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Author Topic: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)  (Read 1314 times)

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2019, 01:11:27 PM »
Towards an environmental history of the eastern Red River
Delta, Vietnam, c.900–1400

Li Tana
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies / Volume 45 / Issue 03 / October 2014, pp 315 - 337


This article focuses on the eastern region of the Red River Delta, Vietnam,
between the tenth and sixteenth centuries. This area was an important centre
of economic and population growth in Đại Việt in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries, and nurtured Đại Việt’s sophisticated and renowned ceramics industry,
hosted leading schools of Vietnamese Buddhism and bred a rising class of scholars
and bureaucrats. The region’s rapid rise as an economic and political centre was,
however, also the key to its undoing. The sudden spike in population density, and
the intensive logging carried out for ceramic production, and temple and ship
building, overtaxed the area’s natural resources. The burden on the local ecology
was exacerbated by the Trần dynasty’s dyke building project, which shifted the
river’s course. The ensuing environmental deterioration might have been one
major reason for the Vietnamese forsaking the large-scale ceramic production
in Chu Đậu, deserting their main port, Vân Đồn, and for the Chinese abandoning
a historical maritime invasion route.
The Red River Delta in Vietnam is divided into three parts: the fluvialdominated
mid delta, where the capital Hanoi is located; the tidedominated
eastern plain, centred at Hải Dương (hereafter the eastern
delta); and finally, the wave-dominated southeastern plain, where the current
course of the Red River is, centred at Nam Điṇ h (hereafter the western
delta).1 Up to the tenth century, most of the sub-prefectures under Chinese
rule were located in the upper eastern delta and the upper-mid delta.
This coastal area had been important to Jiaozhi (one of the names used
by China for Vietnam) under Chinese rule (second century BCE to earlytenth century CE) as well as independent Đại Việt, whose first capital for
41 years (968–1009 CE) was in Hoa Lư (Ninh Bình province). In 1010 the
newly founded Lý dynasty moved its capital to Đại La, the site of the
Tang Annam Protectorate office, today’s Hanoi, and renamed it Thăng
Long (ascending dragon). Although the same city was adopted by the
Tang Annam protectorate and the Lý as their administrative centre,
the Tang had regarded the eastern delta as crucial because Đại La linked
its capital Changan with the coast, while the Lý dynasty was a strongly
riverine polity.
John Whitmore has drawn our attention to the multiethnic coastal area
of the early Đại Việt and its significance for Vietnamese history.2 Building
on his focus, this article situates the eastern coastal area of the Red
River Delta within its natural environment to better understand how
human actions and nature jointly shaped the region in the first four hundred
years of Đại Việt’s independence, and their long-term impact on
Vietnamese history.
Population in the Lý period
Although in the second century BCE northern Vietnam (Jiaozhi) was
the most densely populated area in the Han Empire’s southern coast,3
the situation had changed dramatically by the tenth century. The reasons
for this were threefold. First, as Michael Churchman shows, between the
third and sixth centuries Sinitic-speaking settlers were concentrated in
key centres in coastal-southern China, such as Nanhai (Guangdong
coast), Hepu (Guangxi coast), and Jiaozhi, while vast areas of present-day
Guangxi were inhabited by the Li and Lao, who spoke Kam–Tai languages.
These non-Han chiefdoms largely cut off the much more ‘civilised’ Jiaozhi
from central China and, importantly, Han Chinese migration to Jiaozhi for
over three hundred years.4 Second, Guangdong’s economic position greatly
improved in the eighth century with the opening of the Dayu Mountain
road and the linking of Guangzhou to the hinterland. From the early eighth
century onwards, an unprecedented abundance of goods flowed from the
hinterland to Guangzhou for trade, eclipsing former rival Jiaozhi. A third
and equally important factor was that, by the ninth century, Persian and
Arab merchants — the new princes of the Nanhai trade — chose to sail outward migration from Jiaozhi. In the ninth century, the
combined number of households in north and central Vietnam never
exceeded forty thousand, or less than half the regional total recorded at
the height of the Han period.6 By the time of its independence in the
tenth century, Đại Việt was anything but densely populated.
The newly independent Đại Việt was largely governed by local strong
men, ‘big men’ whose status was determined, in part, by the number of
bonded people they managed to amass. Next to trade, raids were the
most effective means of obtaining manpower. Slave raids were common
practice among the people of Lingnan (southeastern China) and Annam.
The Tang records are filled with descriptions of such raids, and the trade
in slaves belonging to different tribes in Guangdong, Hainan and particularly
Guangxi. Manpower was as precious in tenth-century Guangxi as it
was in Jiaozhi. Guangxi officials often quietly accepted the exodus of
Viet people from Đại Việt, without turning them back. This caused disputes
and directly led to the Việt king Lê Hoàn’s raid of the Guangxi
coast in 995.7 These accounts provide a context for Việt attacks on nearby
regions. Raids were carried out throughout the Former Lê period (980–
1009) which preceded the Lý dynasty:
982: Lê Hoàn ransacked Champa and captured ‘countless’ soldiers, several hundred
court ladies and one Indian monk.
995: Lê Hoàn raided Qinzhou at the Guangxi coast and captured 113 men and
women.
997: Lê Hoàn attacked the Hà Đông area (near present-day Hanoi), which had
been occupied by the Ngô family, and returned with the captives.
1008: In attacking the Tai-speaking peoples in the Tuyên Quang area, Lê Hoàn’s
son captured a few hundred people and horses.
1008: Attack on NghệAn with captives taken.8

