The Writers Post - Volume 9 Double Issue Jan 2007 Jul 2007 - Vu Dinh Dinh





(ISSN: 1527-5467)
the magazine of Literature & Literature-in-translation.


JAN 2007

JUL 2007

















VU DINH DINH went to the US in 1956 and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Chicago, and University of Hawaii where he obtained his Ph.D. He was recipient of an East-West Center Grant, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, and a National Science Foundation Honorable Mention Award, and having served as Senior Heath Planner with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, taught at the college level, and had scientific research works published in international journals. His publications on Vietnamese culture include “In Search of a Tradition Code of Behavior and Cochinchina: Reassessment of the Origin and Use of a Westernized Place Name”. In 2001, his ‘Selected Vietnamese Poetry’ was published by R&M (Stafford, Texas: R&M, 2001).


For more than two thousand years the Vietnamese have been consistent in their unwavering efforts to preserve their culture and maintain their identity.  The task has proven to be difficult considering Vietnam's position between two major cultural blocks, that of the Chinese to the north and the Indian farther west.  Remnants of Chinese and Indian cultural influences can still be traced through numerous place names of Chinese and Sanskrit origins adopted by the Vietnamese.


Throughout history the country which is now called Vietnam has been known to historians as Xich Quy, Van Lang, Au Lac, Nam Viet, Giao Chau, Van Xuan, An Nam Do Ho Phu, Tinh Hai, Dai Co Viet, Nan Ping, Ngan Nan, Dai Ngu, An Nam Quoc, Dai Viet and Viet Nam 1.  These names are part of the Vietnamese language and the people can read and pronounce them without difficulty.  It is not until the Vietnamese came into contact with the West that foreign names such as Song koi, Faifo, Tourane, Tonkin, which respectively are French names for Song Hong, Hoi-an, Da-nang, and Bac Ky, appeared; such terms are unknown to most Vietnamese except for a small number who have been exposed to Western education.  The reason for the confusion is that many of these names are corrupted transliterations of local verbal expressions.  The name Song koi, for example, supposedly is Vietnamese; it is doubtful, however, whether an average college student in Vietnam could identify the location of Song koi.  The name is probably derived from Song Cai which means "Mother River."  The official and more stylized form is Song Hong Ha, or Red River.

Of particular interest to Vietnamese is the name Cochinchina, a term which for decades has drawn the attention of many Orientalists.  There have been several suggestions regarding its etymology.  The matter seems to have been resolved with the publication of a scholarly article on the subject by the late Director of the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient (Aurousseau, 1924). In fact, many specialists of Asian studies have found his arguments convincing enough to quote without reservation (Goloubew, 1929, p. 540; Teston and Percheron, 1931, p. 21; Le, 1955, p. 285; Lach, 1977, p.491).


Aurousseau reasoned that since old Vietnam was not known in a direct manner to Portuguese or other Europeans prior to 1515, knowledge of the country's name must have been introduced to the West by Arabs.  He then set out to prove that the name Cochinchina was derived from the Portuguese Quachymchyna which, in turn, was patterned after the Arab expression "Kawci min Cin."  According to Aurousseau, "Kawci" was the Arab way of saying "Kiao-tche,” a Chinese name for the Vietnamese whose kingdom, he said, was known to Marco Polo as Caugigu.  The expression "min Cin" means "of China."


Aurousseau must be credited for bringing together a large amount of literary records from western sources related to Cochinchina.  But he offered no concrete proof and surprisingly little in terms of cartographic evidence to support his conclusion.  The following discussion will focus on some salient points from Aurousseau's article and at the same time present materials suggesting an alternate interpretation of the origin and use of the name Cochinchina.

