|Emperor B?o i|
|Emperor of Vietnam|
|Emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty|
|Reign||8 January 1926 - 25 August 1945|
|Chief of State of Vietnam|
|Reign||13 June 1949 - 26 October 1955|
Nguy?n V?n Xuân
(as Head of Provisional government)
|Successor||Ngô ?ình Di?m |
(as President of the Republic of South Vietnam)
|Born||Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y (????)|
22 October 1913
Doan-Trang-Vien Palace, Hu?, French Indochina
|Died||30 July 1997 (aged 83)|
Val-de-Grâce, Paris, France
Hoàng Phi Ánh
Bùi M?ng ?i?p
|Issue||B?o Long (1934-2007)|
Phng Mai (1937-2021)
Phng Liên (1938)
Phng Dung (1942)
B?o Th?ng (1943-2017)
Phng Th?o (1946)
Phng Minh (1949-2012)
B?o Ân (1953)
B?o Hoàng (1954-1955)
B?o S?n (1957-1987)
|Mother||Hoàng Th? Cúc|
B?o i (Vietnamese: [?a?:w ?â:j?], Hán t?: ??, lit. "keeper of greatness", 22 October 1913 – 30 July 1997), born Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y, was the 13th and final Emperor of the Nguy?n dynasty, the last ruling family of Vietnam. From 1926 to 1945, he was Emperor of Annam, which was then a protectorate in French Indochina, covering the central two thirds of the present-day Vietnam. B?o i ascended the throne in 1932.
The Japanese ousted the Vichy French administration in March 1945 and then ruled through B?o i, who renamed his country "Vietnam". He abdicated in August 1945 when Japan surrendered. From 1949 to 1955, B?o i was the chief of state of the State of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Viewed as a puppet ruler, B?o i was criticized for being too closely associated with France and spending much of his time outside Vietnam. He was eventually ousted in a referendum vote in 1955 by Prime Minister Ngô ?ình Di?m, who was supported by the United States.
B?o i was born on 22 October 1913 and given the name of Prince Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y (?) in the Palace of Doan-Trang-Vien, part of the compound of the Purple Forbidden City in Hu?, the capital of Vietnam. He was later given the name Nguy?n V?nh Th?y. His father was Emperor Kh?i nh of Annam. His mother was the Emperor's second wife, Tu Cung, who was renamed 'Doan Huy' upon her marriage. She held various titles over the years that indicated her advancing rank as a favored consort until she eventually became Empress Dowager in 1933. Vietnam had been ruled from Hu? by the Nguy?n Dynasty since 1802. The French government, which took control of the region in the late 19th century, split Vietnam into three areas: the protectorates of Annam and Tonkin and the colony of Cochinchina. The Nguy?n Dynasty was given nominal rule of Annam.
At the age of nine, Prince Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y was sent to France to be educated at the Lycée Condorcet and, later, the Paris Institute of Political Studies. On 8 January 1926, he was made the emperor after his father's death and took the era name B?o i ("Protector of Grandeur" or "Keeper of Greatness"). He did not yet ascend to the throne and returned to France to continue his studies.
Enthronement ceremony of the emperor at the Imperial City, Hu?.
On 20 March 1934, age 20, at the imperial city of Hu?, B?o i married Marie-Thérèse Nguy?n H?u Th? Lan (died 15 September 1963, Chabrignac, France), a commoner from a wealthy Vietnamese Roman Catholic family. She was subsequently given the name Nam Phng (Direction of South). The couple had five children: Crown Prince B?o Long (4 January 1936 - 28 July 2007), Princess Phng Mai (1 August 1937 - 16 January 2021), Princess Phng Liên (born 3 November 1938), Princess Phuong Dung (born 5 February 1942), and Prince B?o Th?ng (9 December 1943 - 15 March 2017). She was granted the title of Empress in 1945.
|Nguy?n H?u Th? Lan||Empress Nam Phng||Crowned Prince B?o Long
Prince B?o Th?ng
Princess Phng Mai
Princess Phng Dung
Princess Phng Liên
|The emperor's first wife|
|Lê Th? Phi Ánh||Consort Ánh||Prince B?o Ân
Princess Phng Minh
|a distant cousin, whom he married c. 1935|
|Lý L? Hà||Mistress|
|Hoàng Ti?u Lan/ Jenny Wong/ Tr?n N?||Mistress||a Chinese actress from HongKong|
|Bùi M?ng ?i?p||Consort||Princess Phng Th?o
Prince B?o Hoàng
Prince B?o S?n
|Christiane Bloch-Carcenac||Patrick-Edouard Bloch||during the period of 1957-1970|
|Monique Baudot||Imperial Princess
Empress Thái Phng
|a French citizen whom he married in 1972|
In 1940, during the second World War, coinciding with their ally Nazi Germany's invasion of France, Imperial Japan took over French Indochina. While they did not eject the French colonial administration, the occupation authorities directed policy from behind the scenes in a parallel of Vichy France. The Japanese promised not to interfere with the court at Hu?, but in 1945, after ousting the French, coerced B?o i into declaring Vietnamese independence from France as a member of Japan's "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere"; the country then became the Empire of Vietnam. The Japanese had a Vietnamese pretender, Prince Cng , waiting to take power in case the new emperor's "elimination" was required. Japan surrendered to the Allies in August 1945, and the Viet Minh (under the leadership of communist H? Chí Minh) aimed to take power in a free Vietnam. Due to his popular political stand against the French and the 1945 famine, H? was able to persuade B?o i to abdicate on 25 August 1945, handing power over to the Vi?t Minh - an event which greatly enhanced H?'s legitimacy in the eyes of the Vietnamese people. B?o i was appointed the "supreme advisor" to H?'s Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) in Hanoi, which asserted its independence on 2 September 1945. The DRV was then ousted by the newly formed French Fourth Republic in November 1946.
