In former time, the City of Vinh was belonged to Ke Vang or Ke Vinh region. Thousands of years ago, ancient Vietnamese resided here. The two bronze drums of Hung Vuong era (4,000 years ago), those had been found at the edge of Quyet Mountain and are now preserved at Nghe An Museum, are clear evidence.
As a mountainous region lying along the Eastern Sea, Vinh is an especially geographical area. The Dinh, Le, Ly and Tran dynasties had paid attention to Vinh and sent out talented commanders to supervise this region. Until the 15th century under the Le Loi and Nguyen Trai regime, Vinh area had been treated with special attention. In the book “Administrative Geography Book” (Du dia chi) Nguyen Trai stated that this area was a land that concentrated sacred spirit of rivers and mountain of Nghe region. In 1428, after the victory against Minh invader, Le Loi assigned talented general Nguyen Xi (Dinh Quoc Cong Than) to set up a base at Vinh.
In the 17th Century, during Trinh – Nguyen conflict, Noble Ninh Quan Cong Trinh Toan had set his base in Quyet Mountain for many years. He mobilized people and soldiers to dig a channel linking Con Moc river (Vinh river at present) and Lam River.
In 1786, after defeating army of Nguyen feudal dynasty in the southern region, Nguyen Hue, while marching to topple the Trinh Lord, followed the Gian Trail (Gian Dao) (from Bai Vot to Lam Thanh) instead of Thuong Trail (Thuong Dao), discovered the Yen truong area (Vinh area at present). After squeezing Trinh army and unifying the nation, Nguyen Hue thought of choosing another area for the capital that could control both the north and the south. At first, he almost chose Phu Thanh area (Besides the Thanh mountain along the river of Lam) but afraid of landslides due to floods, therefore on 1st October 1788 Quang Trung wrote a letter to Nguyen Thiep said that he would like to choose Yen Truong as Capital city. La Son Phu Tu Nguyen Thiep came and inspected Yen Truong, then decided to choose area in between Quyet Mountain and Con Meo (Unicorn) Mountain as this was a sacred soil comprising all four holy animals namely Dragon – Turtle – Unicorn - Phoenix those had been adored for thousands year by the ancestors to be a capital city known as Phoenix Central City.
The Phoenix Central City consisted of 2 areas, inner City and outer City in trapezium shape with the circumference of 2,820 meters; total areas of 22 ha. Surrounding channels was 3 meters wide, 3 meters depth and 3–4 meters height. Inner city was built from bricks and late-rite, circumference of 1,680 meters, with 2 meters height and two main gates at the East and West. In the inner city there was a large building with 3 storeys, by the front there was a perron built from late-rite, followed by two long corridors connected with Grand Palace of Audience (Dien Thai Hoa) used for holding the court. In the book namely La Son Phu Tu this had been clarified “Con Meo mountain (or Unicorn) was a foundation for the outpost, Southern fortress attached to this mountain, the North Eastern took Quyet Mountain (Phoenix Mountain) as the base. According to “La Son Phu Tu”, the size of outer City, besides mountain cliffs as natural barriers, a long wall of 300 meters in the south and 450 meters long in the West was built. Height of the built walls was high enough for them to be harmonious to the mountain cliff.
It was true that the Quang Trung king was presided here. In the letter sent to Nguyen Thiep (3 October 1789, the King wrote: “I am now setting up the capital at Nghe An so that I am close to you. I would like to invite you to be here for sharing the task of governing the country”. The Capital city of Yen Truong was unaccomplished but actually built. This had been named with Phoenix Central City.