To place the question in a proper historical perspective it is necessary to review the literature concerning the name Kiao-tche or Chiao-chih 2 and to examine the circumstances under which it came into use, its meaning and toponymic application.  The first appearance of the word Chiao-chih is found in the writings of Shu ching which state that Emperor Yao sent his third brother to reside at Nan-chiao.  Legge interprets the place as being in present-day north Vietnam (Legge, 1960, p. 190).  The authorship of Shu ching has been attributed to Confucius who lived between 551 B.C. and 479 B.C. (Creel, 1953, pp. 25, 45).  More than a century later, Mo-Tzu (c. 480-390 B.C.) mentioned the name Chiao-chih in his writings. He said: "In ancient times, when Yao was governing the empire he consolidated Chiao Tse on the south, reached Yu Tu on the north, expanded from where the sun rised to where the sun sets on the east and west, and none was unsubmissive or disrespectful" (Mei, 1929, pp 120-121).  Mei, who translated Mo-Tzu works, located Chiao-chih in what he called West Indochina.  It seems that information on the area south of the Yang-tze was rather sketchy at that time.  A recent discovery of a topographical map in a second century Han tomb (Bulling, 1978) shows that little was known about Nan Yueh although the region is included in the map.  Nan Yueh was a southern kingdom under Chao T'o who in 207 B.C. conquered Au Lac and for the first time brought Vietnam into the Chinese cultural sphere.  Ssu ma-Ch'ien, in his treatment of the early Chinese dynasties, also mentioned the name Chiao-chih (Chavannes, 1967, Tome I, p. 37).

It was under the reign of Chao T’o that Chiao-chih received official administrative status.  He is said to have assigned two delegates in 198 B.C. to oversee the affairs of Chiao-chih and Chiu-chen, the latter being south-west of Chiao-chih in actual Thanh Hoa province (des Michels, 1889, pp. 23-24; Maspero, 1916, p. 54; Wiens, 1954, p. 135).  After the fall of Chao T'o and following the conquest of the kingdom of Nan Yueh, Emperor Hsiao-Wu, in 111 B.C., divided the territory into nine "chuns" (commanderies).  They are Yu-lin, Tsang-wu, Ho-pu, Nan-hai, Chu-yai, Tan-erh, Chiao-chih, Chiu-chen, and Jih-nan 3 (Pan Ku, 1944, Vol. II, p. 82).  These commanderies form an administrative unit called Chiao-chou, which was placed under the jurisdiction of a governor general (Aurousseau, 1922, p. 295).


There were no historical records of major administrative rearrangements of the area until the year 264 A.D., when Emperor Wu split the seven mainland commanderies into two "chous," namely Quang-chou consisting of Yu-lin, Tsang-wu, and Nan-hai in the north and Chiao-chou consisting of Ho-pu, Chiao-chih, Chiu-chen, and Jin-nan in the south (Tran, 1951, p. 53).  Except for a short period during which the newly-created territory was renamed Van Xuan by Ly Bon who, in 544 A.D., claimed independence from the state of Liang, Chiao-chou (or in some cases Chiao-chih-chun) remained the official appellation of the southernmost provinces of China.


Under the reign of Emperor Kao Tsung of the T'ang dynasty, the administration of Chiao-chou took a new turn; from the rank of a chou, in 679 it became the Protectorate General of An-nam.  Since then, An-nam, Nan-ping, and Ngan-nan, which carry the same general meaning of a "Pacified South," had been used to refer to Vietnam.  Chiao-chih-chun, or Chiao-chou, began to loose meaning as an identifiable administrative entity and the word Chiao-chih became a vague geographical term defying precise definition.  As a matter of fact, Ma Tuan-lin, in the conclusion of his treatise on Chiao-chih, quoted a twelve century writer as stating that Ngan-nan at the time was not the same as the old Chiao-chih (Ma, 1883, II, p. 368).  It is important to note that Chiao-chih had never been elevated to the level of a country or "kuo" throughout the history of relations between China and An-nam.  Further evidence of the use of the name An-nam is supported by maps of the area appearing in Chinese atlases.  A map describing Vietnam was called An-nam T'u (map of An-nam).  This map is believed to be the earliest extant dated c. 1541 (Fuchs, 1946, P. 45).  An undated map cited by Toynbee (Toynbee, 1973, p. 191) was named An-nam Kuo T'u (map of An-nam country).


What does Chiao-chih mean?  According to Chavannes, the name Chiao-chih has been written in Chinese either as    or      (Chavannes, pp. 37-38).  The latter orthograph, meaning "crossing toes," frequently has been interpreted by Chinese commentators as referring to the people of An-nam, among whom genetic defects of this type have been observed.  However, as has been pointed out by many researchers, the deformation of the toes exists not only among the Vietnamese but among other ethnic groups as well (Schreinder, 1900, pp. 6-7; Ch'en, 1952; Nguyen, 1971, p. 331).  The former writing does not carry the same connotation, which led Chavannes to believe that the word Chiao is simply a phonetic transcription and that the word chih means "pays au pied d'une montagne" or country at the foot of a mountain.


