Nguy%E1%BB%85n Dynasty
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Nguy%E1%BB%85n Dynasty

i Vi?t qu?c (1802-1804)
Vi?t Nam qu?c (1804-1839, 1945)i Nam qu?c (1839-1945)

Royal anthemng ?àn cung
( "The Emperor Mounts His Throne")
Vietnam at its greatest territorial extent in 1840 (under Emperor Minh M?ng), superimposed on the modern political map
Vietnam at its greatest territorial extent in 1840 (under Emperor Minh M?ng), superimposed on the modern political map
Administrative divisions of Vietnam in 1838 (under Emperor Minh M?ng)
Administrative divisions of Vietnam in 1838 (under Emperor Minh M?ng)
StatusInternal imperial system within Chinese tributary (1802-1884)[1][2]French protectorate (1884-1945)[3][4]Puppet state of the Empire of Japan (1945)[5][6]
CapitalPhú Xuân (now Hu?)
16°28?N 107°36?E / 16.467°N 107.600°E / 16.467; 107.600
Common languagesVietnameseWritten Classical Chinese[7][8][a]
, Buddhism, Catholicism
o 1802-1820 (first)
Gia Long
Hi?p Hòa
o 1926-1945 (last)
B?o i
1 June 1802
5 June 1862
6 June 1884
9 March 1945
25 August 1945
1830557,000 km2 (215,000 sq mi)
o 1830
o 1858
o 1890
CurrencyZinc and copper-alloy cash coins (denominated in ph?n, v?n, m?ch, and quán)
Silver and gold cash coins and ingots (denominated in phân, nghi, ti?n, and l?ng / lng)
Today part ofVietnam

The Nguy?n dynasty (Ch? Nôm?, Vietnamese: Nhà Nguy?n; Hán t??, Vietnamese: Nguy?n tri?u) was the last Vietnamese dynasty, which ruled Vietnam largely independently from 1802 to 1883. During its existence, the empire expanded into modern-day southern Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos through a continuation of the centuries-long Nam ti?n and Siamese-Vietnamese wars. After 1883, the Nguy?n emperors ruled nominally as heads of state of the French protectorates of Annam and Tonkin until the final months of WWII; they later nominally ruled over the Empire of Vietnam until the Japanese surrender.

The Nguy?n family established feudal rule over large amounts of territory as the Nguy?n Lords by the 16th century before defeating the Tây S?n dynasty and establishing their own imperial rule in the 19th century. The dynastic rule began with Gia Long ascending the throne in 1802, after ending the previous Tây S?n dynasty. The Nguy?n dynasty was gradually absorbed by France over the course of several decades in the latter half of the 19th century, beginning with the Cochinchina Campaign in 1858 which led to the occupation of the southern area of Vietnam. A series of unequal treaties followed; the occupied territory became the French colony of Cochinchina in the 1862 Treaty of Saigon, and the 1863 Treaty of Hu? gave France access to Vietnamese ports and increased control of its foreign affairs. Finally, the 1883 and 1884 Treaties of Hu? divided the remaining Vietnamese territory into the protectorates of Annam and Tonkin under nominal Nguyen dynasty rule. In 1887, Cochinchina, Annam, Tonkin, and the French Protectorate of Cambodia were grouped together to form French Indochina.

The Nguy?n dynasty remained the formal Emperors of Annam and Tonkin within Indochina until World War II. Japan had occupied Indochina with French collaboration in 1940, but as the war seemed increasingly lost, overthrew the French administration in March 1945 and proclaimed independence for its constituent countries. The Empire of Vietnam under Emperor B?o i was a nominally independent Japanese puppet state during the last months of the war. It ended with B?o i's abdication following the surrender of Japan and August Revolution by the anti-colonial Vi?t Minh in the August 1945. This ended the 143-year rule of the Nguy?n dynasty. Many Vietnamese historians have a harsh and poor assessment of the Nguy?n Dynasty.[9]


In 1802, the Jiaqing Emperor of the Qing dynasty rejected Gia Long's proposal to name his nation Nam Vi?t after the ancient state, and instead bestowed the name Vi?t Nam () by imperial decree during Gia Long's reign.[10][11][12] It was known as i Vi?t Nam () by nations other than Qing China.[] In 1839, under the rule of Emperor Minh M?ng's, i Vi?t Nam was shortened to i Nam (, which means "Great South");[13][better source needed] the abbreviation i Vi?t (, which means "Great Viet") was forbidden, since it was the name used by several previous dynasties as well.[]


Nguy?n lords

The Nguy?n family clan, originated in the Thanh Hóa Province, exerted substantial political influence and military power, in particular throughout early modern Vietnamese history. Affiliations with the ruling elite date back to the tenth century when Nguy?n B?c was appointed the first Grand Chancellor of the short-lived ?inh dynasty under ?inh B? L?nh in 965.[14] Nguy?n Th? Anh, a queen consort of emperor Lê Thái Tông served as official regent of Annam for her son emperor Lê Nhân Tông between 1442 and 1453.[15]

In 1527 M?c ng Dung, after defeating and executing the Lê vassal Nguy?n Hoang Du in a civil war emerged as the intermediate victor and established the M?c dynasty by deposing emperor Lê Cung Hoàng of the once prosperous but rapidly declining later Lê dynasty. Nguy?n Hoang Du's son Nguy?n Kim and his Tr?nh lord allies remained loyal to the Lê and attempted to restore the Lê dynasty to power, thereby reigniting the civil war.[16][17]

Nguy?n Kim, who had served as leader of the alliance during the six-year conquest of the Southern Dynasty against M?c ng Dung, was assassinated in 1545 by a captured M?c general. Kim's son-in-law, Tr?nh Ki?m (who had killed the eldest son of Nguy?n Kim), took command of the alliance. In 1558, Lê Anh Tông, emperor of the re-established Lê dynasty entrusted Nguy?n Hoàng (Kim's second son) with the lordship of the southern part of central Vietnam, which had been conquered during the 15th century from the Champa principalities.[18]

Nguy?n Hoàng chose the city of Hu? as his residence and established the dominion of the Nguy?n Chúa (Vietnamese: lords) in the southern part of the country. Although the Nguy?n and Tr?nh lords ruled as de facto kings in their respective lands, they paid official tribute to the Lê emperors in a ceremonial gesture, as imperial power was confined to representation.

