Đà Nẵng is one of the major port cities in Vietnam (in addition to Ho Chi Minh city and Hai Phong) and the biggest city on theSouth Central Coast of Vietnam; the city is situated on the coast of the South China Sea, at the mouth of the Hàn River. Đà Nẵng is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam, with a well-sheltered, easily accessible port; its location on the path of National Route 1A and the North-South Railway makes it a hub for transportation. It is located within 100 km of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Imperial City of Huế, the Old Town of Hội An, and the Mỹ Sơn ruins. The city was previously known as Cửa Hànduring early Đại Việt settlement, and as Tourane (or Turon) during French colonial rule. It is the fourth biggest economic center in Vietnam (after Ho Chi Minh city, Ha Noi, and Hai Phong).
Before 1997, the city was part of Quảng Nam-Đà Nẵng Province. On 1 January 1997, Đà Nẵng was separated from Quảng Nam province to become one of five independent (centrally controlled) municipalities in Vietnam. Đà Nẵng is listed as a first class city, and has a higher urbanization ratio than any of Vietnam’s other provinces or centrally governed cities. In the 2009 census, Đà Nẵng was the 4th largest city in Vietnam.
Most of the names by which Đà Nẵng has been known make reference to its position at the Hàn River estuary. The city’s present name is generally agreed to be a Vietnamese adaptation of the Cham word da nak, which is translated as “opening of a large river”.
Other Chamic sources, with similar definitions, have been proposed. Inrasara (aka Phú Trạm), a researcher specializing in Champa, suggests Đà Nẵng is a variation of the Cham word daknan (lit. “the large water”); Sakaya (aka Văn Món), another Champa researcher, claims a connection with the Raglai word danang, meaning “river source”. Another name given to Đà Nẵng was Cửa Hàn (lit. “mouth of the Han [river]”). The name used by the French,Tourane, is said to derive from this name, by way of a rough transliteration. Notably, this name (spelled “Cua han”) appears on maps of the area drafted by Alexandre de Rhodes in 1650. The name Kean (cf. Kẻ Hàn, roughly “Han market”) was another name purportedly used during the 17th century to refer to the land situated at the foot of the Hải Vân Pass.
The Chinese name, 峴港 (Vietnamese: Hiện Cảng), translates to either “port having many mussels” or “port by a small but dangerous mountain”. The latter interpretation is taken as a reference to nearby Sơn Trà Mountain.
Other names referring to Đà Nẵng include:
The city’s origins date back to the ancient Champa Kingdom, established in 192 AD. At its peak, the Chams’ sphere of influence stretched from Huế to Vũng Tàu. The city of Indrapura, at the site of the modern village of Dong Duong in Quang Nam province (about 50 km (31 mi) from Da Nang), was the capital of Champa from about 875 to about 1000 AD. Also in the region of Da Nang were the ancient Cham city of Singhapura (“City of the Lion”), the location of which has been identified with an archeological site in the modern village of Trà Kiệu, and the valley of Mỹ Sơn, where a number of ruined temples and towers can still be viewed.
In the latter half of the 10th century, the kings of Indrapura came into conflict with the Đại Việt, who were then based at Hoa Lu near modern Hanoi. In 982, three ambassadors sent to Champa by King Lê Hoàn of the Đại Việt (founder of the Early Lê Dynasty) were detained in Indrapura. Lê Hoàn decided to go on the offensive, sacking Indrapura and killing the Cham King Parameshvaravarman I. As a result of these setbacks, the Cham eventually abandoned Indrapura around 1000 AD. The Đại Việt campaign against Champa continued into the late 11th century, when the Cham were forced to cede their three northern provinces to the rulers of the Lý Dynasty. Soon afterwards, Vietnamese peasants began moving into the untilled former Cham lands, turning them into rice fields and moving relentlessly southward, delta by delta, along the narrow coastal plain. The southward expansion of Đại Việt (known as Nam Tiến) continued for several centuries, culminating in the annexation of most of the Cham territories by the end of the 15th century.