Since Chiao-chih had never been used officially to denote a country, nor does it have a well-defined meaning in Chinese parlance, it seems farfetched for Aurousseau to associate Marco Polo's Caugigu with Chiao-chih-kuo.  Even if the Venetian traveler had learned of the name Chiao-chih during his service with the Yuan Court and coined the term Chiao-chih-kuo for his own use, he certainly observed an entirely different Chiao-chih from the Chiao-chih of An-nam.  Marco Polo's Caugigu, as he described it, was a province located "such a long way from the sea," whose king had "at least 300 wives," and whose people "live on milk" (Yule, 1903, pp. 116-117).  Neither of these descriptions fit the geography or culture of Vietnam, which is more Sinicized than Indianized.

At this point we can turn to cartographic sources for clues to the origin of the name Cochinchina.  The understanding of the geography of Asia by the West did not improve much after the appearance of the sensational story of the "kingdoms and marvels of the East" by Marco Polo.  What was learned from him and other medieval travelers was that China was substantially larger than was previously believed in the West and that there were also Cipango (Japan) and other islands beyond (Thomson, 1948, p. 338).  Following Marco Polo, the southern coast was visited again early in the fourteenth century by Odoric of Pordenone who traveled to Canton.  No new information was reported, however, from this journey (Lach, 1965, Vol. I, p. 561).


As the age of European discoveries dawned, a period of secrecy unfortunately was imposed by the Portuguese authority because of fear of competition in the spice trade.  The diffusion of information concerning the Oriental trade route all but ceased.  The situation prevailed until well into mid-sixteenth century and partially accounts for the paucity of written information on Southeast Asia during the period in question.  In the case of Vietnam, there was little interest in the country as it was engaging in a struggle for independence from the Ming dynasty.  The war lasted for ten years from 1418 to 1427.  No sooner had the country recovered from the effects of war that a usurper by the name of Mac dang Dung took over the throne, causing dissension in the rank of the ruling class.  Following his death was a long era of turmoil during which time the country was run by two separate ruling families, the Trinh in the North and the Nguyen in the South, with the Gianh River becoming the historical dividing line.

In the absence of written documents, maps offer the best source of information on place names.  Precise recordings of data include the location of place, its size and shape, the way it was labelled, and the approximate date its name was in use.  Of great importance to cultural-historical studies are the changes of these details as they appear on new maps of similar locations.  For this reason I have searched out and examined all maps, in both original and facsimile form in Chicago' Regenstein and Newberry libraries, which depict Asia in general and Vietnam in particular prior to the arrival of the missionaries.  Table I presents summary descriptions of and references to these maps.


Thirty-seven maps and charts were found to contain the name Cochinchina or variations thereof.  The materials cover a period of some 150 years, from the beginning of the sixteenth century to Alexandre de Rhodes' first detailed map of Vietnam which was produced in 1653.  The existence of so many cartographic works is impressive, however information about the area presented in these maps is not always original.  The copying of other authors' works was commonplace.  Nevertheless, it is possible to trace the development chronologically and establish a time frame as to when the name Cochinchina comes into use and what it represents, e.g., a river, a bay, or a region.

Based on scanty written sources, Aurousseau claims that from 1502 to 1615 the term Cochinchina represents the entire kingdom of Dai Viet, which was the official name for Vietnam at that time.  His contention is not supported by cartographic evidence.  Early map makers, including Cantino, Caneiro, de Maiollo, Rodrigues, Waldseemuller, Ribeiro, and others, seemed to be more concerned with the location of the waterway which they named variously as Chanocochim, Cochim da China, or Cauchechina, and its bay Enseada de Cauchin or Enseada de Caochim (See Figs. 1 and 2).  The waterway is the Red River, which discharges into the Tonkin Gulf via many distributaries.  It was not until the year 1561 that we find indication of the first application of the name to a land area;  Jacopo Gastaldi employed the term Regno de Guachin in a map of a large region south of China.  The area farther south was called Regno de Campaa.  The appearance of Regno de Gauchin came about as a result of direct contacts by the Portuguese with Dai Viet after 1535, the date when Antonio de Faris arrived in Faifo (Le, 1951, p. 285).  Other likely sources of information came from scholars such as Barros who collected Chinese books of Cosmography and had them translated by a native speaker of the language (Boxer, 1948, p. 9).