Records of raids are not lacking for the Lý dynasty (1009–1225) either:
1044: King Lý Thái Tông attacked Champa and captured over 5,000 people and 30
elephants.9
1048: Lý Thái Tông attacked Ai Lao and obtained ‘many people and animals’.10
1060: The emperor’s son-in-law, an official of Lạng Sơn Thân Thiều Thái, recaptured
the soldiers who had fled to the Song, together with ‘countless’ men, women,
cattle and horses.11
1069: Attack on Champa, with the capture of King Chê´ Cự and 50,000 people.12
Chinese sources record that the Song emperor heard that the ‘majority of Cham
households were captured by Jiaozhi’.13
1075: Attack on the Guangxi coast: over 3,000 people from the three prefectures
were captured and forced to enter Đại Việt.14 Only 221 of them were sent back in
1079.15
1119: Attack on Hoà Bình; the chief and ‘a few hundred people’ captured.16
The raids listed above were clearly aimed at treasure, horses, cattle, and
most importantly, people. While some of the captives may have been
sold around the region, most of them were used as court servants. A massive
number of palaces, towers, gates, temples and pagodas were constructed
between the end of the tenth and twelfth centuries, at a time
when the country was still underpopulated and manpower under direct
court control was even more limited.17 Song and Cham prisoners of war
were resettled around the Lý stronghold — the capital and the upper
Red River Delta — where they became an important resource for court
building projects.18 Vietnamese scholar Trần Quô´ c Vượng points out
that Cham prisoners were used to build the main pagodas, towers and
royal travel lodges. The famous pagoda of the Lý period in Hanoi, Tháp
Báo Thiên, was built by Cham prisoners, and Cham inscriptions were found on the bricks of the Lý royal palace, in the recently excavated Thăng
Long citadel.19 Raids therefore went in tandem with the Lý’s construction
projects. Table 1 shows the correlation between raids and court construction
between the tenth and twelfth centuries.
Given the shortage of manpower, the court guarded its bonded population
carefully; all were tattooed so that no other local strongmen could
claim them. When over 3,000 people from Guangxi were captured by
general Lý Thường Kiệt in 1075, men over 15 years old had ‘thiên tử
quân’ (天子軍‘army of the son of the heaven’) tattooed on their foreheads;
those over 20 were tattooed with ‘đầu nam triều’ (投南朝‘volunteered to
the South dynasty’, i.e. the Lý); and women had ‘quan khách’ (官客‘official
guests’) tattooed on their left hands.20 While in general, bondsmen would
have three to four characters tattooed on their foreheads (for men), male
criminals who became court slaves were tattooed with six characters, and women were tattooed with two. Those who dared to try to flee were severely
punished by having some 50 characters tattooed on their faces, and receive
100 lashes.21 This punishment contrasts with the rather more lenient treatment
of murderers: instead of the death penalty, the law allowed for the
offender to pay monetary compensation to the victim’s family.22 All this
suggests a shortage of manpower under the Lý.
The eastern delta under the Lý
The Lý dynasty was a local power and its territory was limited. Yumio
Sakurai points out that the Lý only directly controlled the capital and lower
western delta; Momoki Shiro further indicates that its strongholds were in
Thanh Hoá, Thái Nguyên and Sơn Tây. Both scholars agree that the outlying
territories were semi-autonomous areas controlled by local powers.23
Whitmore places the Lý-controlled area at the ‘mid-river core of the delta’,
and suggests that the Lý Đại Việt, like Angkor and Pagan, was focused on
the upper, mid-river portion of its territory, and paid little attention to the
coast.24 This largely leaves the eastern coast out of the map of the Lý.
This is intriguing, as the eastern delta was where the most rapid growth of
the Red River Delta occurred between the first and tenth century.25 Recent
archaeological findings indicate that between the seventh and ninth centuries
Tuần Châu island in Quảng Ninh was a major ceramic production centre for
the Tang Annam Protectorate. Tuần Châu is located on the waterway to
China, and the ceramics uncovered here are described as among some of
the finest in Vietnamese history.26 The eastern delta and its coast would
have been the area where Annamese Middle Chinese (as termed by John
Phan), was spoken.27 This language, as Keith Taylor points out, could be a dialect of a broader Southern or Southwestern Middle Chinese of the tenth
century.28 There had likely been a strong Chinese community on the coast
of the eastern delta, according to Taylor. This was where Khúc Thừa Dụ, a
recently arrived Chinese immigrant, rose and declared himself governor of
Annam in 906, an act that established the path for Vietnam’s independence.
Khúc was from Ninh Giang prefecture, Hải Dương. The eastern delta was
also where Wu Hun (Vũ Hồn in Vietnamese), a protector-general in the
840s, had settled.29 The Vũ family became the most prominent family in
Mộ Trạch, Hải Dương, producing many scholar-officials in the Trần and
Lê periods. The family genealogy boasts three government ministers and
eighteen doctoral students (tiê´n sĩ).30 Interestingly, none of the Vũ family
members served in the Lý court in the first two centuries of Đại Việt’s independence.
How do we explain this gap?
The elite living on the eastern coast was likely excluded from the Lý
circle, if we use the Thơ văn Lý Trần (a literary anthology of the Lý and
Trần period) as a ‘Who’s Who’ during the four centuries of Lý and Trần
rule. Out of the 26 people listed under the Lý, only two, both monks,
were from the eastern delta. The place of origin of the elite changed completely
in the Trần era (1225–1400): 29 of the 35 people listed were from
the eastern delta.31 This striking change strongly suggests that the Trần ruling
base was at the coast, particularly in the east.
Whitmore asks how ‘the region to the East — downriver, the lower
delta, the coast — fit into the Lý regime’? Answering his own question,
he provides an important insight: ‘It does not appear to have been of
very great significance and possibly was of different ethnicity’.32 But if
the eastern coast was where the overseas trade took place, and the wealth
was, why did the Lý not tap into the resources of this area instead of abandoning
it to other ethnicities? Here is a hint from the Việt chronicles:
During the Lý dynasty, when the ships from China came to visit they had used the
seaports of Diê˜n Châu [Nghệ An] and Tha Viên [unidentified location] as entry points. Since then [1148] the sea routes had changed and the seaports became dry
and shallow, [therefore merchants] tended to gather at Vân Đồn, and this was why
[the court] ordered them to set up [the government offices] there.33
This source indicates that the Lý’s major ports were at the central coast next
to Champa, not the eastern coast, next to Guangxi, and that this shift to
Vân Đồn was caused by environmental changes in the central coast in
the mid twelfth century. Between the tenth and twelfth centuries the eastern
coast was probably a stretch of wilderness, largely left to outsiders,
including Sino–Viet descendants such as the Vũ family, Tai speakers,
recent migrants from Fujian, and Vietnamese and Dan fishermen.34
Quang Ninh, the province bordering Song China, was where fishermen
and traders indiscriminately colluded with refugees, smugglers, bandits
and pirates.35 James Anderson observes that the Lý pulled back from the
earlier Hoa Lư coastal links and focused on the montane trade in the eleventh
century. This was perhaps partly because the Northern Song was
focused on northern affairs and thus little commerce was carried out in
the Gulf of Tongking area. It was also partly due to the fact that the Lý’s
political control was limited, and thus they had no power base in this
area. As Anderson points out, along the Gulf of Tongking coast, people
at the margins of both kingdoms ‘had for centuries continued to make
local alliances and local deals in their own interests that largely ignored
central authorities’.36
At almost the same time that the Lý’s major port in central Vietnam
suffered from siltation, events in China exerted an influence on the region.
The Guangxi coast, which had been half-deserted following the collapse of
the Tang dynasty, enjoyed a sudden boom in commodity exchange.
Because of the urgent need for horses for its military, the Southern Song
(1127–1279) allocated a huge amount of its annual budget to the horse
trade in the Yunnan–Guangxi–Đại Việt border area. This horse trade
spurred regional growth through stimulating trade, and created a commodity
exchange system within the Jiaozhi Sea (Gulf of Tongking) area.37