Nguy?n Hoàng and his successors continued their rivalry with the Tr?nh lords, expanded their territory by making parts of Cambodia a protectorate, invaded Laos, captured the last vestiges of Champa in 1693 and ruled in an unbroken line until 1776.[19][20][21]

Tây S?n-Nguy?n war (1771-1802)

The end of the Nguy?n lords' reign

Red, pink and white book cover
The cover of Tân Dân T?'s (1875-1955) 1930 book, Gia Long t?u qu?c, depicted the exile of Nguy?n Ánh.

The 17th-century war between the Tr?nh and the Nguy?n ended in an uneasy peace, with the two sides creating de facto separate states although both professed loyalty to the same Lê dynasty. After 100 years of domestic peace, the Nguy?n lords were confronted with the Tây S?n rebellion in 1774. Its military had had considerable losses in manpower after a series of campaigns in Cambodia and proved unable to contain the revolt. By the end of the year, the Tr?nh lords had formed an alliance with the Tây S?n rebels and captured Hu? in 1775.[22]

Nguy?n lord Nguy?n Phúc Thu?n fled south to the Qu?ng Nam province, where he left a garrison under co-ruler Nguy?n Phúc Dng. He fled further south to the Gia nh Province (around modern-day Ho Chi Minh City) by sea before the arrival of Tây S?n leader Nguy?n Nh?c, whose forces defeated the Nguy?n garrison and seized Qu?ng Nam.[23]

In early 1777 a large Tây S?n force under Nguy?n Hu? and Nguy?n L? attacked and captured Gia nh from the sea and defeated the Nguy?n Lord forces. The Tây S?n received widespread popular support as they presented themselves as champions of the Vietnamese people, who rejected any foreign influence and fought for the full reinstitution of the Lê dynasty. Hence, the elimination of the Nguy?n and Trinh lordships was considered a priority and all but one member of the Nguy?n family captured at Saigon were executed.

Nguy?n Ánh escapes

The 13-year-old Nguy?n Ánh escaped and with the help of the Vietnamese Catholic priest Paul H? V?n Ngh? soon arrived at the Paris Foreign Missions Society in Hà Tiên. With Tây Son search parties closing in, he kept on moving and eventually met the French missionary Pigneau de Behaine. By retreating to the Th? Chu Islands in the Gulf of Thailand, both escaped Tây S?n capture.[24][25][26]

Pigneau de Behaine decided to support Ánh, who had declared himself heir to the Nguy?n lordship. A month later the Tây S?n army under Nguy?n Hu? had returned to Quy Nh?n. Ánh seized the opportunity and quickly raised an army at his new base in Long Xuyên, marched to Gia nh and occupied the city in December 1777. The Tây S?n returned to Gia nh in February 1778 and recaptured the province. When Ánh approached with his army, the Tây S?n retreated.[27]

By the summer of 1781, Ánh's forces had grown to 30,000 soldiers, 80 battleships, three large ships and two Portuguese ships procured with the help of de Behaine. Ánh organized an unsuccessful ambush of the Tây S?n base camps in the Phú Yên province. In March 1782 the Tây S?n emperor Thái c and his brother Nguy?n Hu? sent a naval force to attack Ánh. Ánh's army was defeated and he fled via Ba Gi?ng to Svay Rieng in Cambodia.

Nguy?n-Cambodian agreement

Ánh met with the Cambodian King Ang Eng, who granted him exile and offered support in his struggle with the Tây S?n. In April 1782 a Tây S?n army invaded Cambodia, detained and forced Ang Eng to pay tribute, and demanded, that all Vietnamese nationals living in Cambodia were to return to Vietnam.[28]

Chinese Vietnamese support for Nguy?n Ánh

Support by the Chinese Vietnamese began when the Qing dynasty overthrew the Ming dynasty. The Han Chinese refused to live under the Manchu Qing and fled to Southeast Asia (including Vietnam). Most were welcomed by the Nguy?n lords to resettle in southern Vietnam and set up business and trade.

In 1782, Nguy?n Ánh escaped to Cambodia and the Tây S?n seized southern Vietnam (now Cochinchina). They had discriminated against the ethnic Chinese, displeasing the Chinese-Vietnamese. That April, Nguy?n loyalists Tôn Th?t D?, Tr?n Xuân Tr?ch, Tr?n V?n T? and Tr?n Công Chng sent military support to Ánh. The Nguy?n army killed grand admiral Ph?m Ng?n, who had a close relationship with the emperor Thái c, at Tham Lng bridge.[28] Thái c, angry, thought that the ethnic Chinese had collaborated in the killing. He sacked the town of Cù lao (present-day Biên Hòa), which had a large Chinese population,[29][30] and ordered the oppression of the Chinese community to avenge their assistance to Ánh. Ethnic cleansing had previously occurred in Hoi An, leading to support by wealthy Chinese for Ánh. He returned to Gi?ng L?, defeated admiral Nguy?n H?c of the Tây S?n and captured eighty battleships. Ánh then began a campaign to reclaim southern Vietnam, but Nguy?n Hu? deployed a naval force to the river and destroyed his navy. Ánh again escaped with his followers to H?u Giang. Cambodia later cooperated with the Tây S?n to destroy Ánh's force and made him retreat to R?ch Giá, then to Hà Tiên and Phú Qu?c.

