VietNam History !!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Legends to Pre-History

    Lạc Long Quân @ Âu Cơ

    Thousands of years ago, Kinh Duong Vuong reigns over the Xich Quy kingdom that spread in the North up to the Blue river; in the South to Central Vietnam; in the West up to Sseutchouan; and in the East as far as the sea.

    Kinh Duong Vuong married Long Nu, a princess from Dong Dinh Ho. Because of Long Nu's origin, their son Sung-Lam, popularly known as Lac Long Quan, was believed to be descended from the line of the Dragons. He succeeded to the throne of his father, and governed the Lac Viet tribe.

    Lac Long Quan had superhuman strength. He liked to stay near the water, so he resided along the seashore. Lac Long Quan protected Lac Viet people from being harmed by devils and monsters. He helped them fight against nature disasters. He taught them how to crop and to sew. He also taught them to cook rice in the bamboo tube.

    At that time, De-Lai is a King of another northern tribe made a trip to the South. De-Lai has a daughter named Au Co. She is very beautiful.

    One day, Lac Long Quan wondered on the mountain area. He met Au Co and fell in love with her. He built her a castle on a rocky mountain. Lac Long Quan then married Au Co and lived with her.

    Au Co gave birth to a big sac. Inside there were one hundred eggs. Each egg in turn hatched into one little boy. These boys grew up very fast, became brave strong men.

    Even though Lac Long Quan had a big family, he still missed his old living near the Coast. One day, he said to Au Co:

    I am from the Dragon line. I like to dwell in the Coast. You are from the Fairy line, you like to be on highlands. Therefore we cannot live together. It is better that we separate now. You shall take fifty children to the highlands and I shall take fifty children to the Coast.

    The children then spread out, divided and ruled the lands. They were ancestors of Lac Viet.



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  • Hùng Vương

    Queen Au Co went westwards along with 50 children while King Lac Long Quan was bound down east with the other 50. His beloved son, Hung Lang, then became King of remaining in Phong Chau, Xich Quy?s capital, and reigning over the whole kingdom.

    Of these principalities, the most powerful and best organized was the Lac Viet, or Van Lang , the area of which included present-day North Viet Nam, and the northern part of Central Viet Nam. This Kingdom supposedly endured from 2879 B.C. until 258 B.C., and had 18 kings.

    King Hung Lang changed the Xich Quy national appellation into Van Lang (Country of the Lettered) and called his reign Hung Quoc Vuong.

    At that time, De-Lai is a King of another northern tribe made a trip to the South. De-Lai has a daughter named Au Co. She is very beautiful.

    Succeeding Hung Quoc Vuong was Hung Hoa Vuong who was succeeded by his eldest son Hung Hy Vuong and the latter by Hung Huy.

    King Hung Huy Vuong had 22 sons and was once in a dilemma in his selection of the ablest heir.

    One day, he said to the princes: "Who among you could find me the best food ever known, good and meaningful enough to offer our forbears? altar will get the throne."

    Lang Lieu, the King?s ninth son and also the most virtuous prince in a light sleep was instructed by an angel to use rice and make of it two kinds of cake called Banh Day (Round Rice cake) and Banh Chung (Square Rice cake). King Hung Huy Vuong was pleased with Lang Lieu's cake. Lang Lieu then won the race to the throne.

    Lang Lieu came into power under the royal appellation of Hung Chieu Vuong and was succeeded by Hung Vi Vuong, Hung Dinh Vuong, Hung Uy Vuong, Hung Trinh Vuong, Hung Vu Vuong, Hung Viet Vuong, Hung Anh Vuong, Hung Trieu Vuong, Hung Tao Vuong and Hung Nghi Vuong.

    The 18 Hung Vuong kings of the Hong Bang Dynasty reigned for some 2622 years - which would mean an average of 150 years each. So we must assume that there must have been many lesser kings whose names were forgotten long before the period of recorded history.

