Champa (Vietnamese: Chăm Pa) was a collection of independent Cham
polities that extended across the coast of what is today central and
Vietnam from approximately the 2nd century AD before being
absorbed and annexed by Vietnamese Emperor
Minh Mạng in AD 1832.
The kingdom was known variously as nagara Campa (Sanskrit:
नगरः चम्पः; Khmer: ចាម្ប៉ា) in the
Chamic and Cambodian inscriptions, Chăm Pa in Vietnamese (Chiêm
Thành in Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary) and 占城 (Zhànchéng) in
Chams of modern
Cambodia are the remnants of this
former kingdom. They speak Chamic languages, a subfamily of
Malayo-Polynesian closely related to the Malayic and Bali–Sasak
Champa was preceded in the region by a kingdom called Linyi (林邑,
Lim Ip in Middle Chinese), or
Lâm Ấp (Vietnamese), that was in
existence since AD 192; although the historical relationship between
Champa is not clear.
Champa reached its apogee in the 9th
and 10th centuries AD. Thereafter, it began a gradual decline under
pressure from Đại Việt, the Vietnamese polity centered in the
region of modern Hanoi. In 1832, the Vietnamese emperor Minh Mạng
annexed the remaining Cham territories.
Hinduism, adopted from
India since early in its history, shaped the
art and culture of the
Champa kingdom for centuries, as testified by
the many Cham
Hindu statues and red brick temples that dotted the
landscape in Cham lands. Mỹ Sơn, a former religious center, and
Hội An, one of Champa's main port cities, are now World Heritage
Sites. Today, some
Cham people adhere to the Islamic faith, a
conversion which began in the 15th century AD; they are called Bani
Cham. There are, however, Balamon Cham (from Sanskrit: Brahman) who
still retain and preserve their
Hindu faith, rituals, and festivals.
The Balamon Cham are one of only two surviving non-Indic indigenous
Hindu peoples in the world, with a culture dating back thousands of
years. The other is the
Hindu Balinese of Indonesia.
1.1 Geography of historical Champa
1.2.2 Overarching theories
1.3 Sources of foreign cultural influence
2.1 Formation and growth
Hinduism and Buddhism
5 Archaeological remains
5.2 Defended centers
6 See also
8 External links
Geography of historical Champa
Between the 2nd and the 15th centuries AD,
Champa at times included
the modern provinces of Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định,
Phú Yên, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận, and Bình Thuận. Though Cham
territory included the mountainous zones west of the coastal plain and
(at times) extended into present-day Laos, for the most part, the Cham
remained a seafaring people dedicated to trade, and maintained few
settlements of any size away from the coast.
Champa consisted of up to five principalities:
Indrapura ("City of Indra") was the capital of
Champa from about AD
875 to about AD 1000. It was located at the site of the modern village
of Dong Duong, near the modern city of Da Nang. Also found in the
Da Nang is the ancient Cham city of Singhapura ("City of the
Lion"), the location of which has been identified with an
archaeological site in the modern village of Trà Kiệu, and the
valley of Mỹ Sơn, where a number of ruined temples and towers
can still be seen. The associated port was at modern Hội An. The
territory once controlled by this principality included present-day
Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, and Thừa Thiên–Huế provinces.
Amaravati was located in present-day Quảng Nam Province. The
earliest mention of Amaravati is from an AD 1160 inscription at Po
Depiction of fighting Cham naval soldier against the Khmer, stone
relief at the Bayon
Closeup of the inscription in
Cham script on the
Po Nagar stele, 965.
The stele describes feats by the
Vijaya was located in present-day Bình Định Province. Early
mention is made of Vijaya in an AD1160 inscription at Po Nagar.:318
The capital has been identified with the archaeological site at Cha
Ban. The associated port was at present-day Qui Nhơn. Important
excavations have also been conducted at nearby Thap Mam, which may
have been a religious and cultural centre. Vijaya became the political
and cultural centre of
Champa around AD 1000, when the northern
capital of Indrapura was abandoned due to pressure from the Viet. It
remained the centre of
Champa until AD 1471, when it was sacked by the
Viet and the centre of
Champa was again displaced toward the south. In
its time, the principality of Vijaya controlled much of present-day
Quang-Nam, Quang-Ngai, Bình Định, and Phú Yên Provinces.
