Champa and the Southward Expansion of Viet Nam


Kingdom of Lin-Yi (Lam Ap) was recorded in Chinese annals. Lin-Yi raided Viet Nam and Southern China in 248


Champa attacked Viet Nam but was defeated by Pham Tu, a general of king Ly Bon


Viet Nam force led by Ly Thuong Kiet attacked and pushed Champa's border to south of Hoanh Son (Thanh Hoa)


King Ly Thanh Tong led Viet Nam to invade Champa, sacked Vijaya and took king Rudravarman III (Che Cu) prisoner in exchange for 3 provinces Dia Ly, Ma Linh and Bo Chanh (present Quang Binh and Quang Tri)


Vietnamese princess Huyen Tran married king Jaya Sinhavarman III (Che Man). in exchange for two provinces O and Ly


King Che Bong Nga raided and pilfered Thang Long (Ha Noi). Che Bong Nga was killed in battle in 1382


Viet Nam invaded Champa. Ho Quy Ly forced king Campadhiraya to concede Indrapura (Quang Nam) and the territory of Amaravati (North Champa) to Viet Nam


Vietnamese army led by King Le Thanh Tong captured and destroyed Vijaya. Viet Nam annexed the new land as provinces of Thang Hoa, Tu Nghia and Hoai Nhon


Lord Nguyen Hoang annexed the Cham region of Phu Yen


Lord Nguyen Phuc Tan captured Cham's region of Kauthara and pushed Viet Nam's southern border to Cam Ranh


Lord Nguyen Phuc Chu annexed the remaining Champa territory as the new prefecture of Tran Thuan Thanh


The birth of Champa

The ancient kingdom of Champa was situated in the central coast of Viet Nam at one time stretched from the Ngang Pass (pressent Quang Binh province) to the upper basin of Dong nai river. The Cham people is believed to be of the same Javanese stock as many of the creators of the Dong Son culture further to the north. As they were intrepid seafarers, and as their land was well placed not far from the sea route from India to China, the Chams were exposed very early to Indian culture and its Brahman religion.

This paper will attempt to illuminate what was meant by Linyi and Champa. If it can be shown that there were polities on the lower middle coast of today’s Vietnam before the words ‘Cham’ or ‘Champa’ appear in inscriptions and we should be able to clarify the precise birthdate of ‘Champa’. We must rely on Chinese texts and archaeological and epigraphic traces. Researching these sources tends to define the Cham area as a mosaic of different territories rather than a unified territory strung along the coast. Thus Linyi and Champapura were distinct territories, among others, which had existed since Austronesians first settled the coastal valleys of Vietnam.

1.      Linyi in Chinese texts

The territory of the Chams is generally seen as a sucession of alluvial plains open to the sea and separated by natural barriers (fig. 1 : map of the Cham country). Each coastal area seems to have housed a form of kingdom. Chinese sources provide the only evidence of the situation ahead of ‘Indianisation’ and the first appearence of inscriptions in the region before the end of the 5th century CE.

There is however a divergence between the use of the term Linyi, employed in Chinese texts from the 3rd century and 749 CE, and the first appearence of the name Champa. Campā first occurs in 658 CE in the Cham inscritpion C.96 in My Son, and then in 667 CE in the Khmer inscription K.53 de Kdei Ang, Prey Veng. The manner in which this Cham identity was forged therefore needs to be re-examined. A linguistic study appears to show that the Chams were among the navigators of prehistoric Southeast Asia (Vickery 2005: 15). The history of Champa could commence in the 3rd century when the Chinese first speak of a political entity named ‘Linyi’, even though no allusion is made to its ethnic identity or language. The Chinese text attaches the adjective Kunlun to these southern ‘barbarians’, meaning ‘people of the south of black colour and crinkled hair.’ (Stein 1947: 230, 259 and Boisselier 1961: 20). These first occupants recorded.

by the Chinese are today considered to be not aboriginal but Austronesian navigators who

landed on the coast of present-day Vietnam at the beginning of the Christian era and inserted themselves into the mainland Mon-Khmer linguistic culture. Arriving by sea, probably in  small numbers, these newcomers naturally brought their own traditions, beliefs and technology. For the Chinese a border delimits the within and without of a territory, a social space submitted to one authority and social order. The few extant Chinese texts suggest this was an early notion and Linyi was seen as such a political entity.

