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Far East Kingdoms

South East Asia


Champa States (Vietnam)
192 BC - AD 1471

Strongly influenced by India even down to the names of its kings. Its name may have originated from the capital of the Indian Iron Age kingdom of Anga. The capital of this kingdom (and a series of semi-independent polities) was at Indrapura. It formed during the Sa Huỳnh culture of central and southern Vietnam which also saw the brief rise of the Au Lac kingdom to its north.

The Later Li and Early Tran dynasties of Nam Viet's history saw a strong revival in local culture and traditions. Inspiration for this came apparently from Champa in the south, a state which managed to retain its own thriving culture while the north was under Chinese control. Now the kings of Nam Viet drew inspiration from Champa for their architecture, sculpture, music, and the creation of a very Vietnamese capital, even while the state retained outside influences.

The Cham people of Xianglin county (near today's Huế) revolted in AD 100, due to high taxes. The Cham plundered and burned down Han centres until the rebellion was put down in the same year, with the leaders being executed but Xianglin being granted a two-year taxation respite.

In AD 136 and 144 the Cham people launched two further rebellions which provoked mutinies in the imperial army. It appears that the governor of Jiaozhi tricked them with offers of clemency into surrendering.

The Cham people under Khu Liên revolted again in AD 192, founding the independent central Vietnamese Champa kingdom of Lâm Ấp. In 248, Lâm Ấp forces invaded 'Chinese Dominated Nam Viet' from the south, seized most of Rinan, and marched on into Jiuzhen, provoking major uprisings there and in Jiaozhi. In Jiuzhen, a Lạc Việt woman named Triệu Ẩu (Lady Triệu) led a rebellion against the Wu in the same year, but was suppressed by Lu Yin. Frustrated by the difficulty of trade with Nam Viet territories due to the turmoil engendered by the 'Sixteen Kingdoms of the Five Barbarians', Lâm Ấp itself resorted from 323 to seaborne raids on northern ports in Jiaozhou. Although defeated in 399, Lâm Ấp continued its raids on Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen for two decades.

The state's eventual conquest meant its culture was submerged by a Chinese-influenced one.

To its south, existing approximately between AD 68-550, is the little-known kingdom of Funan which is closely linked to the Óc Eo culture. At its height it would appear to have entirely surrounded Champa on all sides save for the narrow northern border and the South China Sea to Champa's east.

Traditional House, Vietnam

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from Vietnam: A New History, Christopher Goscha, from Early Mainland Southeast Asia, C Higham (River Books Co, 2014), from Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopaedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor, Keat Gin Ooi (ABC-Clio, 2004), and from External Links: Cultural elements of Cham Pa in Dai Viet capital and its vicinity, Nguyen Tien Dong (TiaSang.com), and Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Vietnam (Countrystudies), and Vietnam in the First State Foundation Period (Vietnam National Museum of History).)

AD 100

The 'Second Chinese Domination of Vietnam' is generally peaceful, despite a dedicated process of Sinicisation taking place. The Cham people of Xianglin county (near today's Huế in coastal central Vietnam) still revolt though, due to high taxes.

The Cham plunder and burned down occupying Late Han centres until the rebellion is put down in the same year. The leaders are executed, but Xianglin is granted a two-year taxation respite.

136 & 144

Again during the 'Second Chinese Domination of Vietnam', the Cham refuse to be fully controlled by the Late Han. In AD 136 and 144 they launch two further rebellions which provoke mutinies in the imperial army. It appears that the governor of Jiaozhi tricks them into surrendering by means of offers of clemency.


A local leader named Chu Đạt revolts with an army of four or five thousand behind him. The Chu Đạt Rebellion ends in a massacre, with perhaps half of the army being beheaded.


Chu Đạt

Cham rebel leader in Nam Viet.


The Cham people revolt yet again during the 'Second Chinese Domination of Vietnam'. This time, under Khu Liên, they remain undefeated, founding the independent central Vietnamese kingdom of Lâm Ấp.


The opening up of southern China to the Sui has renewed contact with the kings of Nam Viet following the termination of the 'Second Chinese Domination of Vietnam'. Emperor Wen has demanded that King Lý Phật Tử accepts vassal status but is refused.