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  • An Dương Vương

    The Hong Bang was reigned by the 18 Hung Vuong Kings.

    During 258B.C., the Kingdom northern part of Viet Nam ruled by the Thuc Dynasty. King Thuc Vuong had asked the southern King, Hung Vuong XVIII, for his daughter's hand in marriage. When the Thuc King's request was refused, he became enraged and a feud developed between the two family dynasties. One of King Thuc Vuong's nephews, Thuc Phan, profited from the degeneracy and debauchery of Hung Vuong XVIII to invade and conquer the Van Lang Kingdom in 257, B.C., thus ending the Hong Bang dynasty.

    Thuc Phan, assumed the name of An Duong Vuong, then ruled the combined kingdoms of Viet people. The country was then known as Au Lac.

    An Duong Vuong protected his reign by constructing a spiral-shaped citadel, which was called Loa Thanh (the remaining ruins of Loa Thanh still exist in the village of Co Loa, Phu Yen province).

    In this endeavor, the King was said to have received the divine help of the Gold Turtle, who equipped the King with a supernatural cross bow which made him invincible. This weapon derived its magic from an attached claw offered by the Gold Turtle himself.

    To the north, however, the powerful Chinese King, Tan Thuy Hoang, of the Tan Dynasty, who start building Van Ly Truong Thanh (The Great Wall). Tan Thuy Hoang sent Trieu Da to extend the territories southern towards Viet Nam. An Duong Vuong defeated Trieu Da's army with his supernatural bow.

    Trieu Da then adopted the customs of the Viets, married his son Trong Thuy to the princess My Chau, daughter of King An Duong in year 208B.C.

    Trong Thuy then made a false magic crossbow. He gave it to his wife to switch with the one that King An Duong Vuong had. After having the supernatural bow, Trong Thuy came back to the North. Trieu Da sent his troop to conquer the Kingdom of Au Lac. An Duong Duong beheaded My Chau, his daughter, and drowned himself in the sea before the invaders could reach his citadel.

    Trieu Da conquered and ruled Au Lac from 207B.C.

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  • Triệu Dynasty

    Trieu Da reigned as absolute monarch under the royal name of Trieu Vu Vuong, and his new, enlarged kingdom was renamed Nam Viet. This dynasty lasted for 70 years, from 208 B.C. until the beginning of the Chinese domination. During the years of the Trieu Dynasty, Nam Viet had come gradually into the sphere of Chinese influence. In return for payment of tribute to the Court of the Han Emperor, the kingdom of Nam Viet received protection from and exchanged envoys with, the Chinese. Prince Anh Te, heir-apparent to the Nam Viet throne, was sent in his father's stead to pay the tribute demanded by the Chinese.

    When Anh Te returned in 125 B.C. to succeed his deceased father as king, he brought his Chinese concubine with him and named her as his Queen. Anh Te, who ruled under the name of Trieu Minh Vuong, died after a rule of twelve years, and was succeeded by his young son.

    The Chinese, desiring more complete control, sent an envoy to win over the young king. The Chinese Queen Mother, who had been this envoy's lover before she was taken as Prince Anh Te's concubine, conspired with the envoy to bring her son, the child king, to the side of the Chinese. Just in time, the plot was uncovered, and the top mandarin of the Nam Viet Court exposed the plan and denounced the betrayal. The other Court officials rushed in to help, killing the plotters and the young king, and pro-claiming the eldest son of Trieu Minh Vuong (Anh Te) as king, since this son was born of a Vietnamese woman.

    These developments, of course, did not please the Chinese. Less than a year later, in 111 B.C., the Chinese King, Vu De, sent two generals and five regiments to invade the territory of Nam Viet. The mandarins, powerless against such a force, were captured along with the new king, and all were killed.

    Thus began the era of Chinese domination, which lasted for some ten centuries with only brief interruptions.

