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Far East Kingdoms

South East Asia


Nam Viet Kingdom (Second Restoration) (Vietnam)
Later Tran Dynasty of Dai Vet (AD 1407-1428), & Fourth Chinese Domination of Vietnam

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.

The Dinh and then the Early Le stabilised the country, while the Later Li accession was little more than a courtly formality after the death of the last viable Early Le king. The Early Tran dynasty oversaw the continuation of a strong revival in local culture and traditions, and the Tran emperors were the first to practice the art of abdicating the throne and then operating until their deaths as 'retired' emperors.

The Tran began losing efficiency and effectiveness from the mid-fourteenth century. Court advisors and ministers began grabbing power for themselves and the country declined. The death of the 'retired' Trần Thuận Tông in 1399 provided the perfect opportunity for one of those ministers, Hồ Quý Ly, to usurp the throne and set up his own short-lived Ho dynasty. Its brief reign saw the country attacked and conquered by the Ming.

The state, to which the Chinese still referred as Annam, was renamed Jiaozhi province. The capital at Thăng Long was renamed Dongguan. The Chinese occupiers undertook a systematic removal of all state archives, thereby weakening the historical record for earlier Dai Viet, while also imposing compulsory Ming dress and hair styles, along with customs. The period is equated with a 'Fourth Chinese Domination of Vietnam', although it was brief, lasting just two decades before it was ended.

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: 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).)

1407 - 1409

Lü Yi

Ming military cmdr of Jiaozhi province. Replaced Ho.

1407 - 1424

Huang Fu

Ming provincial administrator.

1407 - 1409

Giản Định / Trần Ngỗi

Tran ruler in rebellion (throne name first).

1408 - 1409

Discontent with strict Ming controls over every aspect of life is quickly stirred up. A minor rebellion by Trần Ngỗi sees various forms of Viet military banded together under his leadership. Their attempts are quashed, but the Tran leader's nephew takes up the reigns.

Ming dynasty troops
Ming Emperor Zhu Di (1360-1424) took power in the early fifteenth century after a series of bloody rebellions involving close relatives, after which he took the throne name 'Yongle'

1409 - 1413

Trùng Quang Đế / Trần Quý Khoáng

Nephew. Tran ruler in rebellion. Defeated.

1413 - 1426

Trùng Quang Đế and his forces are eventually cornered and taken captive. The lead captives are transferred to Ming China where they will undoubtedly face execution. Trùng Quang Đế manages to drown himself to avoid this fate. The Viet throne remains vacant until 1426.

1424 - 1426

Chen Qia

Ming provincial administrator.

1426 - 1428

Trần Cảo

Early Tran relative. Figurehead emperor. Murdered.

1426 - 1428

Trần Cảo is installed as Viet emperor by Lê Lợi, the rebel general who has led the fight against the Ming since 1418. Having been caught off-guard by Lan Xang siding with the Chinese, a surrender with terms had been betrayed by the Ming themselves, despite their wish to restore a native dynasty and resurrect the old tribute policy.

Ming dynasty troops
The Ming domination of Dai Viet - Annam to them - was brief, quickly succumbing to growing rebellions and a well-resourced armed movement which soon threw out their troops

The rebellion is resurrected and, with the Chinese forces beginning their withdrawal, Trần Cảo is selected as a royal figurehead, one who is thought to have Early Tran family connections. The rebellion sweeps away the last Ming controls with a series of overwhelming victories.

Now militarily strong and well-armed from captured Ming stocks (which include early muskets), the unwanted Trần Cảo is quickly disposed of (using poison). Lê Lợi founds the Later Le dynasty for a restored Dai Viet kingdom which is again fully independent.

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