The city’s origins date back to the ancient Champa Kingdom, established in 192 AD. At its peak, the Chams’ sphere of influence stretched from Huế to Vũng Tàu. The city of Indrapura, at the site of the modern village of Dong Duong in Quang Nam province (about 50 km (31 mi) from Da Nang), was the capital of Champa from about 875 to about 1000 AD. Also in the region of Da Nang city were the ancient Cham city of Singhapura (“City of the Lion”), the location of which has been identified with an archeological site in the modern village of Trà Kiệu, and the valley of Mỹ Sơn, where a number of ruined temples and towers can still be viewed.
In the latter half of the 10th century, the kings of Indrapura came into conflict with the Đại Việt, who were then based at Hoa Lu near modern Hanoi. In 982, three ambassadors sent to Champa by King Lê Hoàn of the Đại Việt (founder of the Early Lê Dynasty) were detained in Indrapura. Lê Hoàn decided to go on the offensive, sacking Indrapura and killing the Cham King Parameshvaravarman I. As a result of these setbacks, the Cham eventually abandoned Indrapura around 1000 AD. The Đại Việt campaign against Champa continued into the late 11th century, when the Cham were forced to cede their three northern provinces to the rulers of the Lý Dynasty. Soon afterwards, Vietnamese peasants began moving into the untilled former Cham lands, turning them into rice fields and moving relentlessly southward, delta by delta, along the narrow coastal plain. The southward expansion of Đại Việt (known as Nam Tiến) continued for several centuries, culminating in the annexation of most of the Cham territories by the end of the 15th century.