Even when the name Regno de Gauchin was used, it was not used in reference to the entire Dai Viet kingdom because the term Tunguin (Tonkin) already appeared in the work attributed to Diogo Homem in c. 1558, indicating that a great deal was known about the geography of the northern part of Vietnam.


           As has been noted previously, Dai Viet was experiencing internal difficulties during the early sixteenth century; the conflict results in the change of political control from the reigning Le to the Mac usurper.  Nguyen Kim, who was another powerful official of the Le's Court and unhappy with the new ruling order, fled to Laos where he set up a government-in-exile on behalf of the dethroned Le.  His forces returned to Vietnam in 1543 and were able to exercise control of  the territory up to present-day Thanh Hoa.  The event marked the beginning of a long period of more than two centuries of power struggle between the warring lords and in effect divided the country permanently into two regions, North and South. This new political division is reflected in the works of Plancius and Henrius Hondius who presented Dai Viet as consisting of Cauchinchina (Cochinchina) to the west and of Quacii (Chiao-chih) to the east (Figs. 3  and 4).

During this long period of internal strife, there had been little interaction between the ruling lords and the Portuguese seafarers.  However, while western traders failed to make permanent inroads in Vietnam early missionaries, who included Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and ultimately French, never relinquished their evangelical efforts.  By nature of their work the missionaries often travelled far and wide with immunity in both regions and were most knowledgeable of the customs and geography of the country.

As Aurousseau correctly pointed out, it was the missionaries who gave the term Cochinchina a definite geographical boundary.  According to Alexandre de Rhodes, who spent some ten years carrying out evangelical work in both north and south Vietnam, Cocinchine comprises 9 provinces, namely Thinhoa, Nghe an, Bochinh, Quambin, Thoanoa, Ciam, Quam ghia, Quinhin or Pulo cambi, and Ranran whereas Tumkin consists of Kebac (northern region), Kedom (eastern region), Ketay (western region), and Kenam (southern region).  Both Cocinchine and Tumkin belong to the Kingdom of Annan.  By 1867 Cochinchina was extended southward to cover the territory which was then under French occupation.  The final step of colonization was completed in 1884, when the Court of Hue signed an agreement accepting Cochinchina as a colony of France.  Annam, which now took the geographical position of 17th century Cochinchina, and Tonkin became two Protectorates.


How did the name Cochinchina come into use?  It is customary to give one single answer to this question as did Aurousseau and others (Balfour, 1885, p. 758; Yule, 1903, pp. 226-227).  However, because of repeated historical changes of the name we need to trace its usage via revised place names on maps brought about by new knowledge of ertswhile unfamiliar lands.

There has been general agreement that the name is made of two elements: Cochin and China.  The latter is used as qualifier to indicate affinity with a better-known place.  This practice appears to have been conceived in 1502 when Cantino named the northern river Chanocochim and the southern area Champocachim.  Except for a few instances when Cauchim, Caochim, or Cauchy were used singly, the combined form was consistently followed.  It is the word Cochin that has given rise to various interpretations.


Since there is striking similarity between the spelling of Chanocochim and the name of a place on the Malabar Coast of India which was known to the Portuguese of the late fifteenth century as Colchi, Cocym, or Cochin, it is reasonable to believe that Western cartographers borrowed the Malabar Coast toponym as heard from traders to label a place which had a somewhat similar sounding name.  Direct contacts between Westerners and Vietnamese later led to change in appellation of the name.  In Ribeiro's map of 1529, attempt is made to translate the Vietnamese name Cuu-chan into a western language.  He labelled the Gulf of Tonkin "Cauchechina."  Cuu-chan is one of the nine commanderies instituted by Emperor Hsiao-Wu in 111 B.C.  In Cantonese the word is pronounced "cau-chan."  The boundaries of Cuu-chan underwent changes through time but the name was not completely replaced until 1407 (Aurousseau, 1922, p. 147).  It is the only name of a major administrative division in Vietnam that has been known historically for more than fifteen centuries.  Cuu-chan is also known as birthplace of many of the country's heroes and heroines in the struggle against foreign domination.  Whenever the eastern capital (Dong Kinh) was threatened, the strategy would be to move the government seat to the western capital (Tay Do) in Cuu-chan.


