣, huyện) called Songping (Tong Binh), which later became a commandery (郡, quận), including two districts Yihuai (義懷) and Suining (綏寧) in the south of the Red River (now Từ Liêm and Hoài Đức districts) with a metropolis (the domination centre) in the present inner Hanoi. By the year 679, the Tang dynasty changed the region's name into Annan (Pacified South), with Songping as its capital.

In order to defeat the people's uprisings, in the later half of the 8th century, Zhang Boyi (張伯儀), a Tang dynasty viceroy, built Luocheng (羅城, La Thanh or La citadel, from Thu Le to Quan Ngua in present-day Ba Dinh precinct). In the earlier half of the 9th century, it was further built up and called Jincheng (金城, Kim Thanh or Kim Citadel). In 866, Gao Pian, the Chinese Jiedushi, consolidated and named it Daluocheng (大羅城, Dai La citadel, running from Quan Ngua to Bach Thao), the largest citadel of ancient Hanoi at the time.

3.2. Thăng Long, Đông Đô, Đông Quan, Đông Kinh

In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ, the first ruler of the Lý Dynasty, moved the capital of Đại Việt to the site of the Đại La Citadel. Claiming to have seen a dragon ascending the Red River, he renamed the site Thăng Long (昇龍, "Soaring Dragon") – a name still used poetically to this day. Thăng Long remained the capital of Đại Việt until 1397, when it was moved to Thanh Hóa, then known as Tây Đô (西都), the "Western Capital". Thăng Long then became Đông Đô (東都), the "Eastern Capital."

In 1408, the Chinese Minh Dynasty attacked and occupied Vietnam, changing Đông Đô's name to Dongguan (Chinese: 東關, Eastern Gateway), or Đông Quan in Sino-Vietnamese. In 1428, the Vietnamese overthrew the Chinese under the leadership of Lê Lợi, who later founded the Lê Dynasty and renamed Đông Quan Đông Kinh (東京, "Eastern Capital"-not Tokyo) or Tonkin. Right after the end of the Tây Sơn Dynasty, it was named Bắc Thành (北城, "Northern Citadel").

3.3. During Nguyễn Dynasty and the French colonial period
When the Nguyễn Dynasty was established in 1802, Gia Long moved the capital to Huế. Thăng Long was no longer the capital, its Hán tự was changed from 昇龍 ("Rising dragon") to 昇隆 ("Ascent and prosperity"), aiming to reduce the sentiment of Lê dynasty. Emperors of Vietnam usually used dragon (龍 long) as a symbol of their imperial strength and power. In 1831, the Nguyễn emperor Minh Mạng renamed it Hà Nội (河內, "Between Rivers" or "River Interior"). Hanoi was occupied by the French in 1873 and passed to them ten years later. As Hanoï, it was located in the protectorate of Tonkin became the capital of French Indochina after 1887.

3.4. During two wars
The city was occupied by the Imperial Japanese in 1940 and liberated in 1945, when it briefly became the seat of the Viet Minh government after Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam. However, the French returned and reoccupied the city in 1946. After nine years of fighting between the French and Viet Minh forces, Hanoi became the capital of an independent North Vietnam in 1954.

During the Vietnam War, Hanoi's transportation facilities were disrupted by the bombing of bridges and railways. These were all, however, promptly repaired. Following the end of the war, Hanoi became the capital of a reunified Vietnam when North and South Vietnam were reunited on 2 July 1976.

3.5. Modern Hanoi

After the Đổi Mới economic policies were approved in 1986, the Communist Party and national and municipal governments hoped to attract international investments for urban development projects in Hanoi. The high-rise commercial buildings did not begin to appear until ten years later due to the international investment community being skeptical of the security of their investments in Vietnam. Rapid urban development and rising costs displaced many residential areas in central Hanoi. Following a short period of economic stagnation after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Hanoi resumed its rapid economic growth.

On 29 May 2008, it was decided that Hà Tây Province, Vĩnh Phúc Province's Mê Linh District and 4 communes of Lương Sơn District, Hòa Bình Province be merged into the metropolitan area of Hanoi from 1 August 2008. Hanoi's total area then increased to 334,470 hectares in 29 subdivisions with the new population being 6,232,940., effectively tripling its size. The Hanoi Capital Region (Vùng Thủ đô Hà Nội), a metropolitan area covering Hanoi and 6 surrounding provinces under its administration, will have an area of 13,436 square kilometres (5,188 sq mi) with 15 million people by 2020.

Hanoi has experienced a rapid construction boom recently. Skyscrapers, popping up in new urban areas, have dramatically changed the cityscape and have formed a modern skyline outside the old city. In 2015, Hanoi is ranked # 39 by Emporis in the list of world cities with most skyscrapers over 100 m; its two tallest buildings are Hanoi Landmark 72 Tower (336 m, second tallest in Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh City's Landmark 81 and third tallest in south-east Asia after Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers) and Hanoi Lotte Center (272 m, also, third tallest in Vietnam).

Public outcry in opposition to the redevelopment of culturally significant areas in Hanoi persuaded the national government to implement a low-rise policy surrounding Hoàn Kiếm Lake. The Ba Đình District is also protected from commercial redevelopment.

(Continues)

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