Linyi or the ‘city of Lin’ makes it’s appearence in history under the Han empire (-206-220) as a political entity constituted within the commandery of Rinan ‘south of the sun’ (Taylor

1983 :30) -- a territory situated on the lowlands south of the Ngang pass (‘Gate of Annam’ in French Indochina). Such a remote province must have had but a tenuous link back to the imperial court. Chapter 28 of the Qian Han shu, compiled in the 1st century CE) says Rinan was divided into regions, of which ‘the most southern was called Xianglin’. Xianglin may be equated with Linyi for -- xiang- ‘elephant’ and –lin ‘forest’, while lin- forest’ and –yi ‘town’ (Stein 1947 : 209, 241). Xianglin, capital of Rinan, is therefore the town ‘of the elephant bush’ (Demiéville 1951 : 348), and the region called ‘province of elephants’ (Cadière 1902 : 55). In China the elephant symbolises distant southern territories (Schafer 1967). The name ‘Linyi’ was also in circulation because it gave the name of the people of ‘the town of the Lin’.

The identity of Linyi and Xianglin in Chinese texts (Stein 1947 : 75 note 53 cites ‘Xianglin, thebprincipality of Linyi’) is reinforced by the geographic coincidence of the territory between the Ngang pass and the Hai Van pass (‘Pass of Clouds’). This terrain is a stretch of lowland cut by river estuaries in the modern province of Quang Binh.  The Gianh estuary is the port of Ba Dôn and the Nhât estuary Dong Hoi. In Quang Tri province the rivers Cam and Thach Han flow to Dong Ha and Quang Tri, and further north of this rich alluvial land lie the rich districts the Gio Linh et de Vinh Linh, up to the Ben Hai river and Tung. In Thua Thien- Huê province, a network of rivers creates the Cau Hai lagoon, which reaches the sea at Tu Hiem and the city of Huê. Cau Hai lagoon was earlier a closed bay which reached the sea by a channel between the Linh Thai hill and a rocky point (Stein 1947 : 82-83). Today the lagoon of Huê is sanded up but a channel dug through the Thuân An dunes in the 15th century still assures protection of the former capital.

The territory of the first political entities therefore extended over the three present provinces

of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thiên-Huê. The lack of archaeological excavations in these regions, compared with those carried out at Tra Kiêu in Quang Nam, makes comparisons difficult. Roof tiles and seals found at Tra Kiêu and Go Cam are of a Chinese type and indicate trade with Han China from 220 CE (Southworth-Prior 2010 : 191).

The Chinese commanderies created by the Chinese conquests in the south are Jiaozhi in the Red River delta, Jiuzhen in the modern provinces of Thanh Hoa, Nghê An, Ha Tinh and Rinan in the provinces of Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Huê. These military provinces were probably only remotely supervised by administrators supported by autonomous local chiefs. Chinese attempts to impose a direct taxation system provoked revolts in the 2nd century. One such revolt in 192 CE, which incurred the assassination of the administrator of Rinan at Xianglin, made way for a new independent, proto-Cham entity  which China recognised from the 3rd century. After the Chinese administrator of Xianglin was killed by the son of a local chief, it seems that direct Chinese rule could no longer be extended south of Rinan (Taylor 1983: 60 ; Stein 1947: 24), leaving a political vacuum favourable to the development of autonomous local chiefdoms.

In virtue of what could peoples on the borders of the empire aspire to official recognition from China in the first centuries of the first millennium? Presumably economic links. The position of the coast of modern Vietnam would appear to account for its development then, even though Chinese sources treat the ‘kingdoms’ on this coast as ‘barbarians’ with whom the Chinese traded. In the 3rd century a Chinese envoy sent to the ‘countries of the south’ to generate trade made the first mention of Linyi and Funan (Jin shu 3 and 97). It is thus during the Jin dynasty (265-420) with its open commerce policy that Linyi is first recognised as a political entity. The envoy’s message dated 268 CE (Jin shu 3 ; Pelliot 1903 : 252) also names the Linyi king as Fan Xiong, but we have no written corroboration of this name from Linyi. It is however certain that from the Jin dynasty to the end of the 3rd century the district of Xianglin was distinguished from the rest of the Rinan commandery and called Linyi (Stein 1947 : 75). Linyi is described as being made up of ‘several tribes’ (Pelliot 1903 : 255), which suggests a multi-headed political structure with only ‘Linyi’ worthy of special mention. Thus in 285 CE, ‘ten kingdoms of the south’, including Funan (early Khmer kingdom on the Mekong delta), were invited to bring tribute to the Jin court.