Nguy?n - Siam alliance

Following consecutive losses to the Tây S?n, Ánh sent his general Châu V?n Ti?p to Siam to request military assistance. Siam, under Chakri rule, wanted to conquer Cambodia and southern Vietnam. King Rama I agreed to ally with the Nguy?n lord and intervene militarily in Vietnam. Châu V?n Ti?p sent a secret letter to Ánh about the alliance. After meeting with Siamese generals at Cà Mau, Ánh, thirty officials and some troops visited Bangkok to meet Rama I in May 1784. The governor of Gia nh Province, Nguy?n V?n Thành, advised Ánh against foreign assistance.[31][32]

Nguy?n Ánh in audience with King Rama I in Phra Thinang Amarin Winitchai, Bangkok, 1782.

Rama I, fearing the growing influence of the Tây S?n dynasty in Cambodia and Laos, decided to dispatch his army against it. In Bangkok, Ánh began to recruit Vietnamese refugees in Siam to join his army (which totaled over 9,000).[33] He returned to Vietnam and prepared his forces for the Tây S?n campaign in June 1784, after which he captured Gia nh. Rama I nominated his nephew, Chiêu T?ng, as admiral the following month. The admiral led Siamese forces including 20,000 marine troops and 300 warships from the Gulf of Siam to Kiên Giang province. In addition, more than 30,000 Siamese infantry troops crossed the Cambodian border to An Giang province.[34] On 25 November 1784, Admiral Châu V?n Ti?p died in battle against the Tây S?n in Mang Thít District, V?nh Long Province. The alliance was largely victorious from July through November, and the Tây S?n army retreated north. However, emperor Nguy?n Hu? halted the retreat and counter-attacked the Siamese forces in December. In the decisive battle of R?ch G?m-Xoài Mút, more than 20,000 Siamese soldiers died and the remainder retreated to Siam.[35]

Ánh, disillusioned with Siam, escaped to Th? Chu Island in April 1785 and then to Ko Kut Island in Thailand. The Siamese army escorted him back to Bangkok, and he was briefly exiled in Thailand.

French assistance

The war between the Nguy?n lord and the Tây S?n dynasty forced Ánh to find more allies. His relationship with de Behaine improved, and support for an alliance with France increased. Before the request for Siamese military assistance, de Behaine was in Chanthaburi and Ánh asked him to come to Phú Qu?c Island.[36] Ánh asked him to contact King Louis XVI of France for assistance; de Behaine agreed to coordinate an alliance between France and Vietnam, and Ánh gave him a letter to present at the French court. Ánh's oldest son, Nguy?n Phúc C?nh, was chosen to accompany de Behaine. Due to inclement weather, the voyage was postponed until December 1784. The group departed from Phú Qu?c Island for Malacca and thence to Pondicherry, and Ánh moved his family to Bangkok.[37] The group arrived in Lorient in February 1787, and Louis XVI agreed to meet them in May.

On 28 November 1787, de Behaine signed the Treaty of Versailles with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Armand Marc at the Palace of Versailles on behalf of Nguy?n Ánh.[38] The treaty stipulated that France provide four frigates, 1,200 infantry troops, 200 artillery, 250 cafres (African soldiers), and other equipment. Nguy?n Ánh ceded the ?à N?ng estuary and Côn S?n Island to France.[39] The French were allowed to trade freely and control foreign trade in Vietnam. Vietnam had to build one ship per year which was similar to the French ship which brought aid and give it to France. Vietnam was obligated to supply food and other aid to France when the French were at war with other East Asian nations.

On 27 December 1787, Pigneau de Behaine and Nguy?n Phúc C?nh left France for Pondicherry to wait for the military support promised by the treaty. However, due to the French Revolution and the abolition of the French monarchy, the treaty was never executed. Thomas Conway, who was responsible for French assistance, refused to provide it. Although the treaty was not implemented, de Behaine recruited French businessman who intended to trade in Vietnam and raised funds to assist Nguy?n Ánh. He spent fifteen thousand francs of his own money to purchase guns and warships. C?nh and de Behaine returned to Gia nh in 1788 (after Nguy?n Ánh had recaptured it), followed by a ship with the war materiel. Frenchmen who were recruited included Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau, Philippe Vannier, Olivier de Puymanel, and Jean-Marie Dayot. A total of twenty people joined Ánh's army. The French purchased and supplied equipment and weaponry, reinforcing the defense of Gia nh, V?nh Long, Châu c, Hà Tiên, Biên Hòa, Bà R?a and training Ánh's artillery and infantry according to the European model.[40]

Weakening of the Tây S?n

Color-coded map of Vietnam
Vietnam at the end of the 18th century. The Tây S?n army, including Nguy?n Hu?, ruled the north (purple); Nguy?n Nh?c the middle (yellow), and Nguy?n Ánh the south (green).

In 1786, Nguy?n Hu? led the army against the Tr?nh lords; Tr?nh Kh?i escaped to the north but got captured by the local people. He then committed suicide. After the Tây S?n army returned to Quy Nh?n, subjects of the Tr?nh lord restored Tr?nh B?ng (son of Tr?nh Giang) as the next lord. Lê Chiêu Th?ng, emperor of the Lê dynasty, wanted to regain power from the Tr?nh. He summoned Nguy?n H?u Ch?nh, governor of Ngh? An, to attack the Tr?nh lord at the Imperial Citadel of Th?ng Long. Tr?nh B?ng surrendered to the Lê and became a monk. Nguy?n H?u Ch?nh wanted to unify the country under Lê rule, and began to prepare the army to march south and attack the Tây S?n. Hu? led the army, killed Nguy?n H?u Ch?nh, and captured the later Lê capital. The Lê royal family were exiled to China, and the later Lê dynasty collapsed.

