Interesting in that virtually all have bare feet and remind me of the Southern boys who went into the Army during WWII.
During the last decade of the 19th century, French colonists occupying northern Vietnam (then Tonkin) decided to conduct a census survey on the region’s ethnic minorities. The first convoys reached Lao Cai Province in 1898, and in 1903, Sapa Village was put on the map of Vietnam for the first time.
The name Sapa comes from two words, “Sa Pả” of the Hmong language; for much of the time when the French were here, the tiny town was known by the title Chapa, according to how the Romance language pronounces the Hmong name.
These black-and-white photos, taken almost a century ago, capture the decade when the nascent imprint of tourism started affecting Sapa. In 1917, a tourism center was founded there, a harbinger for the town’s future as a traveler hot spot. The first hotel, the Hotel du Fansipan, was established on the town’s main road, and a few others were under construction. In 1920, the Hanoi–Lao Cai railway became a reality, and hundreds of vacation villas were peppered across town.
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