Promotion of historical and cultural values of Ca Mau forest village

(CMO) The Ca Mau Forest Village (1958-1960) identified in many locations throughout Ca Mau province, including complete forest villages such as Nguyen Phich, Khanh Lam, Khanh An, Vo Doi (U Minh district), Khanh Binh Dong, Khanh Binh Tay, Phong Lac (Tran Van Thoi district), Don Ong, Tan Tien, Tan Thuan , Nguyen Huan (Dam Doi district), Tan Hung Tay, Phu My (Phu Tan district), Nam Can (Nam Can district), Vien An (Ngoc Hien district), etc are undergoing scientific profile preparation to propose the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to recognize National Historical Relic.

In the early years of the America resistance war, Ca Mau peninsula came out with a unique model of people’s war, which was the “Forest Villages” formed in many localities.

Within about three years, from early 1958 to 1960, the first forest villages formed to ensure secrecy, protect the revolutionary forces had developed into dozens of large and small forest villages in U Minh forests, mangrove forests and young offshoot forests. The “forest villages” during the resistance war period marked an important historical event during the particular revolutionary period of Ca Mau province in particular and the South revolution in general.

Ngoc Hien mangrove forest is one of the “Forest Village” in Ca Mau in the resistance war

Historical origin of the “Forest Village” is as follows: after 1954, Vietnam was divided into two regions, Vietnamese people carried out two strategic tasks of the Vietnamese revolution: socialism reform and construction in the North; at the same time, continutation of the democratic and nationalist revolutions in the South, nation unification and socialism construction.

In August 1956, the “Southern revolutionary outline” was set up to determine the Southern revolution’s goal was overthrow the American-Diem dictatorial fascist regime, build the unite and independent coalition government.

At that time, the province Party Committee had a policy to set up a U Minh forest base to create a standing place for leaders and soldiers, at the same time, have a place to keep officials, party members who were hunt down and fleed. The Party Committee also noted the necessity to change the operation area for detected comrades to ensure legitimate activities, direct the masses to fight and consolidate the Party. Each party group and party member must direct the struggle.

The people in the province were very excited about the policy of the province Party Committee. In order to escape the enemy’s clutches, they left their old villages and went into the forests to set up new villages to follow the party and join the revolution. At first, there were only some households at some places, gradually more and more villages were established. Some villages had up to tens of thousands of members. The village was formed in the melaleuca forests and mangrove forests with all elements of material and spiritual life.

Each “forest village” was organized closely from the leadership organization, commanders, cells to the mass organizations. In order to ensure revolutionary and living activities, functional units were formed and called: production group in charge of food self-sufficiency; security group in charge of ensuring security, order and safety of revolutionary activists and people in the village; construction group responsible for research and production of weapons; medical group responsible for medical care, health care, including midwifery; education group in charge of education for children in the village;  art performance group in charge of composing and carrying out cultural performances.

Under the protection of melaleuca forests and mangrove forests of Ca Mau Cape, the “Forest Village” constantly grew and formed a strong base for the revolutionary forces like the image of mangrove. In the poem “30 Years of Party in life” (1960), the poet To Huu wrote: “Mangrove grows into hardwood forests. The stronger wind is, the more drastically mormangrove grows. Hundreds of rivers flow into a South China Sea. The North and the South will reunit”.  These images showed the strength of Ca Mau “Forest Villages” during the Anti-American resistance war. It can be said, thanks to the “forest villages”, the revolutionary forces in the local areas were constantly built and consolidated. The revolutionary movements grew and expanded, combined the forms of political struggle, armed struggle and militia, smashing the enemy’s reactionary organizations in the countryside, encircling and destructing the enemy’s garrisons. By the end of 1960, the province had destroyed 62 garrisons, collected over 3,000 guns, liberating most of the communes in the province.

Ca Mau Forest Village was a unique form of People’s war in Ca Mau Cape during the Anti-American resistance war. Party General Secretary Le Duan, who visited Minh Hai province (now Ca Mau, Bac Lieu provinces) in 1978, emphasized: “… When the enemy dragged guerrillas across the South, showing the extreme atrocities, there were thousands of young people in Minh Hai entering U Minh forest. A revolutionary atmosphere broke out: it was Minh Hai’s actual situation that helped the Central Government find the necessity to launch a mass struggle.”[1]

Since 1960, the “Forest Village” in Ca Mau had ended its glorious historical role but the mark of “Forest Village” was still deep in the memory of generations of Ca Mau people and other revolutionary soldiers who used to join revolutionary activities in the last land of the country at that time. The historical and cultural values ​​of Ca Mau Village should be preserved and promoted to teach tradition to the future generations.

Huynh Thang

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