Ly Dynasty
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Ly Dynasty
i C? Vi?t (1009-1054)
i Vi?t (1054-1226)

i C? Vi?t Qu?c (?)
i Vi?t Qu?c ()
Territories of the Lý dynasty
Territories of the Lý dynasty
Map of Vietnam during Lý dynasty, c. 1085
Map of Vietnam during Lý dynasty, c. 1085
StatusInternal imperial system within Song tributary[1][2]
CapitalHoa L?

Th?ng Long
Common languagesMedieval Vietnamese, Chinese[3]
o 1009-1028
Lý Thái T? (first)
o 1054-1072
Lý Thánh Tông
o 1072-1128
Lý Nhân Tông
o 1224-1225
Lý Chiêu Hoàng (last)
o 1058
Lý Thng Ki?t
o 1069-1073
Lý o Thành
o 1140-1158
Anh V?
o 1158-1179
Tô Hi?n Thành
o 1208-1211
Tô Trung T?
o 1225
Tr?n Th? (last)
Historical eraMedieval Asia
o Coronation of Lý Công U?n
21 November 1009
o War with Dali kingdom
Lý Thánh Tông change national name from i C? Vi?t to i Vi?t
Lý Chiêu Hoàng ceded the throne to Tr?n C?nh
Currencyxu, v?n
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofVietnam
CountryKingdom of i Vi?t (Vietnam)
FounderLý Công U?n
Final rulerLý Chiêu Hoàng
Estate(s)Th?ng Long

The Lý dynasty,Vietnamese: Nhà Lý, Vietnamese pronunciation: [?â: l?], ch? Nôm?, ch? Hán?, Hán Vi?t: Lý tri?u}} also known as the House of Lý, was a Vietnamese royal family that ruled the kingdom of i Vi?t from 1009 when Lý Công U?n overthrew the Early Lê dynasty and ended in 1225, when the queen Lý Chiêu Hoàng (then 8 years old) was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Tr?n C?nh. During emperor Lý Thánh Tông's reign, the official name of Vietnam became i Vi?t.

Domestically, while the Lý monarchs were devout to Buddhism, the influence of Confucianism from China was on the rise, with the opening of the first University in Vietnam in 1070 for selection of civil servants who are not from noble families.The first imperial examination was held in 1075 and Lê V?n Th?nh became the first Tr?ng Nguyên (Zhuangyuan) of Vietnam. Politically, they established an administration system based on the rule of law rather than on autocratic principles. The fact that they chose the i La Citadel as the capital (later renamed Th?ng Long and subsequently Hanoi) showed that they held onto power due to economic strength and were liked by their subjects rather than by military means like previous dynasties. Noblemen scholars such as Lê V?n Th?nh, Bùi Qu?c Khái, Doãn T? T?, ?oàn V?n Khâm, Lý o Thành, and Tô Hi?n Thành made vast contributions culturally and politically, allowing the dynasty to flourish for 216 years.



In 1009, the Early Lê dynasty passed from flourish and downfall in 29 years with 3 Emperors Lê i Hành, Lê Trung Tông and Lê Ng?a Tri?u. The last emperor Lê Ng?a Tri?u died in 1009 after evil and brutal ruling in i C? Vi?t which made him and his dynasty becoming unpopular to civilians. According to some history records of Vietnam like Khâm nh Vi?t s? Thông giám cng m?c, Vi?t s? lc, i Vi?t s? ký toàn th? all proved that in October 1009, Lê Long nh died because of consequence of his licentious life . The crown prince of Lê Long nh was still very young and he could not take the power from his dad. Then, the conference by the members of royal court was held to discuss about the fate of nation. Finally, Lý Công U?n,the high position mandarin and aristocrat was chosen by ?ào Cam M?c and V?n H?nh buddhist monk to become the new emperor of i C? Vi?t.


Statue of emperor Lý Thái T?, Hanoi.

