Mediatheque
Brief history of the Nguyen dynasty
Update: 21/12/2009 03:17:43

The Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) began with the reign of king Gia Long, who was the dynasty’s founder, and ended with the reign of king Bao Dai who was the last monarch time of Vietnam. Prior to the Nguyen dynasty, were the nine Nguyen Lords, who deserve credit for extending the territory southwards.

In 1558, the first Lord Nguyen, Hoang, came to be the garrison chief of Thuan Hoa, and opened a new page in this territory’s history. The more developed and consolidated the regime of the Nguyen became, the more fierce was the struggle with the Trinh from the North. This situatuation resulted in a civil war lasting more than 200 years. Simultaneously, the process of widening their terrritory southwards was also strongly promoted. By 1757, the Nguyen Lords had established their sovereignty over all the south region.

In the process of establishing and developing the government over the southern region (Dang Trong), the Nguyen Lords had moved and set the capital from Ai Tu  (1558-1570) to Tra Bat (1570-1600), Dinh Cat (1600-1626), Phuoc Yen (1626-1636), Kim Long (1636-1687), Phu Xuan (1687-1712), Bac Vong (1712-1738) then returned to Phu Xuan again (1738-1775). In 1775, as the result of many socio-political factors, the last Nguyen Lord lost Phu Xuan into the hands of the northern Trinh. This was followed by the complete collapse of the Trinh regime to the power of Tay Son forces. The Nguyen did not recover until one of their descendants retrieved their fortune and established the  Nguyen dynasty.

The nine Nguyen Lords included:

Lord Nguyễn Hoàng (1558-1613)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên (1613-1635)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Lan (1635-1648)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Tần (1648-1687)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Thái (1687-1691)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Chu (1691-1725)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Thụ (1725-1738)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Khoát (1738-1765)
Lord Nguyễn Phúc Thuần (1765-1777)

In 1802, after he defeated the forces of Tay Son, Nguyen Anh, who was a descendant of Nguyen Lords, unified the country and established the Nguyen dynasty. During his reign he took the name Gia Long.
Phu Xuan became the capital of the country for the next 143 years. Succeeding Gia Long, twelve kings of the Nguyen dynasty built up Phu Xuan as the powerful political and cultural centre of a unified Vietnam. It reflected the enhancement of the country’s territory and concentrated the cultural values of a vast territory. The Nguyen also left a huge heritage including a number of national historical books, national gazetteers, repertory of the administrative regulations, epitaphs, royal edicts, land registers, family records and suchlike.

Most importantly, the tangible cultural heritage of not only this dynasty but also of the earlier dynasties were all well restored and preserved during the Nguyen dynasty. Due to this policy, many heritage buidlings from Ly dynasty to the later Le dynasty, such as Mot Cot pagoda, Tran Quoc pagoda and Dau pagoda, remain until the present day.

The greatest achievement of the Nguyen is the outstanding cultural values represented by three cultural heritages that have been recognized by the UNESCO. They are two World Cultural Heritage Sites including Hue Monument Complex and Hoi An Ancient Town, together with Vietnamese Court Music, listed as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

13 Nguyễn kings include:

Gia Long king (1802-1819)
Minh Mạng king (1820-1840)
Thiệu Trị king (1841-1847)
Tự Đức king (1848-1883)
Dục Đức king (1883, 3 ngày)
Hiệp Hòa king (30.7.1883-29.11.1883)
Kiến Phúc king (2.12.1883-31.7.1884)
Hàm Nghi king (1884-1885)
Đồng Khánh king (1886-1888)
Thành Thái king (1889-1907)
Duy Tân king (1907-1916)
Khải Định king (1916-1925)
Bảo Đại king (1926-1945)

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