Côn Sơn, also known as Côn Lôn, is the largest island of the Côn Đảo archipelago, off the coast of southern Vietnam.
Its French variant Grande-Condore was well-known during the times of French Indochina. Marco Polo mentioned the island in the description of his 1292 voyage from China to India under the name Sondur and Condur. In Ptolemy‘s Geography, they are referred to as the Isles of the Satyrs.
Nguyen lord period
In 1702, the English East India Company founded a settlement on this island (the English called it ‘Pulo Condore‘) off the south coast of southern Vietnam, and in 1705 the garrison and settlement were destroyed.
Tay Son dynasty period
In 1787, through the Treaty of Versailles, Nguyễn Ánh (the future Emperor Gia Long) promised to cede Poulo Condor to the French. In exchange Louis XVI promised to help Nguyễn Ánh to regain the throne, by supplying 1,650 troops (1,200 Kaffir troops, 200 artillery men and 250 black soldiers) on four frigates.
Nguyen dynasty period
In 1861, the French colonial government established Côn Đảo Prison on the island to house political prisoners. In 1954, it was turned over to the South Vietnamesegovernment, who continued to use it for the same purpose. Notable prisoners held at Côn Sơn in the 1930s included Phạm Văn Đồng and Lê Đức Thọ. Not far from the prison is Hàng Dương Cemetery, where some of the prisoners were buried.
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