The founder of the Lý dynasty, Lý Công U?n () had origins from Fujian province somewhere in his paternal bloodline,[4][5][6][7][8] while little is known about his maternal side except for the fact that his mother was a woman named Ph?m Th?. Very few direct details about his parents are known,[9] however, the ethnic Chinese background of Lý Công U?n, at least on his paternal side, was accepted by Vietnamese historian Tr?n Qu?c Vng.[10]

The Lý dynasty was started by Lý Công U?n, a former temple orphan who had risen to commander of the palace guard, succeeded Lê Long nh of the Early Lê dynasty in 1009, thereby founding the Lý dynasty. He took the reign name Lý Thái T?. The early Lý emperors established a prosperous state with a stable monarchy at the head of a centralized administration. The name of the country was changed to i Vi?t in 1054 by Emperor Lý Thánh Tông.

Moving the capital

After a year of enthronement, in 1010, Lý Thái T? started to move the capital from Hoa L?(Ninh Bình) to i La(Hà N?i), and renamed it Thang Long. He wrote the Edict on the Transfer of the Capital to announce his plan to move to the new place.

Thiên ?ô chi?u (), written in 1009 by Emperor Lý Thái T? when he decided to move from Hoa L? to i La (later renamed Thang Long, as known as Hanoi today).

This decision had a marked influence on Vietnam, which opening the flourishing era of the dynasty Following dynasties such as Tr?n, and M?c continued to use Thang Long as their capital, as does the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam today.

Throne crisis

In 1028, Lý Thái T? died at the age 55 with Posthumous name Th?n V? hoàng (?), buried at Th? royal tomb. In his funeral, Most of his mandarins expected crown prince Lý Ph?t Mã to take a throne however 3 of his brothers are Duke of ?ông Chinh(?ông Chinh vng),Duke of D?c Thánh(D?c Thánh vng) and Duke of V? c(V? c vng) rejected this decision, then ambushed royal palace by their own armies to steal the throne. Crown prince Lý Ph?t Mã discovered the danger, then ordered to close all the gates of palace and arranged guards for protection. However his eunuch Lý Nhân Ngh?a advised him to fight with betrayer. Thus, Lý Ph?t Mã decide to let Lý Nhân Ngh?a to lead the royal army to fight against his brothers.Lý Nhân Ngh?a succeeded in his campaign and caught V? c Vng, the 2 others escaped. After that,Lý Ph?t Mã enthroned and take the temple name Lý Thái Tông. To grant his mercy to all those who tried to opposed him, he pardoned his two brothers ?ông Chinh vng and D?c Thánh vng.

Golden era

One pillar pagoda,built by emperor Lý Thái Tông in 1049.

From the reign of Lý Thái T? with the other emperors, Lý dynasty began to focus on solving some major and minor situation:

  • Strengthen internal rule: the economy was promoted to high progress, especially agriculture. The government introduced "Hình th?" (Ministry of Punishments) as the first system of law and legislation of Vietnam after gain independence from China and opened the education system based on imperial examination of China
  • Strengthen territory reigning : The royal court tried to expanded their influence to the remote areas by managing the marriage policy such as giving princesses to marry with the other local lords for closer relationships with royal family. To conciliate those who were not loyal mto government, the emperor will order princes to eliminate the revolts.
  • Protecting country from foreigners: Resolve and reconcile some minor issues with Song dynasty, fighting against the invasion of Nanzhao and Champa.
map of Lý dynasty

One of the big event of Lý dynasty is changing name of country from i C? Vi?t () to i Vi?t () in 1054 under reign of Lý Thánh Tông.

Statue of emperor Lý Thánh Tông.

