In the middle of the 16th century, when Hoi An was a busy center of the south, Da Nang was only a small port for goods in transit and ship repair. It gradually developed into a commercial port replacing Hoi An in the early 18th century, when European shipbuilding was improved and large deep draught vessels could easily enter Da Nang Bay.
In 1835, after King Minh Mang ordered: “European vessels are not allowed to anchor to do trade at any harbours except for Han Port”, Da Nang became the largest commercial port in the central region. The local small scale industries, including shipbuilding, preliminary processing of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, and trade, services prospered accordingly.
The French colonists, after establishing their domination of the whole of Viet Nam in 1889, separated Da Nang from Quang Nam Province and renamed the city Tourane and under the control of the Governor General of Indochina.
In the early 20th century, Tourane was developed on a European model, which focused on social infrastructure and manufacture technology. Many kinds of economic activity took shape and thrived, such as agricultural production, small scale industries, export product procesing (tea, food, beverages, ice, alcohol, fish sauce, dried fish), ship building and repair, and services. Together with Hai Phong and Sai Gon, Tourane became an important trading center of the country.
In 1950, French gave the authority over the city to the Bao Dai Government. In March 1965, American marine units landed and started to set up a big military complex. The city was defined as a centrally governed city in 1967, and accordingly American troops and the Sai Gon Government built up Da Nang into a political, military and cultural center of the 1st and 2nd tactical zones. Military bases and such infrastructure as the airport, ports, warehouses, roads, public works, communication stations, and banks were constructed. Industries flourished, resulting in the substitution by industrial zones of handicraft workshops. For example, Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone was used for oxygen, acetylene and detergent production, grind and textiles industries. However, the devastating war made thousands of rural people flee in refugee camps. Urban slums appeared, social evils increased and production came to a standstill.
In 1975, after gaining complete independence, Da Nang (temporarily under Quang Nam – Da Nang Province) began to overcome the war’s severe consequences. Regardless of difficulties, the city’s rehabilitation and development had some results, especially after the renovation in 1986.
On 6 July 1996, the tenth session of the 9th National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam passed a Resolution separating Quang Nam – Da Nang Province into Quang Nam Province and Da Nang city, which was directly responsible to the central government. The new city of Da Nang consisted of the previous Da Nang, Hoa Vang Rural District and Hoang Sa Island District.
Names of Da Nang through periods of time
The land of Da Nang, part of the Dai Viet nation’s territory, was in Hoa Chau County in the time of King Tran Anh Tong in the 15th century. In King Le Thanh Tong’s reign Dynasty starting from 1466, it belonged to Dien Ban District, Trieu Phong Prefecture, Thuan Hoa Province.
The name Da Nang was first seen in “O Chau Can Luc” by Duong Van An in 1533 when the book mentioned a temple in Da Nang seaport where a famous figure of King Le Thanh Tong’s reign was worshipped.
The name Da Nang, understood in the Champa language meaning “big river” or “main estuary”. Located next to an important seaport on the west bank of the Han River, Da Nang has been on maps since the 16th century.
Cua Han, another name of the land, was popular with the public and Europeans at that time. This name is close in meaning to the Han River and was seen on 17th century maps. Father Buzomi, a European missionary coming to the Inner Area (Dang Trong) in 1615, founded a church in Kean, the land situated on the foot of the Hai Van Pass. The name Kean was also used on a famous map made by Father Alexandre de Rhodes in 1666. Kean is “Ke Han”, stemming from the term “Ke”, a quite popular name at that time denoting crowded places such as markets and streets.
In addition, in the years of French colonialism, Da Nang was called Tourane. It was an official administrative name at that time and has been used by many Europeans until now. European maps, books and notes in the 16th, 17th, 18th centuries mentioned such place names as Turon, Toron, Taraon, Touan, Touane, Touron and Tourane.
“Hien Cang” is the name called by the Chinese for this land. “Hien” is in two ways of Han script writing means either “a port having lots of mussels” or “a seaport with small but dangerous mountains”, all meaning springs from the shape of Mount Son Tra when we look at it from the sea.
Da Nang Bay was called “Vung Thung” by the local people. Confucian scholars used to call Da Nang by the literary names of Tra Uc, Tra Ao, Tra Son or Dong Long Loan.
After the August 1945 Revolution, Tourane was named after Thai Phien, a well-known patriot name of Quang Nam Province who led the Duy Tan (Renovation) Resistance in 1916.
Two years later, Thai Phien was renamed Da Nang and this name has remained with the city.