Chinese migration in response to the commercial boom in this region
would have contributed considerably to population growth in Đại Việt in
the twelfth century. The magnitude of this growth is visible in a detailed
report on voluntary and forced migration into the Lý Đại Việt by a
Guangxi official named Fan Chengda in 1170s:
Moreover, the indigenes of their country form much less than half [of the population].
[There are] people of [our] territory [who] travel to the south [and] entice
people, male and female, to become menials. [They] grab them and take them
into the mountain grottoes of [this] territory, binding and selling them for two
liang of gold. [From this] territory’s grottoes, [they] move and sell them into
Jiaozhi [Ðai Viet], receiving three liang of gold (for each one). Yearly, there are
not less than 100,000 [such people]…
There are also accomplished scholars, Buddhist monks, Daoist practitioners,
and clever artisans, [all] becoming absconders [who] have lost the [imperial] mandate.
Those who flee are very many… [The Vietnamese thus] grab and plunder the
sold men and women as well as the scholars [who] cross the frontier and enter [their
land].38
The statement that Vietnamese formed much less than half the population
of the entire Đại Việt is of course an exaggeration. Yet, as
Whitmore points out, Fan ‘was looking at the country through the coastal
prism of the Lower Delta, and so his words make sense mainly for
this area, the one with which the Chinese would have had the most contact
and familiarity’.39 It is no coincidence that the port of Vân Đồn was
opened in 1148, only two decades after the founding of the Southern
Song dynasty.40 The Chen family (later to become the Trần imperial
family) might have arrived at the eastern coast around this time, if
not earlier. According to Trần Quô´ c Vượn
g, the Trần had wandered
around the eastern coast before moving to Thiên Trường.41 The fact
that the huge ancestor temple (Đền Thái) complex of the Trần royal
family is situated in Đông Triều district, Quảng Ninh, confirms this view.42 The Quảng Ninh–Hải Dương area (particularly Đông Triều and
Chí Linh districts) saw a concentration of the estates of the leading Trần
princes, eight of whom were crowded on this limited strip. The flourishing
commerce on the northeastern coast would have attracted migration from
the upper Red River Delta,43 from where many of the Trần elite came.
Momoki Shiro observes that many famous officials such as Trần Khă´c
Chung and Phạm Sư Mạnh came from Quảng Ninh and Hải Dương and
that the Trần ‘relied heavily on the rule of such regions as the eastern
edge of the delta, the lower delta and the southern provinces, where not
only trade thrived but agricultural reclamation advanced remarkably’.44
The ethnic intermingling and integration on the northeast coast led to
a new stage in the interaction of Northerners and Southerners (Chinese and
Vietnamese). As Whitmore points out, the maritime dimension facilitated
by the intensive interactions with the Chinese and Song culture, led to a
boom in the literati in this area.45
Population boom in the Trần period
Independent Đại Việt emerged during favorable climatic conditions
which lasted for about three hundred years. Data reconstructed from the
tree-ring widths of cypresses in southern Vietnam indicates that between
900 and 1250–1300, Southeast Asia enjoyed unusually warm, La Niñalike
conditions, which tended to produce greater annual volumes of rainfall,
longer monsoons and shorter dry seasons.46 This was particularly helpful to
the success of the rice crop in the Red River Delta during the Lý and Trần
periods. On the newly reclaimed land along the coast the fifth-month rice
harvest (lúa chiêm) was critical to the population’s survival,47 but was vulnerable to droughts in spring. Three centuries of stable rain-fed harvests
would have greatly encouraged the expansion of land cultivation and stimulated
fertility. These favorable ‘wet centuries’ thus helped to jump-start
the charter state expansion of the time, that saw so many well-organised,
new kingdoms flourish.48 The rapid growth of the eastern delta occurred
within this broad background, contemporaneous with the golden age of
Angkor and Pagan. In all three cases, as Victor Lieberman points out, a period
of greatly enhanced rainfall accelerated cultivation, construction and
population growth.49
Đại Việt’s population doubled to three million between 1200 and 1340,
according to Sakurai.50 By the mid fourteenth century the average population
density of the delta was 150–180 people, and one to two villages, per
square kilometre.51 The population density in the northeastern delta would
have been higher than this average, judging from the early fifteenth century
data (see below). There is no data to gauge the extent of Chinese migration
to Đại Việt in the twelfth century, but the Lý’s recorded raiding stopped in
the late twelfth century, suggesting that Chinese migration and raiding may
have been somewhat correlated. This was also a period of Chinese migration
into other parts of Southeast Asia in ‘a continuous flow’, as pointed out
by Anthony Reid.52 Whitmore notices that in this period, draining and poldering
were carried out in both south China and the lower delta of Ðai
Việt. This led to agricultural intensification and, together with growing
commerce, a greater concentration of population and wealth in this area.
Owing to this rapid growth, by the thirteenth century, land had become
scarce.
This explains why the Trần court issued a somewhat desperate plea in
1266 that the aristocracy, all ‘princes, princesses, king’s son-in-laws and
court ladies’, gather ‘landless and drifting’ people to become their slaves.