However, the existence of Tay Son dynasty was too short. After the demise of King Quang Trung, Quang Toan took the throne. Under his leadership Tay Son dynasty was unable to resist the army of Nguyen Anh assisted by French capitalists. Nguyen Anh ascended the throne, titled as Gia Long and destroyed without regret everything belonged to and created by Tay Son reign. One year after being at throne (in 1803) Gia Long ordered to build a General Council temple (Dinh Hoi dong) in Yen Truong, restore and upgrade Van Thanh building and constructed School for Inter-provincial competition examination (Truong Thi huong). In 1804, Gia Long gave a directive to move Nghe An fortress for settling at Vinh Yen village, i.e. Vinh Thanh. Initially, the fortress was made from soil; in 1831 it was rebuilt with stones. And under the Tu Duc dynasty (1847 – 1883) it was repaired and tidy up.
Vinh Thanh (Vinh city at present) was a junction of river and mountain spirit (as Nguyen Trai had said), convergence of human philosophy. This was a characteristic that had major impacts on the development of Vinh city afterwards. Vinh city is big by both the geographical aspect as well as scale, it is because of Ben Thuy (Thuy dock) that the name taken from Don Thuy (Water outpost) under the Le reign. The name “Vinh” was related to the river namely Vinh Giang flows beside the city, in Latin transcription the stress was omitted then the Vinh with “~” or Vinh with “.” had been changed to Vinh without stress.
Coward regime of Nguyen surrender to the French aggressors on 20 July 1885, Chaumout landed with 188 French soldiers from Ben Thuy assembled with Mignot from Ha Noi and Bretnau from Ha Tinh conquered Vinh and Ben Thuy then occupied the whole region of Nghe Tinh. Under the riffles and bayonets, the very first foundation for capitalist commerce was set up at Ben Thuy with: Log trading house built at Ben Thuy, Truong Thi, Industrial Manufacturing workshops, match factories, wood-processing works, power stations, locomotive factory were constructed… Factories and commercial outlets were mushroomed by the time gone; Vinh and Ben Thuy became a large industrial centre in the Northern part of Central region.
Along with the expansion of industries, commerce and business, there were policies of exploiting colony and harsh governance of the French. Workers were largely exploited. They were shoulder by shoulder rising up for struggle. Some western-educated and patriotic youths together with political offenders returned from Con Dao gathered at Con Meo Mountain, They declared the establishment of Reclaiming Viet Confederation (Hoi Phuc Viet) lately renamed as New Viet Party (Tan Viet Party). This was the first revolutionary organization in Viet Nam. Reclaiming Viet Confederation had laid some impacts on workers, students and poor people in urban and some neighbouring suburban areas.
In summer 1929, active members of Youth Confederation withdrew from their General confederation in Guangzhou, China and declared the establishment of Indo Chinese Communist party (17th June 1929. In September 1929, Nguyen Phong Sac (alias as Thinh), Member of central committee and interim-Secretary for Central region of Indo Chinese Communist party came to Vinh with Tran Van Cung (Executive Member of interim-Central region) for leading the movement in Vinh - Ben Thuy. They lobbied for the unification of communist movements to Viet Nam Communist Party. On March 20th, 1930 in Vinh, there was a meeting to elect a Standing committee for Provincial communist party of Nghe An, and to elect a Standing committee of communist party of Vinh city and Ben Thuy by the same time, in fact, this organisation was Vinh – Ben Thuy ’s communist organisation. This Standing Committee directed the establishment of many communist cells in factories, quarters and compounds, led workers and poor people from spontaneously struggling movements to voluntary struggling that was highlighted with the peak of Soviet Nghe Tinh movement (1930–1931) attached to the historic demonstration on 1 May 1930. Together with Communist cells, many organizations with alias of “Red”: Red Trade Union, Red Farmers Organization, Red militia and Red village (Yen Dung), Vinh remains famous and well known with the name of Red-glorious city.
The Meeting of May 1st was dipped into blood pool, Soviet – Nghe Tinh movement came to retreat, however, the rebellious fire of the revolution still held in every hearts and minds of people of Red city eternally. They gathered around Party flag with passionate. Viet Minh front rose up for coups d’etate on August 21st, 1945. People of Vinh also followed the appeal of president Ho Chi Minh on February 7th, 1947 burnt up the city for fighting against the French and American.