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Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
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VietnameseGiao Ch?
History of Vietnam
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Map of Vietnam showing the conquest of the south (the Nam ti?n, 1069-1757).
2879–2524 BC Xích Qu?
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257–179 BC Âu L?c
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43–299 Giao Ch?
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968–1054 i C? Vi?t
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1407–1427 Giao Ch?
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Jiaozhi (Chinese: , ; pinyin: Ji?ozh?; Wade-Giles: Chi?o-ch?h; Vietnamese: Giao Ch?), was the Chinese name for various provinces, commanderies, prefectures, and counties in northern Vietnam from the era of the Hùng kings to the middle of the Third Chinese domination of Vietnam (c. 7th-10th centuries) and again during the Fourth Chinese domination (1407-1427).


According to Michel Ferlus, the Sino-Vietnamese Jiao in Ji?ozh? (), together with the ethnonym and autonym of the Lao people (l?o ?), and the ethnonym G?l?o (), a Kra population scattered from Guizhou (China) to North Vietnam, would have emerged from the Austro-Asiatic *k(?)ra:w 'human being'.[1][2] The etymon *k(?)ra:w would have also yielded the ethnonym Keo/ Kæw k?:wA1, a name given to the Vietnamese by Tai speaking peoples, currently slightly derogatory.[3] In Pupeo (Kra branch), kew is used to name the Tay (Central Tai) of North Vietnam.[4]

ji?o ? < MC kæw < OC *kraw [k.raw]
l?o ? < MC lawX < OC *C-raw? [C.raw?]

The name of the territory was also used to refer to the Lac people and their ancient language. It seems to be a Yue or Viet endonym of uncertain meaning, although it has had various folk etymologies over the years. In his Tongdian, Du You wrote that "The Jiaozhi are the southern people: the big toe points to the outside of the foot, so if the man stands up straight, the two big toes point to each other, so people call them the "jiaozhi"." (The Chinese character ? means "hallux, big toe".) The Ciyuan disputed this:

The meaning of the word Jiaozhi cannot be understood literally, but the ancient Greek method of "opposite pillar" and "connecting pillar" to label humans on earth--where "opposite pillar" stood for the South side and its logical opposite the North side, whilst "connecting pillar" stood for the East side with the West side connected to it--could provide a suggested origin. If Jiaozhi was intended to characterize "opposite pillar" because this was what people of the North called the people of the South, then the feet of the North side (chân phía B?c') and feet of the South side (chân phía Nam) must oppose each other, therefore rendering it impossible for the feet of a person to cross or intersect each other (không ph?i th?c là chân ngi "giao" nhau).[5]

Various Vietnamese scholars such as Nguy?n V?n Siêu and ng Xuân B?ng have since echoed this explanation.[]

Jiaozhi, pronounced Kuchi in the Malay, became the Cochin-China of the Portuguese traders c. 1516, who so named it to distinguish it from the city and the Kingdom of Cochin in India, their first headquarters in the Malabar Coast. It was subsequently called "Cochinchina".[6][7] However by viewpoint of researcher Tr?n Nh? V?nh L?c, or in the transcribing a pronunciation "Viet" (?), as "/'?w:?t/" in the ancient Annamese.[]

Meanwhile, James Chamberlain claims that Jiao originated as a cognate of Lao.[8] Chamberlain, like Joachim Schlesinger, claim that the Vietnamese language was not originally based in the area of the Red River in what is now northern Vietnam. According to them, the Red River Delta region was originally inhabited by Tai-speakers or other Kra-Dai speakers such as Li people. They claim that the area become Vietnamese-speaking only between the seventh and ninth centuries AD,[9] or even as late as the tenth century, as a result of immigration from the south, i.e., modern central Vietnam.[10][11][8] According to Han-Tang records, east of Jiaozhi and the coast of Kwangdong, Kwangsi was heavily populated by ethnic Li people (whom Chinese contemporaries called L? ? and L?o ?).[12][13][14] Even so, Michael Churchman acknowledged that "The absence of records of large-scale population shifts indicates that there was a fairly stable group of people in Jiaozhi throughout the Han-Tang period who spoke Austroasiatic languages ancestral to modern Vietnamese."[15]


Van Lang

The native state of V?n Lang is not well attested, but much later sources name as one of the realm's districts (b?). Its territory purportedly comprised present-day Hanoi and the land on the right bank of the Red River. The Van Lang fell to the Âu under prince Th?c Phán around 258 BC.