58
53 Toàn Thư, p. 345.
54 Nguyê˜n Thi ̣Phương Chi, ‘Vài nét vềtình hình điền trang thời Trần’ [On the estates in
the Trần period], Nghiên cứu lic̣ h sử [Journal of Historical Studies] 2 (2002): 53–4; Momoki
Shiro, The formation and transformation of the medieval state of Đại Việt, p. 70, n. 11.
55 Toàn Thư, p. 473.
56 Momoki Shiro, The formation and transformation of the medieval state of Đại Việt,
pp. 72–3.
57 See Nishimura Masanari and Nishino Noriko, ‘Nghiên cứu khảo cổ học về hình thành
làng xã ởđồng bằng sông Hồng: Trường hợp
làng Bách Cô´c và khu lân cần’ [Archaeological
findings on the formation of villages in the Red River Delta: Case studies of Bách Cô´c and
adjacent areas], in Thông tin Bách Cô´c, Sô´ Đặc biệt [Newsletter on the Bách Cô´c project,
special issue] (Tokyo: Hội Nghiên cứu làng xã Việt Nam, July 2006), p. 22.
58 For the locations of the Trần manors, see Nguyê˜n Thi ̣Phương Chi, ‘Ấp thang mộc của
An Sinh Vương Trần Liê˜u và vai trò của di tích Đền Thái ởAn Sinh (Đông Triều)’: 69; For
điềntrang, see Nguyê˜n Thi ̣Phương Chi, ‘Vài nét vềtình hình điền trang thời Trần’: 52–6.
326 L I TANA
This reflects a trend of migration from the eastern delta to the western
coast, which changed the landscape of the delta.
The newly opened land accommodated the fifth-month rice harvest
(lúa chiêm), which could endure the saline-alkali soil of the coast and
also demanded less fertiliser. Sakurai points out that while crop cultivation
under the Lý was relatively small scale to adapt to the environment, the
Trần’s expansion to the coast and the boost it received from the fifth-month
rice harvest remarkably increased agricultural productivity.59 Indeed, the
fifth-month rice harvest was ‘the spearhead for the opening up of the
lower Red River delta’.60 Cultivation of the fifth-month rice at previous
swamp or swidden coastal areas seems directly linked to the Trần period’s
population boom. As described by a nineteenth-century Vietnamese scholar:
‘Villages were as many as sand in the river or stars in the sky and spread
evenly, no longer would people survive like in the previous periods when
everyone had to find higher ground on which to live.’61
Ming data on the contributions of Jiaozhi (Đại Việt) under Chinese
occupation in the early fifteenth century is the closest we can get to an
image of the Trần economy. This data reveals that Tân Yên’s (Quảng
Ninh and Hải Dương) economic contributions were second only to the
capital’s, contributing 13 per cent of all rice, and paying 67 per cent of
the salt tax (the most important tax in Ming China), and 18 per cent of
the trade tax (Table 2). The table shows the concentration of population
and economic activity in fourteenth and early fifteenth century Đại Việt
around the eastern delta. The western delta, which is today the most densely
populated area in Nam Điṇ h and Thái Bình, was home to just over 10
per cent of the population, who contributed only 16 per cent of the rice
and less than 3 per cent of Jiaozhi’s total trade tax.
The following data shows the three most densely populated areas in
early fifteenth-century Đại Việt.62
59 Quoted from Momoki Shiro, The formation and transformation of the medieval state of
Đại Việt, p. 90; Whitmore expressed a similar view, that each locality worked out its own
hydraulic system, sufficient to allow such cultivation to take place. John K. Whitmore,
‘“Elephants can actually swim”: Contemporary Chinese views of late Lý Đại Việt’, in
Southeast Asia in the 9th to 14th centuries, ed. David G. Marr and A.C. Milner
(Singapore: ISEAS and Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National
University, 1986), p. 129.
60 Yumio Sakurai, Betonamu Sonraku no keisei [The formation of Vietnamese villages]
(Tokyo: Soubunsha, 1987), p. 262.
61 Nguyê˜n Văn Siêu, ‘Điều Trần vềđê’ [Suggestions to the emperor on dykes], in Đê chính
tập [Collection of the documents on the policies of dykes], MS, Hán-Nôm Institute, Hanoi,
shelf number A.615.
62 Léonard Aurousseau and Émile Gaspardone, Ngan-nan tche yuan: texte chinois (Hanoi:
Imprimerie d’Extrême-Orient, 1932), pp. 83–100.
TOWARDS AN ENVIRONMENTAL HI S TORY OF THE EASTERN RED RIVER DELTA 327
Economic and population growth was particularly evident in Chí Linh
and Đông Triều just up the Bạch Đằng River in the thirteenth century, and
this new energy spurred ceramic production in the area. The following section
will examine this industry and its implications for the environment of
the eastern coast.
Ceramics centres in the eastern delta: Vạn Yên (13th–15th century) and Chu
Ðậu (14th–16th century)
In the early 1990s in Chí Linh, Vietnamese scholars uncovered an area
of 40,000 square metres at a depth of 2 metres, and found more than 100
kiln foundations with tens of thousands of valuable artefacts. The location
was in Vạn Yên village, which had flourished in the thirteenth and fourteenth
centuries as a ceramics centre, about one century earlier than the
famous Chu Đậu.63
The Chí Linh area was ideal for ceramic production. It was located next
to the Thái Bình River and Quảng Ninh, where the supply of kaolin clay
was plentiful and water transportation was at hand. Its size suggests that
this was a large, organised production. The Chí Linh area was the manor
estate of Trần Hưng Đạo, a prince and the most powerful general of the
Trần dynasty. There is a possibility that the ceramic production here was
a part of Trần Hưng Đạo’s private manor estate economy, which was operated
by his bonded population. The location was excellent and the domestic
market would have certainly been open to this prominent court figure; production
could have carried on forever if the master so wished. But one crucial
element was not in unlimited supply: firewood for fuel.
The eastern delta used to be covered by boundless forests of ironwood
and pine trees — the former ideal for shipbuilding and the latter superb for
Table 2: Village numbers and tax distribution of the Jiaozhi (Đại Việt) under
Ming occupation, 1407–27
Prefectures Villages Rice tax Salt tax Trade tax
no. % of
total
kg % of
total
catties % of
total
quan (貫) %of
total
Giao Chau 528 17 993,720 22.5 13,988 41
Tan Yen 357 11.2 590,642 13 26775 67 6,103 18
Thanh Hoa 495 15 244,807 5.5 909.5 2.26 1,506 4.40
Source: Léonard Aurousseau and Émile Gaspardone, Ngan-nan tche yuan (Hanoi: Imprimerie
d’Extrême-Orient, 1932), pp. 83–100.
63 Làng Cổtruyền Việt Nam [Ancient Vietnamese villages], ed. Vũ Ngọc Khánh (Ho Chi
Minh City: Thanh Niên, 2004), pp. 227–8.
328 L I TANA
making high quality porcelain, given the strong, even and lasting heat it produces.
64 This valuable timber was surely utilised. Raman spectroscopic analyses
of samples from Chu Đậu indicate that the clay body had been fired
to a temperature of 1200°C–1400°C and shows characteristics of porcelain.65
Vạn Yên and Chu Đậu’s ceramic production sites were huge, a total of
140,000 square metres.66 How much fuel was needed to sustain such an
enormous scale of production? In the absence of Vietnamese sources, figures
from China’s ceramic-producing centre, the Jingdezhen, give us some
idea of the area of forest needed for ceramic production. In Jingdezhen, to