At that time, Nguy?n Hu?'s influence became stronger in northern Vietnam; this made emperor Nguy?n Nh?c of the Tây S?n dynasty suspect Hu?'s loyalty. The relationship between the brothers became tense, eventually leading to battle. Hu? had his army surround Nh?c's capital, at Quy Nh?n citadel, in 1787. Nh?c begged Hu? not to kill him, and they reconciled. In 1788, Lê emperor Lê Chiêu Th?ng fled to China and asked for military assistance. Qing emperor Qianlong ordered Sun Shiyi to lead the military campaign into Vietnam. The campaign failed, diplomatic relations with Vietnam were normalized, and the Tây S?n dynasty began to weaken.

Nguy?n Ánh's counter-attack

Ánh began to reorganize a strong armed force in Siam. He left Siam (after thanking King Rama I), and returned to Vietnam.[41][42] During the 1787 war between Nguy?n Hu? and Nguy?n Nh?c in northern Vietnam, Ánh recaptured the southern Vietnamese capital of Gia nh. Southern Vietnam had been ruled by the Nguy?ns and they remained popular, especially with the ethnic Chinese. Nguy?n L?, the youngest brother of Tây S?n (who ruled southern Vietnam), could not defend the citadel and retreated to Quy Nh?n. The citadel of Gia nh was seized by the Nguy?n lords.[43]
In 1788 de Behaine and Ánh's son, Prince C?nh, arrived in Gia nh with modern war equipment and more than twenty Frenchmen who wanted to join the army. The force was trained and strengthened with French assistance.[44]

Defeat of the Tây S?n

After the fall of the citadel at Gia nh, Nguy?n Hu? prepared an expedition to reclaim it before his death on 16 September 1792. His young son, Nguy?n Quang To?n, succeeded him as emperor of the Tây S?n and was a poor leader.[45] In 1793, Nguy?n Ánh began a campaign against Quang To?n. Due to conflict between officials of the Tây S?n court, Quang To?n lost battle after battle. In 1797, Ánh and Nguy?n Phúc C?nh attacked Qui Nh?n (then in Phú Yên Province) in the battle of Th? N?i. They were victorious, capturing a large amount of Tây S?n equipment.[46] Quang To?n became unpopular due to his murders of generals and officials, leading to a decline in the army. In 1799, Ánh captured the citadel of Quy Nh?n. He seized the capital (Phú Xuân) on 3 May 1802, and Quang To?n retreated north. Ánh then executed all the members of the Tây S?n dynasty that year.

Imperial rule (1802-1883)

Nguy?n Phúc Ánh united Vietnam after a three-hundred-year division of the country. He celebrated his coronation at Hu? on 1 June 1802 and proclaimed himself emperor (Vietnamese: Hoàng ), with the era name Gia Long (). Gia Long prioritized the nation's defense, and feared that it could again be divided by civil war. He replaced the feudal system with a reformist Doctrine of the Mean, based on Confucianism.[47][48] The Nguyen dynasty was founded as a tributary state of the Qing Empire, with Gia Long receiving an imperial pardon and recognition as the ruler of Vietnam from the Jiaqing Emperor for recognizing Chinese suzerainty.[1][49]

The Qing dynasty Jiaqing Emperor refused Gia Long's request to change his country's name to Nam Vi?t, viewing it as an overambitious claim to the ancient state, and instead changed its name to Vi?t Nam.[12] "Trung Qu?c" () was used as a name for Vietnam by Gia Long in 1805.[50]

After Gia Long, other dynastic rulers encountered problems with Catholic missionaries and other Europeans in Indochina. Gia Long's son, Minh M?ng, was then faced with the Lê V?n Khôi revolt in which native Christians and their European clergy tried to replace him and install a grandson of Gia Long who had converted to Roman Catholicism. The missionaries then incited frequent revolts in an attempt to Catholicize the throne and the country,[51] although Minh M?ng set aside public lands as part of his reforms.[52]

During the 19th century, the Nguy?n maintained tributary relationships with Cambodia and Laos after a series of military campaigns involving the Siamese Rattanakosin Kingdom, including the Cambodian rebellion, Lao rebellion, Siamese-Vietnamese War of 1831-1834, and Siamese-Vietnamese War of 1841-1845.[53] The Nguy?n also expanded further into Champa lands in modern-day southern Vietnam in a continuation of the centuries-long Nam ti?n.[54][55]

The last independent Nguy?n emperor was T? c. A succession crisis followed his death, as the regent Tôn Th?t Thuy?t orchestrated the murders of three emperors in a year. This allowed the French to take control of the country and its monarchy. All emperors after ng Khánh were chosen by the French, and only ruled symbolically.

French protectorate (1883-1945)

Napoleon III took the first steps to establish a French colonial influence in Indochina. He approved the launching of a Punitive expedition in 1858 to punish the Vietnamese for their mistreatment of European Catholic missionaries and force the court to accept a French presence in the country. However, the expedition quickly evolved into a full invasion. Factors in Napoleon's decision were the belief that France risked becoming a second-rate power by not expanding its influence in East Asia, and the expanding idea that France had a civilizing mission. By 18 February 1859 France conquered Saigon and three southern Vietnamese provinces: Biên Hòa, Gia nh and nh Tng.

