Le Dynasty (1428 AD - 1776 AD)
by Ch'ng Yaohong
The oppressed people found a new leader in Le
Loi, a man renowned for his courage and generosity. Under the
title Prince of Pacification, he organised a resistance movement
against China. He managed to drive out the invaders and restoring
Le Loi founded the Le Dynasty in 1428 and became
king under the name of Le Thai To. He renamed the country Dai
Viet and immediately began the task of its reconstruction. The
army was reduced and adopted a rotation system that enabled soldiers
to return to the countryside to work and help boost food production.
Reforms to the legal system were introduced. A
new College of National Sons (Quoc Tu Giam) was founded to educate
future administrators, with admission solely based on merit and
not of family status.
Le Thai To died in 1443, leaving the throne to
his son, Le Thanh Tong. The court succumbed to chaos and disorder
in the decade of his death. Then troubled ceased when Le Thanh
Tong affirmed his power. Under his reign, the country prospered
like never before. He revised the fiscal system, encouraged agriculture
and placed great emphasis on customs and moral principles. He
founded the Tao Dan Academy and wrote the first volume of national
His army won an easy victory over the Champa army in 1471.
Not only excelling on battlefields, his farmer-soldiers were also
great in the fields.
As useless kings succeeded Le Thanh Tong, the country
descended a downward spiral of confusion and corruption. Mac Dang
Dung, a shrewd and scheming adviser at the court, seized control
of the country, and founded the Mac Dynasty in 1527. During this
time, descendants of the Le Dynasty rallied around Nguyen Kim and
Trinh Kiem, looking for a way to over throw Mac Dang Dung. In that
period, both dynasties Mac and Le co-existed, dividing the country
into North (the rest of the provinces) and South (Thanh Hoa, Nghe
An).The situation continued for almost 50 years with 4 Le reigns
until the Mac Dynasty collapsed in 1592.
In an effort to restore
law and order, Lord Trinh left the southern court under the temporary
control of Nguyen Kim's nephew, Nguyen Hoang. After pacifying the
north and re-establishing the Le authority in Hanoi, Lord Trinh
returned to find Nguyen Hoang well entrenched in the southern court
as lord and master of all. The rest of the era consisted of a fifty-year
war and another hundred years of conflict between Trinhs and Nguyens
with Gianh River (Quang Binh) as the border. In the North, the Trinh
Lords ruled the court through usurping Le's power. While in the
South, Nguyen Lords headed south by signing the peace treaty with
the Khmer Kingdom, having authority on Prey Nokor, port of Khmer
(Saigon), and spreading all over Champa.
Tay Son Uprising (1776 AD - 1792 AD)
Insurrections against the administration systems broke out during the last years of the two royal courts. The Tay Son brothers - Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Lu and Nguyen Hue, seized the day, staging an uprising against the leading Le lords and defeating them. The last emperor Le Chieu Thong, could not stop the attempt to recover the Trinh force and was suppressed heavily by Lord Trinh Bong. Le Chieu Thong fled to China, asking help from the Manchou Dynasty ruling China. In 1788, a Manchou troop of 290,000 soldiers invaded Dai Viet and backed Chieu Thong to rule the north. In 1789, Nguyen Hue, the Tay Son Emperor headed a ten-day attack of the north and completely destroyed the Manchou. Gaining the control of the north and ascending the throne, he formally ended the Le Dynasty.
-Au Lac Dynasty
-Tien Le Dynasty