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  • Chinese Millennium

    Trưng Nữ Vương ( Hai Bà Trưng )

    Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were daughters of a Lac Lord from Tay Vu, a city located on the Red River northwest of the modern capital, Hanoi. Trung Trac, the elder sister, married Thi Sach, an aristocrat from the nearby Chu Dien.

    In 39 A.D., Thi Sach was arrested and executed for complaining about taxes imposed by the Chinese prefect Su Ting. To avenge his death, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a rebellion against the Chinese. With an army of 80,000 people, the Trung sisters drove the Chinese out and reclaimed the territory extending from Hue to southern China. After their victory, the people proclaimed Trung Trac as their ruler and called her "Trung Vuong". She established her royal court in Me-linh (Hong River plain). During her rule, Trung Trac abolished the hated tribute taxes levied by the Chinese, and attempted to restore a simpler form of government, one more in line with traditional Vietnamese values.

    But the victory was short-lived. In 43A.D., under the command of General Ma Vien, the Chinese defeated Trung Trac and reclaimed the territory. Abandoned by most of their "Lac Lord" followers and refusing to surrender, the Trung sisters drowned themselves in the Hat River.

    The Trung's heroism soon inspired legends and poems, and became a source of pride for women who lived more restricted lives. Today, stories, poems, plays, postage stamps, posters and monuments still glorify the heroism of the Trung sisters.

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  • Lý Nam Đế

    After the Trung sisters' and Trieu Thi Trinh's revolts, Vietnam came once again under Chinese domination. But cruel and unjust ruling of certain Imperial Commissioners were bound to nurture resistance. Near the middle of the fifth century A.D., resistance turned into a major revolt against the Chinese.

    Ly Bon was born in Long Hung village (present-day Thai Binh province). He was a wealthy and well-educated aristocrat. At his young age, he was appointed by the governor to the position of military mandarin commander for the Chinese army. But unable to withstand the suffering endured by his people under Chinese control, Ly Bon resigned and initiated a revolt against the Chinese.

    In 541 A.D., Ly Bon defeated the Chinese and declared himself King Ly Nam De. He defied all Chinese rules to create an independent country, something that hasn't happened since the Hong Bang Dynasty more than 600 years ago. He named the country Van Xuan and established Long Bien as the capital.

    Four years later, China sent its army to invade Vietnam. Unable to hold the capital, Ly Bon withdrew his army to Phong Chau District. There, Ly Bon commanded his power to Trieu Quang Phuc, one of his most trusted and talented generals. Trieu Quang Phuc, realizing that his army could not endure a head-on battle with the Chinese, withdrew his army into the Da Trach swamp (now Hung Yen Province). In the mean time, Ly Bon withdrew his forces to Khuat Lieu, Hung Hoa where he could set up another defense line. In 548 A.D, he died of disease. A year after his death, Trieu Quang Phuc crowned himself Viet Vuong (Viet Emperor) and continued the crusade against the Chinese.

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  • Mai Thục Loan

    Mai Thuc Loan, also known Mai Hac De (Black King), was a rebel leader who led revolt against Chinese rule in early eighth-century Vietnam.

    At that time, the Tan Dynasty took control of China. It imposed a new iron-fist type of dictatorship on Vietnam, changed Vietnam's name to An Nam, forced people to pay severe tax. Mai Thuc Loan was very intelligent, born into a very poor family in Mai Phu village. He and his mother used to pick woods for living. Although people worked very hard, they still could not meet the Chiness demand. One day, Mai Thuc Loan could not stand to see others sufferred from hunger and torture, in 722 A.D., he called out to all people to stand up against the Chinese.

    His followers were at first local skilled hunters and farmers. Eventually, people from all over came to join the troop. The army resided in Hung Son. They then took over the Hoan Chau District. The army continued to multiply. One of the talented and knightly figure to join forces with Mai Thuc Loan was Mountain District Chief of Ba Vi, Phung Hap Khanh. Before long he defeated the Chinese and took over 32 districts. After Mai Thuc Loan captured the capital with the help of Chams and Khmers, he proclaimed himself emperor. Because of his dark skin, people called him Mai Hac De - meaning The Black King. Unfortunately, hia revolt was briefly successful.