From 1529 the appellation Cauchechina began to appear more frequently.  It is found in maps by Gastaldi, Ortolio, Homem, and Luis under the form of Gauchi, Cauchy, or Cauchim.  In 1565 there was sign of return to the early spelling when Berteli used Cochinchina for his map.  For many decades these two names appeared with comparable frequency, often times side-by-side in the same map.  It was not until the mid-seventeenth century that Cochinchina gained favor in use over Cauchinchina.

What evidence exists in support of rejecting Aurousseau's argument that Cochin comes from the word Chiao-chih (Kiao-tche)?  Chiao-chih, as has been noted, fell into disuse as a place name early in the history of the country; Cuu-chan (Chiu-chen), however, remained in popular use until the Westerners' time of arrival.  Furthermore, the later spelling of the name does suggest a connection between Cuu-chan and Cauchinchina.  Yet, the strongest evidence lies in the fact that both names were known to cartographers.  Proof of this is found in the works of Petrus Plancius and Joannes Blaeu.  Fig. 5 shows a portion of Plancius' map of 1592.  Despite the damage done to the manuscript it is still possible to discern the names Cauchinchina or Cuu-chan of China (left arrow) and Quacii or Chiao-chih (right arrow) next to each other.  Farther north is Quancii of present-day Quangsi province of China.  The Latin abbreviation L.S., which stands for Locus Sigillus and means the place of the seal, following the name Quacii indicates the official status of the place.  There is no doubt that the author tried to label the area around Hanoi as Chiao-chih.  Since the Chinese pronunciations of Chiao-chih and Chiu-chen are so close to foreign listeners and because of the proximity of the two regions they became undistinguishable from each other.  This caused Joannes Blaeu in 1648 to label the southern part of Vietnam Kiaochi sive (or) Couchinchina.  Apparently he was aware of both names, but assumed that they referred to the same location.

In summary, cartographic evidence and an understanding of the historical geography of Vietnam permit a different interpretation of the origin and use of the name Cochinchina.  Its earliest form, Chancocochim, is a combination of two names -- China and Cochin.  It refers to an area in Vietnam which resembles a place on the Malabar Coast but whose people share Chinese cultural characteristics.  As later direct contacts were established between the west and Vietnam a transliteration of the local place name Cuu-chan was introduced.  Usage of this new appellation, Cauchinchina, continued well into the first half of the seventeenth century.  Ultimately, it was replaced by Cochinchina, a name preferred by the missionaries, and was finally adopted by the French authority to identify the twenty southernmost provinces of Vietnam.




  1. The names have been used in Chinese and Vietnamese chronicles to designate the country, which is written in present day Vietnamese as  Xích Quỷ, Văn Lang, Âu Lạc, Nam Việt, Giao Châu, Vạn Xuân, An Nam Đô Hộ Phủ, Tĩnh Hải, Đại Cồ Việt, Nam Bình, Lĩnh Nam (?), Đại Ngu, An Nam Quốc, Nam Việt, and Việt Nam.


2.   Kiao-tche is the French transliteration of    , whereas Chiao-chih is the current writing in English. In Vietnamese the spelling Giao-chỉ is used.


3.   These commanderies are named in Vietnmese respectively Uất Lâm, Thương-

ngô, Hợp-phố, Nam-hải, Châu-nhai, Đàm-nhĩ, Giao-chỉ, Cửu-chân, and Nhật Nam. For an approximate delineation of these commanderies see Harold J. Wiens, China’s March Toward  the Tropics, Map 20, Connecticut: The Shoe String Press, 1954.




Aurousseau, Leùonard (1922), “Comments on Pelliots’ ‘Meou-tseu ou les Doutes Leveùes’”, BEFEO, Tome XXII, pp. 276-298.


Aurousseau, Leùonard (1924), “Sur le Nom de Cochinchine”, BEFEO, Tome XXIV, pp. 563-379.