Unequal Treaty

By 1862, the war was over and in the Treaty of Saigon Vietnam was forced to concede the three provinces in the south, which became the colony of French Cochinchina. The subsequent 1863 Treaty of Hu? also saw the Vietnamese Empire open three ports to French trade, allowed free passage of French warships to Kampuchea (which led to the French protectorate of Kampuchea), allowed freedom for French missionaries, and gave France a large indemnity for the cost of the war. France did not intervene in the Christian-supported Vietnamese rebellion in B?c B? (despite missionary urging) or the subsequent massacre of thousands of Christians after the rebellion, suggesting that persecution of Christians prompted the original intervention but military and political reasons drove continued colonization of Vietnam.[56]

In the following decades Vietnam was gradually absorbed under French control. Further unequal treaties followed. The Second Treaty of Saigon in 1874 reiterated the stipulations of the previous treaty. When both China and France claimed sovereignty over Vietnamese territory, France deemed the treaty unfulfilled and occupied Hanoi in 1882. The 1883 Treaty of Hu? led to the rest of Vietnam becoming French protectorates, divided into the Protectorates of Annam and Tonkin. The terms were however considered overly harsh in French diplomatic circles and never ratified in France. The following 1884 Treaty of Hu? provided a softened version of the previous treaty.[56] The 1885 Treaty of Tientsin, which reaffirmed the 1884 Tientsin Accord and ended the Sino-French War, confirmed Vietnam's status as French protectorates and severed Vietnam's tributary relationship with the Qing dynasty by requiring that all of Vietnam's foreign affairs be conducted through France.[57]

After this the Nguy?n dynasty only nominally ruled the two French protectorates. Annam and Tonkin were combined with Cochinchina and the neighboring Cambodian protectorate in 1887 to form the Union of French Indochina, of which they became administrative components.[56]

French rule also added new ingredients to Vietnam's cultural stew: Catholicism and a Latin-based alphabet. The spelling used in the Vietnamese transliteration was Portuguese, because the French relied on a dictionary compiled earlier by a Portuguese cleric.[56]

World War I

While seeking to maximize the use of Indochina's natural resources and manpower to fight World War I, France cracked down on Vietnam's patriotic mass movements. Indochina (mainly Vietnam) had to provide France with 70,000 soldiers and 70,000 workers, who were forcibly drafted from villages to serve on the French battlefront. Vietnam also contributed 184 million piastres in loans and 336,000 tons of food.

These burdens proved heavy, since agriculture experienced natural disasters from 1914 to 1917. Lacking a unified nationwide organization, the vigorous Vietnamese national movement failed to use the difficulties France had as a result of war to stage significant uprisings.

In May 1916, sixteen-year-old emperor Duy Tân escaped from his palace to participate in an uprising of Vietnamese troops. The French were informed of the plan, and its leaders were arrested and executed. Duy Tân was deposed and exiled to the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

World War II

Nationalist sentiment intensified in Vietnam (especially during and after the First World War), but uprisings and tentative efforts failed to obtain concessions from the French. The Russian Revolution greatly impacted 20th-century Vietnamese history.

For Vietnam, the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939 was as decisive as the 1858 French seizure of ?à N?ng. The Axis power of Japan invaded Vietnam on 22 September 1940, attempting to construct military bases to strike against Allied forces in Southeast Asia. This led to a period of Indochina under Japanese occupation with cooperation of the collaborationist Vichy French, who still retained administration of the colony. During this time the Viet Minh, a communist resistance movement, developed under Ho Chi Minh from 1941, with allied support. During a 1944-1945 famine in northern Vietnam, over one million people starved to death.

In March 1945, after the liberation of France in Europe and heavy setbacks in the war. In a last ditch effort to gather support, the Japanese overthrew the French administration, imprisoned their civil servants and proclaimed independence for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, which became the Empire of Vietnam with B?o i as its Emperor.[5][6] The Empire of Vietnam was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan.[5] After the Surrender of Japan, B?o i abdicated on 25 August 1945 while the Viet Minh launched the August Revolution.[58]

This ended the 143-year reign of the Nguy?n dynasty.




Ornate gold-and-wood throne-shaped altar
Seal, decorated with a dragon, and its imprint against a red background
Imperial Crown
Nguy?n-dynasty throne (left) and imperial seal(middle) and Imperial Crown (right)

The Nguy?n dynasty retained the bureaucratic and hierarchic system of previous dynasties. The emperor was the head of state who wielded absolute authority. Under the emperor was the Ministry of Interior (which worked on papers, royal messages and recording) and four Grand Secretariats (Vietnamese: T? tr? i th?n), later renamed the Ministry of Secret Council.[]