make 1,000 pieces of small ware one would need 80–100 stakes of timber.67
The Tiangong kaiwu [Encyclopedia of technology] published in the Ming
era gives a figure of 50 kilograms of fuel for every 65 kilograms of pottery.68
In Jingdezhen there is a saying which provides the shortest answer to the
cost of fuel: ‘One li (60 metres) of kilns cost 10 li (600 metres) of forest.’69
The two centuries of ceramic production in Vạn Yên alone would have
depleted the forests around Chí Linh, if not totally stripped them. Chu
Đậu, where the finest of Vietnam’s late fourteenth and early fifteenth century
ceramics were made, would have had an equally large, if not larger output.
In one underwater excavation from a shipwreck off the Chàm Islands
in 1997 to 1999, scientists recovered over 240,000 pieces of intact ceramics,
together with thousands of fragments.70 To produce all the ceramics on this
ship alone would have required that a considerable number of trees be cut
down, and this single cargo was but one of hundreds carried by ships to
Southeast and West Asia in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
There was an even more environmentally damaging aspect to the thriving
ceramics industry in this period. Other than the high quality ceramics
made by experienced craftspeople, many untrained people were attracted to
the trade, obviously driven by profit. Their presence is clearly demonstrated
in the large quantity of mid-fifteenth-century Vietnamese ceramics
64 Vũ TựLập, Văn hoá và cư dân Đồng bằng Sông Hồng, p. 26.
65 Bui Minh Tri and Kerry Nguyen-Long, Vietnamese blue and white ceramics (Hanoi:
Social Sciences Publishing House, 2001), p. 148.
66 Ibid., p. 123.
67 Zha Shenxing et al., Kangxi xijiangzhi [Gazette of Xijiang], juan 27, cited in Zhongguo
jindai shougongye shi ziliao [Sources on industries of pre-modern China] (Beijing: Zhonghua
shuju, 1962), vol. 1, pp. 108–9.
68 Song Yingxing, Tiangong kaiwu 天工開物: 罌翁, ‘大抵陶器一百三十斤,費薪百斤’
[Exploitation of the works of nature: An encylopaedia of technology with illustrations],
http://zh.wikisource.org/zh-hant/天工開物/ 罌翁(last accessed 30 July 2014).
69 ‘Yi li yao, shi li jiao’.
70 Treasure from the Hoi An hoard: Important Vietnamese ceramics from the late 15th/early
16th century Cargo (San Franciso: Butterfields, 2000), p. II. There were 150,000 pieces of
blue-and-white ceramics.
TOWARDS AN ENVIRONMENTAL HI S TORY OF THE EASTERN RED RIVER DELTA 329
recovered in 1995 from the Pandanan shipwreck site off the coast of
Palawan, in the Philippines. Although there was only a small quantity of
Vietnamese blue-and-white ceramics, they showed a wide variation in quality.
According to Kerry Nguyen-Long, this indicates that the items were
made in different workshops, indicating an over-stretched industry, with
a hectic output that outpaced the availability of experienced technicians.71
This increase in production would have demanded even more forest clearing,
given that inexperienced craftspeople and kiln operators would have
wasted more fuel than highly trained, skilful ones.
This area was also the site of the two famous battles of Bạch Đằng,
against the Southern Han in the tenth century and the Mongols in the thirteenth
century, respectively. Both battles applied the same military tactic: a
barrier of large poles was planted in the bed of the Bạch Đằng River.72
While both battles would have used large amounts of logs, the cost to
the forest in the tenth century might not have been as damaging as that
in the thirteenth century, when ceramic production had already used enormous
tracts of forest. Since intense naval battles were fought, a large number
of vessels must also have been built in this area.
One other important economic activity in this area was salt making. As
mentioned above, in the early fifteenth century, 67 per cent of Đại Việt’s
salt tax came from this area, and one official salt warehouse was located
in Chí Linh district.73 Salt production also would have required considerable
firewood.74
Construction of Buddhist temples
The forest was taxed by another major undertaking of the Lý and Trần
dynasties — Buddhist construction projects. Buddhism flourished under
both these dynasties; many ordinary people chose to be monks and
nuns, and a huge number of large temples and pagodas were constructed.
As observed by a fourteenth-century scholar, Lê Quát: ‘The number of
buildings with their bells and drums is equal to one half of the population.’
75 The vast number of Buddhist temples in existence during the Lý
and Trần dynasties is confirmed by a later source, Truyền kỳ mạn lục:
71 Bui and Nguyen-Long, Vietnamese blue and white ceramics, p. 175.
72 Taylor, Birth of Vietnam, p. 268.
73 Ngan-nan tche yuan, pp. 88–9, 127.
74 During the Tang and Song periods in China, salt was made by boiling sea water and
therefore required fuel. It is therefore likely that the same technique was used for salt-making
in the Red River Delta during the Trần period. The technique of evaporating seawater in salterns
to make salt was not used in Guangdong before the Ming era.
75 Lê Quát, ‘Bă´c Giang Bái thôn Thiệu Phúc tư ̣bi ký’ [For the inscription on Thiệu Phúc
temple in Bái village], in Thơ văn Lý-Trần, vol. 3, p. 144.
330 L I TANA
Temples sprang up everywhere. People who shaved their heads to enter the monkhood
equalled half the population.76 Especially in Đông Triều district, belief was
extreme. Temples were built everywhere: there were more than ten temples in
each large village, and even smaller villages had five to six. The temples are hedged
on the outside, and painted or gilded with vermillion and gold inside.77
King Trần Nhân Tông built a large group of temples and pagodas on
Mount Yên Tử in Đông Triều district, Quảng Ninh, making this area the
most important Buddhist centre at the time, as indicated in a thirteenthcentury
couplet: ‘He who is resolute to lead a Buddhist religious life/ will
be satisfied only if he has been to Yên Tử.’78 Mount Yên Tử was by no
means remote during the Trần period, and reflected the idea of a proper
space and place of dwelling for monks, as articulated by the secondgeneration
master of the Trúc Lâm (‘Bamboo Grove’) Zen sect and disciple
of King Trần Nhân Tông, Pháp Loa (1284–1330):
When, having been enlightened by the genuine path, one should find a temple for
his residence, and avoid an unwholesome climate with malaria.… Also be aware that
the place should not be too close to the population but also not too far away, because
closeness creates noise but distance incurs isolation and helplessness.79
Pháp Loa’s temple, the Quỳnh Lâm, was in the same district as Mount Yên
Tử. Quỳnh Lâm, the most important temple of this period, was enormous.
In 1314 alone Pháp Loa built 33 buildings within Quỳnh Lâm’s temple
compound; within a single year (1329), Pháp Loa ordained 15,000
monks and nuns, all of whom would have had to be housed in a temple.80
These temples were much larger than those of later periods, according to
Vietnamese scholars.81 They also served as centres of agricultural and
craft production, particularly for processing aromatic products such as josssticks,
82 producing surpluses beyond what was needed by the establishment
