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Vietnam's history

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  Quote asianguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Vietnam's history
    Posted: 20-Jan-2010 at 13:53
Originally posted by lirelou

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Interesting to note that one of your posts refers to the "Hmong-Mien" group. As you and I know, 'Mien' is Vietnamese for "Khmer". I wonder if the term is a hold-over from a much earlier period, prior to the rise of Khmer kingdoms. Or, a term for a more Northern people that they siumply took South. There must be a comprehensive and respected Vietnamese dictionary somewhere that includes the etymology of words.
In Vietnam, you should Miens are Khmers, Mien is an impolite word for Khmers living in Vietnam. Like you should call Chinese lived in Vietnam is "Hoa", should not call Chinese lived in Vietnam is "Tàu", Tàu is ship, because Chinese came to Vietnam by ships, Vietnamese call Chinese came to Vietnam is "người Tàu".


Edited by asianguy - 20-Jan-2010 at 14:03
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2010 at 07:52
Thank you for the explanation. In reality. most Vietnamese I interact with refer to the Nguoi Tuong as "Moi", the Khmer as "Mien", and the Chinese as "Tau", and this includes families that have Khmer and Hoa ancestors. I wondered about "tau", since It did sound like Truyen Tau. It would be interesting to see when that term entered the Vietnamese language, since the Chinese could enter Vietnam by road or sea. Mac Cuu arrived by ship, as did many Ming refugees who the Nguyen lords send down to Bien Hoa and the Mekong Delta to open those areas to Vietnamese settlement, but my wife says it refers to driving off a Chinese fleet which invaded Dai Viet. When the Dai Viet army attacked, the Chinese had to run to the ships and flee.
 
Next time you're in Dalat, stop in and visit the Lam Dong provincial museum. It is one of the very best provincial museums I have ever seen. Of particular interest is a small display containing items recovered from the remains of a 7th Century Hindu Temple near Bao Loc. Also, their displays on the Koho, Ma, and Chru peoples are done much better than either the Ban Me Thuot or Pleiku museums, and they have built Koho and Ma longhouses on the museum grounds.
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2010 at 08:33
Tran Hung Dao, in re:  "Sorry, this type of stuff is never on my radar.  It's quite nitty gritty (rather esoteric and detail laden) and not easy to look up either.'
 
Battles are always more interesting, however the logistics that sustain such battles and campaigns are what brings victory. The Vietnamese 'march south' is one of the great epocs of human history. Had the Trinh's and Nguyens not split as they did, Vietnam would today be confined to the northern third of the country. And without the development of rice as a cash crop in the Mekong Delta, the Nguyen's would not have had the resources to people the Central and South, thereby relegating Vietnam to slightly higher than the status of Laos. But they did move south, and in many areas, Chinese Ming refugees played an important role in Vietnam's defense, expansion, and cultural development.
 
Vietnamese history is hard to fathom. Most of my sources have been French, followed by English, with occasional forays into Vietnamese, mostly military works on subjects I know, which make it easier. (nhu vay "Q.L.V.N.C.H. "trong giai doan hinh thanh 1946-1955"). But the real challenge is that most of what I'd really like to read is in Chu Nom, which I cannot read, and even those histories must be treated with care, since the official version of events was rewritten to meet Minh Mang's version of 'political correctness'. As far as I know, Professor Li Tana of the Australian National University is the only one presently paying a lot of attention to Chu Nom sources, but Singapore National University also has some good materials, some of which had to be taken from Chi Nom sources, and are available on the internet. (One is a treatise of the Vietnamese development of artillery in the Dai Viet era.) 
 
You might be interested in Li Tana's "Nguyen Cochinchina: Southern Vietnam in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" published by Cornell University's Southeast Asia Program Publications (SEAP).  Your local library can probably get a copy for you to borrow on the "inter-library loan program." Prof. Li's sources are primarily Chu Nom records.
 