Tôn Th?t ?àn, head of Minister of Justice from 1927-1933
Tr?n Tr?ng Kim, Prime Minister of Empire of Vietnam
B?o i spent nearly a year as "supreme advisor" to the DRV, during which period Vietnam descended into armed conflict between rival Vietnamese factions and the French. He left this post in 1946 and moved to Hong Kong, where the French and Vi?t Minh both attempted unsuccessfully to solicit him for political support.
Eventually a coalition of Vietnamese anti-communists (including future South Vietnamese leader Ngô ?ình Di?m and members of political/religious groups such as the Cao Dai, Hòa H?o, and VNQD?) formed a National Union and declared to support B?o i on the condition he would seek independence for Vietnam. This persuaded him to reject Vi?t Minh overtures and enter into negotiations with the French. On 7 December 1947, B?o i signed the first of the Ha Long Bay Agreements with France. Despite ostensibly committing France to Vietnamese independence, it was considered minimally binding and transferred no actual authority to Vietnam. The agreement was promptly criticized by National Union members, including Di?m. In a possible attempt to escape the resulting political tension, B?o i travelled to Europe and commenced on a four-month pleasure tour which earned him the sobriquet "night club emperor". After persistent efforts by the French, B?o i was persuaded to return from Europe and sign a second Ha Long Bay Agreement on 5 June 1948. This contained similarly weak promises for Vietnamese independence and had as little success as the first agreement. B?o i once again travelled to Europe whilst warfare in Vietnam continued to escalate.
After months of negotiations with French President Vincent Auriol, he finally signed the Élysée Accords on 9 March 1949, which led to the establishment of the State of Vietnam with B?o i as Chief of State. However, the country was still only partially autonomous, with France initially retaining effective control of the army and foreign relations. B?o i himself stated in 1950: "What they call a B?o i solution turned out to be just a French solution... the situation in Indochina is getting worse every day".
As Di?m and other hardcore nationalists were disappointed in the lack of autonomy and refused high government posts, B?o i mainly filled his government with wealthy figures strongly connected to France. He then spent his own time in the resort towns of Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Buôn Ma Thu?t, largely avoiding the process of governing. All this contributed to his reputation as a French puppet and a rise in popular support for the Vi?t Minh, whose armed insurgency against the French-backed regime was developing into a full-fledged civil war. Nonetheless, in 1950 he attended a series of conferences in Pau, France where he pressed the French for further independence. The French granted some minor concessions to the Vietnamese, which caused a mixed reaction on both sides.
In addition to the increasing unpopularity of the B?o i government, the communist victory in China in 1949 also led to a further revival of the fortunes of the Vi?t Minh. When China and the Soviet Union recognized the DRV government, the United States reacted by extending diplomatic recognition to B?o i's government in March 1950. This and the outbreak of the Korean War in June led to U.S. military aid and active support of the French war effort in Indochina, now seen as anti-communist rather than colonialist. Despite this, the war between the French colonial forces and the Vi?t Minh started to go badly for the French, culminating in a major victory for the Vi?t Minh at ?i?n Biên Ph?. This led to the negotiating of a 1954 peace deal between the French and the Vi?t Minh, known as the Geneva Accords, which partitioned Vietnam at the 17th parallel. The north side was given to the DRV, with the State of Vietnam receiving the south. B?o i remained "Head of State" of South Vietnam, but moved to Paris and appointed Ngô ?ình Di?m as his prime minister.
At first, Ngô ?ình Di?m exercised no influence over South Vietnam: the Vi?t Minh still had de facto control of somewhere between sixty and ninety percent of the countryside (by French estimates), whilst the rest was dominated by the various religious sects. Meanwhile, the new capital of Saigon was under the total control of criminal group Bình Xuyên. According to Colonel Lansdale, it had paid B?o i a "staggering sum" for control of local prostitution and gambling and of Saigon's police force.
