- BEN TRE – 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
I. Physical Geography
The province of Bentre [Bến Tre] is formed by two islands: the island of Minh, situated between the Co Chien [Cổ Chiên] and the Hamluong [Hàm Luông] rivers, the northern part of which belongs to Vinhlong [Vĩnh Long], and the island of Bao, between the Hamluong [Hàm Luông] and the Balai [Ba Lai]. It is bounded on the north and north-east by Mytho [Mỹ Tho], on the west by Vinhlong [Vĩnh Long], on the south-west by Travinh [Trà Vinh], and on the south and south-east by the East Sea. The soil of the province is formed by the deposits of the three branches of the river Mekong [Mê Kông] which flow through the province into the East Sea, and the sand which is deposited by the high tides during the north-east Monsson. There is a succession of low lying ground formed by the accumulated slime and the sandy giongs, formerly sand-dunes. The banks of the rachs, somewhat higher than the plains, are covered with gardens, the majority of which contain cocoa-nut tree plantations, and are above the floods. From the three large tributaries of the river, the Co Chien [Cổ Chiên], the Hamluong [Hàm Luông] and the Balai [Ba Lai] which flow through the province from north to south in almost parallel lines, many minor streams and canals branch off, and are such essential factors to the life and fertility of this country. The total superficial area is 170.000 hectares, with a population of 257.216.
MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
As everywhere in Cochin-China, the rivers form by far the best means of transit. The most important streams in the Bao island, starting from the north, are:
- The Soc Sai rach [rạch Sóc Soài], or stream;
- The Bentre [Bến Tre] river, formerly called the rach My Long [rạch Mỹ Long] on which is situated the chief town of the province. It is one of the most important rivers, with numerous side streams ending in the village of Huong Diem [Hương Điềm], in the middle of the island;
- The Son Doc [Sơn Đốc] stream;
- The Cai Bong [Cái Bóng] stream, with its Christian community;
- The Batri rach [rạch Ba Tri], which is the waterway to the market of Batri [Ba Tri], the most important in the south of the island. All these streams flow into the Hamluong [Hàm Luông] river.
In the island of Minh there are, in the north:
- The Caimon [Cái Mơn] stream, constantly winding in and out between banks of fertile gardens, forming the centre of a large and rich Christian community;
- The Mocay [Mỏ Cày] strame, on which is situated the chief town of the Mocay [Mỏ Cày] division, and which is one oi the largest markets of the island;
- The Cai Quao [Cái Quao] stream;
- The Tan Hung [Tân Hưng] stream;
- The Giong Luong [Giồng Luông] stream;
- The Bang Cung [Bàng Cung] stream. These six streams also flow into the Hamluong [Hàm Luông]. Lastly, the Cai Chat [Cái Chạt] which flows by the side of the Co Chien [Cổ Chiên] for a long distance and finally joins that river. This system of waterways has been increased by canals according to the requirements of commerce and agriculture.
II. Economic Geography
The province of Bentre [Bến Tre] has reached its complete economic development Hardly any ground is left which is unproductive. Of its superficial area of 154.000 hectares, 90.000 are used for the cultivation of rice, the balance is divided into gardens, cocoa-nut plantations and giong under diverse cultivation, classed as of secondary importance. The total production of rice is valued at 150.000 tons. The cocoa-nut plantations occupy 4.000 hectares of land and produce vearb 6.000 tons of copra. The other plantations grow mangoustans, oranges, mandarins, sapota trees betel nut, arecas, sugar cane etc., and occupy about 2.000 hectares of land. The fruit grown at Cai Mon [Cái Mơn] is renowned for its quality and abundance. Cai Mon [Cái Mơn] has also a large and flourishing Christian community.
- Electricity works belonging to M. LABBE, which provide the necessary power for lighting the town of Bentre [Bến Tre];
- A distillery for extracting alcohol from rice, belonging to a Chinese company;
- Tvo brick fields and eight saw-mills, also belonging to Chinese;
- Seventynine dye-works, directed by Annamites and very famous in the neighbouring provinces. More than 300 native families in the cantons of Batri [Ba Tri] and Minh Tri [Minh Trị] support themselves by fishing, in the sea and at the mouth of the rivers Balai [Ba Lai], Hamluong [Hàm Luông] and Co Chien [Cổ Chiên]. The yearly export to Saigon [Sài Gòn] and Cho Lon [Chợ Lớn] is about 100.000kg of dried shrimps and prawns, 20.000kg of small fish used as manure and 2.000 dried fish;
- Small native jewellery shops are practically everywhere, and also about a dozen mat factories; 6. The silk industry is chiefly in the district of Batri [Ba Tri], where there are nearly 200 silk worm breeders, and 8 looms on the French system, and 90 native looms, also 9 spinneries on the French system, and 70 of the Annamite system. This industry is likely to develop considerably in the next few years, as the administration has been helping and encouraging it since last year. A model silk w orm nursery has already been set up in the canton of Bao An [Bảo An], and will be in working order as soon as necessary appliances have been delivered.
The only exports consist of paddy and copra. They are sold on the spot to Chinese merchants and to a few Annamites, who forward them to Saigon [Sài Gòn] and Cho Lon [Chợ Lớn]. It is hoped that the agricultural syndicat will take over this business and thereby enable the Annamites to rid themselves of the troublesome Chinese intermediaries.
Similar to most western provinces, Bentre [Bến Tre] is formed of giongs and immense rice plains, and possesses no natural beauty of interest to the traveller.
BAN TU THƯ