Da Nang milestones
1 October 1888
King Đong Khanh of the Nguyen’s Dynasty signs an agreement ceding Ha Noi, Hai Phong and Da Nang to the Frẹnch invaders. It is stipulated that Da Nang has 05 communes separated from Hoa Vang District, including Hai Chau, Phuoc Ninh, Thạch Thang, Nam Duong and Nại Hien Tay. This agreement is censored by a decree of The French Governor General of Indochina at 2-10-1888.
24 May 1889
The French Governor General of Indochina publishes a decree establishing Tourane (Da Nang) City as an administrative unit of Quang Nam Province. Tourane City is recognized as a Class Two City like Cho Lon City and Phnom Penh (Cambodia). The Mayor, who is appointed by the Governor General, is the head of the city administrative structure. The city has a total area of 10,000 ha.
15 January 1901
King Thanh Thai, under pressure from the French Governor General of Indochina, is forced to sign an edict ceding additional eight communes of Hoa Vang District and six communes of Dien Phuoc District.
19 September 1905
The French Governor General of Indochina enacts a decree separating Tourane city from Quang Nam, developing it as an independent administrative unit including 19 communes (13 communes on the left bank of Han River and 6 communes on the right bank).
After the August Revolution, Da Nang is renamed Thai Phien City. Thai Phien (1882 – 1916) was a well-known scholar born in Da Nang who led the abortive rebellion against French Authorities (4 May 1916) initiated by Association for Recovering Vietnam Independence. He was beheaded with Tran Cao Van on 17 May 1916 in An Hoa, Hue.
9 October 1945
Based on the Decision of the central government, Thai Phien City is renamed back to Da Nang City.
Da Nang’s borders are expanded to the east by the annexation of 02 communes of Nam Tho and Hoa Hai of Hoa Vang District. The city had the three following areas:
- The central area includes 05 communes of Hai Chau, Phuoc Ninh, Thach Thang, Nai Hien Tay and Binh Thuan.
- The western area includes 07 communes of Thanh Khe, Ha Khe, Xuan Hoa, Xuan Dan, Lien Tri, Thạc Gian and Thuan An.
- The eastern area includes 09 communes of An Hai, Hoa Hai, My Khe, Phuoc Tuong, Tan Thai, Nam Thọ, Co Man, Man Quang and Nai Hien Dong.
The first meeting of the City People’s Council passes a Decision establishing seven administrative areas. Hoang Sa Island District is a commune of the city.
- There are five quarters on the left bank of the Han River.
- Tran Phu Quarter including Hai Chau Commune.
- Phan Dang Luu Quarter including the communes of Binh Thuan, Phuoc Ninh, Nai Hien Tay and Nam Duong.
- Phan Thanh Quarter including the communes of Thac Gian, Thach Thang and Lien Tri.
- Le Hong Phong Quarter including the communes of Yen Khe, Xuan Ha, Xuan Dan and Phuc Dan.
- Ha Huy Tap Quarter including the communes of Thanh Khe, Ha Khe and Thuan An.
- And there are two quarters on the right bank of the Han River.
- Nguyen Thai Hoc Quarter including the communes of My Khe, An Hai, Phuoc Tuong and a part of Nai Hien Dong commune.
- Pho Duc Chinh Quarter including the communes of Co Man, Man Quang, Nam Tho and Tan Thai.
20 December 1946
French occupied Da Nang city again. Seven quarters are amalgamated into three new quarters: the Middle, Western and Eastern Quarters to facilitate communication in case of fighting French invaders.
The Committee for Resistance and Administration of Quang Nam – Da Nang province enacts a Decision annexing the communes of My Thi, Ba Da, Da Phuoc and Nuoc Man of Hoa Vang District to the city in order to infiltrate the occupied city easily.
Three other communes of Khue Trung, Hoa Khue and Hoa Cuong of Hoa Vang District are annexed in the city. Da Nang is divided into six new areas:
The three urban areas include:
- Tran Phu area including Hai Chau Commune.
- Phan Thanh area including a part of Hai Chau commune, Thac Gian and Thach Thang commune.
- Phan Dang Luu area including the communes of Phuoc Ninh, Nam Duong, Nai Hien Nam and Binh Duong.
The three rural areas include:
- The eastern area covers the communes of An Hai, Hoa Hai, My Khe, Phuoc Tuong, Tan Thai, Nam Tho, Co Man, Man Quang, Nai Hien Dong, Nuoc Man, My Thi and Ba Da.
- The western area covers the communes of Thanh Khe, Ha Khe, Xuan Hoa, Xuan Dan, Lien Tri, Thac Gian and Thuan An.
- The southern area covers the communes of Khue Trung, Lo Sai, Hoa Son, Thuan Nam, Lien Tri Nam and Lien Tri Bac.