Linyi does not appear to have had fixed borders but was centred on Xianglin. The identity of

‘Linyi’ seems to have varied according to the epoch. During the 3rd and 4th centuries the seat of the administrative headquarters at Xianglin, capital of early Linyi, was said by the Chinese to be located 400 ‘li’ from Qusu, in the region of Ba Don port of Quang Binh (Stein 1947: 29 note 23 and 76).  In 248CE an army from the region of Huê, seat of Xianglin, attacked the northern part of Rinan and conquered modern Ba Don (Stein 1947: 17). In response China created a new Rinan commandery further to the north towards modern Ha Tinh (Aurousseau 1914: 26).

For much of the 4th century Rinan was almost totally occupied by Linyi up to the mouth of the Gianh river. In 344 CE the ‘king of Linyi’ attacked in the north and China responded with a punitive raid on ‘the citadel of Linyi’, probably then near Dong Hoi. In 353 when the governor of Jiaozhi attacked Linyi he is said to have ‘destroyed more than 50 citadels’. Other attacks are recorded on Ba Don and the ‘citadel of Qusu’. Linyi is this time described as ‘this neighbour of Funan made up of numerous tribes opposed to each other’ (Nguyên Thê Anh 1990: 7) which made successive attacks and the ‘king of Linyi’ (Lâm-âp in Vietnamese) even occupied Rinan. The Jin shu ( 97,76) cites two reasons for the conquest of all Rinan by Linyi in the time of Fan Wen, king of Linyi in the mid-4th century (Stein 1947: 131): first excessive taxation of shipped merchandise and rice, for which ‘Linyi had too few paddies, and second the coveting of the fertile land of Rinan’ (Stein 1947: 71 note 52).

The hub of Linyi was somewhere near Huê and cannot be located with certainty at Tra Kiêu until 605 (Stein 1947: 234 ; Vickery 2005: 19) when king Fan Wen attempted to extend Linyi territory to the north -- ‘the only truly fertile planes stretching from the port of Annam to the Pass of Clouds’, that is the ‘red earth of Gio Linh … and the plane of Song Gianh’ (Stein 1947: 72 note 52). Attacks and counter-attacks continued from the mid-fourth century to the mid-fifth, but Linyi failed to hold the northern territory in modern Quang Binh. But its constant harassment of the Sino-Vietnamese troops provoked the new souther Song dynasty (420- 479 CE) to intervene. In 446 governor Jiaozhi Tan Hezhi was ordered by the emperor to lay siege to the ‘citadel of Linyi’ at Qusu (this name may be traced in the ‘Cham citadel’ at Thanh Loi, according to Cadière 1902: 169-70) and to continue until the ‘city of Lin’ was destroyed (Stein 1947: 22). A Chinese text of 446 CE mentions the capture of a religious image during

a campaign against Linyi (Soper 1959: 54), while the riches seized by general Tan Hezhi in

the royal palace are described with pride and attest to the legendary wealth of this capital (Taylor 1983: 115-118).

The mid-5th century Sino-Viet attack seems to have arrested the ambitions of the ‘kings of the Lin’ and, paradoxically, it is only after this restraint that the development of Linyi may be understood. It was in fact only in the second half of the 5th century that different relations were established between Linyi and China. At the end of the 5th century the annals of the Liang dynasty mention the presentation ‘by the kingdom of Linyi’ of an ‘image of  Amitayus (i.e. Amitabha) to the Chinese court (Soper 1959: 54). This mention of the reception of an embassy by the Chinese court implies the recognition of Linyi as a politically and socially constituted entity. The Book of the Liang, compiled probably in the 6th century, calls Linyi a ‘kingdom’ (Stein 1947: 161). Several missions from Linyi to China indicate a real development of commercial ties between the states. But as the capital near Huê had been totally looted and all the surrounding area devastated in 446 CE, this region of Quang Tri- Thua Thien-Huê was probably not as rich and autonomous it had been. This would explain the appearance of another new political entity near the Thu Bon river called Xitu by the Chinese. From the 5th century on, the Chinese texts differentiate between two ‘tribes’ – one Linyi north of the ‘Pass of Clouds’ and the other Xitu, south of the this pass in the valley of the Thu Bon. Confusion soon arose in the Chinese texts between Linyi and Xitu.

