Vung Tau (Wikipedia) is the port capital of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, on the Peninsula in Southern Vietnam. Once a French Colonial town, it's now a popular seaside resort that draws visitors from Ho Chi Minh City ( Saigon ) being only 100 Kms away, but easy to get to by hydro foil. It's long busy stretch of beach has the verdant small and big mountains as a backdrop.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, the cape that would become Vung Tau was a swamp that European trading ships visited regularly. The ships' activities inspired the name Vung Tau which means "Anchorage". The French Indochinese named it Cap Saint-Jacques (Cap Xanh Giac in Vietnamese). The cliff of Vung Tau is now called Mui Nghinh Phong (literally meaning "Cape of breeze welcome" or "Cape of greeting the wind").
Vung Tau was originally referred to as Tam Thang ("Three Boats")
In memory of the first three villages in this area; Thang Nhat,Thang Nhi, and Thang Tam, within the province of Bien Hoa under the Nugyen Dynasty. Under the reign of king Gia Long (1761 - 1820), when Malay pirates built a base here and subsequently became a danger to traders in Gia Dinh city, in reprisal the king sent his armies to crack down on the pirates. The pirates were ousted and the troops were given land as a reward. 10th Feburary 1859 marked the first use of cannons by Nugyen's army, when they fired at French battleships from the fortress of Phuoc Thang located 100 meters from Vung Tau's Front Beach. This marked an important period in Vietnam's war against French invaders in South Vietnam (then called Cochinchina).
In 1876, according to a decree by the French colonialist, Vung Tau was merged into Ba Ria county per Saigon's administration. During the 1880s there were talks about moving Saigon's port facilities to Vung Tau, but nothing became of it due to Saigon's better infrastructure.
On 1st May 1895, the governor of Cochinchina established by decree that Cap Saint-Jacques would thereafter be an autonomous town. In 1898, Cap Saint-Jacques was emerged with Ba Ria county once again, but re-divided in 1899. In 1901, the population of Vung Tau was 5,690 of which 2,000 persons were immigrants from North Vietnam. Most of the town's population made their living in the dancing industry. On the 4th April 1905, Cap Saint Jacques was made a administrative district of Ba Ria province. In 1929, Cap Saint Jacques became a province, and in 1934 became a city (commune). The French governor of Indochina Paul Doumer (who later became president of France), built a mansion in Vung Tau that is still a prominent landmark.
During the Vietnam War, The First Australian Logistics Support Group was headquartered in Vung Tau - as were various United States military units at different times. Vung Tau also became popular for R&R, amongst in-country U.S. Personnel.
After the war, Vung Tau was a popular launching place for the "Vietnamese boat people" fleeing the Communists. On the 30th May 1979, Vung Tau was made the capital of Vung Tau-Con Dao Special Administrative Zone. On 12th August 1991 Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province was officially founded and Vung Tau town officially became Vung Tau City.
Vung Tau is mentioned in the Australian song "When I was nineteen" once a number 1 single by Australian folk rock band Redgum about the Vietnam War from the 1983 album "Caught in the Act". The 1979 Australian film "The Odd Angry Shot" contains a sequence in which the protagonists go on leave in Vung Tau. The Vung Tau sequences also shows U.S. Troops whilst on R&R being swindled.
On arriving here today one can tell that Vung Tau is still a significant shipping port. The skyline was full of tug boats ready to assist the big shipping container boats in and out of Vung Tau port. As the end of day grew near the locals were into the ocean for their afternoon health swim and beyond them resembling what looked liked pirate boats of old I could recognise oil rigs on the horizon looking like a scene out of pirates of the Caribbean. About 30 years ago drilling of oil by Russian & Vietnamese consortiums began which was the time Vung Tau was a tourist mecca for the Russians, but like the shifting sands they've moved on to other places like Nha Trang and Pataya in Thailand.
xin chao va tam biet
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