Balfour, Edward (1885), The Cyclopedia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Vol. 1, 3rd edition, London: Bernard Quaritch.


Boxer, C.R. (1948), Three Historians of Portugese Asia (Barros, Couto and Bocarro), Macao: Imprensa Nacional.


Bulling, A. Gutkind (1978), “Ancient Chinese Maps”, Expedition, Vol. XX, No. 2, pp. 16-26.


Chavannes, Edouard (1967), Les Mémoires Historiques de Se-Ma Ts’ien, Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et  d’Orient.


Ch’en, Ching-ho (1952) “Chiao-chih Ming-ch’eng K’ao (A Study of the Name “Chiao-chih”)”, Bulletin of the College of Arts, National Taiwan University, No. 4, pp 79-130.


Creel, H.G. (1953), Chinese Thought from Confucius to Mao Tse-Tung, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Fuchs, Walter (1946), The “Mongol Atlas” of China by Chu Ssu-Pen and the Kuang-yu-t’u, Peiping: Fu Jen University.


Goloubew, V. (1930), “Léonard-Eugène Aurousseau”, BEFEO, Tome XXIX, pp. 535-541.


Lach, Donald F. (1965), Asia in the Making of Europe, I. The Century of Discovery, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


Lach, Donald F. (19770, Asia in the Making of Europe, II, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


Lê, Thanh Khôi (1955), Le Vietnam: Histoire et Civilisation, Paris: Editions de Minuit.


Legge, James (1960), The Chinese Classics, Vol. III. The Shoo King, 2nd edition, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.


Ma, Touan-lin (1889), Ethnographie des Peuples Etrangers à la Chine, translated by d’Hervey de Saint-Denys, Paris: Ernest Leroux.


Maspero, Henri (1916) “Etudes d’Histoire d’Annam, III. La Commanderie de Siang”, BEFEO, Tome XVI, 1, pp. 49-55.

Mei, Yi-Pao (1929), The Ethical and Political Works of Motse, London: Authur Probsthain.


Des Michels, Abel (1889). Les Annales Impériales de l’Annam, Paris: La Société Asiatique de l’Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivantes.


Nguyễn, Trần Huân (1971), “Comptes-Rendus: Nord Vietnam”, BEFEO, Tome 1958, pp. 330-336.


Pan Ku (1944), The History of the Former Han Dynasty: A Critical Translation with Annotations by Homer H. Dubs, USA: The American Council of Learned Societies.


Schreinder, Alfred (1900), Les Institutions Annamites, Tome I, Saigon: Claude & Cie.


Teston, Eugeøne and Percheron,  Maurice (1931), L’Indochine Moderne, Paris: Librairie de France.


Thomson, J. Oliver (1948), History of Ancient Geography: Cambridge University Press.


Toynbee, Arnold (ed.) (1973), Half the World, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Wilson.


Trần, Trọng Kim (1951), Việt Nam Sử Lược (Short History of Vietnam), 4th edition, Saigon: Tân Việt.

Wiens, Harold J. (1954), China’s March Toward the Tropics, Connecticut: The Shoe String Press.


Yule, Henry (1903), The Book of Sir Marco Polo the Venetian Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, revised throughout by Henry Cordier.


Yule, Henry and Bernell, A.C. (1903), Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical, and Discursive, new edition edited by William Croke, London: John Murray.








1502 (Cantino)             Planisphere describing general coastline of South China Sea; name CHANOCOCHIM shown along a river and CHINACOCHIM at river entrance; CHAMPOCACHIM for southern part (A. Cortesao and A. Teixeira da Mota, Portugaliae             Monumenta Cartographica, Liboa, 1960-1962, Pl. 5).


c.1502 (Canerio)          Coastline of South China Sea similar to that in Cantino's map;                                        CHANOCOCHIM shown along a river;  north of this is India                                       Superior and farther north is Cattaio (E.L. Stevenson, Marine                                        World Chart of Nicolo Canerio Januensi (c. 1502), Nova Iorque,                                     1908).


1508 (de Maiollo)        Portolan chart showing coastline of South China Sea;                                                    CHINACOCHIN along a river; CAMPOCHACHIN  for  

                                    southern part (E.L. Stevenson (ed.) Atlas of Portolan Charts,

                                    New York: The Hispanic Society  of America, 1911, XXI, Fol.