During the Lý dynasty, the Vietnamese began their long march to the south (Nam ti?n) at the expense of the Chams. In 1069, Champa Kingdom gained more support from Song dynasty so Cham stopped paying tributary to i Vi?t so this made the Vietnamese government felt angry. As the result, the emperor Lý Thánh Tông made the expedition against Champa - (Champa-i Vi?t war 1069) and successfully captured the king of Champa Rudravarman III. Then Rudravarman III have to sign a treaty with Lý Thánh Tông to cede the Qu?ng Nam, Qu?ng Tr? and Qu?ng Bình to i Vi?t which massively contributed to the expansion of i Vi?t territory. Consequently, Champa had to restore the tributary system to 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 Lý Emperors supported the improvement of Vietnam's agricultural system by constructing and repairing dikes and canals and by allowing soldiers to return to their villages to work for six months of each year. As their territory and population expanded, the Lý Emperors looked to China as a model for organizing a strong, centrally administered state. In 1070 Lý Thánh Tông ordered to construct Royal academy school to educate people. Minor officials were chosen by examination for the first time in 1075, and a civil service training institute and an imperial academy were set up in 1076. In 1089 a fixed hierarchy of state officials was established, with nine degrees of civil and military scholar officials. Examinations for public office were made compulsory, and literary competitions were held to determine the grades of officials.[11]

Depression era

Emperor Lý Nhân Tông was the longest reign ruler in the history of Vietnam. However he was childless so he had to choose some of kids of royal relatives as the successor and then Lý Dng Hoán (), his nephew was chosen to be the crown prince. In 1128, Lý Nhân Tông died at aged 63. At that time, Lý Dng Hoán enthrone at 11 year olds and took temple name Lý Th?n Tông. The incident of death of Lý Nhân Tông had marked the transition of crown succession from main line to cadet line and also ended the flourish era of Lý dynasty. After the reign of Lý Nhân Tông, all of his successors were too young and under control by regent and this led to the power competition among the regent. In the early of Lý Th?n Tông era, Most of the member of government were good people who supported emperor to rule the stable i Vi?t. Those people include Chancellor Lê Bá Ng?c(), Vice chancellor Dng Anh Nh? (), Lý Công Bình, Mâu Du ?ô () and Lý S?n ()... In Lý dynasty, Most of emperors had a favourite hobby of collecting the rare and precious treasures and this hobby become emerging when emperor Lý Th?n Tông grew up. Then this causes the increase existing of corruption, people who flattered or gave the emperor the precious good, can get into the high rank position in the court. In 1138, Lý Th?n Tông died at 23 year old after ruling in 10, years. before his death, Lý Thiên L?c (), the first son and had been granted title dauphin of i Vi?t. Nevertheless, 3 Concubines C?m Thánh, Ph?ng Thánh and Nh?t Ph?ng corrupted the eunuch T? V?n Thông () to encourage emperor to change his mind. The emperor was persuaded and replaced prince Lý Thiên T? (emperor Lý Anh Tông) as crown prince when he was 3 year old.


The Pagoda of Bái ?ính, Ninh Bình, was built in around 1136-1140 during the Lý dynasty, and was rebuilt in 2003.

After that, Concubine C?m Thánh became the empress dowager and she fell in love with Anh V? () who was sibling of empress . She had the high confidence on lover so she put him as the regent of emperor Lý Anh Tông. This situation cause some opposition of mandarin and royal members, then followed by the coup of capturing Anh V? . He was not killed but must live exile as the farmer who works for the state. The empress dowager tried to restore the position for Anh V? and she succeeded to bring him back as the regent and the chancellor. Anh V? wanted to revenge who took him down by controlling the young child emperor to pass the law against the people who got involved in the coup. The emperor unwillingly had to approve it and all people who were impeached, then executed or go exile. In 1158, Anh V? died and Tô Hi?n Thành () who was the relatives of wife of Anh V?, later become the chancellor. Different from his brother in law, Tô Hi?n Thành was the loyal subject to the Lý dynasty with skills and talents in organising military. He helped army to invade Champa and Lan Xang In 1174, dauphin Lý Long Xng caused debauchery with concubine of emperor, so he was deposed and emperor Lý Anh Tông made Lý Long Cán as dauphin. Tô Hi?n Thành still hold the regent and vice chancellor because he was too young. In 1175, emperor Anh Tông died at aged 40, reigned in 36 years. The young dauphin had to enthrone with title emperor Lý Cao Tông and Lý dynasty began deep in the decline.