    Fall of 722, China sent its new forces to put Vietnam again under its domination. Mai Thuc Loan was defeated. He withdrew to the side of Hung Son Mountain. Here, Mai Thuc Loan set up the last defense and fought to the his last breath.

    Though his victory to free Vietnam from Chinese's domination did not last, Mai Thuc Loan is still considered one of Vietnam's greatest heroes.

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  • Ngô Quyền

    The end of the Trieu Dynasty in 111 A.D. marked the beginning of the Chinese thousand years conquest. Although there were many insurrections and attempts to restore independence during that millennium, all were short-lived. Finally in 939 A.D., the provincial mandarin Ngo Quyen vanquished the Chinese. Ngo Quyen is honored as Vietnam's greatest hero for restoring Vietnamese independence, which despite centuries of turbulence, has continued through today.

    Ngo Quyen was born in 899 in Son Tay province. He was the son of a provincial officer and a native of the western Red River Delta. He was a military general under Duong Dinh Nghe, and was well known for his martial art and tactical skills, courage, wisdom and generosity. When Duong Dinh Nghe defeated the Southern Han in 931, he wedded one of his daughters to Ngo Quyen and gave him command of Ai Province.

    In 937, Duong Dinh Nghe was assassinated by one of his generals, Kieu Cong Tien. After killing the traitor, Ngo Quyen assumed responsibility for the country's affairs. In 938, aware that the Southern Han, led by Prince Hoang Thao were attacking through the Bach Dang River, Ngo Quyen devised a battle plan that would use the tide to their advantage. At low tide, he ordered his men to embed thousands of iron-tipped stakes along the mouth of the Bach Dang River. When the tide was high enough to conceal the stakes, Ngo Quyen sent his men out in small boats to lure the enemy. After a few rounds of battle, they feigned defeat and retreated into the Bach Dang River. Eager to capture them, the Han followed.

    As the Han's ships crossed the thorny bed and the water level begin to recede, Ngo Quyen ordered his men to turn back. Realizing that they were being trapped, the Han dropped their pursuit and fled in the opposite direction. By the time they reached the mouth, the tide was low enough to expose the sharp stakes, which assisted by gravity (dragging the ships down), broke through the hulls and impaled their ships. Ngo Quyen's army attacked vigorously, killing thousands of Hans and Prince Hoang Thao.

    The Han Emperor was coming to his son's aid when he received news of his son's demise. He broke down in sorrow and instructed his army return to China. With Vietnamese independence restored in 939 A.D., Ngo Quyen crowned himself Emperor. He set up the Ngo Dynasty and established the Capital at Co Loa. After ruling for five years, he passed away on January 18, 944, at the age of 45.

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  • Đinh Bộ Lĩnh

    Dinh Bo Linh was born in 923 in Hoa Lu (southern of the Red River Delta). He was the founder of Dinh dynasty and a significant figure in the restoration of Vietnamese independence in the tenth century.

    Growing up in a local village Dinh Bo Linh became a local military leader. From this anarchic era, the first independent Viet Nam emerged. Faced once more with the threat of a powerful China, Dinh Bo Linh, tried to find ways to reunify the country. On the death of the last Ngo King in 963, he seized power and founded the new kingdom in his home province at Hoa Lu. To consolidate his legitimacy, he married a member of the Ngo family.

    At first, Dinh Bo Linh had been careful to avoid antagonizing the Southern Han Empire. But in 966 he adopted the title of Emperor (Hoang De) and declared his independence from Chinese rule. Under the name of Dinh Tien Hoang De, he founded the Dinh Dynasty and called his kingdom Dai Co Viet. Well aware of the new Chinese Song dynasty's military might, Dinh Bo Linh obtained a non-aggression treaty of the country's independence in exchange for tributes payable to the Chinese every three years. This arrangement with China was carried out until the 19th Century and the advent of French colonization.

