The last royal dynasty, the Nguyens, who ruled History hangs heavily over the central Viet from 1802 to 1945. Successive emperors estab- nam region, and the Vietnamese are only one lished a lavish imperial court at Hué, which element of the successive stories that have became the centre of political intrigue, intel- unfolded here.
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This region was the heartland lectual excellence and spiritual guidance in of the ancient kingdom of Champa, and the Chams left their emperors and the balance of power shifted mark in the shape of the many towers dotting back to Hanoi by the time of independence. the landscape, the most renowned of which  History was not to ignore this once-proud are at My Son. region, but this time it was a tale of tragedy.
As the Vietnamese pushed southwards, Vietnam found itself engulfed in the Ameri- pacifying the Chams, the first Europeans set can War, the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) was foot in Vietnam: Portuguese traders, who ar the scene of some of the heaviest fighting. rived in Danang in the 16th century.
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The North Vietnamese sought to infiltrate The French would come to dominate Viet the south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, while nam, but not before the balance of power  American forces and their South Vietnam- shifted decisively to central Vietnam under ese allies tried their best to disrupt supplies .Thousands of lives were lost in bloody battles for strategic hills and valleys, and names like Khe Sanh and Hamburger Hill were forever etched into the consciousness of the West.

Getting There & Away
Both Hué and Danang have airports, the lat – ter linked to many major cities. The major north–south rail route cuts straight through the region, as does Hwy 1A.

DEMILITARISED ZONE (DMZ)
The Vietnam War (as the West knows it) shaped the culture of a whole generation throughout much of the world. The incred-ible output of films, TV shows and music
relating to the war is testimony to that. While it may seem a little ghoulish, it’s understand-able that many tourists want to visit the names (DRV; North Vietnam). On either side of the river was an area 5km wide that was known as the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). Ironically, as the conflict escalated, it became one of the most militarised zones in the world.
Ben Hai River
The idea of partitioning Vietnam had its origins in a series of agreements concluded between the USA, UK and the USSR at the Potsdam Conference, held in Berlin in July 1945. For lo-gistical and political reasons, the Allies decided that the Japanese occupation forces to the south of the 16th Parallel would surrender to the Brit-ish while those to the north would surrender to the Kuomintang (Nationalist) Chinese army led by Chiang Kaishek. This was despite the Viet Minh being in control of the country by September that year – Vietnam’s first real taste engraved in their consciousness – and not just the steady stream of Vets revisiting the places that changed their lives. From 1954 to 1975 the Ben Hai River served as the demarcation line between the Republic of Vietnam (RVN; South Vietnam) and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam of independence since 1887. In April 1954 at Geneva, Ho Chi Minh’s government and the French agreed to an ar- mistice; among the provisions was the creation of a demilitarised zone at the Ben Hai River.

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