One of the first Europeans to visit Đà Nẵng was Portuguese explorer António de Faria, who anchored in Đà Nẵng in 1535. Faria was one of the first Westerners to write about the area and, through his influence, Portuguese ships began to call regularly at Hội An, which was then a much more important port than Đà Nẵng. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, French and Spanish traders and missionaries regularly made landfall at Hội An, just south of Đà Nẵng. An American, John White, arrived at Da Nang (then called Turon) on 18 June 1819 in the brig Franklin of Salem, Massachusetts, and was advised that the country was recovering from devastating wars, and that what little produce there was had already been promised. Other American ships arriving shortly after were the Marmion of Boston, and the Aurora and Beverly of Salem. Conditions were such that they were unable to conduct trade, and the subsequent missions of British East India Company agent John Crawfurd in 1823 and the two missions of Andrew Jackson’s agent, diplomatist Edmund Roberts, in 1833 and 1836 were unable to secure trade agreements.:pp.19-40 Following the edict of Emperor Minh Mạng in 1835, prohibiting European vessels from making landfall or pursuing trade except at Hàn Port, Đà Nẵng quickly surpassed Hội An, becoming the largest commercial port in the central region.
In 1847, French vessels dispatched by Admiral Cécille bombarded Đà Nẵng, ostensibly on the grounds of alleged persecution of Roman Catholic missionaries. In August 1858, once again ostensibly on the grounds of religious persecution, French troops, led by Admiral Charles Rigault de Genouilly, and under the orders of Napoleon III, landed in Đà Nẵng as part of the punitive Cochinchina Campaign. The French overpowered the Vietnamese stationed in Đà Nẵng, swiftly occupying the city and Tiên Sa peninsula (present-day Sơn Trà peninsula). Despite their initial success, the occupying forces were quickly placed under siege by the Vietnamese army under the command of Nguyễn Tri Phương, and were eventually forced to retreat in March 1860. Conversely, however, the French were able to capture the southern stronghold of Saigon and, in June 1862, several provinces of southern Vietnam were ceded to the French as Cochinchina with the signing of the Treaty of Saigon.
Through two more decades of conflict, the French gradually strengthened their hold on Vietnam, culminating in the establishment of French Indochina (French: Union de l’Indochine Française) in October 1887. Two years later, in 1889, the French colonists renamed the city Tourane, placing it under the control of the Governor General of Indochina. It came to be considered one of Indochina’s five major cities, among Hanoi, Saigon–Cholon, Hải Phòng, and Huế.[more information needed]
During the Vietnam War, the city was home to a major air base that was used by both the South Vietnamese and United States air forces. The base was considered one of the world’s busiest airports during the war, reaching an average of 2,595 air traffic operations daily, more than any airport in the world at that time. The final U.S. ground combat operations in Vietnam ceased on 13 August 1972, when a residual force of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade stood down in Đà Nẵng. B Battery 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment fired the final U.S. artillery round and the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment finished their final patrols. This residual force was known as “Operation Gimlet”.
Đà Nẵng is the largest city in central Vietnam and one of the country’s most important ports. Ringed by mountains on one side and the South China Sea on the other, Đà Nẵng borders Thừa Thiên-Huế Province across the Hải Vân Pass to the north, Quảng Nam Province to the south and west, and the ocean to the east. It is 759 km (472 mi) south of Hanoi, and 960 km (600 mi) north of Hồ Chí Minh City.
Geology and topography
Geologically, Đà Nẵng is situated at the edge of a Paleozoic fold belt known as the Truong Son Orogenic Zone, whose main deformation occurred during the early Carboniferous period. Đà Nẵng’s topography is dominated by the steep Annamite mountain range to the north and northwest, featuring peaks ranging from 700 to 1,500 metres (2,300 to 4,900 ft) in height, and low-lying coastal plains with some salting to the south and east, with several white sand beaches along the coast.
Đà Nẵng has a tropical monsoon climate with two seasons: a typhoon & wet season lasting from September through March and a dry season lasting from April through August. Temperatures are typically high, with an annual average of 25.9 °C (78.6 °F). Temperatures are highest between June and August (averaging 33 to 34 °C (91 to 93 °F)), and lowest between December and February (averaging 18 to 19 °C (64 to 66 °F)). Cold, wet and windy in winter, bringing even lower temperatures in December and January. The annual average for humidity is 80.6%, with highs between October and December (reaching 84%) and lows between June and July (reaching 74–75%).
On average, Đà Nẵng receives 2,505 mm (98.6 in) of rainfall. Rainfall is typically highest between October and November (ranging from 550 to 1,000 mm (22 to 39 in)) and lowest between January and April (ranging from 23 to 40 mm (0.91 to 1.6 in)). Đà Nẵng receives an average of 2156 hours of sunlight annually, with highs between 234 and 277 hours per month in May and June and lows between 69 and 165 hours per month in November and December.