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Compared to the nearly 4,000 years of history of the Vietnamese culture, the city of Da Nang, or Danang as it was traditionally known, only dates to the early 14th century when the area was settled as a small village in the wilds of central Vietnam. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the area was settled as a port, which traded with various European and Asian merchants. This small, backwater port was annexed by the French Empire under Napoleon III in 1858, and renamed Tourane. It became one of the five major French Indochina cities, growing in size and importance.
In 1954 the French forces withdrew from all of South East Asia and an independent Vietnam was proclaimed, and the city’s name was changed to Thai Phien City. With the division of Vietnam into the North and South, it became part of the Republic of South Vietnam, and in 1965 was the location of the first landing of US forces in South East Asia. Da Nang was the scene of fierce fighting throughout the Vietnam War, notably during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Following the departure of American forces the ARVN forces defended the city until it fell to the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in 1973.