Nguyễn Dynasty – The last feudal dynasty in Vietnam

Nguyễn Dynasty is the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam. Nguyễn Dynasty began in 1802, ending in 1945, for 143 years. Ruled by 13 Kings, Nguyễn Dynasty had many ups and downs.  The first stage was prosperous, since French colonialists exploded the first belch in Đà Nẵng (1958), under the influence of the French colonial rule, the Nguyễn Dynasty had many changes.

Nguyễn Dynasty - The last feudal dynasty in Vietnam

1. King Gia Long (1802-1820):

King Gia Long is named Nguyễn Phúc Ánh, who is the third child of Nguyễn Phúc Côn and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hoàn. Nguyễn Phúc Ánh was born on 15 January in Nham Ngo (8 February 1762). In 1775, taking advantage of the decline of the Nguyen Lord court due to the Tay Son insurrection, Trinh troops captured Phu Xuan, Nguyen Phúc Ánh had to escape to the South. From then on, he ran up and down, finding all sorts of ways to recruit forces to regain the kingship for Nguyễn.

In 1792, King Quang Trung died, the Tây Sơn army became weaker and the Nguyễn army grew. In 1801, the Nguyễn army led by Nguyễn Phúc Ánh commanded Quy Nhơn and occupied Thuận Hóa. On 1-2-1802, Nguyen Phúc Ánh ascended the throne in Phu Xuan, naming reign Gia Long, formally establishing the Nguyen Dynasty. In March 1804, King Gia Long changed his country’s name to Vietnam. Gia Long was king for 18 years (1802-1819), died on December 19, Kỷ Mảo (February 3, 1820), at the age of 58. After the death, the King Gia Long was put to worship at Thế Miếu (The shrine for worshipping kings) and there was Miếu Hiệu (the name of a king offered after dying) being Thế Tổ Cao Hoàng Đế. King Gia Long has 31 children (13 sons and 18 daughters).

2. King Minh Mạng (1820-1840):

Emperor Minh Mạng is named Nguyễn Phúc Đảm, the fourth child of King Gia Long and Nguyễn Thị Đặng (Thuận Thiên Cao Empress). He was born on 23 April in Tan Hoi (25-5-1871) in Tân Lộc village, Gia Định Province. Emperor Minh Mang ascended the throne in January of the year of the Dragon (1820), be king for 21 years (1820-1840). During his staying in throne, the king had many important reforms: establishing of the province (the whole country was divided into 31 provinces), recruiting officials, setting salary levels of officials, uniforming measurement and uniforming of clothing, encouraging local people to set up hamlets, making improvements to the transportation system, building houses in the provinces to help the poor, handicapped, old and helpless.

Raising scholarship and encouraging talented people to help the country is one of the things that King Minh Mang paid attention to. The King set up the Quoc Tu Giam, opened Hội, Đình exams (only Gia Long period just had had Hương exam). Vietnamese territory under Minh Mang was widened and Vietnam was truly a powerful nation. So in 1838, Minh Mang renamed our country Đại Nam. King Minh Mang died on December 28, Canh Tý (20-1-1841), the life is 50 years. After death, the Emperor Minh Mang’s tablet was put into Thế Miếu with Miếu Hiệu being Thánh Tổ Nhân Hoàng Đế. Minh Mang had 142 children (74 sons, 68 daughters).

3. King Thiệu Trị (1841-1847):

King Thiệu Trị is named Nguyễn Phúc Miên Tông. He is the eldest son of Emperor Minh Mạng and Empress Hồ Thị Hoa, was born on May 11, Đinh Mão (June 16, 1807) in Xuân Lộc Hamlet, in the East of Huế. King Thiệu Trị ascended the throne on  January 20, Tân Sửu (11-2-1841), was king for 7 years (1841-1847), died on 27 September in Đinh Mùi (4-10-1847), the life was 41. After the death, the king’s tablet was put into Thế Miếu to worship and had Miếu Hiệu being Hiến Tổ Chương Hoàng Đế. King Thiệu Trị has 64 children (29 boys, 35 girls).

