Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta
Figure 1.-- Here children in the Mekong Delta are playing on the dock in front of their home during the 1960s. The press photo was captioned, "Mekong Delta farmers welcome visitors, but great government plans to put them into collectives with less enthusiasm." Source: John Spragens, Jr. 'Christian Science Monitor'.

The Mekong Delta is a complex maze of waterways and the rice bowl of Vietnam. The Mekong is one of the great rivers of the world. It rises in the Tibetan Himalayas and wind in way southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia before enteing Vietnam south of Saigon. The Vietnamese call the region Cu Long (Nine Dragons), meaning the network (seven major channels) through which tyhe Mekong empties into the sea. Here it fans out creating avast alluvial plain. The result is countless canals along which the Delta residents live. The Delta is Vietnam's extremely productive rice bowl, helping to make Southeast Asia one of the most productive rice growing areas. The Mekong deposits rich soil which nourishes the countless rice paddies. As a result, there are bustling river markets, natural canals lined with coconut palms, and a variety of floating homes. The The Vietnamese were relative newcomers to the Delta. The region was dominated by the Khmer until the 18th century, when The Vietnamese began moving into the region. Tensions between Cambodia and Vietnam over the Delta persisted inro modern times. reaching a climax when Vietnam invaded Cambodia to depose the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia (1979). The people of the Delta are thus a fascinating mix of Vietnamese and Khmer, along with some smaller numbers of Chinese and Chàm. The Delta is very flat and rainfall dependent on the monsoons. As a result, area of land covered by water is highly seasonal. The complex channels and lack of roads means that the aeea was difficult for the French to control. The first nationalist revolt against the French in the name of the king was launched in that Delt. The French in the First Indochina War used their “Dinassaut” on waterways. During the Second Indochina War (Vietnam War), the Delta was the scene of fighting between the Viet Cong (NLF) guerrillas and units of the United States Navy Mobile Riverine Force which deployed swift boats and hovercrafts (PACVs).


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Created: 6:41 PM 7/26/2009
Last updated: 6:41 PM 7/26/2009