Kauthara was located in the area of modern
Nha Trang in Khánh Hòa
Province. Its religious and cultural centre was the temple of Po
Nagar, several towers of which still stand at Nha Trang.
first mentioned in a AD 784 inscription at Po Nagar.:318
Panduranga was located in the area of present-day
Phan Rang in Ninh
Thuận Province. Panduranga was the last of the Cham territories to
be annexed by the Vietnamese. Panduranga is first mentioned in an AD
817 inscription at Po Nagar.:318
Within the four principalities were two main clans: the "Dua" and the
"Cau". The Dua lived in Amravati and Vijaya, while the Cau lived in
Kauthara and Panduranga. The two clans differed in their customs and
habits and conflicting interests led to many clashes and even war. But
they usually managed to settle disagreements through intermarriage.
The historiography of
Champa relies upon three types of sources:
Physical remains, including brick structures and ruins, as well as
Inscriptions in Cham and
Sanskrit on steles and other stone surfaces;
Chinese and Vietnamese histories, diplomatic reports, and other texts
such as those provided by Jia Dan.:319
Map of Kingdom of Champa(light blue) in 980, Kingdom of Đại Cồ
Việt (Yellow) and Khmer empire(purple).
This Cham head of
Shiva was made of electrum around 800. It decorated
a kosa, or metal sleeve fitted to a liṅgam. One can recognise Shiva
by the tall chignon hairstyle and by the third eye in the middle of
Champa in 7th and 8th century
Modern scholarship has been guided by two competing theories in the
historiography of Champa. Scholars agree that historically
divided into several regions or principalities spread out from south
to north along the coast of modern
Vietnam and united by a common
language, culture, and heritage. It is acknowledged that the
historical record is not equally rich for each of the regions in every
historical period. For example, in the 10th century AD, the record is
richest for Indrapura; in the 12th century AD, it is richest for
Vijaya; following the 15th century AD, it is richest for Panduranga.
Some scholars have taken these shifts in the historical record to
reflect the movement of the Cham capital from one location to another.
According to such scholars, if the 10th-century record is richest for
Indrapura, it is so because at that time Indrapura was the capital of
Champa. Other scholars have disputed this contention, holding that
Champa was never a united country, and arguing that the presence of a
particularly rich historical record for a given region in a given
period is no basis for claiming that the region functioned as the
capital of a united
Champa during that period.
Sources of foreign cultural influence
Cham alphabet script in stone
Through the centuries, Cham culture and society were influenced by
forces emanating from Cambodia, China,
India amongst others.
Lin Yi, a predecessor state in the region, began its existence in AD
192 as a breakaway Chinese colony. An official successfully revolted
against Chinese rule in central Vietnam, and
Lin Yi was founded in AD
192. In the 4th century AD, wars with the neighbouring Kingdom of
Cambodia and the acquisition of Funanese territory led to the
infusion of Indian culture into Cham society.
Sanskrit was adopted as
a scholarly language, and Hinduism, especially Shaivism, became the
state religion. From the 10th century AD onwards,
Arab maritime trade
in the region brought increasing Islamic cultural and religious
Champa came to serve as an important link in the spice
trade, which stretched from the
Persian Gulf to South China, and later
Arab maritime routes in
Mainland Southeast Asia
Mainland Southeast Asia as a supplier
of aloe. Despite the frequent wars between
Champa and Cambodia, the
two countries also traded and cultural influences moved in both
directions. Royal families of the two countries intermarried
Champa also had close trade and cultural relations with
the powerful maritime empire of
Srivijaya and later with the Majapahit
of the Malay Archipelago.
Evidence gathered from linguistic studies around
Aceh confirms that a
very strong Champan cultural influence existed in Indonesia; this is
indicated by the use of the Chamic language Acehnese as the main
language in the coastal regions of Aceh. Linguists believe the
Acehnese language, a descendant of the Proto-Chamic language,
separated from the Chamicic tongue sometime in the 1st millennium AD.
However, scholarly views on the precise nature of Aceh-Chamic
Main article: History of Champa
This section should include a summary of History of Champa. See
Wikipedia:Summary style for information on how to incorporate it into
this article's main text. (April 2017)
Formation and growth
The people of
Champa descended from seafaring settlers who reached the
Southeast Asian mainland from
Borneo about the time of the Sa Huỳnh
culture, the predecessor of the Cham kingdom.:317 The Cham language
is part of the Austronesian family. According to one study, Cham is
related most closely to modern Acehnese in northern Sumatra.
To the Han Chinese, the country of
Champa was known as 林邑
Linyi in Mandarin and Lam Yap in Cantonese and to the Vietnamese,
Lâm Ấp (which is the Sino-Vietnamese pronunciation of 林邑). It
was founded in AD 192.
Around the 4th century AD, Champan polities began to absorb much of
Indic influences, probably through its neighbour, Funan.