Civil service and bureaucracy

Rank Civil position Military position
Upper first rank (B?c trên nh?t ph?m) Imperial Clan Court (Tông Nhân Ph?, Tôn nhân l?nh)
Three Ducal Ministers (Tam công):
* Grand Preceptor (Thái s?)
* Grand Tutor (Thái phó)
* Grand Protector (Thái b?o)
First senior rank (Chánh nh?t ph?m) Left Right Imperial Clan Court (Tôn nhân ph?, T? H?u tôn chính")
Three Vice-Ducal Ministers (Tam Thi?u)
* Vice Preceptor (Thi?u s?)
* Vice Tutor (Thi?u phó)
* Vice Protector (Thi?u b?o)
First junior rank (Tòng nh?t ph?m) Council of State (Tham chính vi?n)
House of Councillors (Tham Ngh? vi?n)
Grand Secretariat (Th? trung i h?c s?)
Banner Unit Lieutenant General, General-in-Chief, Provincial Commander-in-Chief
Second senior rank (Chánh nh? ph?m) 6 ministries (L?c b?):
* Ministry of Personnel (B? L?i)
* Ministry of Rites (B? L?)
* Ministry of Justice (imperial China) (B? Hình)
* Ministry of Finance (B? H?)
* Ministry of Public Works (B? Công)
* Ministry of Defense (B? Binh)
Supreme Censorate (?ô sát vi?n, T? H?u ?ô ng? s?)
Banner Captain General, Commandants of Divisions, Brigade General
Second junior rank (Tòng nh? ph?m) 6 Ministerial Advisors (L?c b? T? H?u Tham tri)
Grand coordinator and provincial governor (Tu?n ph?)
Supreme Vice-Censorate (?ô sát vi?n, T? H?u Phó ?ô ng? s?)
Major General, Colonel
Third senior rank (Chánh tam ph?m) Senior Head of 6 Ministries (Chánh thiêm s?)
Administration Commissioner (Cai b?)
Surveillance Commissioner (Ký l?c)
State Auxiliary Academician of Secretariat (Th? trung Tr?c h?c s?)
Court Auxiliary Academician (Tr?c h?c s? các ?i?n)
Court academician (H?c s? các ?i?n)
Provincial governor (Hi?p tr?n các tr?n)
Brigadiers of Artillery & Musketry, Brigadier of Scouts, Banner Division Colonel
Third junior rank (Tòng tam ph?m) Junior Head of Six Ministries (Thi?u thiêm s?)
Senior Palace Administration Commissioner (Cai b? Chính dinh)
Chargé d'affaires (Tham tán)
Court of Imperial Seals (Thng b?o t?)
General Staff (Tham quân)
Banner Brigade Commander
Fourth senior rank (Chánh t? ph?m) Provincial Education Commissioner of Guozijian (Qu?c t? giám c h?c)
Head of six ministries (Thi?u thiêm s?)
Junior Court of Imperial Seals (Thng b?o thi?u Khanh)
Grand Secretaries (?ông các h?c s?)
Administration Commissioner of Trng Th? palace (Cai b? cung Trng Th?)
Provincial Advisor to Defense Command Lieutenant Governor (Tham hi?p các tr?n)
Lieutenant Colonel of Artillery, Musketry & Scouts Captain, Police Major
Fourth junior rank (Tòng t? ph?m) Provincial Vice Education Commissioner of Guozijian (Qu?c t? giám phó c h?c), Prefect (Tuyên ph? s?), Captain, Assistant Major in Princely Palaces
Fifth senior rank (Chánh ng? ph?m) Inner Deputy Supervisors of Instruction at Hanlin Institutes, Sub-Prefects Police Captain, Lieutenant or First Lieutenant
Fifth junior rank (Tòng ng? ph?m) Assistant Instructors and Librarians at Imperial and Hanlin Institutes, Assistant Directors of Boards and Courts, Circuit Censors Gate Guard Lieutenants, Second Captain
Sixth senior rank (Chánh l?c ph?m) Secretaries & Tutors at Imperial & Hanlin Institutes, Secretaries and Registrars at Imperial Offices, Police Magistrate Bodyguards, Lieutenants of Artillery, Musketry & Scouts, Second Lieutenants
Sixth junior rank (Tòng l?c ph?m) Assistant Secretaries in Imperial Offices and Law Secretaries, Provincial Deputy Sub-Prefects, Buddhist & Taoist priests Deputy Police Lieutenant
Seventh senior rank (Chánh th?t ph?m) None City Gate Clerk, Sub-Lieutenants
Seventh junior rank (Tòng th?t ph?m) Secretaries in Offices of Assistant Governors, Salt Controllers & Transport Stations Assistant Major in Nobles' Palaces
Eighth senior rank (Chánh bát ph?m) None Ensigns
Eighth junior rank (Tòng bát ph?m) Sub-director of Studies, Archivists in Office of Salt Controller First Class Sergeant
Ninth senior rank (Chánh c?u ph?m) None Second Class Sergeant
Ninth junior rank (Tòng c?u ph?m) Prefectural Tax Collector, Deputy Jail Warden, Deputy Police Commissioner, Tax Examiner Third Class Sergeant, Corporal, First & Second Class Privates


Nine coins, with pictures of their respective emperors
Nguy?n dynasty coins

Vietnam's monetary subunit was the quan (?). One quan equaled 10 coins, equivalent to ?600. Officials received the following taxes (Vietnamese: thu? u ngi):

  • First senior rank (Chánh nh?t ph?m): 400 quan; rice: 300 kg; per-capita tax: 70 quan
  • First junior rank (Tòng nh?t ph?m): 300 quan; rice: 250 kg; tax: 60 quan
  • Second senior rank (Chánh nh? ph?m): 250 quan; rice: 200 kg; tax: 50 quan
  • Second junior rank (Tòng nh? ph?m): 180 quan; rice: 150 kg; tax: 30 quan
  • Third senior rank (Chánh tam ph?m): 150 quan; rice: 120 kg; tax: 20 quan
  • Third junior rank (Tòng tam ph?m): 120 quan; rice: 90 kg; tax: 16 quan
  • Fourth senior rank (Chánh t? ph?m): 80 quan; rice: 60 kg; tax: 14 quan
  • Fourth junior rank (Tòng t? ph?m): 60 quan; rice: 50 kg; tax: 10 quan
  • Fifth senior rank (Chánh ng? ph?m): 40 quan; rice: 43 kg; tax: 9 quan
  • Fifth junior rank (Tòng ng? ph?m): 35 quan; rice: 30 kg; tax: 8 quan
  • Sixth senior rank (Chánh l?c ph?m): 30 quan; rice: 25 kg; tax: 7 quan
  • Sixth junior rank (Tòng l?c ph?m): 30 quan; rice: 22 kg; tax: 6 quan
  • Seventh senior rank (Chánh th?t ph?m): 25 quan; rice: 20 kg; tax: 5 quan
  • Seventh junior rank (Tòng th?t ph?m): 22 quan; rice: 20 kg; tax: 5 quan
  • Eighth senior rank (Chánh bát ph?m): 20 quan; rice: 18 kg; tax: 5 quan
  • Eighth junior rank (Tòng bát ph?m): 20 quan; rice: 18 kg; tax: 4 quan
  • Ninth senior rank (Chánh c?u ph?m): 18 quan; rice: 16 kg; tax: 4 quan
  • Ninth junior rank (Tòng c?u ph?m): 18 quan; rice: 16 kg; tax: 4 quan

Political Organization


Education system


When mandarins retired, they could receive one hundred to four hundred quan from the emperor. When they died, the royal court provided twenty to two hundred quan for a funeral.[]

Culture and Cultural Discrimination

Chinese-style building
Ng? Môn (), the main gate of the imperial Nguy?n city in Hu?