Economic development may be dull, but it is what put Viet feet beating a path south in the first place. It is what attracted and sustained Viet settlement of Cham and Khmer lands, and today, it drives Kinh people into the Highlands, where they have made Vietnam the #2 coffee producer in the world. Ban Me Thuot, which I knew well as a sleepy little town in 1968, now has over 300,000 inhabitants. It is larger than Can Tho.
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2010 at 11:04
Originally posted by lirelou

Of particular interest is a small display containing items recovered from the remains of a 7th Century Hindu Temple near Bao Loc.
Are there any Hindu or Hindu influenced ethnic groups in Vietnam today?  One website claims that a coastal ethnic group is 50% Hindu and 50% muslim (Chams?).  I have not been able to find anymore information about the Hindu component. Religious activism was one of the goals of the website, and this may have led to an embellished claim. 
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jan-2010 at 17:35
There are still some Cham "kfir" in Vietnam, but I very much doubt that they are 50% of the Cham population. Some Cham Hindu ceremonies are still conducted at the Cham tower of Po Nagar in Nha Trang on occasion, and some association had an office on the premises, but I've never seen anyone there.It's my impression that the majority of Cham today are muslim (Cham Bani). Certainly the Cham company of the B-55 MIKE Force at Nha Trang in 1968-69 was muslim, and wore a green scarf with arabic writing, though there may have been some Hindus in their ranks. The Cham did not strike me as too terribly hung up on whether another Cham was Hindu or Muslim.
 
You Can find Hindu temples in Saigon, mostly a relic of the Indian community there. There was one on the corner of Pasteur and another street very close to the Cho Binh Thanh market in the heart of the business and tourist district.
 
On my last trip I did pick up a book on the Cham in Vietnamese, entitled "Le Hoi Chuyen Mua cua Nguoi Cham" by a professor Ngo Van Doanh, published by the Nha Xuat Ban Tre (2006), which appears to give a survey of Cham communities in Vietnam and the diaspora (Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia). It is still on my "to read" list


Edited by lirelou - 22-Jan-2010 at 17:44
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2010 at 15:25
Lirelou,
 
Thanks for the information. 
 
Out of curiosity, how strong was Hinduism in Vietnam when the ruined temples were built?  Was Hinduism ever the dominant religion in Vietnam with Vietnamese followers? Or were the temples part of a missionary effort, possibly from Cambodia? 
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Jan-2010 at 15:56

That part of Vietnam (Cat Tien, Lam Dong province) was not Vietnam until the 17th Century. There was a question as to what civilization it belonged to. Oc Eo, where Roman coins have been found (trade or otherwise acquired is not established) in the Mekong Delta in the pre-Christian era was also Hindu. You can also find Hindu gods and goddesses in the Can Tho City museum, however those are of wood, and badly decomposed. But the time that the Kinh arrived in Can Tho, Cambodia, which present day Can Tho was part of, was Buddhist. There are still large numbers of Khmer Krom in the Mekong Delta. Under Diem they were forced to adopt Vietnamese names and instruction in the Khmer language was banned. I do not know hos that has changed, but ethnic Khmer can get scholarships in Vietnam. Also, just down the main street from the Can Tho city hall, you can find two large Vietnamese temples and a Khmer temple. South of Can Tho, towards Ca Mau, Khmer temples appear to outnumber Vietnamese temples in the countryside, though this may be due to the fact that Vietnamese temples can be very small, neighborhood affairs, and thus not as visible.

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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Jan-2010 at 19:28
Lirelou, made some very educated posts above. And since we both live in an area where so many Viet's were allowed to settle and resume their lives as fishermen, etc., then we both know a lot of the same families!

I work every day with about 100 persons of Viet ancestory! What is both great and now-days sad, is the fact that in the 1970's and later, the young Viet children were the best scholars at most S. Mississippi schools, and this rule continued until about the early or middle 1900's, and then, it seems they disappeared!

But, it also seems that Viet gangs, like the Black gangs, began a rise! Thus crime, within and without the Viet community, which for so many years was without "Viet" crime, either within or without the community, began to compete with other racial based crime groups! And, just as suddenly, the names of Viet amongst the best students on the Coast, began to disappear!

How sad this has become!
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Jan-2010 at 15:13
Opus, Vietnamese gangsters arrived in the U.S. with the very first boat people. every human group has their 10% trash. (Some groups just go higher thatn 10%). Likewise, those who came from very tight family groups, and arrived with some members of those family group, tended to do grow up with the values of their ancestors, i.e., work hard, don't snivel, don't make waves, and get ahead. Those who arrived in fractured family groups were subject to different social pressures. Having to work, even when a second parent was located and brought in, often required leaving children unattended while parents worked factory shifts, etc. to put bread on the table. Here, teenaged males were often attracted by Viet social groups on the street, some of which developed into gangs. Here, the social breakdown was much like it was for many other American immigrant groups. I have known Vietnamese-Americans who grew up in foster homes, but managed to keep their parent's values in their heart, just as I have known the children of middle-class Vietnamese families who wandered into crime. My house was once burglarized by the son of a Vietnamese friend, and the son of a Montagnard interpreter I had known. Both families would have been shocked to discover the truth. When we ferreted out the truth, (the Afro-American couple they gave away the credit cards to were identified in a jewelty shop security video, and described them to us) we never told their families. But we let the boys know that any future repeat would be repaid in spades, before we informed their parents.
 
