In 1998, Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City celebrated its 300th anniversary, but the period of the 75 years between 1623 and 1698 may be regarded as the time in which Saigon was founded. During this period, hundreds, and perhaps thousands of Vietnamese families migrated from the Center (the Inner Section) and the North (the Outer Section) to settle in the plains of the Dong Nai and the Mekong rivers. Saigon at that time already was booming with agricultural production, trading businesses, and handicrafts, enriching the prosperous customs tax office. Yet, all those peaceful economic activities were interrupted quite a few times.
In 1698, which is 19 years since the building of the garrison citadel and 75 years since the establishment of the customs tax collection office, the Nguyen Lord ordered Grand Mandarin Nguyen Huu Kinh (known also as Nguyen Huu Canh) to inspect the South, formalizing the control of this region.
At that time some 20,000 Vietnamese were settled in the Saigon area. They probably made up one-third of the Vietnamese population inhabiting the Dong Nai River basin. Nguyen Huu Kinh had an earth rampart built from the lower Thi Nghe Rivulet to Rach Cat to protect the northwestern and southwestern parts of Saigon; the northeastern and southeastern sides already were protected by the Thi Nghe Rivulet, the Tan Binh and the Saigon rivers.
From that time, “Saigon” was the name of the area enclosed between the watercourses and the 8,000 or 9,000-meter-long earth rampart.