Sapa in Viet Nam


The name of the town comes from the old town of Sapa. This town was born in 1905, when the French discovered this was the ideal place to build the resort and did it. The name “Sa Pả” is the name inherent in the H’Mong language in this region, meaning “sand”, the French wrote the name of the district as “Chapa”, because the “S” sound is pronounced hard like “Ch” in French and “S” in standard Vietnamese. The remaining vestige of the region name is present Sa Pa ward. Along with those are the series of communal names in H’Mong language such as Lao Chai, San Sa Ho, Su Pan, Suoi Thau, Ta Giang Phenh, …

There is a researcher in Sa Pa who thinks that Sa Pa’s name comes from Chapa, an abbreviation of Captain Marines of Du-Cha-pa. This man, after marching along the Da River to Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Phong Tho, destroyed the Thai-Meo army and the black chess piece Luu Vinh Phuc, which took over the villages of the Mong – Sa Pa people today. To reward the captain, the commander named the Mong village Chapa and printed it on the map. Vietnamese people deviate from Chapa to Sa Pa [3].

However, this idea lacks basis, and there are no other documents to verify. The French are quite cautious when naming places in mountainous or sparsely populated areas. This is because a century ago, the merchants were separated every day from the streets, it would be very troublesome if we needed to find locals who carried on to places that they did not know. Therefore, the names of mountainous areas such as Dalat (Da Lat, originally Da Lat or Da Lach), the French only switched to French reading of indigenous names of the people who are supporting them in that region. In the lowland areas of France, the bustling activities and the easy-to-accept class of the French, the French named the French, such as “Courbet port” (Bai Chay, Hong Gai), or “Cap Saint Jacque” (Mui O Cap, Vung Tau). On the other hand, if we look up French and European surnames near France, we will not see the name “Đơ-Cha-pa” anywhere.
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