Dai Viet

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Dai Viet (Đại Việt) is a former name of Vietnam. The name was used from 1054 to 1400, and again from 1428 to 1804. Vietnam had broken from China in 939 CE, and governed the Red River Delta but eventually collapsed internally by the 14th century;[1] until the Chinese retook control. A sequence of dynasties and occasional conquest eventually produced different by still Vietnamese-identified dynasties took control, until the final Nguyen Dynasty took control in 1802, but was taken over by the France in 1858.

Between the 11th and 18th centuries, the Vietnamese expanded southward in a process known as nam tiến(southward expansion). [2]

Kingdom of Dai Viet

Later, the area of Dai Viet, widely called Annam, came back under Vietnamese leadership, initially warlords, beginning with the Ngo (939-968), and then the Dinh (968-979) was even more ephemeral, which did defeat warlords and pacified the Chinese with tribute but did not establish independence. [3]


This period was known as the pre-Le Dynasty. It was known for establishing military dominance, first over the Chinese Sung in 981, and then, also under General Le Hoan, invaded the Kingdom of Champa and conquered its capital Indrapura (now in Quang Nam Province), securing the southern border.[4]

Ly Dynasty

The Ly Dynasty reigned between 1010 and 1225, with nine kings, King Ly Thai To, ordered the transfer of the capital to Thang Long, the ancestor of today's Hanoi, which was to remain the capital until the 19th century revolt that established the Nguyen Dynasty. His successor, Ly Thanh Ton, established the name Dai Viet in 1054. [5]

While it was officially Buddhist, it welcomed Confucianism and Taoism. Late in the dynasty, however, a minister named Tran Thu Đo compelled king Ly Hue Tong to become a Buddhist monk, and his daughter, Chieu Hoang. the queen. Tran then married her to his nephew Tran Canh, which started the Tran Dynasty. Some Ly aristocrats became the first Vietnamese political exiles, obtaining refuge in Korea.

This dynasty was the first to build extensive irrigation works, long before the French hydraulic engineering of the Mekong Delta in the 19th century. Its policy was, however, to take active measures to surround its enemies. It attacked the Kingdom of Champa and ravaged its capital in 1044 and 1069. The Chinese were defeated after a war lasting from 1057 to 1061. A second Chinese invasion was defeated after a four-year war (1057-61), and conflict with Champa resumed.

Champa tried, in 1128 and 1132, to recover their losses to Dai Viet, but then lost a war to the Cambodian Khmers. The Khmer eventually recovered Cham provinces taken by the Kingdom of Dai Viet. [3]

Tran Dynasty

A peak of cultural development came in the 13th and 14th centuries, under the Tran Dynasty.[6] Under the Trans, village records were kept on a regular basis, Lê Văn Hưu wrote formal 30-volume history of Đai Viet, an the Nom orthography for Vietnamese came into practice. , a system of writing for Vietnamese language. The Trần Dynasty also adopted a unique way to train new kings: as a king aged, he would relinquish the throne to his crown prince, yet holding a title of August Higher Emperor, acting as a mentor to the new Emperor

Ho Dynasty

Eventually, a peasant revolt, in the late 14th century, sapped the strength of the Trans. A Tran mandarin, Ho Quy Ly rose high in the court, and took effective control as civilian leader between 1396 and 1400. In 1400, he declared himself king, replacing the Tran dynasty as it had been replaced by a court official.

After dethroning the Trans, he built defenses against the Ming Chinese. Economic reforms improved the lot of the central government, and weakened the remaining Tran family. Nevertheless, Ho did little for the peasantry. Ho Quy Ly was king for only a year, and then replaced by his son, Ho Han Thuong, who ruled until 1407, when the Ming invaded and took control until 1427.

Le Dynasty

Le Loi, however, led a successful revolt, becoming king, and, not repeating the mistake of leaving the Tran family strong, confiscated all Ming and Tran assets. The Le Dynasty was to last until 1527. It was to fight many internal ethnic conflicts.

Tay Son Dynasty

The Le dynasty collapsed into civil war and Chinese Qing invasion. Eventually, the Tay Son dynasty, under Nguyen Hue, regained control in 1789.

Fall of Dai Viet

For more information, see: Nguyen Dynasty.

Nguyen Hue's Tay Son Dynasty, somewhat confusingly, was eventually overthrown by the final Vietnamese empire, the Nguyen Dynasty. The last Nguyen emperor was Bao Dai, whom the French would use as a symbolic leader.

Dai Viet Quoc Dan Dang

Named after the classical kingdom, Dai Viet Quoc Dan Dang was a nationalist political party of the 1940s. [7]


  1. Victor B. Lieberman (2003), Strange Parallels: Southeast Asia in Global Context, C 800-1830, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521804965, pp. 23-25
  2. , The Le Dynasty and Southward Expansion, Country Studies: Vietnam, Library of Congress
  3. 3.0 3.1 Charles Kimball, "Dai Viet vs. Champa", Guide to Thailand
  4. "Pre-Le Dynasty", Vietnam History
  5. "Ly Dynasty", Vietnam History
  6. "The Great Viet Kingdom under the Tran Dynasty (1226-1400)", Vietnam History
  7. Bui Diem, David Chanoff (1999), Indiana University Press, ISBN 0253213010, pp. 23-24