    Seven years later, however, he pacified the new Sung Dynasty by sending a tribute mission to demonstrate his fealty to the Chinese Emperor, who subsequently recognized the Vietnamese ruler as An Nam Quoc Vuong (King of Annam).

    Dinh Bo Linh energetically reformed the administration and the armed forces to strengthen the foundation of the new Vietnamese state. He established a royal court and a hierarchy of civil and military servants. He instated a rigorous justice system and introduced the death penalty to serve as a deterrent to all who threatened the new order in the kingdom.

    However, Dinh Bo Linh's reign did not last long. In 980 a palace guard killed both Dinh Bo Linh and his eldest son Dinh Lien in their sleep. He was succeeded by his six-year old son. In the meantime, the Chinese Emperor wanted to take advantage of the young King by sending an army to attack Dai Co Viet. In this crisis, Le Hoan, a general in Dinh Bo Linh's army, dispossessed the child of Dinh, killed all of his opponents in the Court, and entering into illicit relations with the Queen Mother. Le Hoan proclaimed himself King, called the Early Le Dynasty state.

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  • Century Of Independence

    Lê Hoàng

    Le Hoan, the commander in chief of the armies of Emperor Dinh Bo Linh, who also had and illicit relationship with the Queen Mother, dethroned Dinh Bo Linh's heir and proclaimed himself King Le Dai Hanh in 980. He retained the capital in Hoa Lu and succeeded in warding off several Chinese invasions by the Song Court, but continued paying them tributes every three years in exchange for a peaceful relations.

    Le Dai Hanh's reign marked the first attempt to consolidate the Viet nation. He devoted a great deal of energy to developing the road network in order to better administer the country's different regions. However, the local forces were still reluctant to toe the line to the central authority and mounted a succession of revolts.

    Le Hoan's 25 year reign was marked by foreign wars. The Tan Dynasty in China had hoped to take advantage of the instability in Vietnam by launching an invasion of its ex-dependency but Le Hoan defeated the Chinese armies in 981 and obtained official Chinese recognition of Vietnamese independence.

    On the domestic scene, the reign of Le Hoan was marked by efforts to strengthen the fragile structure of the infant Vietnamese state. He relied to a considerable degree on his sons, several of whom he appointed as governors of key provinces. Le Hoan died in 1005, leading to a fratricidal strife among his heirs. The victor himself died two years later, leaving an infant son as successor. Through intrigues at court, a mandarin by the name of Le Cong Uan was placed on the throne and founded a new Ly Dynasty.

    In 1005, after 24 years of difficult rule, Le Dai Hanh died. The Tien Le dynasty eventually collapsed after the death of one of Le Dai Hanh's heirs in 1009.

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  • Lý Công Uẩn

    The Early Le Dynasty was followed by the Great Ly Dynasty, 1010-1225, which numbered nine kings. Founder of the Ly Dynasty is Ly Cong Uan (Ly Thai To), then Ly Thai Tong, Ly Thanh Tong, Ly Nhan Tong, Ly Than Tong, Ly Anh Tong, Ly Cao Tong, Ly Hue Tong, and Ly Chieu Hoang.

    Ly Cong Uan was born in 974 and brought up by Van Hanh, a Buddhist monk for his mother died righ after giving birth. He was trained on all necessary knowledges of a leader, a scholar and a military general because the monk, who took care of him was a wise bonze-superior and could foresee the future. And Ly had become a famous general in the Le Court when he was still very young. After the death of emperor Le Long Dinh (Le Ngoa Trieu) in 1010, Ly Cong Uan was raised by the Court and brought to the throne. He styled himself Ly Thai To and became the first Ly Emperor.

