Historic maps support VN's island sovereignty
DA NANG (VNS) — As many as 80 old maps published between 1826 and 1980, of which 10 indicated Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands and the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands belong to Viet Nam, will be handed over to Da Nang's Institute for Socio-Economic Development next month.
Navigating the past: An old map of China dating back to 1933 that was published by the Ministry of Transport of the Republic of China. The map shows the southern extent of China as being Hainan Island.
|Historical evidence: An old map of Viet Nam, which was printed by Prevost Bellin in Germany, also shows that the southern extent of China as being Hainan Island.
The maps are part of a collection belonging to the president of the Institute for Vietnamese Culture and Education (IVCE), Tran Thang, an American with Vietnamese origin. The institute is a non-profit organisation founded in New York in 2000.
Thang said by email earlier this week the ancient maps were published in England, America, France, Germany and Scotland.
He said he bought them from antique shops in the US, England and Poland.
"As Vietnamese, we all have an obligation to preserve our country and to take part in shaping the future of Vietnamese society," Thang said in the email.
"In the map collection, 70 maps indicate that the frontier of Southern China is Hainan island and 10 maps indicate that the Paracels belongs to Viet Nam," he said.
"During my collecting of antique maps, I found two Postal Atlas Map of China books which were published by the Directorate General of Posts, Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of China in 1919 (consisting of 49 maps) and in 1933 (29 maps) and one Atlas of the Chinese Empire, published by the China Inland Mission in 1909 (23 maps). None of the three books list the Paracels and Spratlys in the maps and index pages."
Thang said he was going to donate all the maps to the Da Nang-based Institute for Socio-Economic Development (ISED) which had been studying Paracels and Spratlys issues.
ISED vice director Tran Duc Anh Son said the collection of old maps was significant evidence that the two archipelagoes belonged to Viet Nam.
"We can classify that the collection comprises of three kinds of maps: 68 old maps of China showing that China did not have the Paracel and Spratly islands; six maps that indicate those islands belonged to Viet Nam; five maps of the Southeast Asian region that show Paracel and Spratly archipelagoes are under Viet Nam sovereignty," Son said.
"We would display the map collection at the city's Hoang Sa Islands District museum. We plan to show off the collection in the ‘Sea and Islands Week' to be held in Khanh Hoa Province next April," he said.
He said Thang had bought the maps with his own money and some from his friends.
Son, who has been doing a social science study on "Viet Nam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa Islands" for primary schools, said he would include information from the collection in his study.
Ly Son Island, 30km offshore from Quang Ngai Province, still preserve Am Linh Pagoda, which was a worshipping place for seamen who had been dispatched to the Paracel Islands in the Nguyen dynasty, since the 17th century.
A museum of the two archipelagoes displays over 200 ancient documents and 100 objects which prove that Paracel and Spratly islands belong to Viet Nam. — VNS