For years, studies on Cham-Vietnamese relations during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries have centred on the political and quasi-tributary relations between a declining Cham kingdom and a rising, if not dominating, Nguyễn southern Vietnam (Đàng Trong). Some existing scholarship also highlighted aspects of relations between the rulers of the two political entities by focusing on some aspects of court history. However, existing sources consulted thus far – mainly in the form of Vietnamese chronicles and veritable records – could not penetrate beyond the official selection of materials and therefore could only provide an official version of the relationship between the Cham and the Vietnamese, without the possibility of shedding the veil that shrouded the official nature of the relations. The existence of a set of materials in the form of day-to-day transactions between the two peoples during the late seventeenth and greater part of the eighteenth century could perhaps provide a new dimension to the nature of this relationship. Known as the Panduranga Archives or Royal Archives of Champa, the collection consists of letters, financial orders, purchase contracts, loan agreements, as well as receipts from other forms of transactions. It is the intention of this paper to reconstruct some aspects of Cham-Viet relations in Bình Thuận and Ninh Thuận through the consultation of these sources as well as others. The present study attempts to investigate the nature of Cham-Vietnamese

relations during the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries when territories of Champa in the region of Panduranga came under Vietnamese control. The Vietnamese southern advance into the region at this time was spearheaded by the Nguyễn family, who had started to control the southern region of the country from the mid-sixteenth century, and had by the beginning of the seventeenth century broken with the central government in Tha˘ng Long (Hanoi) that was under the control of a rival family. With this break, the Nguyễn set up their own political entity that placed them in the forefront of the southern neighbours of the Vietnamese, including the Cham. Not long after the Nguyễn established their rule, they had to confront the Cham in 1611. The Cham were defeated and the Nguyễn extended Vietnamese influence/ control beyond the former borders. The two sides later clashed militarily on

several occasions which saw the Cham being defeated yet again. With each defeat the Cham yielded more territory to the Nguyễn, while the latter continued the southward movement of the Vietnamese people. By 1692 the Cham, who only held the region around the present two provinces of Bình Thuận and Ninh Thuận, were finally defeated. To the Cham, this last independent political entity was known as Panduranga (or Pandara). It was the last bastion of Cham territories since the Cham had first established the polity of Lin Yi during the second century CE. By the seventeenth century, as a result of Vietnamese southward movement, what little that remained under Cham control was to face a final onslaught from the Nguyễn in 1692. At the end of the military engagement the Cham were defeated and the Vietnamese took over the last Cham territory. The Nguyễn attempt to exert immediate control over the newly annexed territory was disrupted by a Cham revolt. After the revolt was put down, the Nguyễn decided to install one of the Cham dignitaries as a puppet ruler over the region and demanded a quasi-tributary arrangement. This was shortly followed by the setting up of a Vietnamese administrative unit superimposed on the quasi-independent Champa and quasi-tributary arrangement. This laid the political and administrative foundation of the Cham-Viet relations in Bình Thuận and Ninh Thuận from the final years of the seventeenth century until the fall of Nguyễn rule in 1776.