If Hoi An is popular for one thing, it’s got to be the ancient ruins of My Son Sanctuary located just outside the city. The sanctuary was once the spiritual center of the Kingdom of Champa, the early settlers of ancient Quang Nam province. Over a thousand years ago, the Cham people led a flourishing culture in the central regions of Vietnam. Today, it is not clear who these people were and where they came. It is apparent, though, that they settled along the seaside town of Hoi An in the 1st and 2nd Centuries, traded with neighboring countries, was responsible for spreading Hinduism in Southeast Asia, and had engineering capabilities as made obvious in My Son.
The Champa Kingdom, culture and people vanished after the Vietnamese conquered their territories. The Cham people gave up their identity and assimilated with the dominant Vietnamese, who also drove away the Chinese after these foreign invaders ruled the country for some time. It is believed that for some time, the Chinese plundered the Cham villages and forced the people to pay taxes. [Read more…]