Hue is both a province and the third largest city of Vietnam. Under the South Vietnamese government, it was in Thua Thien prefecture, of north-central Vietnam. 660 km from Hanoi and 1080 km from Saigon, it is a geographical center, also providing access to the Central Highlands.
As a province, it includes the former Thua Thien Province. Thua Thien which was separate in 1965, then joined, with, Quang Binh Province and Quang Tri Province into the no longer existing Binh Tri Thien Province. This province was split in 1990.
For several hundred years, two groups of warlords, the Nguyen and the Trinh, had ruled Annam under the Chinese, as the Le Dynasty. In 1789, a year also significant in American history, the Chinese were defeated by a rebellion led by a soldier named Quang Trung, who took the name Nguyen Hue. He probably took that name to show the transfer of power from the Nguyen warlords, but, as confusing as the names may be, Nguyen Hue was not of the Nguyen warlords. He did, however, overthrow the Chinese-backed warlords with a sudden attack during Tet, and created the Nguyen dynasty.
Nguyen Hue died in 1792, with no adult heir. One of the surviving "old Nguyens," Nguyen Phuc Anh, who took the name Gia Long, overthrew the existing government created by Nguyen He, killed his son after forcing him to watch his father's bones being desecrated, and took power in 1802, with French assistance. Now-Emperor Gia Long's first act was to move the capital from Saigon to Hue. He also named his new reign, Vietnam, although it was still known as the Nguyen Dynasty. While he permitted French missionaries, he resisted further French penetration.
Many of the imperial and colonial structures survive, and on December 11, 1993, UNESCO declared its Complex of Monuments of Hue to be a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
It is on the main north-south road of Vietnam, National Highway 1.
It has been strongly identified as a Buddhist city, although during the Ngo Dinh Diem years, it also was the seat of the Catholic Archbishop, Ngo Dinh Thuc. Diem's brother Ngo Dinh Can, also ruled from there; it was the headquarters of I Corps tactical zone.
- The Nguyen Dynasty, from the Le to the Nguyen Rulers, University of Richmond.
- Oberdorfer, p. 203
- Emperor Gia Long, University of Richmond.