The family of Vo Van in Island District of Ly Son, Quang Ngai Province, is keeping several documents confirming that their ancestors used to be on duty in Hoang Sa heroic flotilla since 1786, 30 years earlier than previously-recorded documents.
While implementing the project, “Recovering graves of soldiers who were sent to Hoang Sa (Paracell)”, Dr. Nguyen Dang Vu, Director of Quang Ngai Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, discovered some precious documents relating to the national sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) in the late 18th century, kept by the family of Vo Van in Ly Son Island.
|Dr. Nguyen Dang Vu, Director of Quang Ngai Provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism discovered precious documents relating to the national sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly), kept by the family of Vo Van in Ly Son Island
Vo Van is amongst some of the first 13 families who settled on Ly Son Island.
Having translated and done research on Han-script documents of this family many times, Dr. Vu concluded that the family of Vo Van had greatly contributed to the establishment of Hoang Sa flotilla also in charge of controlling the Truong Sa, sailing to the East Sea to conduct a survey on sea routes and seeking sea products and tools to offer to the Court in late 18th century.
In Ly Son Island District, no documents have been discovered recording Hoang Sa heroic flotilla older than documents kept by the family of Vo Van.
These documents clearly wrote that in 1786, under King Thai Duc, the Tay Son dynasty elected Vo Van Khiet chief of the Hoang Sa flotilla in charge of enrolling soldiers for Hoang Sa and Que Huong flotillas to explore rare sea products and creatures to hand over to the Court.
Based on Court-written history, researchers said that Pham Quang Anh was the first head for Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, in 1815. However, newly-found documents, especially in Han Nom script one by the family of Vo Van, showed that Vo Van Khiet was the first chief of Hoang Sa flotilla, followed by Vo Van Phu in 1803.
The family of Vo Van has also kept a paper asking for recognising Vo Van Khiet as chief of An Vinh Temple in 1803. In the Court-written history, Vo Van Phu, son of Vo Van Khiet, was chief of Hoang Sa flotilla in 1803.
The grave of Vo Van Khiet is now located in An Vinh Village, Ly Son Island District.
Other members of the family of Vo Van joined the Hoang Sa flotilla. One of them was Vo Van Hung, a guide for the navy and in charge of selecting sailors. These sailors, under King Minh Mang, were in charge of landing the national sovereignty landmark on Hoang Sa Island.
In Vo Van Ut’s house, the 16th descendant of the family of Vo Van in Ly Son Island District, the family is storing an old document stating that Vo Van Hung was among 10 children of Vo Van Khiet, three times Head of Hoang Sa.
Graves of Vo Van Hung, Vo Van Cong, Vo Van Sanh and other members of the family of Vo Van have not yet been found. According to Dr. Vu, they might not be lucky as their relative, Vo Van Khiet, may have returned to Ly Son Island after fulfilling their tasks on Hoang Sa Island.
Translated by Mai Huong