2.       Setting out the origins of the territory of Linyi

If the Austronesian habit was to change sites often to maintain self-sufficiency, mainland commercial exchange imposed geographic stability. The production of rice became routine. In the province of Quang Tri rice cultivation with the complex irrigation system of Gio Linh  and the management of land in the neighbouring part of Vinh Linh, represents a development stage for the political entity, for it is based on the cooperation of several communities (Van Nearssen-De Jongh 1977: 37-8 for Java). The stone terraces and basins of Gio Linh were not dated by Madeleine Colani (1940: 1-250), but parallels in Java and Assam show evolved proto-historical states and imply a sophisticated network of builders.

The Gio Linh terraces and their rich red earth present a highly evolved state of exploitation. Gio-Linh is very fertile and has been cultivated from early times. ‘We see not just some

irrigation but rather the management of an entire region: ramparts in the elevated sections,

complete water systems for villages, irrigation of rice paddies, etc. The basin plans are precise, the land grading well studied… it is a plan preconceived and executed with care’ (Colani 1940 : 11, 13-4, 40).

Madeleine Colani’s conclusion (1940: 48) permits us to deduce that the constructors were capable of adapting their technology to the geographical constraints but also, perhaps, that their construction techniques were those of a sub-group of the Austronesian population (navigators come from Indonesia for M. Colani 1940: 41 note 2). This group showed a keen sense of organisation: based beside the Quang Tri and Ben Hai rivers and meeting the sea at Tung, it had entrepots close to the river mouths which kept them in touch with the merchants coming by sea and the mountain peoples descending to exchange goods (Colani 1940: 210).

Madeleine Colani’s study also considers the cultural baggage imported by those who settled Gio Linh. She points to numerous ‘ceremonial terraces’ for offerings to the spirits’ (Colani 1940: 74), numerous signs of megalithic and tree cults and ‘tomb’ monuments for the ancestors. She recorded many spirit-stone cults called But -- dressed stones ‘coming out of the earth’ (Cadière 1911: 414).

Colani’s conclusion was that the hydraulic installations of Gio Linh were contemporary with the spirit-stones and ancestors monuments (Colani 1940: 78). The legendary founders of villages bore instructive names such as Ông Cao ‘Mister great-great grandfather’, Ông Tiên Khai-Khan ‘Mister first ground breaker’. Ông Tiên Khai-Khan is he who arrived before everyone to take possession of the land and establish boundaries. Later came Ông Hau Khai Canh, ‘Mister who later began to work’. Colani links monuments to the pioneers Ông Cao and Ông Tiên Khai-Khan to the spirit-stones and certain venerated trees. The names offer an exceptional proto-historical index for understanding the process of populating the region. The districts of Gio Linh and Vinh Linh represent the economic poles of the territory and probably the political too.

The river Cua Viêt probably offered a more easily defensible territory and thus was

favourable for a capital. It seems that in early times the inland waterways allowed for traffic throughout Quang Tri and Thua Thiên-Huê without recourse to the sea. From Huê to the most northern navigation point at Vinh in Quang Tri ‘boats passed from one basin to another’ (Cadière-Cosserat 1929: 6). If we see the long plane covering the modern provinces of Thua Thiên-Huê, Quang Tri and Quanh Binh as the former territory of Linyi, with a capital near modern Huê, the fertile soils of Gio Linh and Vinh Linh must have supplied the granary.

Nowadays the term ‘loi’ is used to designate Cham ramparts and statues and ‘dang’ is used for vestiges of Cham occupation (Cadière 1905: 194-195). The word ‘dang’ is probably the same as the Cham yaṅ (equivalent to śrī in Sanskrit) that indicates the sacred character of a divinity or temple. The word ‘loi’’ could also be an echo of the Lin, the first Austronesian arrivals and founders of Linyi.