My experience is that among first generation boat people youth, the girls are generally more ambitious and successful than the boys, but there was a respectable, if noticable, smaller percentage of boys who were also ambitious and motivated. Families who spoke English fairly well upon arrival generally did better than those who did not, as they tended to find higher paying jobs and were able to maintain more traditional family values. My wife's brother-in-law, who did not speak English, overcame the challenge by always working different factory shifts from his wife, and neither allowed the children to leave their home unsupervised until they had graduated from High School. That's pretty hard to imagine, but his daughter is now a pharmacist, and his son is an X-Ray technician. Their grandfather was a Chinese herbalist, so the daughter's choice of profession continues a family tradition.
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jan-2010 at 15:21
a link to that article on Dai Viet use of artillery from the National University of Singapore.
 


Edited by lirelou - 29-Jan-2010 at 15:39
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  Quote tnbn75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2010 at 15:09
Originally posted by asianguy

Originally posted by lirelou

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Interesting to note that one of your posts refers to the "Hmong-Mien" group. As you and I know, 'Mien' is Vietnamese for "Khmer". I wonder if the term is a hold-over from a much earlier period, prior to the rise of Khmer kingdoms. Or, a term for a more Northern people that they siumply took South. There must be a comprehensive and respected Vietnamese dictionary somewhere that includes the etymology of words.
In Vietnam, you should Miens are Khmers, Mien is an impolite word for Khmers living in Vietnam. Like you should call Chinese lived in Vietnam is "Hoa", should not call Chinese lived in Vietnam is "Tàu", Tàu is ship, because Chinese came to Vietnam by ships, Vietnamese call Chinese came to Vietnam is "người Tàu".


most of my south east asian friends growing up lived in the asian ghettos in richmond (bay area). so i can tell you for a fact that khmer and mien are not the same.  culturally the mien are very close to hmong but the language is different.  the ethnic dress looks the same to me but my hmong and mien friends get very mad at me when i say that.  the hmong language became written as early as 1960, mien became a written language in the 2000ish.

i think when people are talking about khmer in viet you mean either the laotung or khmu.  the are very close to laos ethnically.  my laos friends, whether laotung, khmu, or one of the other laos ethnic groups can understand each other (there are a lot of ethic groups in lao).  don't know if that's because the all speak a common version of lao or the languages are dialectically different.  i do know that the curse words are totally different. 

language-wise lao and thai are similiar enough where they can sorta understand each other in conversation.  viet is not even close except maybe in sentence structure. i've grown up with laos people all my life and have only picked up words here and there.  on the other hand my lao friend learned mien in 3 years (from bedroom talk).  oddly the only words that i found that were even close to similar were the words to beer, butter and ice cream, but of course all of SE asia gets those words from the french.


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  Quote tnbn75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Mar-2010 at 18:38
got an update.  talked to one of my khmu friends. so apparently he speaks the main laos language, khmu, and tai dam. so yes there is a main language all the laos ethnic tribes speak. 

i am beginning to suspect though that i'm wrong about the khmu and khmer being the same.  it seems that there is another ethnic group that would be closer although the khmu ethnic group is also in vietnam. 


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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2010 at 09:51
I can't find the term "mien' meaning Cambodian in any Vietnamese dictionary under any of its possible tones. Yet my wife and her family all refer to their Cambodian neighbors in the Delta as 'Mien". Khmer is pronounced "khmea" in Cambodian, but spelled Khmer in English and French. Perhaps it would also be spelled Kmuh. I think we are looking at differences in romanization. I know of no ethnic group called the Khmu in South or Central Vietnam, but there are many hundreds of thousands of Khmer Krom in the Mekong Delta.  
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  Quote tnbn75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Mar-2010 at 16:42
I'm not surprised most viet people i've met don't know anything about all the different lao ethnic groups.  to them they are all lao. (read elitism)  I just happen to know cause i grew up with a bunch of them.  sadly it wasn't until after high school that i figured out that they were different ethnically. 