Da Nang Town is established with three districts including 28 quarters that are equivalent to wards.
- The 1st District has nine quarters including Xuong Binh, Phuoc Ninh, Thieu Binh, Hai Chau, Thạch Thang, Nam Duong, Hoa Thuan, Binh Thuan and Nai Hien.
- The 2nd District has ten quarters including Thac Gian, Ha Khe, An Khe, Phu Loc, Phuc Dan, Chinh Trach, Xuan Dan, Tam Toa, Thanh Khe and Xuan Hoa.
- The 3rd District has nine quarters including An Hai, Man Quang, Co Man, Nam Thọ, My Khe, Phuoc Tuong, Nai Hien Dong, Tan Thai and Thuong Nghia.
31 July 1962
The Republic of Vietnam’s government issues Decree No. 162-NV separating Quang Nam Province into Quang Nam and Quang Tin provinces. Quang Nam Province consists of 9 districts, 01 town and 144 communes with the provincial town being Hoi An. Quang Tin Province has 6 districts, 01 town and 89 communes with the provincial town being Tam Ky.
After the division, in observance of the 5th Zone Party Committee’s resolution, the Quang Nam Revolutionary Government divides the province into two new provinces for better organization and leadership to cope with the enemy’s plans.
These are Quang Da Province in the north with five districts of Hoa Vang, Dai Loc, Thong Nhat, Dien Ban, Duy Xuyen; Da Nang City and Hoi An Town.
In the south, Quang Nam Province have six districts of Que Son, Southern Tam Ky, Northern Tam Ky, Thang Binh, Tien Phuoc and Tra Son.
The 5th Zone Party Committee decides to merge Quang Da Province and Da Nang City into Quang Da Special Zone.
6 January 1973
The administrative division of Da Nang City is established with three districts. 28 quarters are merged into 19 wards under district level. The Town of Da Nang is put under the management of a 11-member town council led by a Mayor.
- The 1st District has 7 wards of Trieu Binh, Xuong Binh, Thach Thang, Hai Chau, Nam Phuoc, Binh Hien and Hoa Thuan.
- The 2nd District has 5 wards of Chinh Gian, Thac Gian, An Khe, Thanh Loc Dan and Ha Tam Xuan.
- The 3rd District has 7 wards of Nam Tho, Ma Quang, Ma Tha, An Ha Ta, Phuoc My, Nai Nghia and An Hai Bac.
26 March 1975
The Political Bureau of the Vietnam Communist Party and the Central Party Committee of the Vietnam People’s Army decide to establish High Command and the Party Committee of Quang Da front with the code name “145”. Major-General Le Trong Tan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Commander and Lieutenant-General Chu Huy Man, Commander of the 5th Military Zone and Political Commissar are authorized to lead the Second Corps and the people of the 5th Zone to struggle for Da Nang’s occupation.
28 March 1975
The plans of the attack into Da Nang are formed, including the 325th Division in the north, the 9th Regiment in the west, the 304th Division in the southwest, the 5th Military Zone’s troops in the south and the Quang Da Special Zone’s armed forces in the east and at specific city’s targets.
At 5 a.m, the Vietnam People’s artillery opens fire on the airport and seaport, starting the liberation campaign of Da Nang. In the afternoon, all gateways into the city are cleared. General Ngo Quang Truong and the High Command of the 1st Strategic Zone of the Republic of Vietnam’s Army retreat on a ship of the 7th Fleet, leaving behind a city in panic.
29 March 1975
At 11 a.m, the Vietnam People’s Army seizes total control of the Da Nang airport.
At 2 p.m, the revolutionary flag flies from City Hall and the flagstaff of the 1st Corps Command of the puppet army.
At 3 p.m, fighting is ended. Da Nang is fully liberated.
In compliance with Resolutions No 245-NQTW and No 19/NQ dated 20 December 1975 of the Political Bureau of the Vietnam Communist Party, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam issues a Decree dissolving zones and unifying southern provinces. According to the rearrangement, Quang Nam – Da Nang Province is composed of the two former provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Da and becomes one of 21 provinces and centrally governed cities in South Vietnam.
30 August 1977
The 1st, 2nd, 3rd districts of Quang Nam – Da Nang Province are merged into Da Nang City under Quang Nam – Da Nang Province according to Decree No 228-CP of the Governmental Council.
9 December 1982
Hoang Sa Island District under Quang Nam – Da Nang Province is formed from the entire area of Paracel Islands in Hoa Vang District, Quang Nam – Da Nang Province.
6 November 1996
The 10th Session of the 9th National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam approves the separation of Quang Nam – Da Nang Province into Quang Nam Province and Da Nang City directly responsible.
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