If Linyi was created by ‘several tribes, of which the only major one was called ‘Linyi’, sites dating to the ‘Cham’ period may bring light to distinguishing t least two chiefdoms on the territory. From the 5th century on the territory of Linyi would be rivalled by that of its neighbour. King Bhadravarman and the first inscriptions the Thu Bon valley were to emerge as a political and commercial centre.

3.      Xitu in the Thu Bon valley

From the 5th century on we find mentions of ‘chiefdoms’ than Linyi like Xitu, Boliao and Quduqian (the name of a last kingdom ending with ‘…cheng guo’ is lost) (Vickery 2005: 19 citing Southworth). The mid-5th century seems, with the destruction of the ‘capital of the Lin’, to have been a turning point because henceforth different entities are recognised by the Chinese. These appear in the Chinese records as long range trade relations developed. The road network that supported the trade was no doubt important to the government as the population was spread along it, creating territorial distinctions which generated the names in Chinese texts.

Xitu is said to be in the lowlands 200 km south of Linyi -- clearly territory south of the Pass of

Clouds or the valley of the Thu Bon river. Around this centre were set a dozen small kingdoms (‘the barbarians of the kingdom of Xi(tu), who claim the kingly title’). If we follow the list of ‘kingdoms’ about 100km south of Xitu we find Boliao. This kingdom was sited near the modern town of Tam Ky and the nearby sites of An My or Phu Ninh.Later Chiên Dan and An Thai have yielded interesting archaeological material. More than 300 km away is Quduqian, perhaps in the region of Binh Dinh.

Although one cannot identify these ‘kingdoms’ with any precision,  sculptural finds dated to the 5th and 6th century (Zéphir 2005: 178). show different styles which probably indicate different proto-Cham settlements. One type of sculpture is remarkable : it consists of three stone sculptures of a man sitting cross-legged with hands on his thighs. In two others the man is seated under a naga . They were found at Nha Trang in Khanh Hoa and My Son in Quang Nam, which were set to become the two principle Cham sanctuaries. The third from Tra Kieu in Quang Nam is a relief of a man seated under foliage (now in the Da Nang Museum of Cham culture n° 20.2). These figures appear to be personifcations of energies of the earth, the divinities which are later known in Sanskrit as yaksha’ (Mus 1933: 387-388). Paul Mus associates them with the Hindu god Vishnu (1933: 388) and John Guy (2005: 145) with Kubera, god of wealth. It remains difficult to affirm direct links between local beliefs and Hindu gods and these sculptures could be purely local territorial spirits.

Other sculptures in stone or terracotta, dated to the 5th century, are of human figures, male and female, mostly busts and sometimes haloed. They share some elements with Gupta sculptures of the 4th and 5th centuries and have been found in Khanh Hoa (Nha Trang), Phu Yên (Cung Son, near Thuy Hoa), Binh Dinh (Than Tai Loc, near Nhon Loc) and Quang Nam (An My and Phu Ninh, near Tam Ky, Hau Xa, near Hoi An, and Tra Kieu). This are the first sculptures known to be contemporary with the first inscriptions. They express the beliefs of a society already structured.

These sculptures clarify some aspects of the known political entities. They are spread along the coast from Quang Tri to Khanh Hoa on lowlands and around river mouths. Regional styles of common models may be discerned in the sculptures. They show the emergence of local cults in which the deities do not follow the iconography of Indic models.

4.       A king of Xitu : Bhadravarman

The first inscriptions in Sanskrit and Cham appear at the end of the 5th century in the Thu Bon valley -- the area called Xitu by the Chinese. A king called Bhadravarman was the instigator, but we know little about him. The manner of his accession to royal power is not made known but he seems to have come from Funan and proclaimed himself ruler of the Thu Bon valley.

Tra Kieu shows significant traces of Chinese influence in the 2nd and 3rd centuries (the site of Hoan Chau, Mariko 2010: 91-4), but we also find kendi from Funan, like those known from  Oc Eo (Mariko 2010: 91). This site was constantly occupied between the 3rd and 5th centuries when there was some Chinese influence but Indianisation had not yet begun. Then came a refugee from Funan called Jiu Chouluo, who ‘collaborated with the rebels, conquered Linyi and proclaimed himself king’ (Pelliot 1903: 258-9). Several texts corroborate this story  of a usurper who killed the head of a local lineage and took power by force and cunning. With the name Bhadravarman he was to build up Xitu and give it an historical dimension.

