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Full Access The Vietnam Central Coastline and the Emergent Nguyễn State, c. 1500-1700: Port, Coastline, Hinterland Interrelations

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The Vietnam Central Coastline and the Emergent Nguyễn State, c. 1500-1700: Port, Coastline, Hinterland Interrelations

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This study, building upon earlier works published from 2011 to the present, focuses on sixteenth through eighteenth century Cochinchina’s upstream-downstream networked relations and how they contributed to the re-development of the region’s economy and consequently its political and social development, with particular emphasis on its coastal ports and related trade under the Nguyễn. These relations revolve around tightly connected interactions among diverse groups including long-term resident diasporic Fujian merchant communities, newly introduced Chan Buddhist monks, maritime-based Chinese pro-Ming piratical syndicates, local Cham raiding cohorts, and the alien Nguyễn clan who in 1600 claimed political authority over the Vietnamese littoral’s central coastal region (Trung Bộ) and extended central lands (Miền Trung). The partnerships the Nguyễn established with each of these groups (merchants, monks, pirates, upstream and downstream multiethnic communities) enabled the major ports of Đà Năng, and particularly, of Hội An, to thrive and produce the income needed to support both the Nguyễn bureaucracy and its military conquest of the southern third of the littoral. Over the course of the seventeenth and into the eighteenth centuries, the Nguyễn co-opted the cultural, spiritual, and maritime-based power and influence exercised by each of each these groups in an initial effort to fulfill its dynastic ambitions that remained unfulfilled until 1802. This work moves beyond other regional studies by using the approach proposed in Michael Pearson’s writings regarding the Indian Ocean ports-of-trade littoral and extending them eastward, to the further edges of the Indian Ocean borderless world, and applying them to the complex interactions of the Vietnamese littoral populations-coastal urban and hinterland - as they contributed to the development of the central Vietnamese littoral’s ports-of-trade and of Nguyễn authority and power in this era.

Affiliations: 1: Ivy Tech


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