- BA RIA – La Cochinchine
- 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 Baria [Bà Rịa] is in the east of Cochin-China. Its boundaries are: In the north, the province of Bienhoa [Biên Hoà]; in the east, the province of Binh Thuan [Bình Thuận], the frontier of which borders on the East Sea; in the south, the East Sea as far as Cape St. Jacques; in the west, the bay of Ganh Rai [Gành Rái] and the Saigon [Sài Gòn] river.
The superficial area of the province cannot be exactly difined, as that part of its territory which is occupied by the Mois cantons of Co Trach [Cổ Trạch] and Nhon Xuong [Nhơn Xương] is but little known, and only a partial topographical survey has been carried out, so that its actual extent cannot be fixed. The known superficial area of the Annamite cantons is 1.052 square km, and the total area may be estimated at about 2.350 square km. The cultivated area is 23.421 hectares 20 ares and 84 c. The distance from Baria [Bà Rịa] to the chief towns of the neighbouring provinces is: Baria [Bà Rịa] to Bienhoa [Biên Hoà] 71 km, Baria [Bà Rịa] to Bienhoa-Saigon [Biên Hoà-Sài Gòn] 101 km, Baria [Bà Rịa] to Cape St. Jacques 23 km. Carriage roads in perfect condition link up these different centres.
There is a regular postal service by public motor cars between Baria [Bà Rịa] and Cape St. Jacques running three times a week, namely Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Besides this postal service of cars, there are other motor conveyances on the Baria-Bienhoa-Saigon [Bà Rịa-Biên Hoà-Sài Gòn] route. Tickets from Cape St. Jacques to Saigon [Sài Gòn] cost 2 $00 each. Carriages can be hired at the chief town and at Cape St. Jacques. The charges vary according to the journey, and as to whether one or two horses are used.
Lastly, the connection between Saigon [Sài Gòn] and Baria [Bà Rịa] is assured by a service of launches of the “Messageries Fluviales”, three times a week, namely Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
NATURE OF THE SOIL
The province of Baria [Bà Rịa] has a sub-soil, composed of salt and mud, formed by the combined action of sea and rivers, and there are fairly important and massive hills.
A considerable part is covered with forests, very dense on the hills, meagre and stunted in the plains. In the centre is a vast depression, where rice-fields and salt tracks are intermingled, and in the north is bounded by a sort of natural clayey swelling caused by upheavals of red soil, and which, curiously enough, is excellent for every kind of cultivation, especially that of the hevea plant (rubber plant).
MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
The province of Baria [Bà Rịa] has a fairly extensive network of roads. They are classified into colonial routes, local routes, provincial routes and parochial routes. The first two are made and kept up by the department of Public Works. The two latter are kept up by the administrators at the cost of the local and communal budgets.
Baria [Bà Rịa] is one of the provinces which has a fairly low mean temperature. This is due to its particular and unique situation, having such an extended coast-line on the south, with constant and refreshing breezes from the open sea, and to the mountains and the high plateau above the plain, on which the air circulates freely.
The two Monsoons blow here continually, and the rains are fairly regular and sufficiently abundant. However, near the forests and the salt-fields, there is a good deal of fever.
Local tradition is poor in folk-lore, and only goes back a century. The first chronicled event is the appearance, about 1781, of Baria, who founded the village of Phuoc Lieu [Phước Liễu] (actually the village Phuoc An [Phước An]), where she died in the second year of the reign of king Gia Long [Gia Long] in 1803. To perpetuate the memory of this woman, her tomb was placed in the pagoda, which is called the pagoda of Baria [Bà Rịa], and is an object of special worship. Most of the villages in the centre of the province date from the same period, that is to say, the last years of the reign of Kien Hung [Kiến Hưng], predecessor of Gia Long [Gia Long], when they were started, or at least started as an Annamite community. The revolt of the Tay Son [Tây Sơn] appears to have partly spared them, and only the villages in the neighbourhood of Binh Thuan [Bình Thuận] had to suffer from their attacks. Phuoc Huu [Phước Hữu] still shows the remains of a stone fortress which dates from this period, and Phuoc Trinh [Phước Trinh] has preserved the memory of a terrible fire kindled by the Tay Son [Tây Sơn].
BAN TU THƯ