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March 24, 2012

Cao Bang

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Cao Bằng Province located in the northern part of the country has borders with Hà Giang, Tuyên Quang, Bắc Kạn, and Lạng Sơn provinces within Vietnam. It also has a common international border (322 kilometres (200 mi) long) with the Guangxi province of the People’s Republic of China. The main town is also named Cao Bằng.

Around 272km from Hanoi, Cao Bang is a mountainous province in far-north Vietnam, near Vietnamese-Chinese border. Cao Bang is mostly covered by the jungle and that was the reason why Uncle Ho chose it as the base for the country revolutionary in 1950s. It is a mysterious land of spectacular sceneries and historical significance.Cao Bang has a number of scenic attractions like Ban Gioc waterfalls, Nguon Ngao cave, Lenin stream, Thang Hen Lake and many others.

Cao Bang is said to record the dawn of Vietnam. There is a legend that is narrated to the first rulers of Vietnam, dated to 2838-2698 BC which corresponds to the Phùng Nguyên culture traced to a small settlement in Bac Bo (North Vietnam). According to this legend, De Minh, the great grand son of the Chinese emperor Shen Nung, married an Immortal in Honan Province. Their youngest son, Lộc Tục, was appointed to rule over Xich Quay which included, apart from territory in China, North Vietnam. Lộc Tục's son then married the daughter of King De Lai, Princess Âu Cơ. They had 100 sons, and, as per the prevailing societal custom of the Vietnamese which was matriarchal, the 100 sons were under the care of Âu Cơ, while her husband lived with his own mother. Suddenly one day Âu Cơ's husband announced to her that he belonged to the race of dragons and she to the race of the Immortals and that henceforth they could not live together. He thereafter moved south with his 50 sons; his wife moved to the hills in China with the other 50, thus ushering a shift in the social culture of Vietnam, from matriarchal to patriarchal. This separation is said to have been the first divorce in Vietnam. It is conjectured that the hundred sons who were thus “scattered across the south of China were the Pai Yueh (Hundred Vietnamese)”. The sons of Lạc Long Quân who inherited the kingdom took the title of "Hùng Vương" ("Brave King") and founded the Hồng Bàng Dynasty, which lasted from 2879 BC to 258 BC. The name of the kingdom was changed to Văn Lang, a tribal totem. The kingdom went through a series of changes with turbulent history, having changed hands a number of times and Âu Việt came to existence with Cao Bằng as its capital. This legend is linked to present day Cao Bằng, which is at the border with China.

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