Viet Nam

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CENTRAL HIGHLAND

The native inhabitants of the Central Highlands are the Degar (Montagnard) peoples. Vietnam conquered and invaded the area during its "march to the south" (Nam tiến). Ethnic Vietnamese (Kinh) people now outnumber the indigenous Degars after state sponsored colonization directed by both the government of South Vietnam and the current Communist government of unified Vietnam. The Montagnards have fought against and resisted all Vietnamese invaders, from the anti-Communist South Vietnamese government, the Vietcong, to the Communist government of unified Vietnam.

The Champa state and Chams in the lowlands were traditional suzerains whom the Montagnards in the highlands acknowledged as their lords, while autonomy was held by the Montagnards. After World War II concept of "Nam tiến" and the southward conquest was celebrated by Vietnamese scholars. The Pays Montagnard du Sud-Indochinois was the name of the Central Highlands from 1946 under French Indochina.

Up until French rule, the Central Highlands was almost never entered by the Vietnamese since they viewed it as a savage (Moi-Montagnard) populated area with fierce animals like tigers, "poisoned water" and "evil malevolent spirits." The Vietnamese expressed interest in the land after the French transformed it into a profitable plantation area to grow crops on, in addition to the natural resources from the forests, minerals and rich earth and realization of its crucial geographical importance.

An insurgency was waged by Montagnards in FULRO against South Vietnam and then unified Communist Vietnam. A colonization program of Kinh Vietnamese by the South Vietnamese government and united Vietnamese Communist government was implemented and now a Kinh majority predominates in the highland areas.

After mass jailings and killings during 2001 and 2004 protests by ethnic hill tribe minorities against the Vietnamese regime, foreigners were banned from the Central Highlands for a period of time

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TIẾNG VIỆT

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