The Vietnamese at one point viewed cultures that were "non-Chinese" as barbaric and called themselves the Central Kingdom.[59] This occurred after Vietnam had sent a delegate to Beijing, whereupon a diplomatic disaster caused Vietnam to view other "non-Chinese" as barbaric following Qing viewpoints.[60] By the Nguyen dynasty the Vietnamese themselves were ordering Cambodian Khmer to adopt Vietnamese culture by ceasing "barbarous" habits like cropping hair and ordering them to grow it long besides making them replace skirts with trousers.[61] Han Chinese Ming dynasty refugees numbering 3,000 came to Vietnam at the end of the Ming dynasty. They opposed the Qing dynasty and were fiercely loyal to the Ming dynasty. Vietnamese women married these Han Chinese refugees since most of them were soldiers and single men. They did not wear Manchu hairstyle unlike later Chinese migrants to Vietnam during the Qing dynasty.[62]

Foreign Policy

Minh Mang engineered the final conquest of the Champa Kingdom after the centuries-long Cham-Vietnamese wars. Cham Muslim leader Katip Suma was educated in Kelantan, returning to Champa to declare a jihad against the Vietnamese after Minh Mang's annexation of the region.[55][63][64][65] The Vietnamese forced Champa's Muslims to eat lizard and pork and its Hindus to eat beef to assimilate them into Vietnamese culture.[66]

Vietnamization of the minor ethnics

Minh Mang sinicized ethnic minorities (such as Cambodians), claimed the legacy of Confucianism and China's Han dynasty for Vietnam, and used the term "Han people" (, Hán nhân) to refer to the Vietnamese.[67][68] According to the emperor, "We must hope that their barbarian habits will be subconsciously dissipated, and that they will daily become more infected by Han [Sino-Vietnamese] customs."[69] These policies were directed at the Khmer and hill tribes.[70] Nguyen Phuc Chu had referred to the Vietnamese as "Han people" in 1712, distinguishing them from the Chams.[71] The Nguyen lords established colonies after 1790. Gia Long said, "Hán di h?u h?n" (? ? ? ?, "The Vietnamese and the barbarians must have clear borders"), distinguishing the Khmer from the Vietnamese.[72] Minh Mang implemented an acculturation policy for minority non-Vietnamese peoples.[73] "Thanh nhân" (? ? referring to the Qing dynasty) or "ng nhân" ( referring to the Tang dynasty) were used to refer to ethnic Chinese by the Vietnamese, who called themselves "Hán dân" (? ?) and "Hán nhân" ( referring to the Han dynasty) during 19th-century Nguy?n rule.[74] Since 1827, descendants of Ming dynasty refugees were called Minh nhân () or Minh Hng (? ?) by Nguy?n rulers, to distinguish with ethnic Chinese.[75] Minh nhân were treated as Vietnamese since 1829.[76][77]:272 They were not allowed to go to China, and also not allowed to wear the Manchu queue.[78]


The Nguyen dynasty popularized Chinese Qing clothing.[79][80][81][82][83][84] Trousers were adopted by female White H'mong speakers,[85] replacing their traditional skirts.[86] The Qing Chinese Qibao tunics and trousers were worn by the Vietnamese. The áo dài was developed in the 1920s, when compact, close-fitting tucks were added to similar Qibao "Ao Tu Than".[87] Chinese Qipao trousers and tunics were ordered by lord Nguy?n Phúc Khoát during the 18th century, replacing traditional Vietnamese Hanfu-style clothes.[88] Although the Chinese trousers and tunic were mandated by the Nguyen government, skirts were worn in isolated north Vietnamese hamlets until the 1920s.[89] Chinese style clothing was ordered for the Vietnamese military and bureaucrats by Nguy?n Phúc Khoát.[90]

An 1841 polemic, "On Distinguishing Barbarians", was based on the Qing sign "Vietnamese Barbarians' Hostel" (?) on the Fujian residence of Nguyen diplomat and Hoa Chinese Lý V?n Ph?c ().[91][92][93][94] It argued that the Qing did not subscribe to the neo-Confucianist texts from the Song and Ming dynasties which were learned by the Vietnamese,[95] who saw themselves as sharing a civilization with the Qing.[96] This event triggered a diplomatic disaster. The consequence was that non-"Han Chinese highland tribes" and other non-Vietnamese peoples living near (or in) Vietnam were called "barbarian" by the Vietnamese imperial court.[97][98] The essay distinguishes the Yi and Hua, and mentions Zhao Tuo, Wen, Shun and Taibo.[99][100][101][102][103] Kelley and Woodside described Vietnam's Confucianism.[104]

Emperors Minh M?ng, Thi?u Tr? and T? c, were opposed to French involvement in Vietnam, and tried to reduce the country's growing Catholic community. The imprisonment of missionaries who had illegally entered the country was the primary pretext for the French to invade (and occupy) Indochina. Like Qing China, a number of incidents involved other European nations during the 19th century.