mien are from the mountains.  when i talk about the mien i mean the people that actually refer to themselves as mien.  i had a mien girlfriend and let's just say that the start of our relationship was quite rocky cause i grouped her in with lao.  here's more info.

http://www.peoplesoftheworld.org/hosted/mien/

the article is definitely wrong with regard to origin.  based on what i've seen of their culture they are descend from chinese somewhere but my chinese friends don't care to hear that at all (more elitism).  the ethnic dress is closer to tibetan than lao. 

lao and thai culture is near identical.  down to the food. i can taste the difference int the dishes but i've been eating thai/lao home cooking for more than 20 years. (i had a habit of raiding my friends fridges in high school.)  thai tend to use more fish sauce, lao use padek (mam nem in viet) in fact if you have a favorite thai restaurant in an area that does not have a lot of thai people you may want to ask what their ethnic background is. they may be laos. 

here's info on the Khmu. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmu_people

physically they tend to be pretty dark and thickly built.  all the older khmu that grew up in south east asia tend to be barrel chested.  my friend long is so barrel chested when he does push ups his chest hits the ground before his elbows can make an "L" and that was his freshman year of high school. 

they all initially introduce themselves as lao then once you get to know them it you start learning there are a lot of different ethnicities in laos.  there is a high born laos ethnic group (not sure the name) the tend to be thinner and paler.

interesting tidbit that helps is new year's in SE asia.  Viet, Mien celebrate the lunar new year (chinese/viet new year).  laos and thai celebrate songkran (biggest water fight in the world) which is in april.  khmu new year is in november or decemeber. 
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  Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2010 at 06:52
Originally posted by tnbn75

based on what i've seen of their culture they are descend from chinese somewhere but my chinese friends don't care to hear that at all (more elitism).  the ethnic dress is closer to tibetan than lao. 
 I believe that the Mien are from china originally, but are not ethnically Chinese.  Rather, they are a seperate, indigenous people who followed the mountains down into Vietnam. Those Mien that remained in China (probably never very numerous) then got absorbed by the Chinese and ceased to exist as a people.  


Edited by Cryptic - 18-Mar-2010 at 06:54
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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Mar-2010 at 12:50
Tnbn75, Thanks for the links. I recognize the Yao (Vietnamese spelling "Dao") and visited one of their villages up near Sapa, and the Kmu you refer to are definitely not Khmer. My experience in Vietnam, apart from my time with the Kinh, was with the Malayo-Polynesian and Mon-Khmer tribes of the Central Highlands. I once had an ethnographic study on the peoples of North Vietnam, but gave it to a library years ago.

Well, now you know that the Vietnamese of the Mekong Delta refer to their Cambodian neighbors as "Mien". Next time I am over there (this year is the first time in 9 years that we did not go), I will try to track down the correct spelling and reason for it being omitted from Viet dictionaries. So, similar word, refers to different peoples.

Thanks again for the links. 
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  Quote PreahVihear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2010 at 02:19
To anyone who is interested or confused about the Vietnamese term "Mien" for the Khmer/Cambodian people.
 
Foreigners near and far have always had a hard time pronouncing the word 'Khmer" correctly according to the Khmer phonemes.  As a result, the word Khmer can be corrupted/butchered into the various terms as follows:
 
The Romans called the Khmer as "Camarini";
The Arabs called the Khmer as "Kumar";
The Chams call the Khmer as "Kui kmi"
The Thais call the Khmer as "Khom/Khmamen"
The Lao's call the Khmer as "Khmen"
The French romanized the term Khmer as "Cambodgien" (Spelling?)
The Americans use the term "Cambodian" to replace the term Khmer.
 
Regarding the inclusive term "Cambodian or Cambodgien", that is another topic of itself since the Khmer people are still the great majority of Cambodia/Kampuchea anyway.
 
So why do "some" Vietnamese call the Khmer as "Mien"? What is the story behind it?  Vietnamese have known the Khmer people for ages.  When the Vietnamese first declared their independence from the Chinese overlords in the 10th century A.D, the Khmer troops were at their border to make their presence known.  The Khmer were also present in the Viet-Cham wars.  What I am saying is that the Viets already knew who the Khmer were.  Even in the 17th century Vietnamese document called Chư dư chí tp biên [诸舆志杂编] written in classical Chinese during King Minh Mang's reign about Cambodian society, economy, and customs, the Khmer were called by the Viets as
"Cao Man".  Later on it was pronounced as "Cao Mien".  Then at a later time, it was shortened to just "Mien".
 