Champa began to create
Sanskrit stone inscriptions and
erect red brick
Hindu temples. The first king acknowledged in the
inscriptions is Bhadravarman, who reigned from AD 380 to AD
413. At Mỹ Sơn, King Bhadravarman established a linga called
Bhadresvara,:324 whose name was a combination of the king's own
name and that of the
Hindu god of gods Shiva. The worship of the
original god-king under the name Bhadresvara and other names continued
through the centuries that followed.
Between the 7th to 10th centuries AD, the Cham polities rose to become
a naval power; as Champan ports attracted local and foreign traders,
Champan fleets also controlled the trade in spices and silk in the
South China Sea, between China, the Indonesian archipelago and India.
They supplemented their income from the trade routes not only by
exporting ivory and aloe, but also by engaging in piracy and
raiding. However, the rising influence of
Champa caught the
attention of a neighbouring thalassocracy that considered
Champa as a
rival, the Javanese (Javaka, probably refers to
Srivijaya ruler of
Sumatra and Java). In AD 767, the Tonkin coast was raided by a
Javanese fleet (Daba) and
subsequently assaulted by Javanese or
Kunlun vessels in AD 774 and AD
787. In AD 774 an assault was launched on Po-Nagar in
Nha-trang where the pirates demolished temples, while in AD 787 an
assault was launched on Phang-rang.
In the Cham–Vietnamese War (AD 1471),
Champa suffered serious
defeats at the hands of the Vietnamese, in which 120,000 people were
either captured or killed, and the kingdom was reduced to a small
Nha Trang with many
Chams fleeing to Cambodia.
Minh Mạng who annexed Kingdom of
Champa to Kingdom of
Vietnam in 1832.
Hinduism and Buddhism
Dancing Siva, c. 10th century AD
Hindu temples and statues have been found in many parts of
While today the Balamon Cham are the only surviving Hindus in Vietnam,
the region once hosted some of the most exquisite and vibrant Hindu
cultures in the world. The entire region of Southeast Asia, in fact,
was home to numerous sophisticated
Hindu kingdoms. From
neighboring Cambodia, to
Java and Bali in Indonesia.
13th century sculpture in the Thap Mam style, depicting Garuda
devouring a serpent
Before the conquest of
Champa by the
Đại Việt emperor Tran Thánh
Tông in 1471, the dominant religion of the
Cham people was Hinduism,
and the culture was heavily influenced by that of India. The Hinduism
Champa was overwhelmingly Shaiva and it was liberally combined with
elements of local religious cults such as the worship of the Earth
goddess Lady Po Nagar. The main symbols of Cham
Shaivism were the
lingam, the mukhalinga, the jaṭāliṅgam, the segmented liṅgam,
and the kośa.
A liṅga (or liṅgam) is black stone pillar that serves as a
representation of Shiva. Cham kings frequently erected and dedicated
stone lingas as the central religious images in royal temples. The
name a Cham king would give to such a linga would be a composite of
the king's own name and suffix "-iśvara", which stands for Shiva.
A mukhaliṅga is a linga upon which has been painted or carved an
Shiva as a human being or a human face.
A jaṭāliṅga is a linga upon which has been engraved a stylised
representation of Shiva's chignon hairstyle.
A segmented liṅga is a linga post divided into three sections to
represent the three aspects of the
Hindu godhead or trimurti: the
lowest section, square in shape, represents Brahma; the middle
section, octagonal in shape, represents Vishnu, and the top section,
circular in shape, represents Shiva.
A kośa is a cylindrical basket of precious metal used to cover a
linga. The donation of a kośa to the decoration of a liṅga was a
distinguishing characteristic of Cham Shaivism. Cham kings gave names
to special kośas in much the way that they gave names to the liṅgas
The predominance of
Hinduism in Cham religion was interrupted for a
time in the 9th and 10th centuries AD, when a dynasty at Indrapura
(modern Dong Duong, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam) adopted Mahayana
Buddhism as its faith. The Buddhist art of Dong Duong has received
special acclaim for its originality.
Beginning in the 10th century AD,
Hinduism again became the
predominant religion of Champa. Some of the sites that have yielded
important works of religious art and architecture from this period
are, aside from Mỹ Sơn, Khuong My, Trà Kiệu, Chanh Lo, and Thap
Islam started making headway among the Cham after the 10th century AD.
By the 17th century, the royal families of the Cham had converted to
Islam. Most Cham are now evenly split between being followers of Islam
and Hinduism, with the majority of Vietnamese Cham being
the majority of Cambodian Cham are Muslim, though significant
Mahayana Buddhists continue to exist.
