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Con Dao Island

The Côn Đảo Islands (Vietnamese: Côn Đảo) are an archipelago of Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu Province, in southeastern Vietnam, and a district of this province.
Situated at about 185 km (115 mi) from Vũng Tàu and 230 km (143 mi) from Hồ Chí Minh City, the group includes 16 mountainous islands and islets. The total land area reaches 75.15 km² and the local population is about 5,000. The island group is served by Cỏ Ống Airport.
Many of the islands were given protected status in 1984. In 1984, they became a national park, Côn Đảo National Park, which was subsequently enlarged in 1998. Endangered species protected within the park include the hawksbill turtle, the green turtle and the dugong. Ecosystems represented in the park include seagrass meadow, mangrove and coral reefs.


Côn Đảo National Park is working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam to further protection in the marine areas, with programs to establish a Marine Protected Area that protects coral reefs, seagrass beds and species, while also developing sustainable nature-based ecotourism. The island's management is strongly geared towards sustainable use, hoping to learn from previous experiences in Vietnam and the region to balance development with conservation. The park includes a part of the island and the surrounding sea. The national park is characterized by a diverse ecosystem. Many species of corals and especially the sea turtle are found here. In 2006, a delegation of UNESCO Vietnam representatives surveyed the area and concluded that the park is eligible to be a natural-cultural mixture World Heritage. The Vietnamese government is preparing necessary documents to submit to UNESCO soon. A controversial paved road project had been proposed by the local government but was finally rejected by the national government following protests from environmental activists.


Côn Sơn Island (Vietnamese Côn Sơn) is the largest island of the Côn Đảo archipelago, off the coast of southern Vietnam. This name being well-known during the times of French Indochina.
In 1702, the British East India Company founded a settlement on the island of Poulo Condor off the south coast of southern Vietnam, and in 1705 the garrison and settlement were destroyed.
In 1787, through the Treaty of Versailles, Nguyễn Ánh (the future Emperor Gia Long) promised to cede Pulo-Condore to the French. In exchange Louis XVI promised to help Nguyễn Ánh to regain the throne, by supplying 1,650 troops (1,200 Kaffir troops, 200 artillery men and 250 black soldiers) on four frigates.
In 1861, the French colonial government established a prison on the island to house political prisoners. In 1954, it was turned over to the South Vietnamese government, who continued to use it for the same purpose. Not far from the prison is Hang Duong Cemetery, where some of the prisoners were buried.


During the Vietnam War, prisoners who had been held at the prison in the 1960s said they were abused and tortured. In July 1970, two U.S. Congressional representatives, Augustus Hawkins and William Anderson, visited the prison. They were accompanied by Tom Harkin (then an aide), translator Don Luce, and USAID Office of Public Safety director Frank Walton.
When the delegation arrived at the prison, they departed from the planned tour, guided by a map drawn by a former detainee. The map led to the door of a building, which was opened from the inside by a guard when he heard the people outside the door talking. Inside they found prisoners were being shackled within cramped “tiger cages”. Prisoners began crying out for water when the delegation walked in. They had sores and bruises, and some were mutilated. Harkin took photos of the scene. The photos were published in Life magazine on July 17, 1970.


Along with the earlier disclosure of the Mỹ Lai massacre, and the later disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, the revelation of the conditions and purpose of Côn Sơn Island prison led more Americans to believe that supporting the South Vietnamese government was improper, and that they should oppose the war.The island was also used by the U.S. Coast Guard as a LORAN station.
The prison on Côn Sơn Island was closed in 1975, when North Vietnam (now unified as Vietnam) toppled the South Vietnamese government, in the wake of the withdrawal by the United States and its allies (South Korea, Australia) from the Vietnam War.
Notable prisoners held at Côn Sơn in the 1930s included Phạm Văn Đồng and Lê Ðức Thọ.Recreations of tiger cages can be seen today at the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
Nowaday, this archipelago is very well-known because of beautiful landscape and wonderful beaches. All the evidences and terrible memories of a dark time are still there along with the beauties of nature . Hell and heaven, it’s the place on earth where you can see and feel.

Vietnam Discoveries.