4. King Tự Đức (1848-1883):

KingTu Duc’s name is Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Nhậm, in addition to he was the second son of King Thieu Tri and Phạm Thị Hằng (Empress Từ Dũ), born on 25 August in Đinh Sửu (22-9-1829). Emperor Tự Đức ascended the throne in October of Đinh Mùi (1847), was the king for 36 years (1847-1883), died on June 16, Quí Mùi (19-7-1883), aged 55. After the death, the king’s tablet was put into Thế Miếu to worship and there is Miếu Hiệu being Dực Anh Tông Hoàng Đế. Emperor Tự Đức had no children, he took three nephews to be adopted sons: Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Chân (later King Dục Đức); Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Đường (later King Đồng Khánh); Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Đăng (later King Kiến Phúc).

5. King Dục Đức (1883):

Emperor Dục Đức is named Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Ái, the second child of Thụy Thái Vương Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Y and Trần Thị Nga. He was born on January 4, the year of Qúy Sửu (11-2-1853). In 1869, at the age of 17, King Tự Đức adopted and renamed Ưng Chân, built Duc Duc Duong and gave Hoàng Qúy Phi Vũ Thị Duyên (later Emperor Lệ Thiên Anh) to teach.

Emperor Tự Đức lost, having left king’s last will paper leaving the throne for Ưng Chân. Three days later, the two officers, Tôn Thất Thuyết and Nguyễn Văn Tường, abandoned Dục Đức under the orders of Từ Dũ Thái Hoàng Thái Hậu (King Tự Đức’s mother and Empress Lệ Thiên Anh (Tu Duc’s wife). Ưng Chân was disposed of and imprisoned until the death. He died on September 6, the year of Giáp Thân (October 24, 1884), aged 32. In the time of King Thành Thái (the son of Dục Đức) in 1892, he honored his father, Cung Tôn Huệ Hoàng Đế. King Dục Đức has 19 children (11 sons and 8 daughters).

6. King Hiệp Hòa (1883):

King Hiệp Hòa was named Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Dật, the twenty-ninth son of King Thiệu Trị and Mrs. Đoan Tần Trương Thị Thuận, born on 24 September in Đinh Mùi (1-1-1847).

The Emperor was expelled, Hong was put on the throne on July 30, 1883, the year was Hiệp Hòa. Because of being friendly with French, King Hiệp Hòa was the throne not long, was abandoned and forced to drink poisonous self-suicide on October 30, Qúy Mùi (29-11-1883). In King Thành Thái, Hiệp Hòa was honored as Văn Lãng Quận Vương. King Hiệp Hòa has 17 children (11 sons and 6 girls).

7. King Kiến Phúc (1883-1884):

Kiến Phúc is named Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Đăng, the third child of Kiên Thái Vương Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Cai and Mrs Bùi Thị Thanh. Ưng Đăng was born on the second of January, the year of Kỷ Tỵ (12-2-1869). 1870, at 2 years old, Ưng Đăng was adopted by Emperor Tự Đức and handed over to Phi Phi to study and teach.

After King Hiep Hoa was deposed, on December 2, 1883, Ung Dang (15 years old) was put on the throne and named Kien Phuc. Emperor Kien Phuc was at the throne for 8 months, died on June 10, the year of Giáp Thân (July 31, 1884) at age 16. After the death, King Kien Phuc was sent to worship in the Thế Miếu and had the sign of Giản Tông Nghị Hoàng Đế.

8. King Hàm Nghi (1884-1885):

King Hàm Nghi is named Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Lịch. He is the fifth child of Kiên Thái Vương Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Cai and Mrs Phan Thị Nhàn. He was born on June 17, Tân (3-8-1871). After King Kien Phuc’s death, on June 12, Giáp Thân (2-8-1884) Ưng Lịch was put on the throne, named Ham Nghi, at the age of 14.

In the year of Giáp Thân (5-7-1885), King Hàm Nghi and his servants came to Tân Sở, launched Can Vuong decrease starting the anti-French resistance movement on over the country. French troops repeatedly called on the king to return but failed.  On October 30, 1888, Trương Quang Ngọc (the servant of King Hàm Nghi) was taken over by the French and captured King Ham Nghi. King Hàm Nghi was exiled to Algeria on January 13, 1889. The king lived there until his death (January 4, 1943), aged 72. King Hàm Nghi has three children (one son, two daughters).

9. King Đồng Khánh (1886-1888):

King Đồng Khánh is named Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Thị. He is the first child of Kiên Thái Vương Nguyễn Phúc Hồng Cai and Mrs Bùi Thị Thanh. He was born on the 12th of January, Giáp Tý tháng (19-2-1864). In 1865, at 2 years old, Ưng Thị was adored by KingTự Đức and gave Thiện Phi Nguyễn Thị Cẩm to care and teach.

