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Mekong delta

The meaning of «mekong delta»

The Mekong Delta (Vietnamese: Đồng bằng Sông Cửu Long, literally Nine Dragon river delta or simply Vietnamese: Đồng Bằng Sông Mê Kông, "Mekong river delta"), also known as the Western Region (Vietnamese: Miền Tây) or South-western region (Vietnamese: Tây Nam Bộ), is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of over 40,500 square kilometres (15,600 sq mi).[2] The size of the area covered by water depends on the season. Its wet coastal geography, makes it an important source of agriculture and aquaculture for the country.

The delta has been occupied as early as the 4th century BC. As a product of Khmer, Vietnamese, Chinese, and French settlement in the region, the delta and its waterways have numerous names, including the Khmer term Bassac to refer to the lower basin and the largest river branch flowing through it.[3] After the 1954 Geneva Conference, Vietnam was split into two[4] with South Vietnam inheriting the southern half of Vietnam becoming the State of Vietnam and eventually South Vietnam, also known as the Republic of Vietnam, with their own administrative states. (See: Category:Provinces of South Vietnam). After 1975, the Mekong Delta ceased being a part of the Republic of Vietnam, suceeded by the current Vietnamese nation. Today, the region comprises 12 provinces: Long An, Đồng Tháp, Tiền Giang, An Giang, Bến Tre, Vĩnh Long, Trà Vinh, Hậu Giang, Kiên Giang, Sóc Trăng, Bạc Liêu, and Cà Mau, along with the province-level municipality of Cần Thơ.

The Mekong Delta has been dubbed a 'biological treasure trove'. Over 1,000 animal species were recorded between 1997 and 2007 and new species of plants, fish, lizards, and mammals have been discovered in previously unexplored areas, including the Laotian rock rat, thought to be extinct.[5] The low lying coastal geography of the region makes it vulnerable to climate change caused sea level rise, alongside related issues such as coastal erosion and saltwater intrusion.

The Mekong Delta was likely inhabited long since prehistory; the civilizations of Funan and Chenla maintained a presence in the Mekong Delta for centuries.[6] Archaeological discoveries at Óc Eo and other Funanese sites show that the area was an important part of the Funan civilization, bustling with trading ports and canals as early as in the first century AD and extensive human settlement in the region may have gone back as far as the 4th century BC. While there is no clear consensus on the ethnic makeup of those living in the region during the Funan and Chenla period, archaeologists suggest that they may have had connections to Austronesian people.

Angkor Borei is a site in the Mekong Delta that existed between 400 BC-500 AD. This site had extensive maritime trade networks throughout Southeast Asia and with India, and is believed to have possibly been the ancient capital to the civilization of Funan.[7]

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