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Far East Kingdoms

South East Asia


Nam Viet Kingdom (Second Restoration) (Vietnam)
Dinh Dynasty of Dai Co Viet (AD 968-981)

The modern-day nation state of Vietnam emerged out of prehistory's Early Vietnam. Various early (and partially legendary) kingdoms followed but northern Vietnam then endured a sequence of occupations and independence which began with the 'First Chinese Domination of Vietnam' and ended with the 'Third Chinese Domination of Vietnam'.

A series of revolts in the eighth century occupied province of Annam helped to feed the growing Viet sense of national consciousness. In AD 938, Ngo Quyen won a glorious victory against occupying Southern Han forces along the banks of the River Bach Dang.

The victory put an end to a thousand years of near-continuous Chinese domination. That was replaced with the restored Nam Viet kingdom and a long period of national independence and sovereignty which started with the Ngo dynasty.

However, Ngo control remained tenuous, sometimes barely holding onto the kingdom. This period became known as the 'Anarchy of the Twelve Warlords'. Towards its end, and beginning at Hoa Lu in today's Ninh Binh, Dinh Bo Linh defeated all twelve warlords, one after another, unifying the country in 967. The next year he made himself king, in 966 named the country 'Dai Co Viet', and established the national capital at his regional stronghold at Hoa Lu.

The new king reorganised his combined forces into a recognisable army and sorted out the kingdom's administration, appointing renowned Buddhist monks as advisers. His murder in 979 brought a six year-old child to the throne. Meanwhile the Northern Sung dynasty had largely taken control of China where order was being restored. A Sung expeditionary corps was sent to reconquer the Viet people while it was also undergoing attacks from the south by the Cham people.

Traditional House, Vietnam

(Information by Peter Kessler and the John De Cleene Archive, 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: Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Vietnam (Countrystudies), and Vietnam from the 1st to the 10th centuries AD (Vietnam National Museum of History), and Vietnam from the 10th century AD to the mid-20th century AD (Vietnam National Museum of History), and Vietnam Tourism.)

968 - 979

Dinh Tien / Đinh Bộ Lĩnh

First Dinh king, succeeding the Ngo. Murdered.


With the 'Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms' period now over and the Northern Sung firmly in control of much of Chinese territory, they have been pressuring northern Dai Co Viet (Nam Viet) borders. Đinh Bộ Lĩnh is forced to pay tribute to keep them out of the state's internal affairs.

The entrance to a Dinh dynasty temple in Nam Viet
Dinh Bo Linh defeated all twelve warlords, one after another, and unified the country in 967, before this entrance to a Dinh dynasty temple could be built

979 - 981

Dinh De Toan

Son. Aged 6 at accession. Usurped by Early Le.


The state's ruler is now aged eight, still a child and still under the direction of his advisors. This leaves plenty of scope for power struggles in the court and, now, a brief civil war which ends with Lê Hoàn usurping the throne to establish his own Nam Viet dynasty of Early Le.

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