Lý Cao Tông became the emperor at 3 and his mom concubine became Chiêu Thiên Chí Lý empress dowager, Her younger brother An Di became Consort kin and Tô Hi?n Thành was still a regent and teacher to teach the emperor.[12] However, Chiêu Linh empress dowager, mom of depose dauphin Lý Long Xng who tried to take the throne back for his son but not successful because of Tô Hi?n Thành's determination In middle of 1179, Chancellor Tô Hi?n Thành died when emperor Cao Tông was only 6 and An Di replace him as regent. In 1188, An Di died and Ngô Lý Tín replace his mission til death in 1190. Then, ?àm D? Mông (), younger brother of Empress An Toàn, became regent. Emperor Lý Cao Tông was raised up in the luxury life and he allowed to make court position sale which led nation into crisis. The useless or rich people could be promote as the high rank officials so this increased the social unrest, corruption, poverty and thief . Finally, these cause a lot of revolts against royal court by local leaders.

Quách B?c rebellion

The emperor Lý Cao Tông enjoyed the luxury life and exploit the property of civilians to build the palace and castle and the hatred of people was being cumulated and some revolts happened, typically Quách B?c rebellion (ch? Hán, Quách B?c chi lo?n) that was the main reason of weakening the dynasty and the power was seized by the other houses. The Governor ?oàn Thng () of H?ng province (now H?i Dng and H?i Phòng provinces) began the revolt against the court. The emperor ordered generals Ph?m B?nh Di (), Ph?m Du (), ?àm D? Mông and the others to lead army to suppress the revolt. Nevertheless, ?oàn Thng corrupted Ph?m Du to retreat his infantry and persuade emperor to retreat all soldiers successfully. ?oàn Thng got the victory Ph?m Du then was nominated to train the military in Ngh? An but he started to recruit the thief and criminals to make the robbery everywhere. Cao Tông dispatched Ph?m B?nh Di to catch Ph?m Du, the Du lost the battle and fled to H?ng province. In 1209, the emperor summoned Du back to Th?ng Long but Du slandered Ph?m B?nh and prove him innocent. However, Cao Tông trusted Du's accusation and ordered to capture Ph?m B?nh Di and his son (Ph?m Ph?). After getting news of capture his lord, the general of B?nh Di was Quách B?c () who decided to fight into the royal palace to rescue his master. Emperor Cao Tông and Ph?m Du suddenly killed B?nh Di and son and both fled to (V?nh Phú, Yên Bái). Quách B?c captured the royal palace and celebrate the funeral for his master, then made son of emperor Cao Tông (Lý Th?m) to be the new emperor. Prince Lý H?o S?m () fled to H?i ?p with his mother Empress An Toàn, they met the leader of Tr?n clan, Tr?n Lý () and scholar Ph?m Ngu both support Lý H?o S?m as the emperor. Lý H?o S?m then married to the daughter of Tr?n Lý, Tr?n Th? Dung (), after that he nominated and grant promotion to the people of Tr?n clan The emperor Lý Cao Tông thought prince S?m wanted ti be the emperor and against him. Therefore; then he fought against S?m but failing to reclaim the throne .After that, Tr?n Lý led the army against Quách B?c at capital city and won .The rebellion was ended

Rise of Tr?n clan

In winter 1216, Concubine Thu?n Trinh was granted the title as "Empress". People of Tr?n clan were nominated in some important position in the court: T? Khánh was chancellor, His brother Tr?n Th?a as interior guard with title Marquis, Phùng Tá Chu and the first son of Tr?n Th?a (Tr?n Li?u) as interior mandarin and the first son of chancellor Tr?n H?i as Duke of Hi?n o "Hi?n o vng ()". In 1217, ?oàn Thng surrendered to the court, pardoned and granted title of H?ng vng, ruler of H?ng province. At this time, emperor Lý Hu? Tông usually turn into like crazy man and calling himself as Heaven General (Thiên tng) and helike to put the flag on chignon, holding sword and shield for dancing. Then, he drank and slept after tiring. The emperor does not care about ruling country so all of power and right were relied on chancellor Tr?n T? Khánh and the main power of dynasty was gradually belonged to Tr?n clan. Most of Tr?n members have done so much achievement and they gained more belief from the emperor . Most of works just needed to be approved by Tr?n family, not via emperor anymore. In 1223, the chancellor Tr?n T? Khánh died and Tr?n Th?a replaced his position and was given more privilege from emperor "He can move freely into royal palace and does not to announce name when working at court.