Now he launches an invasion of the Nam Viet state, conquering it and sending Lý Phật Tử to the Sui capital to be executed. Nam Viet is integrated under Chinese rule as part of the 'Third Chinese Domination of Vietnam'.

938 - 939

Ngô Quyn defeats the Southern Han at the Battle of Bch-đng river, establishing Annam's permanent independence and ending the 'Third Chinese Domination of Vietnam'. In the following year he drops the Tang titles which have been used by his predecessors, replacing them with the Vietnamese form of 'king'. He founds the Ngo dynasty of a restored Nam Viet kingdom.

? - 982

Jaya Paramesvaravarman I

Cham ruler. Killed in battle.


With the northern flank secure, the Viet ruler, Lê Hoàn, turns his attention to the south which has suffered recently from a number of Champa raids. Known as the Champa-Dai Viet War of 982 (or the Cham-Vietnamese War of 982), the Viet ruler leads a military expedition against the Champa ruler, Jaya Paramesvaravarman I.

The campaign results in the defeat of the Cham forces and the death in battle of Paramesvaravarman I. The threat of Cham raids is ended and instead it is the Viet people who now begin a southwards push to absorb increasing amounts of Cham lands.

? - 1044

Jaya Simhavarman II

Cham ruler. Killed in battle.


Thái Tông of Dai Co Viet invades Champa by sea, killing the Cham king, Jaya Simhavarman II. A large amount of plunder is taken, along with five thousand prisoners and much else. The Cham captives settle in Nghệ An, in Cham-style villages where they generally serve as personal servants for the nobility or provide labour to religious establishments.

fl 1069

Rudravarman III

Cham ruler. Surrendered land to Dai Viet.


With strong Northern Sung encouragement, the people of Champa have been raiding heavily into southern Dai Viet. Now Lý Thánh Tông leads seaborne invasion, captures the king, Rudravarman III, defeats the Cham army, and burns Vijaya. Rudravarman buys his release by handing over three regions: Địa Lý, Ma Linh, and Bố Chính (Quảng Bình and Quảng Trị provinces in today's Vietnam).

1075 - 1076

The Northern Sung have introduced revolutionary and very fair-minded economic reforms. Nevertheless, these have incensed opponents who would rather retain the old tithe and tribute practices. Lý Nhân Tông of Dai Viet and his regent mother see an opportunity to interfere militarily, sparking the Sino–Vietnamese War of 1075-1076.

The Viet besiege Yongzhou but suffer high casualties due to resistance from inside the city walls. When they finally break through those walls they slaughter close to sixty thousand people.

The Sung response is delivered in 1076 in the form of an invasion of Dai Viet. Sung vassal states - Khmer and Champa - support them. Fortunes swing and both sides win a major battle, but casualties are tremendously high. Both sides are happy to sue for peace and the Sung withdraw, gradually.

The Champa subsequently find themselves under attack in several large raids as a result of their hostility. Several Viet successes follow, with the last being in 1104. The southern border is stabilised and raiding is again halted.

fl 1152

Jaya Harivarman I

Cham ruler. Defeated Dai Viet invasion.


The decision is taken to invade Champa in support of the Dai Viet ally there, Vangsaraja. The Cham ruler, Jaya Harivarman I, is capable of defending his territory, however. The two leading generals of the Viet forces are killed in battle and the Viet forces are repulsed. Even so, it is Jaya Harivarman who heals the rift by sending a daughter to be the emperor's concubine.

The Champa temple of Thap Duong Long
While the impressive temple structures of Thàp Duong Long were most likely constructed as a Champa symbol of pride, designed with the Cham architectural style in mind, elements of the Khmer culture were also incorporated in the structures

1167 - ?

Jaya Indravarman IV

Cham ruler.

? - 1203


Cham ruler. Fled to Dai Viet. Fled again to avoid murder charge.

1284 - 1288

The second Mongol invasion of Dai Viet begins under the command of Toghan, a son of Kublai Khan and a general of his newly-formed Yuan dynasty. They advance simultaneously from the north (the main force) and south (through Champa). The Dai Viet wisely defend and retreat, rarely engaging in heavy combat until circumstances favour them.

Those circumstances turn so that the southern Mongol force is defeated in a pitched battle in April 1285, while the northern force is persuaded through gifts (including the provision of a spare princess) to hold off.

