- SOC TRANG – Cochinchina
- 1. Author
WRITER – PhD. in history NGUYỄN MẠNH HÙNG !we call En-VersiGoo – was founded by PhD. Hung in September 2019 to convey all his research articles over 40 years ago to serve Readers in the world who want to study about the history and the culture of Vietnam.
- 2. Content
The province is part of the immense plain which forms Lower Cochin-China. The land is uniformly flat, the highest ground being barely 2 meters above sea level. On the other hand, there are many hollows, especially behind the dunes along the East Sea, and in the west, on the borders of Rachgia [Rạch Giá] and Cantho [Cần Thơ], where the ground is below sea level. During the rainy season, the centre district is flooded. Fortunately, this uniform monotony is broken here and there by verdant “screens” formed by the vegetation growing on the giongs, sandy islets of old dunes slightly raised above the surrounding plains, covered with large trees and bamboo. These giongs are used for habitation. The soil is alluvial. There are everywhere layers of Argil (clay) mixed with sand and slime covered by a few centimeters of soil. On this uniformly flat land, the beds of the watercourses are really depressions in the soil, in which the rains drain and collect at low tide; at high tide they overflow the banks and fertilise the land without any help from the inhabitants.
The administration has taken in hand the development of the canals which drain the territories through which they pass, transforming thereby the inundated, unhealthy, marshy regions, into fertile and populous districts. The wealth of the province has grown considerably during the last 20 years, owing to the important net-work of canals. Traffic has greatly increased since the development of this network of roads. The canoes and sampans which were the native primitive means of conveyance have been replaced more and more by motor cars. In 1920 there were 54 motor cars in the province, now there are 112 and these are being continually added to. Besides these roads, there are means of communication by water between the province and Saigon [Sài Gòn] and Cambodia. I advice a week there is the “Messageries fluviales” service of launches between Saigon [Sài Gòn] and Dai Ngai [Đại Ngãi], calling at Mytho [Mỹ Tho], Vinhlong [Vĩnh Long], Sadec [Sa Đéc], Chaudoc [Châu Đốc], Longxuyen [Long Xuyên] and Cantho [Cần Thơ]. There is also a service of Chinese launches for passengers and goods from:
- Soctrang [Sóc Trăng] to Rachgia [Rạch Giá];
- Soctrang [Sóc Trăng] to Phom Penh [Pnôm Pênh], calling at Cantho [Cần Thơ] and Chaudoc [Châu Đốc].
II. Administrative Geography
The province is governed by an admnistrator who controls the political and administrative work of the province and has a deputy-administrator. There exists a secondary court of justice presided over by three magistrates, assisted by a Clerk of the Court, and two assistant clerks. There is a garrison at Soctrang [Sóc Trăng], with a company of the 1st Regiment of Annamite sharpshooters. There is a controller of customs and excise with two assistant controllers, also an inspector of the distilleries at Baixau. The school (college of public instruction) in the chief town is directed by a Professor, who also supervises the other schools in the interior of the province. An accountant has charge of the treasury. The province is divided into 4 administrative districts, governed by Phus [Phủ] or Huyens [Huyện], who are the delegates of the governor of the province. There are 12 cantons and 80 villages. In the chief town there is a hospital belonging to the Sisters “de la Providence de Portieux”, subsidized by the province, and two schools (Colleges of public instructions), one for boys, and the other for girls, Elementary schools have been opened in most of the villages. Sanitary arrangements already exist or are about to be installed in all the important centres. The supply of instruments, tools and appliances for public instruction and medical assistance will soon be completed.
The population of the province has increased considerably during the last 20 years. The increase is not only due to the excess of births over deaths, but also, because of the very considerable immigration, owing to the economic development of the country following on the construction of canals. In 1894 the population included 57.000 Annamites, 38.000 Cambodians, 10.000 Chinese, 60 Europeans, a total of 105.000 inhabitants. At the present time there are: 117.000 Annamites, 55.000 Cambodians, 11.000 Chinese, 2.500 Minh Huong [Minh Hương] and 164 Europeans, a total of 185.000 inhabitants. The majority of Annamites are agriculturalists. There is quite a number of big land-owners who have acquired vast tracts of land which they let to farmers. The Chineses, mostly living at Soctrang [Sóc Trăng], are numerous and rich. They own the distilleries, the saw-mills, and the majority of the business houses. Many own rice plantations.
III. Economical Geography
The province of Soctrang [Sóc Trăng] has an area of 238.000 hectares and every part of it has been put to use, and is almost entirely under rice cultivation. The harvest reaches an average of 260.000 tons, of which 80.000 ares retained for local consumption and for sowing. The amount exported is 180.000 tons, being one tenth of the total export of Cochin-China. There are about a dozen French colonists in the province. I ivore of them, M.M. Gressier and Labaste exploit vast tracts of more than 5.000 hectares (about 12.500 acres).
There are two decortication machines, worked by steam, one of which belongs M. Gressier: situated in the centre of his land it can handle 150 tons of white rice daily.
BAN TU THƯ