Abdication of Lý Chiêu Hoàng

In 1224, a serious illness harmed the longevity of emperor Hu? Tông but he did not have a son as heir. Most of princess was sponsored by Tr?n Th? . He decided the second daughter Princess Chiêu Thánh will be crowned princess and Empress of Vietnam. Hu? Tông abdicated and gave the throne to crowned princess and become the first empress of Vietnam Empress Lý Chiêu Hoàng at 6 years old. Tr?n Th? sponsored all of events and workflow in royal court. He brought nephew Tr?n C?nh who was the second son of Tr?n Th?a to become the confidant of young empress. Both of them then had blossom closed relationship. In aim to overthrow the rule of Lý dynasty, Tr?n Th? had arranged the marriage for 2 people in next year and Tr?n Th?a later became the prince consort of Lý dynasty. Tr?n Th? then forced Lý Chiêu Hoàng to gave the throne to Tr?n C?nh(some sources said the empress did it willingly ). As the result, the large festival was held at Thiên An palace and Lý Chiêu Hoàng gave the crown to her husband. The rule of Lý was transferred to Tr?n. Then the former emperor Hu? Tông was forced to commit suicide by Tr?n Th? at Chân giáo pagoda.The Lý dynasty was collapsed and Tr?n dynasty was officially established.

Civil service system

At the central level, under the king were the Thái positions: Tam thái for the three literary mandarins (Thái s?, Thái b?o and Thái phó), and Thái úy for the martial mandarin. Under the Tháis were the Thi?u positions like Thi?u s?, Thi?u b?o, Thi?u phó, and Thi?u úy.

Administration division

Terracotta dragon head, used as architectural decoration (11th-13th century)

In 1010, Lý Thái T? changed the 10 o subdivisions into 24 l?. The l? was possibly subdivided into châu (in mountainous areas) or ph? (in the lowlands). The châu and ph? were further subdivided into huy?n and giáp, and under them hng and ?p.


During the Lý dynasty, laws in i Vi?t were primarily based on royal proclamations, although a body of law composing of civil laws, criminal laws, litigation laws, and laws dealing with marriage existed. However, because the Lý rulers were devout Buddhists, the punishments during this era were not very severe.

Modern dragon staircase built in the Ly Dynasty style, Hanoi

Foreign relations

Doãn T? T? () envoy of i Vi?t to Southern Song, China .The Emperor Xiaozong of Song granted the title of king of Annam (An Nam qu?c vng (?).) to emperor Lý Anh Tông in 30/9/1164).

The Lý dynasty has maintained trade relationships with China, the Dali Kingdom, and other Southeast Asian kingdoms.[13]

Song dynasty

In foreign relations with the Song dynasty, Vietnam acted as a vassal state, although at its zenith it had sent troops into Chinese territory to fight the Song during the Lý-Song War.[1][2]

In 1016, Lý Công U?n was appointed as Jinghai Junjie Dushi (Military Commissioner of Jinghai) and was crowned Giao Chi Quan Vuong (King of Giao Chi) by the Song emperor.[2] For the first time in the Song dynasty's relations with Vietnam, the Song dynasty reciprocated Lý tributes in 1028 as recognition of the political power of the Lý.[2] The Song dynasty also deployed officers to attend the funeral of a deceased Vietnamese king for the first time during the Lý dynasty.[2]

Tensions between the Lý and Song increased during the reign of Lý Nhân Tông (1072-1128), whose military seized Qinzhou, Lianzhou, and Yongzhou along the Lý-Song border after his attack on Champa. [2] In 1075, Song prime minister Wang Anshi informed the Song emperor of the decline in the Lý's power following its defeat by the Champa, prompting the Lý-Song War during which the Song launched a failed invasion.[2] The conflict ended after Lý Nhân Tông sought reconciliation following Lý military successes.[2]