    In 1010, Ly Thai To moved the capital from Hoa Lu to Dai La (presently Hanoi). According to ancient history documents, on the way, the king saw a vision of a golden dragon ascending from the Hong river. The King decided to change Dai La to Thang Long (Ascending Dragon). During the reign of eighteen years, Ly Cong Uan initiated a number of actions that would significantly affect the development of the new state.

    He reorganized the government, with the Emperor on top who decided everything and important positions in the court belonged to his relatives. The country was divided into 24 Lo (province) comprising Huyen (District). Huyen was composed of Xa (Villages). The Emperor appointed the rulers for Lo only, the Huyen and Xa were ruled by elected council. All discontents could be submitted directly to the Emperor by ringing a huge bell hung in front of royal palace.

    In 1054 the Lys re-named the country Dai Viet (Viet the Great).

    During the Ly dynasty, Buddhism flourished as the national religion. Buddhist masters, who acted as supreme advisors, assisted the Ly kings in their rule. Several Ly Kings - Thai Tong, Anh Tong and Cao Tong - led the Buddhist sects of Thao Duong and founded some 150 monasteries in the region of Thang Long. On agriculture, the Lys encouraged people to break soil by allowing them to possess that soil as own property. The education was in the first step. In 1070 a National College was founded to educate future mandarins. The Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) was established. In 1075, the first examination was held to choose the talents. Chinese scripts was official letters. Buddhism was the national religions.

    At the beginning of 1077, as predicted, the Tan took the oppotunity that King Ly Nhan Tong was still a 7 years old child, sent 100,000 soldiers to invade Vietnam, but they had been defeated at the Song Cau by Ly Thuong Kiet. The proclaimatin of the independent was made by Ly Thuong Kiet, consisted of 4 verses:

    Nam quốc sơn hà Nam đế cư
    Tiệt nhiên định phận tại thiên thư
    Như hà nghịch lỗ lai xâm phạm
    Nhữ đẳng hành khan thủ bại hư.

    Ly Dynasty started to decline at Ly AnhTong and Ly Cao Tong reign. At his youth he indulged in play, ignored the ruling. The country fell in chaos by rebellions raised everywhere and the misery of people. In 1208, the Quach Boc rebellion caused the Court taking flight from the capital, the Emperor hiden in Phu Tho now and crown prince Sam (Ly Hue Tong) hiden in Nam Dinh now. Sam then got married with Tran Thi Dung, daughter of a fisherman of that region and was supported by Tran family to fight against the Quach rebellion and won at last.

    The members of Tran family were confered the important positions in the Court. The crown prince Sam reigned in 1211 with the court that most important titles belonged to Tran family. In 1224, Ly Hue Tong was forced to hand down the throne to his younger daughter, the Chieu Thanh princess, because he had no son, and went into a Buddhist monastery. In 1227, he was forced to commit suicide by Tran Thu Do, Thai su (one of 3 positions at highest rank of the court) at his 33.

    Ly Chieu Hoang or Phat Kim, Chieu Thanh princess, reigned at her 7 years old. In an attempt to usurp the throne, Thai su Tran Thu Do sent Tran Canh, his 8-years old nephew to serve Chieu Hoang as a courtier and a boy friend and Chieu Hoang was very fond of him . At this stage, Thu Do spreaded a rumour that Chieu Hoang wished to get married with Tran Canh and the wedding was soon hold under his pressure. The last result was, in 1225, Ly Chieu Hoang ceded the throne to her husband, Tran Canh. The Ly Dynasty ended, the Tran opened.

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  • Trần Hưng Đạo ( Hưng Đạo Vương )

    Tran Hung Dao was a figure of almost legendary proportions in Vietnamese history, a brilliant military strategist who defeated two Mongol invasions and became a cultural hero among modern Vietnamese. He was born in Nam Dinh, was King Tran Thai Ton's nephew. He was talented and very intelligent. In 1283, Tran Hung Dao was appointed commander-in-chief of the Dai Viet armed forces.