Bhadravarman presents himself as a ‘great king of the dharma’ (dharmmamahārāja). All but one of his inscriptions are found at My Son and Tra Kieu and these Sanskrit texts establish

the cult of Bhadreshvara at My Son (C.72; Finot 1902: 187-90) and define  a territory dedicated to the god (C.105 at Hon Cut and C.147 at Chiem Son; Finot 1902: 186-7; Finot 1918: 13-4). Very different is inscription C.174 which is written in Cham at Dông Yen Chau just one km west of Tra Kieu, which renders homage the ‘holy Naga’ of the king. This inscription may perhaps be linked with the sculpture of a man seated under a naga found inthe sanctuary of My Son A1 temple, and it may suggest a local cult devoted to an acquatic divinity.

The last inscription of Bhadravarman is C.41 of Cho Dinh, Phu Yen. It attests to a sacrifice to the god of My Son, Bhadreshvara (Finot 1902: 185-6). We may ask whether this text by a Funan defector become ‘king of Linyi’ does not mark a commercial relation between the kingdom of Xitu and a kingdom in the modern province of Phu Yen. The existence of a political entity in Phu Yên could explain the sculpted bust found at Cung Son, near Thuy Hoa,

as well as the inscription of Cho Dinh which points to relations between the two ‘kingdoms’

between the end of the 5th century and beginning of the 6th.

Thus, according to the Chinese texts, the descendent of the local lineage (king Wen Di for  the Chinese, and probably the king Manorathavarman of C.96 A III) was killed by a usurper in 490 CE who proclaimed himself ‘king of Linyi’ and was recognised by the Chinese court in

491. This again is Bhadravarman who brought the local polity to visibility ( Xitu?) by erecting the god Bhadreshvara, a benevolent form of Shiva. A direct descendent of Bhadravarman renewed trade ties with China in 526-527 CE.

5.       The 6th century: the origin of ‘Champa’ at My Son

The sacking of Linyi was in 446 CE led to a redistribution of forces in the region. The absence of a powerful entity allowed Bhadravarman to intervene and reactivate the trading post on the Thu Bon. He assassinated the ‘king of Linyi’ because the Chinese recognised in him the original lineage of Manorathavarman, which came from Huê, even if its base was in Xitu. This appears confirmed in 530 CE, when a descendent of Wen Di/ Manorathavarman was recongised as ‘king of Linyi’; this was king Rudravarman, who tried repeatedly to reconquer the lost territories of Linyi from a base in Xitu.

In 543 CE, ‘king of Linyi’ Rudravarman (Lütuoluobamo; Pelliot 1904: 384 note 6) sought to exploit the conflicts between the Chinese and Vietnamese. He attacked the Sino-Viet general Phạm Tu (Liang shu) and recovered territories of Linyi in the Huê region (Nguyên 1990: 9). Rudravarman is identified in inscription C.96 as ‘son of the daughter of the daughter’ of king Manorathavarman. During his reign the temple of Bhadhresvara at My Son was burnt down. The god installed by Bhadravarman was primarily territorial (Mus 1933) and therefore could not disappear.  To avoid becoming a symbol of Bhadravarman’s lineage, he

had to be re-erected and renamed as the protective divinity of the local ethnic group in Xitu, which the Chinese called ‘the country of (he who protects) the Chams’.

King Rudravarman’s successor, probably his son, reigned as Shambhuvarman (C.73 A l. 10) and rebuilt the temple of Bhadreshvara at My Son, re-erecting the god as Shambhubhadreshvara (C.73 A l. 19) in 577 CE. God Shambhubhadreshvara is a Shiva ‘who

brings prosperity to the Cham country’ (Campādeśa). The name Cam-pa/ etymologically

means the country of ‘he who protects the Chams’, the benevolent form of Shiva.

The expression ‘the country of he who protects the Chams’ brings to light the name of an ethnic group, ‘the Chams’, in the same way the Chinese designate the more northern territory of Linyi, ‘city of the Lin’. So for the first time at the end of the 6th century, the protector god Bhadresvara is linked with a population identified as ‘Cham’ in a ‘country of the Chams’. This population was settled on the Thu Bon, but in a region called Xitu by the Chinese and ruled by a ‘king of Linyi’.