Âu L?c

Th?c Phán established his capital at Co Loa in Hanoi's Dong Anh district. The citadel was taken around 208 BC by the Qin general Zhao Tuo.


Zhao Tuo declared his independent kingdom of Nanyue in 204 and organized his Vietnamese territory as the two commanderies of Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen (Vietnamese: C?u Chân; present-day Thanh Hóa, Ngh? An, and Hà T?nh). Following a native coup that killed the Zhao king and his Chinese mother, the Han launched two invasions in 112 and 111 BC that razed the Nanyue capital at Panyu (Guangzhou).

Han dynasty

Chinese provinces in the late Eastern Han dynasty period, 189 CE

The Han received the submission from the Nanyue commanders in Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen, confirming them in their posts and ushering in the "First Northern Domination" of Vietnam. (Shu Âu L?c and Chinese Nanyue both reckoned by the Vietnamese as "native" states.) These commanderies were headed by grand administrators (taishou) who were later overseen by the inspectors (, cishi) of Jiaozhou or (Giao Ch? b?), the first of whom was Shi Dai.

Under the Han, the capital of Jiaozhi was first Mê Linh (Miling)[] (within Hanoi's Me Linh district) and then Luy Lâu, within Bac Ninh's Thuan Thanh district.[16] According to the Book of Han's "Treatise on Geography", Jiaozhi contained 10 counties: Leilou (), Anding (), Goulou (), Miling (), Quyang (), Beidai (), Jixu (), Xiyu (), Longbian (), and Zhugou (). ?ào Duy Anh stated that Jiaozhi's territory contained all of Tonkin, excluding the regions upstream of the Black River and Ma River.[17] Southwestern Guangxi was also a part of Jiaozhi.[17] The southwest area of present-day Ninh Bình was the border of Jiuzhen. Later, the Han dynasty created another commandery named Rinan (Nh?t Nam) located south of Jiuzhen from the Ngang Pass to Qu?ng Nam Province.

One of the Grand Administrators of Jiaozhi was Su Ding.[18]Ma Yuan's bronze column was supposedly erected by Ma Yuan after he had suppressed the uprising of the Tr?ng Sisters in the early 40s. Ma Yuan followed his conquest with a brutal course of assimilation[], destroying the natives' bronze drums in order to build the column at the edge of Chinese territory[]. Six Chinese characters were carved upon it: "If this bronze column collapses, Jiaozhi will be destroyed" ( The location of the column is unknown, with various explanations given for its disappearance. One popular story is that locals developed a superstitious habit of placing rocks to support the column as they passed and that, over time, this pile grew so large that it completely covered the columns. Another is that they threw the rocks from hatred.[] Later rationalist Chinese and Vietnamese scholars opined that it had probably simply fallen into the sea in the course of an earthquake or change of shoreline.

In 157, Yue leader Chu t in Jiuzhen attacked and killed the Chinese magistrate, then he marched north with an army of four to five thousand. The governor of Jiuzhen, Ni Shih was killed. The Han military general of Jiuzhen, Wei Lang gathered an army and defeated Chu t, beheaded 2,000 rebels.[19][20]

In 178, Wuhu people under Liang Long sparked a revolt against the Han in Hepu and Jiaozhi. Liang Long spread his revolt to all northern Vietnam, Guangxi and central Vietnam as well, attracted all non-Chinese ethnic groups in Jiaozhi to join. In 181, the Han empire sent general Chu Chuan to deal with the revolt. In June 181 Liang Long was captured and beheaded, his rebellion was suppressed.[21]

In 192, Cham people in Xianglin county led by Khu Liên successful revolted against the Han dynasty. Khu Liên found the independent kingdom of Lâm ?p.[22]

Three Kingdoms

During the Three Kingdoms period, Jiaozhi was administered from Longbian (Long Biên) by Shi Xie on behalf of the Wu. This family controlled several surrounding commanderies, but upon the headman's death Guangzhou was formed as a separate province from northeastern Jiaozhou and Shi Xie's son attempted to usurp his father's appointed replacement. In retaliation, Wu executed the son and all his brothers and demoted the remainder of the family to common status.