                                   11a). c.1513 (Rodrigues) Nautical chart showing Tonkin Gulf and

                                   Ainao Island; mouth of river emptying into the gulf is labelled

                                   COCHIM DA CHINA (P.M.C, Pl. 35, Chart XI).


1516 (Waldseemuller)  World map showing a distorted view of the Malacca peninsular                                     compared to a much reduced Indochina. Fig. 1 reproduces the                                     Indochinese portion of map.  River labeled CHANOCOCIM;                                       Fulicandora covering Cham territory (J. Fischer and F.V. Wieser,                                     The World Maps of Waldseemuller (Ilacomilius), Innsbruck:                                          Verlag der Wagner's Chen Universitats - Buchhandlung, 1903).


1929 (Ribeiro)              Map showing greater improvement over Waldseemuller's map;                                     Indochinese peninsular labelled Regno de Ansian; a large gulf

                                    called CAUCHECHINA separating      Regno de Ansian     and

                                    China (P.M.C., Pl. 39). c.1545 (Anonymous) Planisphere

                                    showing general coastline with entrance of river labelled

                                    CAUCHIMCHINA (P.M.C., Pl.79).


c.1558 (Anonymous)    Attributed to Diogo Homem, this map shows a large river                                              entrance or bay named Enseada de CAUCHIN; upstream is a                                     place called Tunguin (Tonkin). See Fig. 2 for reproduction of                                         Indochinese portion of map (Gabriel Marcel, Notice Sur                                               Quelques Cartes Relatives au Royaume de Siam, Paris: Ernest                                       Leroux, 1894, Pl. IV).

c.1560 (Anonymous)    Similar to Diogo Homem's map labelling river entrance as                                              Enseada de CAOCHIM (P.M.C., Pl. 95/B).


1561 (Gastaldi)            First map showing a large area corresponding to present-day                                         north Vietnam called Regno de GAUCHIN CHINA; south of this                                     area is Regno de Campaa (Manuscript entitled Il Disegno Della                                     Terza Parte Dell' Asia by Giacopo di Gastaldi is kept at

                                    Newberry Library, Chicago).


1561 (Ortelio)              Similar to Gastaldi's map with north Vietnam labelled                                                     GAUCHINCHINA; Cachu being the name for Hanoi (Robert                                     Almagia, Monumenta Cartographica Vaticana, Rome, 1944, Vol.                                     II, Table XVIII).

1561 (Homem)             Map showing mouth of river labelled Enseada deCAUCHY                                          (P.M.C., Pl. 124, Fol. 9).

1563 (Luis)                  Similar to Homem's map showing Enseada de CAUCHIM                                            (P.M.C., Pl. 217).


c.1565 (Anonymous)    Attributed to Diogo Homem, map showing Enseada de CAUCHI                                     (P.M.C., Pl. 177, Fol. 9).


1565 (Berteli)               Map showing COCHINCHINA along a river and also the name                                     COCHINCHINA for a town (Manuscript entitled Terza Ostro                                     Tavola by Ferando Berteli is kept at Newberry Library,Chicago).

1568 (Homem)             Similar to his 1561 map with Endeada de CAUCHY (M.P.C., Pl.                                                             139, Fol.14/A).


1570 (Dourado)           Map showing Enseada de COCHI south of river (P.M.C., Pl.                                       270).


1571 (Dourado)           Enseada de COCHI CHINA (P.M.C., Pl. 284).


1575 (Dourado)           Enseada de QUOCHIM (P.M.C., Pl. 306).



c.1575 (Giorgio)           This map of China published in the 1584 edition of Abraham                                         Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum  shows CAUCHINCHINA

                                    for the area of north Vietnam and COCHINCHINA for the river

                                   (P.M.C., Pl. 239A).


c.1576 (Anonymous)    Enseada de COUCHI (P.M.C., Pl. 340).


1580 (Dourado)           Enseada de QOCHI (P.M.C., Pl. 324).


1587 (Mercator)          Map having the name CACHUCHINA (A.E. Nordenskiold,                                                     Facsimile- Atlas,  Stockholm, 1889, Pl. XLVII).


1590 (Lasso)                Map showing Enseada CAHOCHICHINA and the same for area                                     south of the bay (P.M.C., Pl. 375).


