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

Kingdom of Vietnam (1802-1839)
Vi?t Nam qu?c ()
Empire of i Nam (1839-1945)
i Nam qu?c ()
Flag of Nguy?n Dynasty
First flag of the Nguyen Dynasty.svg
Anthem: "ng dàn cung"
Vi?t Nam at its greatest territorial extent in 1829 (under Emperor Minh M?ng), superimposed on the modern political map
Vi?t Nam at its greatest territorial extent in 1829 (under Emperor Minh M?ng), superimposed on the modern political map
French Protectorate (1883-1945)
Common languagesVietnamese
Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism, Catholicism
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
o 1802-1820 (first)
Gia Long
o 1926-1945 (last)
B?o i
o Defeat of the Tây S?n
o Coronation of Gia Long
1 June 1802
1 September 1858
5 June 1862
25 August 1883
6 June 1884
17 October 1887
11 March 1945
30 August 1945
o 1830
o 1860
CurrencyV?n (Sapèque), Ti?n, and L?ng
Piastre (from 1885)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Today part ofVietnam

The Nguy?n dynasty or House of Nguy?n (Vietnamese: Nhà Nguy?n, ; Hán-Nôm: ??, Nguy?n tri?u) was the last imperial family of Vietnam.[1] Their ancestral line can be traced back to the beginning of the Common Era. However, only by the mid-sixteenth century the most ambitious family branch, the Nguy?n Lords had risen to conquer, control and establish feudal rule over large territory.[2]

The dynastic rule began with Gia Long ascending the throne in 1802, after ending the previous Tây S?n dynasty. During its existence, the Empire was gradually absorbed by France over the course of several decades. This began 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 a French colony 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? established a protectorate over the remaining Vietnamese territory, dividing it into the Protectorates of Annam and Tonkin under only nominal Nguyen dynasty rule. They were in 1887 merged with Cochinchina and Cambodia to form French Indochina.[3]

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 communist revolution by the anti-colonial Vi?t Minh in August 1945. This ended the 143 year rule of the Nguy?n dynasty.


Although the nation was given the name Vi?t Nam () by imperial Chinese decree during Gia Long's reign, 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");[4] the abbreviation i Vi?t (, which means "Great Viet") was forbidden, since it was the name used by several previous dynasties as well.

Origins and rise to power

First mentioned in the first century CE, the Nguy?n family clan, that 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 and its successor Emperor Lê L?i of the Early Lê dynasty.[5][6]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.[7]

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.[8][9]

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.[10]

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.[11][12][13]

Struggle for sovereignty

First Tây S?n-Nguy?n civil war (1771-1785)

The end of the Nguy?n lord 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, as neither side was capable to unite the country under its rule. 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.[14]

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.[15]

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.

Escape of Nguy?n Ánh

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.[16][17][18]

Pigneau de Behaine resolved to support Ánh, who had declared himself heir of 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 deployed an army at his new base in Long Xuyên, marched to Gia nh in December 1777, raided the palace of Long H? and occupied the city. 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.[19][19]

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 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.[20]

Chinese Vietnamese support for Nguy?n Ánh

Painting of Pigneau de Behaine in priestly dress
Pigneau de Behaine, the French priest who recruited armies for Nguy?n Ánh during Ánh's war against the Tây S?n

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 for business and trade.

In 1782, Nguy?n Ánh escaped to Cambodia and the Tây S?n seized southern Vietnam (now Cochinchina). They 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.[20] 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,[21][22] 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-Thai alliance

Portrait of King Rama I of Siam, holding a sword
Rama I of Siam

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.[23][24]

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).[25] 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.[26] 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.[27]

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.

1787 French alliance

Formal portrait of a standing Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
See caption
Signatures on the 1787 Treaty of Versailles

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.[28] 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.[29] The group arrived in Lorient in February 1787, and Louis XVI agreed to meet them in May.

Treaty of Versailles (1787)

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.[30] 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.[31] 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.