The importance of modern Quang Tri

We have only indirect evidence for the contant occupation of the Quang Tri region and its place in the Cham world. From the 6th century we can compare archaeological and epigraphic evidence with Chinese texts and determine the existence of a territory called ‘Linyi’, which was the cradle of the authentic proto-cham lineage.

A vase of abundance (purnagatha) was found at Đa Nghi-Nhan Bieu, Quang Tri, which T. Zéphir (2005: 179) dates to the 6th century. It was found in a building decorated with symbols of fertility and abundance. Others have been found along the coast which indicates there was similtaneous occupation of these lands. The production centres of Gio Linh and Vinh Linh were linked both to trading centres at the river mouths and to mountain routes which brought down rare forest products (Bronson 1977). The centre for amassing such riches was the citadel-capital of Đa Nghi-Nhan Bieu.

In the 7th century Quang Tri shows several Vaisnava traces that suggest ties with Zhenla. A statue of Vishnu was found in Đa Nghi-Nhan Bieu village (BEFEO 1916: 97-8 and BEFEO 1917: 45-6) which is the ‘unique witness to an original technique’ (Boisselier 1963: 55-7 and fig. 22). Across the river is the site of Thach Hân, where another highly original statue was found in a sanctuary which is itself quite different from normal kalan (Boisselier 1963: 59-60). To the south, in Thua Thiên-Huê, a drum with Vaisnava iconography was found in Mi Xuyên temple. A later inscription indicates that there was a citadel and town called Vishnupura.

This region was the cradle of a royal lineage and, by the beginning of the 10th century, a cluster of indicators attest to its importance. In the fertile Gio Linh area we find at Navap the 916 CE inscription C.113 of Ha Trung (Huber 1911: 298-9). In a temple dedicated to Indrakanteshvara, a statue-linga (pratimalinga) rises above a monumental pedestal (Baptiste 2005: 115-6). It was donated by queen Tribhuvaadevi, widow of king Jaya Simhavarman of Indrapura whose older brother was ‘king of kings’ and herself of august Vrddhakula lineage

(Schweyer 2006 : 154 note 201). The last lines of the inscription give details of the land

engaged by the donatio n and, for the only time in Cham epigraphy, it shows that this terrain corresponds to the very special topography of Gio Linh. We hear of salt lands, one of which goes down ‘to the sands of the great ocean’, low areas needing rework and higher land for new planting.  Queen Tribhuvanadevi inherited this from her mother’s side which descends from the lineage Vishnupura/Trivikramapura. By the 10th century we can thus see that the assimilation has been achieved of different social groups formed along the coast in the proto- historical period. By this time lineages have become purely political references and there is no more ethnic connotation. And the Chams are dominant.

the evolution of ‘Champa’

A king Rudravarman in 749 CE sent tribute to China but thereafter there is no mention of Linyi in Chinese texts. From 757 to 859, Chinese texts use the phrase Houan Wang (‘circle of kings’) to describe the coastal kingdoms whose northernmost point is the Gianh river on the Dai Viêt border -- exactly like Linyi in the 4th century (Stein 1947: 80). Thereafter appear the kingdoms of Mendu (not identified) and Guda (Kauthara and Nha Trang). The ‘territory’ of Bentuolang, ‘one day in a boat away’ covers Panduranga, around Phan Rang, and is not considered ‘Cham’ (Schweyer 2009: 18-9). In the Guda/Kauthara kingdoms however the kings call themselves kings ‘of the Cham country’ (campāpura parameśvara) (Schweyer 2009:18, 22).

After 859, the Chinese texts use the word Zhan Cheng, meaning ‘city of the Chams’, taken up from the word Campanagara or Campapura also found in inscriptions. This new term gives the impression of a more unified local consciousness and a single Cham ethnicity. With the change of terminology to Zhen Chang ‘city of the Chams’, the Chinese who for long called Linyi the ‘city of the Lin’ finally acknowledged a Huê-Quang Tri grouping as a Cham supremacy. The ‘cities’ (pura) flourished again from the 11th century but the kings called themselves ‘Cham’ no matter where their territory was. The country of the Chams therefore truly existed from the 9th century on not only a territory but also as a highly developed and specific social context.