Quang Nam (VNA) - Central Quang Nam Province will host a science conference on the Thanh Chiem Palace and the creation of the Vietnamese romanised script – a question that has been unclear since the previous conference in 2002.

Deputy Chairman of the Quang Nam People’s Committee Le Van Thanh said at a press conference recently, that the conference would draw the participation of top scholars, historians and researchers nationwide with 70 reports.

Thanh said the conference, which will be held at Dien Duong Commune in Dien Ban Town on August 24, would make clear the existence of Thanh Chiem Palace (1602-1883) as a key military and cultural centre and a cradle of the Vietnamese romanised script.

“Most information features Alexandre De Rhodes (1591-1660), a French Jesuit missionary and lexicographer, as the founder of the modern writing system of Vietnamese language, but the latest reports and research on ancient documents are gradually showing that the priest Francisco de Pina (1585-1625) was its creator,” Thanh said.

“Similar conferences were held in Binh Dinh and Phu Yen provinces, and set out reports on the initial foundation of the Vietnamese romanised script, but exact and persuasive answers have yet to be given,” Thanh said.

He hoped that the upcoming conference would provide clear proof of the existence of Thanh Chiem Palace and the debut of the romanised script.

Vice Chairman of Dien Ban Town, Nguyen Xuan Ha said following the latest reports that a Portuguese Francisco Pina invented the new method of transcribing the Vietnamese language with a Latin alphabet at Thanh Chiem Palace (1621), and he taught the romanised script to two priests, Alexandre De Rhodes and Portuguese Antonio Fonte.

Ha said the report also revealed a letter that Francisco Pina sent to his Father Superior in Rome, saying Thanh Chiem Palace was the best place for learning the Vietnamese language because it was the centre of the Court.

The first school teaching the romanised script was also built in the palace, and Alexandre De Rhodes had a lasting impact on Christianity in Vietnam, according to Ha.

Nguyen Quang Sinh, Deputy Director of the provincial department of Science and Technology, said it was the reason the province, in collaboration with the ministries of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and Science and Technology, along with the Vietnam Science Academy Society and the Vietnam Association of Historical Science hosted the largest ever conference on the Palace and the Vietnamese romanised script.

Sinh said the late historian and professor Tran Quoc Vuong had identified the location of Thanh Chiem Palace and had mapped it out during an archaeological study.

Japanese Professor Kikuchi Seiichi from Showa Women’s University conducted three archaeological field studies in 1999, 2000 and 2001 using ultrasound to position the large palace.

Following an old document, Thanh Chiem Palace witnessed a victory by the Nguyen dynasty naval force in a fight against the Netherlands’ fleet in 1644.

The church of Anre Phu Yen in Dien Phuong Commune in Dien Ban Town still preserves two ancient tombs.

Thanh Chiem Palace is believed to have been built in 1602 by Lord Nguyen Hoang in Can Huc Village and then moved to Thanh Chiem Commune (now Dien Phuong Commune of Dien Ban Town, 10km from Cua Dai beach).

The province also proposes a large archaeology dig at the ruins of the palace to deliver further evidence.-VNA