Area: 4,760.1 sq. km.
Population: 598 thousand habitants (April 2009)
Capital: Dong Ha City.
Town: Quang Tri
Districts: Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Cam Lo, Trieu Phong, Hai Lang, Huong Hoa, Da Krong, Con Co.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Bru - Van Kieu, Ta Oi, Hoa.
Located in North Central Vietnam, Quảng Trị province is surrounded by Quảng Bình province on the north, Thừa Thiên-Huế province on the south, Savannakhet, Laos on the west, and the East Sea on the east, with 75 kilometres (47 mi) of seaside. Except for the narrow piedmont coastal plains, the terrain is dominated by hills and the Annamite Mountains.
The highlands, characterized by steep slopes, sharp crests, and narrow valleys, are covered mainly by a dense broadleaf evergreen forest. Most of the peaks are from 4,000 feet (1,200 m) to 7,000 feet (2,100 m) feet high, but some rise above 8,000 feet (2,400 m). The narrow coastal plains flanking the highlands on the east have rocky headlands and consist of belts of sand dunes and, in areas where the soil is suitable, rice fields. From the crests that mark the drainage divide in the highlands, streams flow either east towards the South China Sea or west into Laos or Cambodia. Those flowing eastward follow short courses through deep narrow valleys over rocky bottoms until they reach the coastal plains, where they slow down and disperse.
When Vietnam was divided into North and South in 1954, Quang Tri became the northernmost province of the Republic of Vietnam, and thus it became the scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
From 1964, American bases were established in the province, and in October 1966, the 3rd Marine Division moved to bases just south of the demilitarized zone. Also in 1966, North Vietnamese forces began occupying the northern part of Quang Tri and were pushing deeper into the province.
The provincial capital, Quang Tri City, was a main area of fighting in the 1968 Tet Offensive, and was briefly taken over by the North Vietnamese. The well known Battle of Khe Sanh (1968) was a part of the North's efforts to occupy the whole of the province.
After Khe Sanh was evacuated in July 1968, the North Vietnamese continued trying to take the entire province. In 1972 the North Vietnamese captured Quang Tri (the First Battle of Qu?ng Tr?), but they lost much of it in the South Vietnamese counteroffensive in June to September, 1972 (the Second Battle of Quang Tri).
However, South Vietnamese forces were unable to hold the province during the final North Vietnamese offensive of the war (the Ho Chi Minh Campaign), and the entire province fell to the North Vietnamese in March, 1975.
After the South Vietnamese were defeated in Quang Tri, a provisional revolutionary government was established, and most of the residents fled the province. The province was heavily Catholic, and many were vehemently anti-communist. Due to the fighting, shelling, and bombing during the war, it is estimated that some 80% of the population fled the province.