    At that time, the Mongols had denominanted China, they grew more and more demanding towards Viet Nam. Despite concessions by the Tran, the Mongol court remained intransigent, dreaming of conquering both Viet Nam and Champa.

    King Tran Nhan Tong was aware of the enemy's strategy. As early as 1282 he has assembled and consulted all the princes and dignitaries on the action to be taken; their unanimous response was to fight. Prince Quoc Toan, only 16 years old, recuited 1,000 men to go to the front. By 1283, all princes and dignitaries were ordered to put their troops under the command of Tran Hung Dao.

    In the last month of 1284, the Mongol army crossed the border at Lang Son under the command of Thoat Hoan. Asked by King Tran Nhan Tong whether the Vietnamese Empire should appease the Mongols rather than fight, Tran Hung Dao had replied with a famous declaration in which he appealed to his sovereign and to the population at large, for a policy of national resistance (Hich Tuong Si).

    As the Mongols crossed the frontier. The Vietnamese force, totalling a mere of 200,000 men, was unable to withstand the first onslaught. Tran Hung Dao ordered the evacuation of the capital and was asked by the king: "The enemy is so strong that a protracted war might bring terrible destruction down upon the people. Wouldn't it be better-to lay down our arm to save the population?" The general answered: "If you want to surrender, please have my head cut off first". With that iron will, Tran Hung Dao and his men entered and won battles. The Mongols withdrawed. So scared that they called him Emperor Hung Dao (Hung Dao Vuong).

    However then Mongols returned in 1287, this time with 300,000 men. At high tide he attacked the Mongol fleet as it sailed on the Bach Dang River and lured them deep into the Vietnamese territory. The battle continued for many hours until low tide when a sudden Vietnamese counteroffensive forced the Mongol boats back, impaling them on the steel tipped bamboo burried deep in the river bed the night before. The entire troop got captured or sunk.

    The name of Tran Hung Dao is one of the greatest in Vietnamese military history. After he died of old age, King Tran Anh Tong styled him as Hung Dao Dai Vuong.

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  • The Ho Dynasty

    Le Qui Ly was born in 1400 to the Ho family with the name Ho Qui Ly. He took up the Le's last name when Le Huan adopted him. Le Qui Ly was cousin to the Queen, Le Thi, and served as minister during the Tran Dynasty.

    Taking advantage of his proximity to the King, Le Qui Ly shrewdly maneuvered his way to power. When King Tran Due Tong passed away in 1377, Le Qui Ly seized control and founded the Ho Dynasty, after his ancestral name, Ho. He ruled Viet territory for a year before sharing the throne with his son, Ho Han Thuong.

    During their reign, the Hos reorganized and reinforced the army. They revised taxes, placed restrictions on land ownerships, and opened ports to trading, taxing those as well. They also established a new fiscal system which replaced coins with bank notes and introduced the extension of royal appointments to their servants. Convinced that administrators needed to be well versed, the Hos modified the competitive examination system to demand more practical knowledge of peasant life, mathematics, history, Confucian classics and literature. They also took measures to reform the legal system and establish medical services.

    In the mean time, well aware that Ho had usurped the throne, the Chinese Ming Emperor sent 5,000 soldiers into the country to uproot the new king and reclaim Viet territory. With the pretext of helping the movement faithful to the Tran Dynasty, the Ming army assisted the rebels in bringing down the Ho Dynasty. In 1407, they succeeded and the Ming gained control of Viet territory. In the short period of occupation that followed, the Chinese strived to obliterate Vietnamese national identity. Vietnamese literature and artistic and historical works were either burned or taken to China, and were replaced by Chinese classics. Chinese dress and hair style were imposed on Vietnamese women, local religious rites and costumes were replaced or banished, and private fortunes were confiscated and transported to China.