French Revolution

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.[32]

Second civil war (1787-1802)

Weakening of the Tây S?n dynasty

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 and 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.

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.[33][34] 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.[35]
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.[36]

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.[37] 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.[38] 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.

Origin of the dynasty

Unification of Vietnam

Old manuscript
Hoàng Tri?u lu?t l?, Civil law introduced by Gia Long

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 () and the Th? temple name Nguy?n Th? T? (). 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.[39][40]



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

The Nguy?n dynasty maintained the bureaucracy and hierarchic system of former dynasties. The head of state was the emperor, 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.[] East Asia's monarchic system consisted of nobles and mandarins. Mandarins were civil or military.

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


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.[]


After Gia Long, other dynastic rulers encountered problems with Catholic missionaries and other Europeans in Indochina. China's Qing Jiaqing Emperor refused Gia Long's request to change his country's name to Nam Vi?t, changing its name to Vi?t Nam.[41]

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,[42] although Minh M?ng set aside public lands as part of his reforms.[43]

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.[44][45][46][47] The Vietnamese forced Champa's Muslims to eat lizard and pig meat and its Hindus to eat beef to assimilate them into Vietnamese culture.[48]

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

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.[49][50] 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."[51] These policies were directed at the Khmer and hill tribes.[52] Nguyen Phuc Chu had referred to the Vietnamese as "Han people" in 1712, distinguishing them from the Chams.[53] 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.[54] Minh Mang implemented an acculturation policy for minority non-Vietnamese peoples.[55]"Thanh nhân" (? ?) or "ng nhân" () were used to refer to ethnic Chinese by the Vietnamese, who called themselves "Hán dân" (? ?) and "Hán nhân" () during 19th-century Nguy?n rule.[56] Since 1827, descendants of Ming dynasty refugees were called Minh nhân () or Minh Hng (? ?) by Nguy?n rulers, to distinguish with ethnic Chinese.[57]Minh nhân were treated as Vietnamese since 1829.[58][59]:272 They were not allowed to go to China, and also not allowed to wear the Manchu queue.[60]

"Trung Qu?c" () was used as a name for Vietnam by Gia Long in 1805.[61] Due to its dominance during the 19th century, Vietnam regards Cambodia and Laos as tributary states.[62]

Drawing of a Vietnamese marriage ceremony
1884 drawing of a marriage ceremony in Tonkin

The Nguyen dynasty popularized Chinese clothing.[63][64][65][66][67][68] Trousers were adopted by female White H'mong speakers,[69] replacing their traditional skirts.[70] The traditional Han Chinese Ming tunics and trousers were worn by the Vietnamese. The áo dài was developed in the 1920s, when compact, close-fitting tucks were added to Chinese-style clothing.[71] Chinese trousers and tunics were ordered by Nguy?n Phúc Khoát during the 18th century, replacing Vietnamese sarongs.[72] Although the Chinese trousers and tunic were mandated by the Nguyen government, skirts were worn in isolated north Vietnamese hamlets until the 1920s.[73] Chinese Ming-, Tang-, and Han-dynasty clothing was ordered for the Vietnamese military and bureaucrats by Nguy?n Phúc Khoát.[74]

Drawing of an elephant in front of soldiers
Nguy?n-dynasty elephant parade in Hu?

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 ().[75][76][77][78] 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,[79] who saw themselves as sharing a civilization with the Qing.[80] Non-Chinese highland tribes and other non-Vietnamese peoples living near (or in) Vietnam were called "barbarian" by the Vietnamese imperial court.[81][82] The essay distinguishes the Yi and Hua, and mentions Zhao Tuo, Wen, Shun and Taibo.[83][84][85][86][87] Kelley and Woodside described Vietnam's Confucianism.[88]

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 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 since ng Khánh were chosen by the French, and only ruled symbolically.

French protectorate

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 Napoelons 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.

Drawing of men signing a treaty
Signing of the Treaty of Hu?, 25 August 1883

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.