Regarding whether the Vietnamese term "Mien" is pejorative or not, just know that the Khmer do not like being called by the term "Mien" and they considered it very offensive.  Likewise, the Viets do not like it when the Khmer call them by the term "Yuon".  The Viets think that the Khmer actually consider them "savages" instead.  So that is another topic of itself.
 
It should also be noted that the term "Mien" is actually a real name of another ethnic minority group.  I believe the Hmong is called "Mien".  Again, don't quote me.  In addition, the term Khmer is not pronounced as "Khmear" as someone pointed out.  That is never a correct way to pronounce the word "Khmer".  There is no equivalent English phonemes for the Khmer sounds of /Kh/ or /aer/.  You can only come close but never be exact as the way it is.
 
Wanting to be politically correct, the present-day Cambodian government calls the Vietnamese simply as "the people of Vietnam", not as "Yuon".  Likewise, the Vietnamese government calls the Khmer not as "Mien" but as "Ko Mer or Kampuchea" instead.
 
Here was what Benedict F. Kiernan, Professor of History, Professor of International and Area Studies and Director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University, had to say about the terms Yuon and Mien. “There is a simpler explanation of the Khmer term “Yuon.” Since the Vietnamese called themselves “Yueh” (“Viets”), Khmers may have adopted this word for them fairly accurately. “Yuon” more likely derives from “Yueh”. [The word “Yuon” is
spelled in Khmer , with the (subscripted ) dipthong “uo,” not a “v” like
Yavana.] If so, “Yuon” does not mean “savages,” “subnormal, devilish men,” or
even potent strangers who “crop up abruptly”; but simply, “Vietnamese.”
(Conversely, the traditional Vietnamese word for Cambodians, Cao Mien, has also been translated as “highland barbarians.” It has no such meaning and probably derives from the word khmaer ( ) or “Khmer.”8)

 

 

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  Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2010 at 18:57
Preah, interesting post. One minor correction. Minh Mang ruled in the 1830s, which would have made that document a 19th Century one, not 17th. I always have to do the math on that one as well. (first century A.D. ran from the supposed 00 to 99, thus 100 AD was the beginning of the 2nd Century.)
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  Quote PreahVihear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Apr-2010 at 16:42

lirelou, thanks for catching my error.  You are absolutely correct that during Minh Mang's reign (1830's) it was in the 19th century, and never in the 17th century.Wink

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  Quote Shield-of-Dardania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2010 at 20:27
Originally posted by lirelou

Preah, interesting post. One minor correction. Minh Mang ruled in the 1830s, which would have made that document a 19th Century one, not 17th. I always have to do the math on that one as well. (first century A.D. ran from the supposed 00 to 99, thus 100 AD was the beginning of the 2nd Century.)
The maths is quite simple, actually. The 1st century AD was the time span beginning from the 1st day of year 1 AD {i.e. the (theoretical) day of Jesus' birth} right until the end of the year 100 AD. That is, the entire 1st 100 years, post-Jesus.
 
You could then call the very (theoretical) moment of Jesus's birth as the end of year 0 AD, and simultaneously, the beginning of year 1 AD.
 
The 2nd century AD, was then the time span from year 101 AD (from the first day to the 365th day of 101 AD) to the end (366th day) of year 200 AD. That is, the entire 2nd 100 years, post-Jesus.
 
And so on, and so forth.
 
So, 100 AD was still 1st century AD. 31 December, year 100 AD, would have been the last day of the 1st century AD. But anything beginning from January 1 of 101 AD through to December 31 of 200 AD was 2nd century AD.
 
Like wise, 200 AD was still 2nd century. But anything beginning from the 1st day of 201 AD through to the 366th day of 300 AD was 3rd century AD.
 
If we relate this to our own time and age, the whole of 2000 AD was still 20th century AD. 31 December 2000 AD was the last day of 20th century AD. But anything beginning from Jan 1 of year 2001 right through to December 31 of year 2100 would be 21st century AD.
 


Edited by Shield-of-Dardania - 25-Apr-2010 at 21:21
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