3. The Residential Area
Outside the Royal citadel and Lord Trinh’s palace stood the residential section of Thang Long, consisting of Tho Xuong and Quang Due districts. According to The Geographic Book and Geography of Hoang Viet, each of the two districts consisted of 18 phuong or guild areas or wards, thus, the total number of guild areas for the two districts was 36. As a complete list of the 36 guild areas of Thang Long has never turned up, future generations need to research those guild areas. We can only select some guild names recorded or mentioned in contemporary history books, such as, The Complete History of the Dai Viet and Kien Van Tieu Luc or from epitaphs etched on stone stelae erected in Hanoi at that time, and from historical books and essays of that period written by later authors, such as, General Books of Vietnam History, Notes of the Le Reigns, Notes written by Le Qui Don, Essays Written in the Rain, and Notes of Sad Events...
We compare these names with those mentioned in geographic books written during the Nguyen dynasty to make a list of the guild areas in Tho Xuong and Quang Due. Most of the names of the guild areas during the Le dynasty remained unchanged during the Nguyen dynasty. But names of new hamlets and farms during the Nguyen dynasty were not listed in the ward or guild area list of the Le dynasty. We arrive at the following:
Tho Xuong district:
Guilds in the east of the Royal citadel (between the Royal citadel and the Red River) were: Dong Xuan, Dong Ha, Ha Khau, Dong Cac, Dien Hung, Thai Cue, Co Vu, Kim Co and Bao Thien.
Guilds in the south of the Royal citadel were: Vinh Xuong, Bich Cau, Xa Dan, Kim Hoa, Phuc Lam, Phuc Co, Hong Mai, and Yen Xa.1
Tho Xuong total: 17 guilds
Quang Due district:
Guilds on the east of West Lake were Nhat Chieu, Quang Ba, Tay Ho, Nghi Tam, Yen Hoa, Thach Khoi (noted in The Geographic Book as Ha Tan) and Hoe Nhai.
Guilds on the west of West Lake were Trich Sai, Bai An, Yen Thai, Vong Thi, Ho Khau, and Thuy Chuong.
Guilds on the Southwest of the Roval citadel were Thinh Hao, Cong Bo, Quan Tram, and Thinh Quang.2
Quang Due: Total: 17 guilds
In these two districts which made up Thang Long, the positions of some guild areas still remain unknown.
Some guild areas had different names in different historical documents, e.g., Dong Tan meant Dong Ha or Hang Chieu. Tang Kiem was later called Hang Kiem or Kiem Ho. Duong Nhan = Dien Hung or (Hang Ngang today. Ta Nhat = Yen Nhat or Yen Tho (at the end of Hue Street).
The Complete Book mentioned the Le Chi guild area (Le Chi means lychee fruit) of Quang Due district. Le Chi could be another name of Thinh Quang guild area.
Quan Tram guild situated near Thinh Quang, or Thinh Hao? And where was Khuc Pho guild located? Historical books of the Nguyen dynasty also mentioned two Dong Ha guilds (Hang Chieu and Hang Gai) and three Dong Tac guild areas Trung Phung, Cua Nam and Cau Go. We are not sure if the guilds with the same names today were established during the Le reign.
In Tho Xuong district, four Phuc Co guild areas existed until the 19th century. They were:
- Phuc Co-Nguyen Du (the Phuc Co communal house is at Nguyen Du Street).
- Phuc Co-Hang Gai (in DNNTC Hang Gai = Phuc Co Street).
- Phuc Co-Le Thai To (according to the Montalambert map of Hanoi in 1885).
- Phuc Co-Dinh Tien Hoang (according to the stele in the Pho Giac or Tau Pagoda).
However, we have not yet been able to study these discrepancies fully.
An administrative map with names of guild areas thought to exist in Thang Long in the 17th and 18th centuries provides information that needs further research.
Preliminary studies of names and locations of guild areas lead to the following conclusions:
- The area north of West Lake, near the Royal citadel and palaces of kings and lords, was a populous and wealthy residential area in the 17th and 18th centuries. This area gradually became deserted.
- The area east of the Royal citadel (stretching to the Red and To Lich rivers) was probably the most populous area. Nine or ten out of the eighteen guild areas in Tho Xuong district centered in a very small area.
- The area south of the Royal citadel contained many ponds and lakes. It was thinly populated and its guilds located far apart. The southeastern area mainly consisted of architectural creations of the Trinh Lord’s estates. To the south was the literary area including the National University, some private schools and lodgings for scholars.
- The western area (often called Thirteen Farms) was not listed as one of the 36 guild areas. On the contrary, in the declaration made by Trinh Kieu to the Trinh Lord in 1781 asking for a tax exemption in three neighborhoods of the Bach Ma Temple (White Horse Temple), there appeared the name “Thu Le farm.” (28-I:45)
(If it is true, as we assumed above, that under the first reigns of the Le dynasty, this area was located inside the Royal citadel, then we wonder if the area was excluded from the administrative territory of Tho Xuong and Quang Due districts due to the enlargement and the reconstruction of palaces in the West?)
After defeating the Mac forces and demolishing the old citadel, the Trinh Lord had a new citadel built in an area smaller than the previous one. The area of damaged palaces became a residential area outside the Royal citadel. Gradually, people reclaimed the land to create farms. These farms existed until the Nguyen dynasty, forming the inner area of Vinh Thuan district.
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