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Archive of wartime southern Vietnam proposed for UNESCO recognition

Archive of wartime southern Vietnam proposed for UNESCO recognition

Sunday, August 17, 2014, 16:29 GMT+7

A collection of historical records released and received by the southern Vietnam governor office during the resistance war against French colonialists will be filed for the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program in the Asia-Pacific region by the end of October this year.

According to the State Archive Department under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the archive will be submitted for the UNESCO recognition by October 31.

The collection, dated between 1858 and 1945, covers 2,435m of shelves and is the largest and most historically significant one among the 26 collections in the same period.

In experts’ opinions, the archive is diverse in content and highly trustworthy.

The collection comes in documents, maps, and photos, and is mostly written in French, with a small portion written in Vietnamese, ancient Chinese characters, Khmer, Laotian, Japanese, English, Italian, and Dutch.

A large part of the archive is yellowing and torn, with words fading fast.

The archive’s authenticity, comprehensiveness, rarity and irreplaceability have been highlighted in numerous research works, graduate and postgraduate dissertations.

In May 2014, a collection of official administrative documents of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) – the country’s last monarchy – was also recognized as a documentary heritage of the UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program in the Asia-Pacific region.

The collection comprises 85,000 documents bearing the seals of eleven Nguyen kings, including royal edicts and reports to the King.

The documents are of immense historical value, reflecting the political ideology, guidelines and policies adopted by the kings in their internal and external relations.

The collection also serves as an integral legal basis for affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over its seas and islands, including Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.

Earlier, the UNESCO also recognized three other Vietnamese collections as documentary heritages, namely the wooden printing blocks kept at the National Archive Center IV in central Vietnam’s Da Nang City, the Buddhism wooden printing blocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, and 82 steles honoring highly educated people at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.

Launched in 1992, the UNESCO's Memory of the World Program aims at safeguarding, protecting, and facilitating access to the use of documentary heritages, especially those of tremendous value.

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