In the following decades Vietnam was gradually absorbed under French control. Further unequal treaties. 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.

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

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.[3]

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 in order 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.

The Empire of Vietnam was however just a puppet state for the Japanese, and after their defeat in August 1945 B?o i abdicated while the Viet Minh launched the August Revolution. This ended the 143-year reign of the Nguy?n dynasty.

Dynastic succession

After the war France had reestablished control of French Indochina, which had led to the First Indochina War with the Viet Minh. In 1949 thee French persuaded B?o i to return as Chief of State (Qu?c Trng) of the State of Vietnam (Qu?c Gia Vi?t Nam), set up by France over the former areas of Annam, Tonkin and Cochinchina. B?o i spent much of his time during the war in his luxurious home in ?à L?t or in Paris. The war ended with the French defeat at ?i?n Biên Ph? in 1954.

The 1954 Geneva Conference provisionally the country divided into North Vietnam (governed by the Viet Minh) and South Vietnam, with a new government. B?o i's prime minister, Ngô ?ình Di?m, defeated him in a 1955 referendum generally regarded as rigged; an improbable 98 percent of voters supported Diem's proposal for a republic, and the number of votes for the republic far exceeded the number of registered voters. Diem became president of the Republic of Vietnam (Vi?t Nam C?ng Hòa), fully ending B?o i's involvement in Vietnamese affairs.

B?o i went into exile in France, where he died in 1997 and was buried in Cimetière de Passy. Crown Prince B?o Long succeeded him as head of the imperial house of Vietnam on 31 July of that year and was succeeded by his brother, B?o Th?ng, on 28 July 2007.

B?o Th?ng died on 15 March 2017 without an heir leaving the succession to the youngest half brother B?o Ân.



Historical records


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".

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 Gia Long Thiên Th? l?ng Unified and named Vietnam, founded its last dynasty
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 Minh M?nh Hi?u L?ng Annexed the remaining Panduranga kingdom, renamed Vietnam i Nam (Great Nam/Great South), suppressed religion
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 Thi?u Tr? Xng L?ng
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 T? c Khiêm L?ng Faced French invasion and ceded Cochinchina to France
D?c c's tomb Cung Tông Hu? Hoàng Nguy?n Phúc ?ng Chân Nephew (adopted son of T? c) 1883 D?c c An L?ng Three-day emperor (20-23 July 1883)
- V?n Lãng Qu?n Vng Nguy?n Phúc H?ng D?t Uncle (son of Thi?u Tr?) 1883 Hi?p Hòa Four-month emperor (30 July - 29 November 1883)
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 Ki?n Phúc B?i L?ng Eight-month emperor (2 December 1883 - 31 July 1884)
Portrait of Hàm Nghi - -- Nguy?n Phúc ?ng L?ch Younger brother 1884-85 Hàm Nghi Thonac Cemetery, France Dethroned after one year, continuing his rebellion until was captured in 1888 and fled to Algeria
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 ng Khánh T? L?ng Pro-West
Portrait of Thành Thái - Hoài Tr?ch Công Nguy?n Phúc B?u Lân Cousin (son of D?c c) 1889-1907 Thành Thái An L?ng
Duy Tân as a child - -- Nguy?n Phúc V?nh San son 1907-16 Duy Tân An L?ng
Kh?i nh writing at a desk 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 Kh?i nh ?ng L?ng Collaborated with the French, and was a political figurehead for French colonial rulers. Unpopular with the Vietnamese people, nationalist leader Phan Châu Trinh accused him of selling Vietnam to the French and living in imperial luxury while the people were exploited.
Portrait of B?o i - -- Nguy?n Phúc V?nh Th?y Son 1926-45 B?o i Cimetière de Passy, France Created 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. Removed as head of state of the State of Vietnam, changing it to a republic with Ngo Dinh Diem as president. Unpopular, considered an impotent puppet of the French colonial regime.

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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