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[Photos] An Aerial Perspective of Pleiku and Kon Tum in 1970

In today’s Vietnam, Pleiku in Gia Lai Province is the Central Highlands’ third-biggest city, after Da Lat and Buon Ma Thuot.

The majority of Pleiku residents are Kinh Vietnamese, but there are also significant ethnic minority communities, mainly Jarai and Bahnar people. These photos, taken in 1970 and 1971 by Gary Cantrell, are a throwback to a decade when the city was a small township, surrounded by tiny villages, small hamlets, and vast stretches of mountainous greenery.

The geographical designation “Pleiku” first appeared on paper records in 1905 in a government document from the French Indochinese administration. Its first iteration was spelled “Plei-Kou,” a Francophized version of a Jarai name meaning “northern village.” The nearby Kon Tum Province takes its name after a Bahnar phrase meaning "lakeside village."

Have a look below:

Kon Tum's town center in 1971.

A Bahnar village near Kon Tum.

Kon Tum.

A suburb in Kom Tum.

Dak Bla Bridge, crossing over the river of the same name, serves as the entrance into Kon Tum central, now Kon Tum City.

A military airport in Kon Tum.

A suburb in Pleiku.

Ben Het Camp in northwest Kon Tum.

Mang Yang Pass.

Ham Rong Peak, a dormant volcano.

Graves of French soldiers.

[Photos by Gary Cantrell via Flickr user manhhai]