The third Mongol invasion starts in 1287. This time the battle-hardened Dai Viet are ready. The invasion is decisively defeated in 1288 and Mongol ambitions for southern expansion are extinguished.

? - 1307

Jaya Simhavarman III / Chế Mân

Cham ruler.


Having developed good relations during his six month stay at the Champa court in 1301, Trần Nhân Tông of Dai Viet now offers a daughter in marriage to the Champa ruler in exchange for two Cham provinces. Dai Viet expands farther into the south.

1307 - 1312

Jaya Sinhavarman IV / Chế Chí

Son. Captured and died in Dai Viet prison.

1307 - 1312

With his Dai Viet mother having escaped a death on his father's funeral pyre, Chế Chí sets out to retake the two provinces which had been given as a price for the marriage. He fails and is captured and imprisoned in Dai Viet, where he soon dies. It is Trần Anh Tông of Dai Viet who selects his successor.

1312 - ?

Che Da-a-ba-niem

Uncle. Selected by Dai Viet.

1318 - 1326

Relations with Champa have soured since the events of 1312. Dai Viet has strengthened its southern border while maintaining cordial relations with the Yuan in the north.

In 1318 a Dai Viet army campaigns into Champa, seeing significant success and destroying significant portions of the Cham armed forces. Che Nang is forced to flee to Java, although the Viet also lose an important marquis of their own. It takes until 1326 for the Cham people under Che Anan to throw off Viet overlordship.

? - 1318

Che Nang

Fled to Java.

fl 1326

Che Anan

Restored Cham independence.

1341 - 1369

During this period Dai Viet begins to decline, and especially following the death of Trần Minh Tông. The battles of the preceding thirty years or so have sapped the army of capable leaders, and court rivalries are beginning to spiral out of control.

The Viet suffer several border skirmishes with the Champa people in which they suffer casualties and discouraging setbacks. Even the kingdom of Lan Xang now finds success in battle against Dai Viet.

Champa My Son temple
The Mỹ Sơn Hindu temple was indicative of Champa's religious inclinations at this time, and also of its Indian influences, which were prevalent across much of South-East Asia

c.1360 - 1390

Chế Bồng Nga / Po Binasor

Twice defeated Dai Viet and sacked Hanoi. Killed.

1370 - 1371

Following his unofficial removal from the throne, Hôn Đức Công enrages the Dai Viet court by killing a mandarin who advises formal abdication. The new emperor, Trần Nghệ Tông, has him beaten to death along with his son.

His mother flees to the Champa court of Po Binasor, begging for retribution. The Cham king and his people, seeing the discord in Dai Viet, launch an attack in 1371 which enters the capital. The Cham troops loot the city before withdrawing.


As the increasingly powerful Dai Viet court officials gain control at the expense of the relatively weak 'retired' emperor and his puppet figureheads, the emperor is forced (both internally and externally) to lead an army across the border of Champa. The campaign is a disaster, with much of the leading nobility wiped out by the forces of Po Binasor, including the emperor.


Despite all the courtly intrigues and manoeuvring, Dai Viet's Trần Thuận Tông is able to find a general who can lead the beleaguered Dai Vet forces to victory against Champa. The troublesome Po Binasor is killed and the immediate threat of further invasion is removed. The Tran continue to oversee a national decline, however.

fl 1400 - 1403

Jaya Simhavarman V

Cham ruler. Lost territory.

1400 - 1403

The new emperor of Dai Ngu (Dai Viet), Hồ Quý Ly / Kui Li, sends three military expeditions into Champs. The first and last of those fails, with losses, but the second - in 1402 - is a success. The defeated Champa king, Jaya Simhavarman V, has to relinquish southern Quảng Nam and northern Quảng Ngãi to Dai Ngu.

fl 1446

Maha Vijaya

Cham ruler. Defeated and captured.

1446 - 1447

Following two heavy Champa raids (in 1444 and 1445), the forces of Dai Viet now campaign into Champa. Its capital and king are both captured and held for a year before the Viet forces are apparently forced out of the country. Two decades of peace now follows between the two kingdoms.


Dai Viet annexes the Champa capital of Vijayal (later Binh Dinh) and territory to the north of Mui Deiu (which itself is a little to the south of Qui Nhon). This forms the main core of Champa. The southernmost remainder of Champa becomes a vassal of Dai Viet.

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