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Ha Noi divided: An administrative map of Ha Noi City is drawn by the French in 1902. — File Photo
HA NOI — Maps showing how the French colonial masters planned to consolidate their rule in Viet Nam by dividing Ha Noi into two areas - one for Europeans and the other for local Vietnamese - are now on display at the National Archives Centre in Ha Noi.
The four-part exhibition features 68 maps and nine documents outlining the French administrative borders of Ha Noi from 1873 to 1954.
Five of the maps have been drawn on cloth and feature the districts of Phu Xuyen, Thanh Oai, Dan Phuong, Chuong My and My Duc districts that are now in opened Ha Noi City.
The first part of the exhibition features items from 1873 to 1895. The French set up new city borders for the city and planned to build an European city in a classical chessboard pattern after demolishing key Vietnamese historical structures.
These buildings included the central pagoda where the Catholic cathedral now stands and the old Royal Palace, destroyed to make way for a nondescript, French colonial building.
The documents were legal-ised at colonial administration level and were part of a grander scheme to run French Indo-China from Ha Noi.
When dividing the city into European and Vietnamese areas, the French issued a decree fixing Ha Noi's new administrative border.
The second part of the exhibition includes maps and documents from 1895 to 1927. At this time, the French began seriously opening up Ha Noi City after putting down many revolts.
The director of the National Archives Centre, Ha Van Hue, said that many buildings at this time were designed by French architects. The new street lines were called "Western streets".
The third part of the exhibition features maps from 1928 to 1945, when the Vietnamese resistance began to get the upper hand.
The exhibition runs until December 31 at 18, Trung Yen Street, Cau Giay District. — VNS