76 This explains a fourteenth-century Chinese envoy’s description of the Vietnamese:
‘everyone is barefoot, whether his status is high or low; everyone shaved his hair, whether
he is old or young’ [尊卑雙跣足,老幼一圓顱]. He must have seen a large percentage of
monks, which made him believe that everyone was a monk. See [Yuan] Chen Gangzhong,
‘Poetry of Chen Gangzhong’, in Qinding siku quanshu, part Ji, vol. 5.
77 Cited in Hà Văn Tâ´n, Nguyê˜n Văn Kự and Phạm Ngọc Long, Chùa Vietnam, Buddhist
temples (Hanoi: Nhà xuâ´t bản khoa học xã hội, 1993), p. 111.
78 Ibid., p. 110.
79 Quoted in ibid., p. 85.
80 Ibid., p. 109.
81 The Lãm Sơn temple (Quê´ Võ, Bă´c Ninh, built in 1086) is 120 metres long, 70 metres
wide and four stories high. Báo Thiên pagoda in Hanoi (1121) is 12 stories, over 60 metres
high, and the bronze Buddha statue in Quỳnh Lâm temple in Đông Triều is 20 metres high.
Lic̣ h sử Viêṭ Nam [Vietnamese history] (Hanoi: Nhà xuâ´t ban̉ khoa học xã hội, 1971),
Chinese trans. (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1977), p. 182.
82 I am grateful to Professor Đô˜ Bang for this information.
TOWARDS AN ENVIRONMENTAL HI S TORY OF THE EASTERN RED RIVER DELTA 331
itself, not unlike those of the pre-Angkor temples in Cambodia.83 Aromatic
products were on top of the list of tributes from Vietnam to China for centuries.
As such, big temples attracted settlements and associated building
projects that also involved cutting down many trees, to clear land and
obtain clay and fuel for producing bricks. Another Buddhist-related construction
which required plentiful timber for fuel was bronze casting.
Pháp Loa alone was said to have cast 1,300 bronze Buddha statues.84 A
large percentage of them would have been close to his temple in Đông
Triều at the cost of the forests. The speed of logging in this area likely surpassed
the capacity of the forest to regenerate.
Such intensive human activity in this area between the twelfth and fifteenth
centuries had an impact on the landscape of the Red River Delta.
The terrain along the Bạch Đằng River was the most notably damaged,
as confirmed by the leading Vietnamese geologist, Vũ TựLập: “The only
area that saw a long and stretched piece of ‘worn-out’ (bóc mòn) land is
the right bank of the Bạch Đằng River … A large section of this area is
now bare hills, worn out land and gravel, although it used to be covered
with boundless ironwood forest.’85
Natural disasters of the 13th–14th centuries and the end of the boom
As mentioned, the unusually warm La Niña-like conditions, which
produced more evenly distributed annual rainfall between 1000 and
1250, provided an ideal environment for Đại Việt’s population growth
and the reclamation of coastal land for agriculture and habitation. The
first half of the thirteenth century was an especially wet period in
Vietnamese history. Never before were so many floods recorded. In the
eleventh century, six floods were recorded; in the twelfth century, five;
but in the thirteenth century there were sixteen floods — fourteen of
them between 1236 and 1270. In 1236, 1238 and 1243 the palaces were
inundated. The worst one seemed to be that in 1270, when the streets of
Thăng Long had to be traversed by boat.86 The first large hydraulic project
on the Red River, the Đın̉ h Nhĩ (‘Cauldron handle’) dyke was built against
this background, in 1248. By the fourteenth century, the dyke system of the
Red River Delta was basically completed, according to Yumio Sakurai.
83 Michael Vickery, Society, economics, and politics in pre-Angkor Cambodia: The 7th–8th
Centuries (Tokyo: Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies for UNESCO/Toyo Bunko, 1998),
p. 292.
84 Lic̣ h sử Viêṭ Nam, p. 182. For more details see Li Tana, ‘A view from the sea’: 98–9.
85 Vũ Tự Lập et al., Văn hoá và cư dân Đồng bằng Sông Hồng [Culture and people in the
Red River Delta] (Hanoi: Nhà xuâ´t bản khoa học xã hội, 1991), p. 26.
86 Toàn Thư, p. 347.
332 L I TANA
Dykes built after the fourteenth century were merely an expansion of these
existing networks.87
These man-made changes seemed to have altered the course of the
tributaries of the Red River, and substantially reduced the volume of
water discharged into the eastern delta.88 High dykes blocked the natural
flood pulse and deprived the downstream delta of key nutrients. To
make things worse, in contrast to the abundant rains in the mid-thirteenth
century, frequent droughts occurred from the late 1260s. This resulted in a
great famine in 1290 and again in 1291; so many people starved to death
that bodies were strewn over roads.
In the latter period, rebellions broke out in 1343 in the Hải Phòng,
Quảng Ninh and Hải Hưng areas, the heart of the eastern delta, and the
area containing the highest number of aristocratic estates.89 The majority
of rebels were slaves. In the following year, a larger and longer rebellion
broke out, just across the Bạch Đằng River in Đông Triều.90 From there,
the rebels occupied Chí Linh, the region where the former manor estate
of Trần Hưng Đạo was based.
Why did rebellions occur repeatedly in this same area? There seem to
have been two major reasons. First, the droughts would have hit the eastern
delta especially hard, because the volume of water from the upper and mid
Red River Delta had been greatly reduced by the Đın̉ h Nhĩ dyke and other
smaller water control projects. Second, the eastern delta suffered for the
very same reason it had flourished in the previous two centuries. Yumio
Sakurai points out that in the Trần era the fifth-month rice harvest was
increasingly planted right to the delta’s edges to produce larger yields.91
This area would have included Chí Linh and Đông Triều, the centre of
the estates and therefore the population. Sakurai defined the fifth-month
rice as ‘the species of rice in the cold areas of the Red River Delta where
the tenth month rice could not be planted because of the flood in summer’.
92 As late as the 1930s Pierre Gourou observed that a large part of
the low-lying eastern delta ‘was inundated in the summer and only the
87 Quoted in Momoki Shiro, The formation and transformation of the medieval state of Đại
Việt, p. 91.
88 For a more detailed analysis of the changes to river courses and the waterscape of the
Red River Delta, see Li Tana, ‘The sea becomes mulberry fields and mulberry fields become
the sea: The Red River and environmental history’, paper presented at the 8th Water History
Conference of the International Water History Association, Montpellier, 24–29 June 2013.
89 Lic̣ h sử Viêṭ Nam, p. 257; Taylor, A history of the Vietnamese, pp. 150–52.
90 Ngô Bê´ rose from Kinh Môn in 1344 and was active until 1360. Toàn Thư, pp. 421, 430,
431.
91 Sakurai, Betonamu Sonraku no keisei, p. 262.
92 Ibid., p. 254.
TOWARDS AN ENVIRONMENTAL HI S TORY OF THE EASTERN RED RIVER DELTA 333
fifth month could be grown’.93 This means that the population came to
depend solely on this harvest. The fifth-month rice, however, was particularly
vulnerable to drought in spring and this was precisely what happened
in the fourteenth century. Of the fourteen droughts recorded, eleven happened