Regardless, Di?m's forces embarked on a campaign against the Bình Xuyên, with fighting breaking out in the streets on 29 March 1955. In an attempt to protect his clients, B?o i ordered Di?m to travel to France, but he was disobeyed and Di?m eventually succeeded in pushing his opponents out of the city. Using a divide and conquer strategy, Di?m then employed a mixture of force and bribery to sway the remaining religious sects to his side.
Now with a broad range of support, a new Popular Revolutionary Committee (formed by Di?m's brother Ngô ?ình Nhu) was able to call for a referendum to remove B?o i and establish a republic with Di?m as president. The campaign leading up to the referendum was punctuated by personal attacks against the former emperor, whose supporters had no way to refute them since campaigning for B?o i was forbidden.
In any case, the 23 October referendum was widely condemned as being fraudulent, with the official results showing an implausible result of 98.9% in favor of a republic, while there was also evidence of widespread ballot box stuffing: the number of votes for a republic exceeded the total number of registered voters by 155,025 in Saigon, while the total number of votes exceeded the total number of registered voters by 449,084, and the number of votes for a republic exceeded the total number of registered voters by 386,067.
B?o i was removed from power, with Di?m declaring himself president of the new Republic of Vietnam on 26 October 1955.
In 1957, during his visit to Alsace region, he met Christiane Bloch-Carcenac with whom he had an affair for several years. This relationship with Bloch-Carcenac resulted in the birth of his last child, Patrick Edward Bloch, who still lives in Alsace in France.
In 1972, B?o i issued a public statement from exile, appealing to the Vietnamese people for national reconciliation, stating, "The time has come to put an end to the fratricidal war and to recover at last peace and accord". At times, B?o i maintained residence in southern France, and in particular, in Monaco, where he sailed often on his private yacht, one of the largest in Monte Carlo harbor. He still reportedly held great influence among local political figures in the Qu?ng Tr? and Th?a Thiên provinces of Hu?. The Communist government of North Vietnam sent representatives to France hoping that B?o i would become a member of a coalition government which might reunite Vietnam, in the hope of attracting his supporters in the regions wherein he still held influence.
As a result of these meetings, B?o i publicly spoke out against the presence of American troops on the territory of South Vietnam, and he criticized President Nguy?n V?n Thi?u's regime in South Vietnam. He called for all political factions to create a free, neutral, peace-loving government which would resolve the tense situation that had taken form in the country.
In 1982, B?o i, his wife Monique, and other members of the former imperial family of Vietnam visited the United States. His agenda was to oversee and bless Buddhist and Caodaiist religious ceremonies, in the Californian and Texan Vietnamese-American communities.
Throughout B?o i's life in both Vietnam and in France, he remained unpopular among the Vietnamese populace as he was considered a political puppet for the French colonialist regime, for lacking any form of political power, and for his cooperation with the French and for his pro-French ideals. The former emperor clarified, however, that his reign was always a constant battle and a balance between preserving the monarchy and the integrity of the nation versus fealty to the French authorities. Ultimately, power devolved away from his person and into ideological camps and in the face of Diem's underestimated influences on factions within the empire.
Crown prince V?nh Th?y (right) and his cousin V?nh C?n in Paris (1926) during studying aboard in France
Abd Al Rahman Barjach Pasha of Rabat, B?o i and prince V?nh C?n in 1932
The last cash coin ever produced in the world bears the name of B?o i in Chinese characters. There are three types of this coin. Large cast piece with 10 v?n inscription on the reverse, medium cast piece with no reverse inscription, and small struck piece. All were issued in 1933.
|Symbols created and / or used during the reign of B?o i|
|Emperor of the Nguy?n dynasty|
|8 imperial seals created for Emperor B?o i.||See Seals of the Nguy?n dynasty.|
|Personal standard of emperors Kh?i nh and B?o i||Flag ratio: 2:3.|
|Personal coat of arms of B?o i.||The coat of arms of the Nguy?n dynasty, but with the Hán (Chinese) characters "" written on the paper scroll.|
|B?o i Thông B?o
|The last cash coins issued by a government in both Vietnam and the world.|
|B?o i B?o Giám
|A series of silver coins bearing his reign era.|
|Chief of State of Vietnam|
|Seal as the chief of state of Vietnam.||A seal with the inscriptions "Qu?c-gia Vi?t-Nam", "c B?o i - Qu?c-trng" written in Latin script and "?" in seal script.|
|Personal standard||Flag ratio: 2:3. Influences:|
B?o iBorn: 22 October 1913 Died: 30 July 1997
| Emperor of Vietnam
8 January 1926 - 25 August 1945
Nguy?n V?n Xuân
| Head of State
13 June 1949 - 30 April 1955
Ngô ?ình Di?m
|Titles in pretence|
|Loss of title
|-- TITULAR --
Emperor of Vietnam
25 August 1945 - 30 July 1997