The collection is comprised of 85,000 documents bearing the seals of 11 Nguyen Kings (1802-1945), including royal edicts and decrees, reports to the King, and credentials. They are extremely valuable historical materials reflecting the political thoughts, guidelines and polices of the Vietnamese State in its internal and external relations.
The documents also serve as an important legal basis for affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over its sea and islands. Among them, 18 were reports to the King providing detailed information on the Nguyen Dynasty’s exercise of sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
The means in which people were sent to Hoang Sa and what they did there are detailed in the documents, which also feature decisions made by the King to honour those who made great achievements to the development of the islands and punish those who failed to fulfill their tasks.
The documents also served as a material for Nguyen Dynasty historians to write the Dai Nam Thap Luc (Veritable Records of Dai Nam) collection, which also proved Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes throughout its history.
The State Archives Department has assigned the National Archives Centre I to draw up plans to preserve and promote the value of the documents. A Vietnamese-English bilingual website will be established, while more publications on them will be introduced to the public.
Earlier, UNESCO recognised three items of Vietnam as documentary heritage. They are the wooden printing blocks kept at the National Archives Centre IV in the central city of Da Nang, the Buddhism wooden printing blocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City and 82 steles honouring doctors at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.