Ming dynasty

Jiaozhi when it was under Ming occupation (1407-1427)

H? Quý Ly had violently taken the Tr?n throne and changed the country's name to i Ngu. When the Ming government found out, they demanded that he reestablish the Tr?n dynasty, which he agreed to. However, H?'s forces instead ambushed the Ming convoy escorting the Tr?n pretender, who was killed during the attack, and started harassing the Ming border.[23]

After this, the Ming dynasty invaded i Ngu, destroyed the H? dynasty, and began the Fourth Northern domination (1407-1427). The Ming created "Jiaozhi Province" (). At this time, the Jiaozhi Province area contained all the territory of Vietnam under the H? dynasty. The Jiaozhi Province was divided into 15 prefectures (?) and 5 independent prefectures ():

  • 15 prefectures: Jiaozhou (), Beijiang (), Liangjiang (), Sanjiang (), Jianping (, Ki?n H?ng in H? dynasty), Xin'an (, Tân H?ng in the H? dynasty), Jianchang (), Fenghua (, Thiên Trng in the H? dynasty), Qianghua (), Zhenman (), Liangshan (), Xinping (), Yanzhou (), Yian (), Shunhua ().
  • 5 independent prefectures: Taiyuan (), Xuanhua (, Tuyên Quang in the H? dynasty), Jiaxing (), Guihua (), Guangwei ()

Together with the 5 independent prefectures, there were other administrative divisions, which were under the normal prefectures. There were 47 divisions in total.

In 1408, the independent administrative division Taiyuan, Xuanhua was promoted to a prefecture, which increased the number to 17. Afterwards the Yanzhou prefecture was dismissed and its territory became an independent prefecture.

The Ming dynasty crushed Lê L?i's rebellion at first but indecisively. When Lê L?i had rebuilt his force, the rebel repeatedly defeated Ming's army and tighten their siege of Jiaozhou. Eventually, Ming's emperor accepted the de factor independence of the kingdom. Later, when Lê L?i offered to become a vassal of China, the Ming immediately declared him as king of Dai Viet.[24] Lê L?i dismissed all former administrative structure and divided the nation into 5 dao. Thus, ever since that time, the name Giao Ch? and Giao Châu have never been applied to official administrative units.

Sino-Roman contact

Green Roman glass cup unearthed from an Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) tomb, Guangxi, China

In 166 CE An-tun (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) of the state of Ta Ch'in sent missinaries from beyond Rinan to offer present of ivory, rhinoceros horn, and tortoise to the Han court.[25] Hou Han shu records:

In the ninth Yanxi year [AD 166], during the reign of Emperor Huan, the king of Da Qin [the Roman Empire], Andun (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, r. 161-180), sent envoys from beyond the frontiers through Rinan... During the reign of Emperor He [AD 89-105], they sent several envoys carrying tribute and offerings. Later, the Western Regions rebelled, and these relations were interrupted. Then, during the second and the fourth Yanxi years in the reign of Emperor Huan [AD 159 and 161], and frequently since, [these] foreigners have arrived [by sea] at the frontiers of Rinan [Commandery in modern central Vietnam] to present offerings.[26][27]

The Book of Liang states:

The merchants of this country [the Roman Empire] frequently visit Funan [in the Mekong delta], Rinan (Annam) and Jiaozhi [in the Red River Delta near modern Hanoi]; but few of the inhabitants of these southern frontier states have come to Da Qin. During the 5th year of the Huangwu period of the reign of Sun Quan [AD 226] a merchant of Da Qin, whose name was Qin Lun came to Jiaozhi [Tonkin]; the prefect [taishou] of Jiaozhi, Wu Miao, sent him to Sun Quan [the Wu emperor], who asked him for a report on his native country and its people."[28]

The capital of Jiaozhi was proposed by Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877 to have been the port known to the geographer Ptolemy and the Romans as Kattigara, situated near modern Hanoi.[29][30] Richthofen's view was widely accepted until archaeology at Óc Eo in the Mekong Delta suggested that site may have been its location. Kattigara seems to have been the main port of call for ships traveling to China from the West in the first few centuries AD, before being replaced by Guangdong.[31]