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  • Nguyễn Trãi

    Nguyen Trai (pseudonym Uc Trai) was born in 1380 in Nhi Khe, Ha Dong province (North Vietnam), son of Nguyen Phi Khanh, a scholar and official who had been forced to go to China after the occupation of Minh dynasty, and Tran Thi Thai.

    Nguyen Trai earned his master's degree when he was only twenty years old. He was appointed to the position of deputy head provincial administrator.

    When Chinese forces occupied Vietnam in 1407 under commander Truong Phu, King Ho failed to resist the enemy. Nguyen Trai refused to collaborate with the new regime and was placed under house arrest in Thang Long, (present-day Hanoi).

    When Le Loi raised a revolt against the Ming in 1418, Nguyen Trai escaped from confinement, join the liberation army, and became Le Loi's closest adviser and the primary strategist of the latter's victory over the Chinese in 1428. Many letters and pronouncements written by him and sent in Le Loi's name to the Ming generals have been preserved in "Quang Trung Tu Menh Tap" (letters and commands from the time of military service). His best known poem is in Chinese, Binh Ngo Sach (Book on Defeating the Wu) written after victory, became Vietnam's declaration of independence. With his clever propaganda and profound writings, he contributed greatly to making Le Loi a hero in his own time.

    After victory in 1428, Nguyen Trai served the new emperor as a high official in the bureaucracy. Nguyen Trai promote integrity, righteousness, and purity of purpose.

    Nguyen Trai retired after the death of Le Thai To and the accession of the latter's son Le Thai Tong. He came back home at Con Son where he lived a simple life with integrity. Such high moral standards aroused resentment and jealousy among his colleagues in the bureaucracy and even aroused the suspicion of Emperor Le Thai To himself.

    Nguyen Trai married to Nguyen Thi Lo, a beautiful talented country girl. King Le Thai Tong became very fond of her. In 1442, King Le Thai Tong came to Con Son to visit Nguyen Trai's family. The day later the King died misteriously. Nguyen Thi Lo was accused of regicide, therefore, Nguyen Trai was executed along with his entire family.

    Twenty years later his name was rehabilitated by King Le Thanh Tong.

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  • Lê Lợi

    Le Loi was born in Lam Son (Thanh Hoa province) in 1384. He was known for his courage, wisdom and generosity. The Minh dynasty wanted to use his talent for their system, but Le Loi refused.

    The population was by this time in a state of general rebellion against the Minh Dynasty, and revolts broke out throughout the North in support of Le Loi. Le Loi style himself as Binh Dinh Vuong and raise his flag against the Chiness. Le Loi had time to consolidate his forces while the Chinese were occupied with quelling people's rebellions everywhere.

    In 1427, Le Loi organized a mock defeat to fool the Chinese reinforcements. Lured into the trap, the Chinese general was ambushed and beheaded, and the rest of his army was defeated in later battles of the same year. With tremendous help of his loyal friends Nguyen Trai and Le Lai, Le Loi founded the Le Dynasty in 1428 and became king under the name of Le Thai To. He changed the country name from An Nam to Dai Viet and started reconstructing the teritory after the devastation caused by the war. It was during this period that Christianity was first introduced to the country. The romanized Quoc Ngu script was developed by a missionary, Alexandre deRhodes; and this form of writing later supplanted the then-current Chinese-type Nom characters.

    It has been said while fighting against the Chinese, Le Loi has in his possession a very valuable sword given by a large turtle. After 10 years of continuous struggle, Le Loi reclaimed Vietnam's independence. One day, while sailing on that lake, the turtle appeared. Le Loi said "gods must have lent him the sword to drive back the enemy. Now as Vietnam is free, the sword must be returned", he then gave the sword to the turle. The turtle grab hold of the sword and submerged. Le Loi then named the lake Ho Hoan Kiem or Lake of the Returned Sword.

    Le Thai To died in 1443, at the age of 49, leaving the throne to his eleven year old son, Le Thai Tong.


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