Archaeological study in Hoi An in the 1990s proved that more than 2000 years ago Hoi An was an embryonic port town of the Sa Huynh people. With the finds excavated in the cemetery and habitation sites of Sa Huynh people, we can know that they had a process of cultural and economic exchange with other peoples, especially the Chinese in the Han dynasty. From the 2nd to the 15th centuries, Hoi An was the land of the Champa Kingdom. In these centuries, Hoi An became a prosperous commercial port town, very well developed and famous in Asia. Merchant boats from Arabian countries and China came to Hoi An to trade. Ancient documents said that for a long time, the port town of Lam Ap (present Hoi An) played the most important role in creating and bringing prospered to Tra Kieu and My Son (the capital and complex of temples and towers of the Champa Kingdom). Moreover, relics of the Cham civilization in Hoi An also show that there has had a Cham port with a maritime trade that prosper brilliantly.
Located in the meeting place of the major sources of water in Quang Nam and due to the favorable internal and external elements, Hoi An revved and rapidly developed in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Hoi An port town and the “Silk road” and “Ceramic road” on the seas attracted lots of merchant boats form China,Japan, India, Thailand, Portugal, Holland, Britain, France… They were so many that “they all made quite a forest of masts on the river” (Thich Dai San wrote in his Overseas Diary) and commodities were so plentiful that “merchantscould find whatever they wanted” and that “even hundreds of big sailing vessels (8.1 m wide and 45-60m long each) could not carry all of them away at the same time” (Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc).
Hoi An in this time therefore, was the international port town of trades that was most developed in the country and Southeast Asia as well as the major economic base in Southern Viet Nam of the Nguyen Lords and Kings.
By the end of the 19th century, because of unfavorable conditions, the “sailing vessels port town of Hoi An ”gradually declined and gave its historic role in the hands of the “young industrial port city of DaNang”.
During the 117 year assistance against foreign invaders for national salvation(1858-1975), thousands of Hoianians sacrificed their lives for the national independence and unification of the country. Many localities in Hoi An and some of them were named “hero” and “heroine”.
On 28/8/1998, the Central Government of VietNam awarded Hoi An as a” Heroic Town of the Armed Forces”. On December 4th, 1999, the UNESCO inscribed Hoi An on the World Heritage List
On August 24th, 2000, the Central Government of Viet Nam once again awarded Hoi An as a “ Heroic Town of Labour“.
Source: Hoi An Center for Culture & Sports