After 1885, King Hàm Nghi came to Tân Sở, Huế throne negotiated with France to crown Ưng Đường, called king name Đồng Khánh. At the throne for three years, King Đồng Khánh was sick and passed away on the 27th of December, Mậu Tý (28-11889), at the age of 25 years old. After his death, the tablet of King Đồng Khánh was put into Thế Miếu and had  Miếu Hiệu being Cảnh Tông Thuần Hoàng Đế. King Đồng Khánh has 10 children (6 sons and 4 daughters).

10. King Thành Thái (1889-1907):

Vua Thành Thái is name Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Lân, the seventh of King Dục Đức and EmpressTừ Minh (Phan Thị Điểu). He was born on the 22nd of January, Kỷ Mão (14-3-1879). King Đồng Khánh passed away, the court of Huế, approved by French, took Bửu Lân up the throne on the 1st of February 1889 with king name as Thành Thái, at the age of 10.

Thanh Thai was a progressive man (short haircut, car driver, motorboat driver) and had anti-French thought. Thus, after 19 years at the throne, under the pressure of the French, the court of Hue took the reason that the king had a mental illness, forced him to abdicate.  Later, he was taken to Vung Tau by France. In 1916, he was deported to the island of Réunion (Africa) by French. In 1947, he got to returned to live in Saigon, Vietnam until his death. He died on March 9, 1955, at the age of 77. Thành Thái had 45 children (19 sons and 26 daughters).

11. King Duy Tân (1907-1916):

King Duy Tân is named Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San, the fifth child of King Thành Thái and Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Định, born on August 26, Canh Tý (19-9-1900).

Năm 1907, KingThành Thái abdicated, Huế Court took Prince Vĩnh San up the throne, called the king name Duy Tân, at the age of 8.

King Duy Tân was the youngest king when was up to the throne of 13 Nguyễn kings. However, the king was a mature man, with the mettle of a king. Like his father, King Duy Tân had anti-French though. The king, Thái Phiên, Trần Cao Vân and so on planed opposing French on May 3, 1916. However, the plot was exposed, the king, Thái Phiên and Trần Cao Vân fled out of the capital. Three days after, King Duy Tân was arrested and convicted by French and sent to Reunion Island.

The King died on November 21, Ất Dậu (25-12-1945) in a plane crash when he was 46 years old. The king was buried M’Baiki Catholic Cemetery in the Central African Republic. On April 6, 1987, the king was reburied in An Lăng (Tự Đức Tomb). Duy Tân had five children (3 sons, 2 daughters)

12. King Khải Định (1916-1925):

King Khải Định is named Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Đảo. He is the oldest child of King Đồng Khánh and Empress Hựu Thiên Thần (Mrs Dương Thị Thục) and born on September 1, Ất Dậu (8-10-1885). King Đồng Khánh passed away, Prince Bửu Đảo was few years old (4 years old), so he was not chosen to be a king. In  1916, After King Duy Tân was exiled in Réunion, Huế Court and French put Bửu Đảo on the throne on18-5-1916 and called king name Khải Định.

King Khải Định was at the throne for 10 years, was badly sick and died on September 9, Ất Sửu (6-11-1925), at the age of 41. After dying, the king’s table was worshipper in Thế Miếu and had Miếu Hiệu as Hoằng Tông Tuyên Hoàng đế. Khai Dinh had only one son, Prince Vinh Thuy (King Bao Dai).

13. King Bảo Đại (1926-1945):

Emperor Bảo Đại is named Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy, the only child of King Khải Định and Mrs. Hoàng Thị Cúc and born on September 23, Quý Sửu (22-10-1913). Prince Vĩnh Thụy was sent to France to learn at the age of 10. When King Khải Định passed away, he returned Huế to be up to the throne on January 8, 1926, named the king as Bảo Đại. This is the last king of the Nguyễn Dynasty. After that, he returned to France to continue studying. Until September 8, 1932, he returned Huế. On August 30, 1945, he làm lễ thoái vị at Ngo Mon Gate giving government control to the Provisional Revolutionary Government. Feudalism ended, Bao Dai went to France and lived the life of the king in exile. He died on August 1, 1997, in France. King Bao Dai has 5 children (2 sons, 3 daughters).

Commenting on the Nguyễn dynasty, there were many different views. However, there was a unified view to be that the Nguyễn Dynasty had the united merit and established the sovereignty of the country. Nguyễn Dynasty had many patriotic kings, having thought against foreign aggression.

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