after the rebellion of the 1340s. Only two of them happened in summer
and all the rest struck in the spring.94
Map 1. Elevation and erosion of the Red River delta
Source: Based on Vũ Tự Lập et al. Văn hoá và cư dân Đồng bằng Sông
Hồng, pp. 12, 20. The ‘worn-out’ area seemed to be concentrated in the
eastern delta. Map reproduced with permission of the Australian
National University.
93 Pierre Gourou, The peasants of the Tonkin Delta, vol. 1 (New Haven, CT: Human
Relations Area Files, 1970), pp. 176–7; see also Richard O’Connor, ‘Agricultural change
and ethnic succession in Southeast Asian states: A case for regional anthropology’, Journal
of Asian Studies 54, 4 (1995): 982.
94 Toàn Thư, pp. 384–468.
334 L I TANA
The fifth-month rice harvest was dependent on rain brought by the
northeast monsoon in spring, which is particularly unreliable in the Red
River Delta area. Unlike all other south-facing deltas of Southeast Asia,
the Red River Delta faces east. When the winters are too cold, the northeast
monsoon pushes directly to the south and steers away from the delta and
does not bring rain. This made agriculture in this area ‘extremely fragile’, as
Sakurai points out. While the expansion of the fifth-month rice harvest to
the coastal areas increased crop yield and spurred population growth, it also
made the new settlements more vulnerable to drought and famine.95
The repeated droughts in spring caused serious damage. A string of failed
fifth-month rice harvests during the fourteenth century seems to have been
one of the major reasons for rebellion among the people of the densely
populated eastern delta. The Chronicles record: ‘The failed harvests and
famine turned many people into bandits, especially slaves of princes.’96
So many people lost their livelihoods and were forced into banditry that
in 1360 the court ordered that aristocrats tattoo their slaves for identification.
Those who did not have tattoos on their faces would be regarded as
bandits.97 The deterioration in economic conditions between the 1340s–
1360s caused many peasants and skilled workers to lose their livelihoods
and turn to banditry to survive. Many other people would have been forced
to migrate to other regions, especially to the western delta.98
Table 3: Droughts in Đại Việt, fourteenth century
1301 Drought in April; the court released prisoners to make merit
1324 Drought and locusts, many animals died
1326 No rain from Feb to June
1343 Drought in May and June; the court reduced head tax by half
1345 Drought from April and May; released prisoners
1348 Drought in May
1354 Locusts; the court reduced the land tax by half
1355 Drought from March to June
1358 Drought from March to July, insects and fish died in large numbers
1362 Drought from May to July; released prisoners and reduced the tax by half
1374 Drought from May to June
1379 Drought in summer, famine
1392 Drought in April
1393 Drought in June
95 Sakurai, Betonamu Sonraku no keisei, pp. 261, 266.
96 Toàn Thư, p. 421.
97 Ibid., p. 432.
98 Li, ‘The sea becomes mulberry fields’.
TOWARDS AN ENVIRONMENTAL HI S TORY OF THE EASTERN RED RIVER DELTA 335
While the Đại Việt in the Red River Delta had gone through an agricultural
revolution between the eleventh and fourteen centuries with substantial
forest clearing and encroachments up to the coast itself, neighbouring
Nagara Ca¯mpa did not see such remarkable changes in terms of its
terrain.99 In these centuries the gap in population between the two polities
would have increased significantly. Yet, the largely trade-based polity
Nagara Ca¯mpa was not as hard hit as Đại Việt when the two centuries
of favourable climate ended in the fourteenth century.100 For one thing,
Ca¯mpa did not have such a multitude of extra mouths to feed as Đại
Việt, and its society would have been more stable than the latter. This
may partly explain why the global drought of the fourteenth century and
the repeated Cham invasions (in the 1370s) occurred during roughly the
same period. Both greatly shook Đại Việt’s economic foundation, and
both seemed to have prepared the arena for the rise of HồQuý Ly (who
would overthrow the Trần from the inside), and consequently the Ming
invasion and occupation of the early 1400s.
The heyday of Vạn Yên’s ceramic manufacturing in Chí Linh had also
ended with the fourteenth-century droughts. Chu Đậu enjoyed its golden
age in the fifteenth century and went downhill in the sixteen century.
There were several other ceramic centres in Hải Dương, such as Ngói, contemporary
with Chu Đậu, but all went bust in the late sixteenth century.
The late Japanese archaeologist Nishimura Masanari showed that Kim
Lan, another ceramic village in Bă´c Ninh in the eastern delta, was nearly
extinguished in the early or mid fifteenth century. It revived in the sixteenth
century only to be abandoned again at the end of the seventeenth
century.101 The worsening ecology of the delta would have been an important
reason for the ups and downs of these settlements and their ceramic
production and signifies that the carrying capacity of the eastern delta
had reached or approached its limit between the fourteenth and seventeenth
centuries.
Chu Đậu’s glory was only rediscovered when, in 1980, a Japanese
diplomat visited Istanbul’s Topkapi Saray Museum where he saw a fine
99 Champa’s political and cultural advances into the highlands were made during these
periods. J. Whitmore, ‘The last great king of classical Southeast Asia: “Che Bong Nga”
and fourteenth-century Champa’, in Trần Kỳ Phương and Bruce M. Lockhart, The Cham
of Vietnam, p. 194. Some authors refer to the Cham polity as ‘Nagara Ca¯mpa’; its extent
and structure are still being debated.
100 Whitmore, ‘The last great king of classical Southeast Asia’, p. 186.
101 Nishimura Masanari, ‘An essay on the formation of enclosed-type dykes in the Red
River plain, northern Vietnam’, MS, p. 6. The excavation at Ngói, another important ceramic
centre of fifteenth and sixteenth century Hải Dương, revealed that this location was unoccupied
between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries.
336 L I TANA
ceramic vase. The thirteen words written underneath the vase revealed that
it was made in Nam Sách, Hải Dương, in 1450. This was big news not only
to Vietnam, but to the villagers of Chu Đậu themselves, who were no less
surprised. Like Vạn Yên, although there had been a vast ceramics industry
for centuries, it was abandoned so completely that in a few generations
none of the villagers had any knowledge or memory that their ancestors
had been superb craftsmen whose products were found in over sixty countries
and had travelled halfway across the world to Istanbul.
The changed course of the Red River and the erosion of the banks of
the Bạch Đằng impacted on navigation and commerce in the Gulf of
Tongking. The waterways linking the capital and the Gulf of Tongking
had been the region’s major highway for millennia. By the early fifteenth
century, however, this major waterway was no longer navigable by large
ships.102 The diminished carrying capacity of the Bạch Đằng River affected
the fate of the major port of Vân Đồn, and hastened its decline at the end of
the fifteenth century.