Indonesian 15th century records indicate the influence of Princess
Daravati, a Cham, converted to Islam, and influenced her husband,
Kertawijaya, Majapahit's seventh ruler to convert the
family to Islam. The Islamic tomb of Putri
Champa (Princess of Champa)
can be found in Trowulan, East Java, the site of the Majapahit
imperial capital. In the 15th to 17th century, Muslim Cham
maintained a cordial relationship with the
Aceh Sultanate through
dynastic marriage. This sultanate was located on the northern tip of
Sumatra and was an active promoter of the Islamic faith in the
In contrast to Đại Việt, Champa's economy was not based on
agriculture. As seafaring people, the Cham were highly mobile and
established a network of trade including not only the major ports at
Thi Nai but also extending into the mountainous
hinterland. Maritime trade was facilitated by a network of wells
that provided fresh water to Cham and foreign ships along the coast of
Champa and the islands of Cu Lao Cham and Ly Son. While Kenneth R.
Hall suggests that
Champa was not able to rely on taxes on trade for
continuous revenue, but instead financed their rule by raiding
neighbouring countries, Hardy argues that the country's prosperity was
above all based on commerce.
The vast majority of Champa's export products came from the
mountainous hinterland, sourced from as far as Attapeu in southern
Laos. They included gold and silver, slaves, animal and animal
products, and precious woods. By far the most important export
product was eaglewood. It was the only product mentioned in Marco
Polo's brief account and similarly impressed the
Arab trader Sulayman
several centuries earlier. Most of it was probably taken from the
Aquilaria crassna tree, just as most of the eaglewood in Vietnam
Mỹ Sơn is the site of the largest collection of Cham ruins.
Mỹ Sơn near the town of
Hội An on the Thu Bồn River.
Bhadravarman I in the 5th century AD, Vikrantavarman
initiated a major building program in the 7th century. Construction
continued until AD 1157 under Harivarman.:320
Po Nagar in Kauthara, on a harbour, comprising six temples and a
pillared hall. Established before the 7th century AD, a wooden
structure was burned in AD 774. Satyavarman initiated major
construction in AD 757. One tower dates from AD 813 and construction
continued until AD 1256.:320
Dong Duong was founded by Jaya Indravarman in AD 875. Most of the
complex was destroyed during the
Vietnam War. The site consists of
three large courts, a large assembly hall, and a main temple
sanctuary. Two bronze statues, one of Buddha and one of
Avalokiteśvara were found at the site.:320–321
Po Klaung Garai
Qusu, located above the Kiến Giang River, was in place by the 4th
century AD and includes a revetted wall and moat as do the other
centers. Qusu was sacked by the Chinese in AD 446, "all inhabitants
over the age of 15 were put to the sword" and as much as 48,000 of
Song Luy is located on the coast south of Cape Dinh.:321
Thanh Ho is located on the northern bank of the Đà Rằng
Caban was probably the capital of Vijaya.:322
Tra Kieu is located near the Hue River.:322
Canh Tien is located north of
Quy Nhon and contains a possible royal
Trà Kiệu or Simhapura, dating from two to three centuries BC until
the 6th or 7th centuries AD.:322
Some of the network of wells that was used to provide fresh water to
Cham and foreign ships still remains. Cham wells are recognisable by
their square shape. They are still in use and provide fresh water even
during times of drought.
Champa ladies dance at Poklong Garai stupa in
Phan Rang .
The largest collection of Cham sculpture may be found in the Da Nang
Museum of Cham Sculpture
Museum of Cham Sculpture (formerly known as "Musée Henri Parmentier")
in the coastal city of Da Nang. The museum was established in 1915 by
French scholars, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful in
Southeast Asia. Other museums with collections of Cham art include the
Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi
Museum of History, Hanoi
Museum of Fine Arts, Saigon
Museum of History, Saigon
Musée Guimet, Paris
Art of Champa
History of Vietnam
Kampong Cham Province
Kampong Cham Province in east Cambodia
Kingdom of Champasak
Kingdom of Champasak in the south of Laos
List of Vietnamese monarchs#
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Champa.
Proceedings of the Seminar on Champa, "Research on
Champa and its
Website of the Asia Research Institute, including the working paper
Champa Revised" by Michael Vickery, and the draft translation "Champa
in the Song hui-yao" by Geoff Wade
Champa Relations and the Malay-
Islam Regional Network in the
The Survivors of a Lost Civilisation
Cham Muslims: A look at Cambodia's Muslim minority
The Cham Muslims of Indo-China[permanent dead link]
Photos of Cham art exhibited in Vietnamese museums
Plumeria flowers –
Champa Flowers – La fleur de
frangipaniers – Hoa Sứ, Hoa đại, Hoa Champa