1592 (Plancius)            World map showing for the first time detailed information of                                           north Vietnam and the coastal islands that include Ainan and

                                    Pracel; CAUCHINCHINA is located to the west and QUACII

                                    to the east.  See Fig. 5 for reproduction  (F.C. Wieder (ed.),

                                    Monumenta Cartographica, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1925-

                                   1933, Pl. 34).


1592-1594                   Attributed to Plancius,map showing Enseada de

COCHINCHINA and CAUCHIN al. (Anonymous) COCHINCHINA with boundary separating the area from China;Tunquan for a town (P.M.C., Pl. 383/A).


1593 (Judaeis)              Circumpolar projection of the world showing CAUCHUCHINA                                     Facsimile-Atlas, Pl. XLVIII).


1596 (van Langren)      Similar to 1592-1594 Plancius' map using three different spellings:

                                   CAUCHINCHINA for north-west area of north Viet-nam;

                                   COCHINCHINA for a town; and Enseada de

                                   CANCHINCHINA (P.M.C., Pl. 385/B).

c.1598-1600 (A.

                                   Langren) Planisphere showing COCHINCHINA south of river

                                   and Enseada de TERRA COCHINCHINA (Monumenta

                                  Cartographica, Pl. 40  bis).


1599 (v. Linschoten)     Map showing CAUCHINCHINA for north-west of river;                                             COCHINCHINA for a town    and Enseada de

                                    CANCHINCHINA  (A.E. Nordenskiold,  Periplus, Stockholm,

                                    1897, Pl. LX).

1613 (Hondius)           Three maps in Mercator Atlas using different names: COCHIN-

                                   CHINA for area south of river; COCHINCHINA for a town;

                                   Enseada de CHINCHINA; and CAUCHIN al. CAUCHIN-

                                   CHINA.  See Fig. 4 for reproduction (Henrius Hondius, Mercator

                                    Atlas, Amsterdam: Latin Edition, 1613).


1630, 1643 (Teixeira I) Three maps showing CAUCHINCHINA or CAUCHIM

                                    CHINA for 1649 area (P.M.C., Pl. 463, Pl. 505, Pl. 514).


1641 (Sanches)            Map showing CAUCHINCHINA for area (P.M.C., Pl. 532).


1648 (Blaeu)                World map showing Tungking for north Vietnam; COCHIN-                                        CHINA and Tonquin for towns; Enseada COCHINCHINA for                                     Tonkin Gulf; and KIAOCHI sive COUCHINCHINA for central                                     Vietnam (Monumenta Cartographica, Pl. 61).


c.1645-1655                Detailed map of Annan consisting of two kingdoms of Tumkin                                       and COCINCHINE. The (de Rhodes) latter covers 9 provinces                                     from Thinhoa (Thanh Hoa) to Ranran (Phan Rang) (Alexandre de                                     Rhodes, Divers Voyages et Missions du P. Alexandre de Rhodes                                     en la Chine, et Autres Royaumes de l'Orient, Paris: Sebastien                                        Cramoisy et Gabriel Cramoisy, 1653).




            Research for this paper was completed more than thirty years ago at the University of Chicago under a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities.  Results were published and distributed to a limited circle.  At that time I believed that as Vietnam underwent modernization and more Vietnamese were able to travel to the outside world, we would have a better idea of our origin and identity.  However, I have since witnessed frequent misuse by writers and scholars at home and abroad of the name Giao Chỉ to refer to a race and the country that we now call Vietnam.  It is hoped that with the publication of this article in The Writers Post the newly discovered information will be brought to a larger audience.

            Availing myself of this opportunity, I wish to express my gratitude to The National Endowment for the Humanities for the Summer Grant that enabled me to conduct research at Regenstein and Newberry libraries in Chicago.  I am also deeply grateful to the late Dr. Ping-ti Ho, James Westfall Thompson Professor of History at the University of Chicago, for his diligent guidance during my internship.  For editorial help and advice I am indebted to Dr. Dennis Johnson, former Professor of Geography at the University of Houston, who spent hours reading and correcting the manuscript.  Finally, I would like to register my most sincere thanks to the staff of Regenstein and Newberry libraries for their professional and courteous assistance throughout many months of my research.


                                                             VU DINH DINH



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