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Hoi An History

Hoi An History
The early history of Hội An is that of the Cham. These Austronesian-speaking Malayo-Polynesian peoples created the Champa Empire which occupied much of what is now central and lower Vietnam, from Huế..
The early history of Hội An is that of the Cham. These Austronesian-speaking Malayo-Polynesian peoples created the Champa Empire which occupied much of what is now central and lower Vietnam, from Huế to beyond Nha Trang.[citation needed] Various linguistic connections between Cham and the related Jarai language and the Austronesian languages of Indonesia (particularly Acehnese), Malaya, Cambodia and Hainan has been documented. In the early years, Mỹ Sơn was the spiritual capital, Trà Kiệu was the political capital and Hội An was the commercial capital of the Champa Empire - later, by the 14th century, the Cham moved further down towards Nha Trang. The river system was the transportation for goods between the highlands, inland countries of Laos and Thailand and the low lands.

In 1535 Portuguese explorer and sea captain António de Faria, coming from Đà Nẵng, tried to establish a major trading center at the port village of Faifo. Hội An was founded as a trading port by the Nguyễn Lord Nguyễn Hoàng sometime around 1595. The Nguyễn lords were far more interested in commercial activity than the Trịnh lords who ruled the north. As a result, Hội An flourished as a trading port and became the most important trade port on the South China Sea. Captain William Adams, the English sailor and confidant of Tokugawa Ieyasu, is known to have made at least one trading mission to Hội An (around 1619).[citation needed] The early Portuguese Jesuits also had one of their two residences at Hội An.

In the 18th century, Hội An was considered by Chinese and Japanese merchants to be the best destination for trading in all of Southeast Asia, even Asia. Japanese believed the heart of all of Asia (the dragon) lay beneath the earth of Hội An.[citation needed] The city also rose to prominence as a powerful and exclusive trade conduit between Europe, China, India, and Japan, especially for the ceramic industry. Shipwreck discoveries have shown that Vietnamese and Asian ceramics were transported from Hội An to as far as Sinai, Egypt.

Hội An's importance waned sharply at the end of the 18th century because of the collapse of Nguyễn rule (thanks to the Tây Sơn Rebellion - which was opposed to foreign trade).[citation needed] Then, with the triumph of Emperor Gia Long, he repaid the French for their aid by giving them exclusive trade rights to the nearby port town of Đà Nẵng. Đà Nẵng became the new center of trade (and later French influence) in central Vietnam while Hội An was a forgotten backwater. Local historians also say that Hội An lost its status as a desirable trade port due to silting up of the river mouth. The result was that Hội An remained almost untouched by the changes to Vietnam over the next 200 years.

Today, the town is a tourist attraction because of its history, traditional architecture and crafts such as textiles and ceramics. Many bars, hotels, and resorts have been constructed both in Hội An and the surrounding area. The port mouth and boats are still used for both fishing and tourism.
Update : 25-05-2015

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