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71 Years After His Death, Alexandre Yersin Gets Vietnamese Citizenship

One of the most respected foreigners in the annals of Vietnamese history, Alexandre Yersin, has posthumously been awarded “honorary Vietnamese citizenship.” 

The announcement was made by the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in Nha Trang on September 22, the 151st anniversary of his birth, according to Voice of Vietnam.

Yersin arrived in Vietnam for the first time in 1890 as a physician for the Messageries Maritime Company.

In 1894, while investigating the Manchurian Pneumonic Plague in Hong Kong, Yersin discovered the bacterium that causes the bubonic plague. The bubonic plague had been responsible for The Black Death in 14th century Europe, resulting in the deaths of up to 200 million people.

For the remainder of his life, Yersin would spend most of his time in Vietnam. In addition to conducting further research on the bubonic plague, Yersin also dabbled in agriculture. He imported rubber trees from Brazil for cultivation (rubber farming has grown into a $2 billion+ industry in Vietnam) and even took a stab at preventing malaria by acclimatizing trees that contained quinine, a substance proven effective in the fight against the disease. 

Already famous for discovering small things, Yersin was also credited for discovering the site that would eventually become the city of Dalat. When he passed away in 1943, Yersin was a renowned figure all over the world, but nowhere more so than in his adopted country of Vietnam.

He was buried in Nha Trang, with the epitaph, “Benefactor and humanist, venerated by the Vietnamese people” etched on his gravestone.   

And this is pretty much what it takes if you’re a non-Viet Kieu looking to acquire Vietnamese citizenship. Or just be really good at football.

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