During the era of Lý Anh Tông (1138-1175), the Song dynasty changed its name for Vietnam from Jiaozhi (Giao Chi) to Annan (Annam).[2]

Jin dynasty

In 1168, Jin Emperor Shizong sent an envoy to Th?ng Long to establish relationship. Both Jin and Song ambassadors visited Lý court in the same time, but king Anh Tông ordered do not them face together to avoid tension.[14]

Dali kingdom

In 1013, administration in mountain prefecture V? Long (now in southeast Yunnan) was Hà Tr?c Tu?n allied with Dali kingdom started rebelling against the Lý government. Dali forces and Tu?n with tribal supports invaded i C? Vi?t in spring 1014. According to An Nam chí lc by 14th-century historian Lê T?c, Dali and rebel forces numbered about 30,000 troops.[15] They occupied Bình Nguyên province (southeast Yunnan and Hà Giang province), stationed there and waited for the Lý reinforcement were coming. Lý Thái T? sent an army and crushed the rebels. Dali general Yang Zhanghe was captured. Peace was restore in mountainous border next few years.


The Lý had trade relationships with Champa and fought the one of the Cham-Vietnamese wars.[2]


Royal Buddhist paintings in B?o Nghiêm, V?nh Phúc, 1128-1138.

The main religion in the i Vi?t during the Lý dynasty was Buddhism. The first century of Lý rule was marked by warfare with Song dynasty (China) and the two Indianized kingdoms to the south, the Khmer Empire and Champa. After these threats were dealt with successfully, the second century of Lý rule was relatively peaceful, enabling the Lý Emperors to establish a Buddhist ruling tradition closely related to the other East Asian Buddhist kingdoms of that period. Buddhism became a kind of state religion as members of the royal family and the nobility made pilgrimages, supported the building of pagodas, sometimes even entered monastic life, and otherwise took an active part in Buddhist practices. Bonzes became a privileged landed class, exempt from taxes and military duty. At the same time, Buddhism, in an increasingly Vietnamized form associated with magic, spirits, and medicine, grew in popularity with the people.


Lý Chiêu HoàngLý Hu? TôngLý Cao TôngLý Anh TôngLý Th?n TôngLý Nhân TôngLý Thánh TôngLý Thái TôngLý Thái T?


See also



  1. ^ a b Anderson, James A. (2008). "'Treacherous Factions': Shifting Frontier Alliances in the Breakdown of Sino-Vietnamese Relations on the Eve of the 1075 Border War", in Battlefronts Real and Imagined: War, Border, and Identity in the Chinese Middle Period, 191-226. Edited by Don J. Wyatt. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-6084-9.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Dar, Ku Boon (2019). "The Tributary Relations between China's Song Dynasty and Vietnam's Dinh, Le and Ly Dynasties: Effects on Their Political Sustainability". Sejarah: Journal of the History Department, University of Malaya. 28 (1): 1-13.
  3. ^ Taylor 2013, p. 120.
  4. ^ Le Minh Khai (Liam Kelley Professor of Vietnam History at University of Hawaii at Manoa) (2013-09-07). The Stranger Kings of the Lý and Tr?n Dynasties. Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved .
  5. ^

    Dream Pool Essays volume 25

    Classical Chinese :

    -- ? ?25Wikisource-logo.svg Chinese Wikisource has original text related to this article: ?/?25

  6. ^ (in Chinese) ?
  7. ^ (in Chinese) ? ?
  8. ^ Lynn Pan (1998). The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas. Harvard University Press. p. 228. ISBN 0674252101.
  9. ^ Frank Ra Zen: from China to Cyberspace
  10. ^ Cuong Tu Nguyen (1997). Thi?n Uy?n T?p Anh. University of Hawaii Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-8248-1948-4.
  11. ^ The Ly dynasty
  12. ^ Ho Chi Money Trail
  13. ^ Ngô S? Liên 1993, i Vi?t s? ký toàn th?, volume 4, records IV-V, pp. 138
  14. ^ Ngô Thì S?, Khâm nh Vi?t s? thông giám cng m?c, volume 5. p. 350.
  15. ^ Lê T?c 1961, pp. 102

External links

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