In terms of archaeological finds, a Republican-era Roman glassware has been found at a Western Han tomb in Guangzhou along the South China Sea, dated to the early 1st century BC.[32] At Óc Eo, then part of the Kingdom of Funan near Jiaozhi, Roman golden medallions made during the reign of Antoninus Pius and his successor Marcus Aurelius have been found.[33][34] This may have been the port city of Kattigara described by Ptolemy, laying beyond the Golden Chersonese (i.e. Malay Peninsula).[33][34]

See also

  • Kang Senghui, a Buddhist monk of Sogdian origin who lived in Jiaozhi during the 3rd century
  • Tonkin, an exonym for northern Vietnam, approximately identical to the Jiaozhi region
  • Cochinchina, an exonym for (southern) Vietnam, yet cognate with the term Jiaozhi


  1. ^ Ferlus, Michel (2009). Formation of Ethnonyms in Southeast Asia. 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, Nov 2009, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 2009, pp. 3-4.
  2. ^ Pain, Frédéric (2008). An Introduction to Thai Ethnonymy: Examples from Shan and Northern Thai. Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 128, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 2008), p.646.
  3. ^ Ferlus, Michel (2009). Formation of Ethnonyms in Southeast Asia. 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, Nov 2009, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 2009, p.4.
  4. ^ Ferlus, Michel (2009). Formation of Ethnonyms in Southeast Asia. 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, Nov 2009, Chiang Mai, Thailand. 2009, p.3.
  5. ^ Ciyuan, volume Tý, page 141.
  6. ^ Yule 1995, p. 34.
  7. ^ Reid 1993, p. 211.
  8. ^ a b Chamberlain, James R. (2016). "Kra-Dai and the Proto-History of South China and Vietnam". Journal of the Siam Society. 104.
  9. ^ Chamberlain, James R. (2000). "The origin of the Sek: implications for Tai and Vietnamese history" (PDF). In Burusphat, Somsonge (ed.). Proceedings of the International Conference on Tai Studies, July 29-31, 1998. Bangkok, Thailand: Institute of Language and Culture for Rural Development, Mahidol University. pp. 97-127. ISBN 974-85916-9-7. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ Schliesinger, Joachim (2018). Origin of the Tai People 5-Cradle of the Tai People and the Ethnic Setup Today Volume 5 of Origin of the Tai People. Booksmango. pp. 21, 97. ISBN 978-1641531825.
  11. ^ Schliesinger, Joachim (2018). Origin of the Tai People 6-Northern Tai-Speaking People of the Red River Delta and Their Habitat Today Volume 6 of Origin of the Tai People. Booksmango. pp. 3-4, 22, 50, 54. ISBN 978-1641531832.
  12. ^ Churchman 2011, p. 70.
  13. ^ Schafer 1967, p. 58.
  14. ^ Pulleyblank 1983, p. 433.
  15. ^ Churchman, Michael (2010). "Before Chinese and Vietnamese in the Red River Plain: The Han-Tang Period" (PDF). Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies. 4: 36.
  16. ^ Xiong (2009).
  17. ^ a b t nc Vi?t Nam qua các i, V?n hóa Thông tin publisher, 2005
  18. ^ "Mê Linh kh?i ngh?a". C?ng Thông tin ?i?n t? H?u Giang.
  19. ^ Taylor 1983, p. 64-66.
  20. ^ Loewe 1986, p. 316.
  21. ^ Taylor 1983, p. 67-68.
  22. ^ Taylor 1983, p. 69.
  23. ^ Tsai 2001, p. 179.
  24. ^ Kang et al. 2019, p. 896-922.
  25. ^ Yu 1986, p. 470.
  26. ^ Hill 2009, p. 27.
  27. ^ Hill 2009, p. 31.
  28. ^ Hill 2009, p. 292.
  29. ^ Richthofen 1944, p. 387.
  30. ^ Richthofen 1944, p. 410-411.
  31. ^ Hill 2004 - see: [1] and Appendix: F.
  32. ^ An 2002, p. 83.
  33. ^ a b Young 2001, p. 29-30.
  34. ^ a b Osborne 2006, p. 24-25.


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