Offline gaden

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 08:25:43 AM »
Article talks about the Red River Delta is multi-ethnic. As much as 50% of the population is non Vietnamese.  Cham, Tai and Chinese were brought in by as slaves to build monuments.  If that is so, Vietnamese should be half Viet and half other ethnicity.  However, DNA evidence for Vietnamese does not show any Cham admixture and a small percentage of Tai and Chinese admixture.  What this could mean is that they either stay segregated or else went back home once their duties are done.

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 11:11:09 AM »
Article talks about the Red River Delta is multi-ethnic. As much as 50% of the population is non Vietnamese.  Cham, Tai and Chinese were brought in by as slaves to build monuments.  If that is so, Vietnamese should be half Viet and half other ethnicity.  However, DNA evidence for Vietnamese does not show any Cham admixture and a small percentage of Tai and Chinese admixture.  What this could mean is that they either stay segregated or else went back home once their duties are done.
I guess the Viets chose to maintain their purity and also preserve the purity of the people they are subject too instead of accepting Mongrelization. I like that, cherish the rainbow and cherish diversity, let's not melt into one mixed monstrosity.

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 12:29:59 PM »
Article talks about the Red River Delta is multi-ethnic. As much as 50% of the population is non Vietnamese.  Cham, Tai and Chinese were brought in by as slaves to build monuments.  If that is so, Vietnamese should be half Viet and half other ethnicity.  However, DNA evidence for Vietnamese does not show any Cham admixture and a small percentage of Tai and Chinese admixture.  What this could mean is that they either stay segregated or else went back home once their duties are done.

The multi ethnic make up of the Red River Delta during the Ly dynasty is irrelevant to the ethnic make up of modern Vietnamese. It was the population boom in Northern Vietnam during the Tran dynasty that has formed the genetic core of modern day Vietnamese. Dai Viet's population was estimated to have doubled to three million between 1200 and 1340. With such a huge core population at Red River Delta, it would always absorb every ethnic that migrated to such place afterwards.

Offline gaden

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2019, 05:34:32 PM »
The multi ethnic make up of the Red River Delta during the Ly dynasty is irrelevant to the ethnic make up of modern Vietnamese. It was the population boom in Northern Vietnam during the Tran dynasty that has formed the genetic core of modern day Vietnamese. Dai Viet's population was estimated to have doubled to three million between 1200 and 1340. With such a huge core population at Red River Delta, it would always absorb every ethnic that migrated to such place.


What do you mean?  Modern Vietnamese arise from those same ethnic makeup during the Ly dynasty.  If the all the multi-ethnic population melded it would yield the modern Vietnamese.  But DNA evidence shows only minute traces of the different ethnic makeup.  It is most likely that cultural and ethnic differences cause a stratification of boundaries or separation.   That's how the minorities remain to this day.  They didn't mix.

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 11:42:43 PM »

What do you mean?  Modern Vietnamese arise from those same ethnic makeup during the Ly dynasty.  If the all the multi-ethnic population melded it would yield the modern Vietnamese.  But DNA evidence shows only minute traces of the different ethnic makeup.  It is most likely that cultural and ethnic differences cause a stratification of boundaries or separation.   That's how the minorities remain to this day.  They didn't mix.

The Vietic speakers that didn't mix became the so called "minorities". The Vietic speakers that did mix with other migrants became modern day Vietnamese. Our native roots are Vietic, not Tai. The only reason why we are more Tai related are because of the continuous intermixing with other migrants throughout the course of Vietnamese history. Now some Vietnamese are an intermediate between Miao and Dai.

If we are 100% the same as Dai then most of us would cluster with Dai and NOT being more northern than them autosomally. And the Dai ethnic came from Guangxi, which is geographically more northern than Vietnam. How is that Saigon Vietnamese are more autosomally northern than Dai ethnic having roots from Guangxi? It doesn't make sense geographically.

When North Vietnam became a part of Nanyue, thats when the intermixing started to occur. The "Vietnamese" who lived in Red River Delta during the Ly dynasty would be more southern shifted on average than modern day North Vietnamese. And the other ethnics (who got labeled as "Chinese" in that paper but most likely were sinicized aboriginals) that traded with the Vietnamese during the Ly dynasty should not be seen as genetically the same as modern day South Chinese as they are more northern shifted than their native ancestors.

Long story short: our native Vietic ancestors were more southern shifted than we are. Huge genetic shift happened when North Vietnam became part of Nanyue and then its a gradual process of absorbing other northern migrants.

And of course the "other ethnics" that lived in Red River Delta during Ly dynasty were most likely to be the ethnics from the SE coast of China and were likely to be in the same race with us already. But they were regarded as other ethnics because ethnic distinction at that time was much more local based. In the past one tribe was just one tribe but as time went on, many tribes came together to form a community.

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2019, 11:59:35 PM »
The Vietic speakers that didn't mix became the so called "minorities". The Vietic speakers that did mix with other migrants became modern day Vietnamese. Our native roots are Vietic, not Tai. The only reason why we are more Tai related are because of the continuous intermixing with other migrants throughout the course of Vietnamese history. Now some Vietnamese are an intermediate between Miao and Dai.

When North Vietnam became a part of Nanyue, thats when the intermixing started to occur. The "Vietnamese" who lived in Red River Delta during the Ly dynasty would be more southern shifted on average than modern day North Vietnamese. And the other ethnics (labeled as "Chinese" in that paper) that traded with the Vietnamese during the Ly dynasty should not be seen as genetically the same as modern day South Chinese as those people would also have been more southern shifted.

Long story short: our native Vietic ancestors were more southern shifted than we are.
I'm glad that you Vietnamese are proud of your Southern roots since Genetic Diversity actually increases from Southeast Asia and then decreases as you move to China and eventually East Asia.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/40685652_Mapping_Human_Genetic_Diversity_in_Asia

90% of all Y-DNA in East Asia comes from Southeast Asia. The higher genetic diversity in Southeast Asia is pointing out to the fact that China got their ethnic diversity from us. It's just that they bloated out of proportion like a cancer and massacred all other types of races and Y-DNAs in China and now threatening their ancestral homeland too in SEA by exporting their clone horde out of China (Which they built by exterminating their Austroasiatic, Austronesian, Miao-Yan, Tai-Kaddai, Indo European and Altaic neighbors in the Chinese Basin and then flooding Southeast Asia with their cancer people and culture.)

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Offline gaden

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2019, 02:22:15 PM »

If we are 100% the same as Dai then most of us would cluster with Dai and NOT being more northern than them autosomally. And the Dai ethnic came from Guangxi, which is geographically more northern than Vietnam. How is that Saigon Vietnamese are more autosomally northern than Dai ethnic having roots from Guangxi? It doesn't make sense geographically.

Long story short: our native Vietic ancestors were more southern shifted than we are. Huge genetic shift happened when North Vietnam became part of Nanyue and then its a gradual process of absorbing other northern migrants.


We are not Dai, or Muong for that matter, so we do not have the same autosomal characteristics.  We pretty much are side by side, and are not more northern shifted, we are more eastern shifted.  It makes sense since the Dai are to the west of us. 




Like you said, even if the immigrants are absorbed into the Viet population they will not contribute much into the gene pool.  My contention is that the different populations do not mix much because of cultural differences, except maybe for the upper class which constitute less than 1% of the population.

Offline Rude Boy

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2019, 02:32:10 PM »

We pretty much are side by side, and are not more northern shifted, we are more eastern shifted.  It makes sense since the Dai are to the west of us. 



How did you interpret that as us being more eastern shifted than Dai? Does that mean Northern Chinese are just much more eastern shifted than we are and not more northern than us autosomally? PC1 is a south - north axis.

Offline gaden

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Re: Northern Vietnam demographics (10th - 14th century)
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2019, 05:31:00 PM »
How did you interpret that as us being more eastern shifted than Dai? Does that mean Northern Chinese are just much more eastern shifted than we are and not more northern than us autosomally? PC1 is a south - north axis.

There is no such thing as northern- Eastern-southern-western shifted shwit based on autosomally.  Just look at the map where the dai are and where Vietnamese are. 


 
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