The following list is the emperors' era names, which have meaning in Chinese and Vietnamese. For example, the first ruler's era name, Gia Long, is the combination of the old names for Saigon (Gia nh) and Hanoi (Th?ng Long) to show the new unity of the country; the fourth, T? c, means "Inheritance of Virtues"; the ninth, ng Khánh, means "Collective Celebration".

Portrait/Photo Temple name Posthumous name Personal name Lineage Reign Regnal name Tomb Events
Portrait of Gia Long Th? T? Khai Thiên Ho?ng o L?p K? Thùy Th?ng Th?n V?n Thánh V? Tu?n c Long Công Chí Nhân i Hi?u Cao Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc Ánh Nguy?n lords 1802-20 (1) Gia Long Thiên Th? l?ng Defeated the Tây S?n and unified Vietnam.
Portrait of Minh Mang Thánh T? Th? Thiên Xng V?n Chí Hi?u Thu?n c V?n V? Minh ?oán Sáng Thu?t i Thành H?u Tr?ch Phong Công Nhân Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc m Son 1820-41 (2) Minh M?nh Hi?u L?ng Annexed Cambodia after the Siamese-Vietnamese War (1831-1834). Annexed Muang Phuan after the Lao rebellion. Suppressed the Lê V?n Khôi revolt. Annexed the remaining Panduranga kingdom after the Ja Thak Wa uprising, renamed the country i Nam (Great South), suppressed Christianity.
Dynastic coin Hi?n T? Thi?u Thiên Long V?n Chí Thi?n Thu?n Hi?u Khoan Minh Du? ?oán V?n Tr? V? Công Thánh Tri?t Chng Chng Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc Miên Tông Son 1841-47 (3) Thi?u Tr? Xng L?ng Carried out policies of isolationism. Pulling troops from Cambodia.
Portrait of T? c D?c Tông Th? Thiên Hanh V?n Chí Thành t Hi?u Th? Ki?n ?ôn Nhân Khiêm Cung Minh Lc Du? V?n Anh Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc H?ng Nh?m Son 1847-83 (4) T? c Khiêm L?ng Suppressed ?oàn H?u Tr?ng's rebellion. Facing French invasions. Ceded Cochinchina to France after the Cochinchina campaign. Fought against French invasions of 1873 and 1882-1883.
D?c c's tomb Cung Tông Hu? Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc ?ng Chân Nephew (adopted son of T? c) 1883 (5) D?c c An L?ng Three-day emperor (20-23 July 1883), deposed and poisoned by Tôn Th?t Thuy?t
Portrait of Hi?p Hòa - V?n Lãng Qu?n Vng Nguy?n Phúc H?ng D?t Uncle (son of Thi?u Tr?) 1883 (6) Hi?p Hòa Four-month emperor (30 July - 29 November 1883), poisoned by the order of Tôn Th?t Thuy?t.
Portrait of Ki?n Phúc Gi?n Tông Thi?u c Chí Hi?u Uyên Du? Ngh? Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc ?ng ng Nephew (son of Hi?p Hòa's brother) 1883-84 (7) Ki?n Phúc B?i L?ng (within Khiêm L?ng) Eight-month emperor (2 December 1883 - 31 July 1884). Signing of the Treaty of Hu? (1884).
Portrait of Hàm Nghi - -- Nguy?n Phúc ?ng L?ch Younger brother 1884-85 (8) Hàm Nghi Thonac Cemetery, France Resisting against French rule under the C?n Vng movement. Dethroned after one year, continuing his rebellion until captured in 1888 and exiled to Algeria until his death in 1943.
Portrait of ng Khánh C?nh Tông Ho?ng Li?t Th?ng Thi?t M?n Hu? Thu?n Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc ?ng K? Older brother 1885-89 (9) ng Khánh T? L?ng Suppress Hàm Nghi's C?n Vng movement
Portrait of Thành Thái - Hoài Tr?ch Công Nguy?n Phúc B?u Lân Cousin (son of D?c c) 1889-1907 (10) Thành Thái An L?ng Exiled to Réunion Island due to anti-French activities
Portrait of Duy Tân - -- Nguy?n Phúc V?nh San son 1907-16 (11) Duy Tân An L?ng Rebelled against the French and exiled to Réunion Island in 1916.
Portrait of Kh?i nh Ho?ng Tông T? i Gia V?n Thánh Minh Th?n Trí Nhân Hi?u Thành Kính Di Mô Th?a Li?t Tuyên Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc B?u o Cousin (son of ng Khánh) 1916-25 (12) Kh?i nh ?ng L?ng Collaborated with the French, and was a political figurehead for French colonial rulers. Unpopular to the Vietnamese people.
B?o i in 1953 -- -- Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y Son 1926-45 (13) B?o i Cimetière de Passy, France Head of the Empire of Vietnam under Japanese occupation during World War II; abdicated and transferred power to the Viet Minh in 1945, ending the Vietnamese monarchy. Installed as head of state of the State of Vietnam, ousted by Ngo Dinh Diem after the 1955 State of Vietnam referendum.

After the death of Emperor T? c (and according to his will), D?c c ascended to the throne on 19 July 1883. He was dethroned and imprisoned three days later, after being accused of deleting a paragraph from T? c's will. With no time to announce his dynastic title, his era name was named for his residential palace.


Gia Long
Minh M?nh
Thi?u Tr?
T? c
  Tho?i Thái Vng   Kiên Thái Vng   6
Hi?p Hoà
D?c c
ng Khánh
Hàm Nghi
Ki?n Phúc
Thành Thái
Kh?i nh
Duy Tân
B?o i


  • Years are reigning years.

See also


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External links

Nguy?n dynasty
Founding year: 1802
Deposition: 1945
Preceded by
Tây S?n dynasty
Dynasty of Vietnam
1 June 1802 - 30 August 1945

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