Triệu Dynasty

Triệu Dynasty

The Triệu Dynasty ( _vi. Nhà Triệu) is the name given in Vietnam to the lineage of kings of the kingdom of Nam Việt (Nanyue), which ruled over parts of southern China and northern Vietnam, and, in some contexts, by extension the era of Nanyue rule, or even the kingdom itself. It is regarded by some as the first dynasty to rule what is now Vietnam. There are, however, many unresolved questions about this era.

Historical Accounts

There are two major views on the categorization of the dynasty.

1) Zhao Tuo (; Triệu Đà in Vietnamese) was a Chinese general of the Qin Dynasty, who made himself the king of Nanyue (Nam Việt), established in the area of Lingnan (嶺南), which today comprises Guangdong, Guangxi, and other nearby areas of southern mainland China. He conquered the state of Âu Lạc, a country named by Thục Phán An Dương Vương. Thus, there was no Triệu dynasty but the period of First Chinese domination, which began when Triệu Đà seized Âu Lạc (a minor state located to the south of Guangxi and Guangdong) in 207 BC and ended in 111 BC. By the same logic, it would be safe to say that the Mongol Yuan Dynasty was not a "Chinese" dynasty but in fact a Mongol domination of China (which it was). This can also be said of the Manchu Qing dynasty.

2) Historians who consider Triệu Đà to have been Vietnamese do so on the basis that his seizure of Âu Lạc and his independent rule of it were an act of defiance of the Western Han Dynasty, and also because of the fact that he assimiliated to Yue/Viet culture (Much like the rulers of the Mongol Yuan dynasty and Manchu Qing dynasty did with Han culture). They believe that the dynasty he founded, "nhà Triệu", should be included in the official record of Vietnamese dynastic history. The Triệu Dynasty ended when the Han seized and occupied Nam Việt after the fall of Triệu Dương Vương (Triệu Đà's great-grandson) in 111 BC. According to this view of history, the First Chinese domination commenced in 111 BC and lasted until the revolt of the Trưng sisters (or "Hai Bà Trưng") which occurred around 40 AD. The Vietnamese consider the Triệu Dynasty as much their own in the same way the Chinese considered the Mongol Yuan Dynasty as their own.

Triệu Vũ Vương or Wu Wang (207-136 BC)

In the legends of Trọng Thủy and Mỵ Châu (also known as "The Magic Bow"), Triệu Đà married his son Trọng Thủy to An Dương Vương's daughter Mỵ Châu in an attempt to steal a magical bow from his in-laws. He thus defeated An Dương Vương in 207 BC and used the bow to seize control of Âu Lạc. Having seized Âu Lạc, Triệu Đà united it with the other states, and controlled and renamed the whole country Nam Việt or "Nanyue". Triệu Đà proclaimed himself Triệu Vũ Vương and ruled this country until 136 BC.

Administration and rule

Knowing the Âu Lạc's people were famous for their fierce fighting and struggle for independence, Triệu Đà divided the state into two regions: Cửu Chân and Giao Chỉ. Giao Chỉ now encompasses most of northern Vietnam. He allowed each region to have representatives to the central government and thus his administration was quite relaxed and had a feeling of being decentralized. However, he remained in control. Being a talented general and cunning diplomat, he sought a peaceful relationship with China which was in turmoil with the seated Qin Dynasty fighting the strong Han and Luu insurgents.

Triệu Văn Vương or Wen Wang (136-124 BC)

Triệu Đà was succeeded by his grandson (Trọng Thủy and Mỵ Châu's son) who took the imperial name Triệu Văn Vương//Zhao Wen Wang 137 BC 125 BC. Totally the opposite of Triệu Đà, Triệu Ho was a weak, feeble-mind king. His inability to quell a rebellion in the West of the country (Man Việt) and inability to persuade the Chinese Han to help him showed his weakness and incapacity. Realizing the weakness of Triệu Văn Vương, the Han Emperor sent an army ostensibly to "help" the Nam Việt army, but with an eye to reseizing the country should an occasion arise.

Triệu Minh Vương or Ming Wang (124-112 BC)

Triệu Anh Te was the crown prince when his father, Triệu Vǎn Vương, died. Triệu Anh Te's appointment to the position of emperor was a concilatory measure to the Emperor in Chang'an as a sign of Nam Việt's submission and respect. This crown prince, Triệu Anh Te lived most of his life in China. In China he had fathered a son by a Han woman name Cu Thi. He named the son Triệu Hưng. Only when his father, Triệu Văn Vương, died did Triệu Anh Te receive permission to go home for his father's funeral. This happened in 124BC. Triệu Anh Te ascended the throne as Triệu Minh Vương. Not much is known about Triệu Minh Vương's reign, probably because it is a short one and he was subservient to the Han emperor. His Chinese-born son, Triệu Hưng, was only about 6 years old when Trieu Minh Vương died. Owing to Triệu Hưng's extreme youth, his mother Cu Thi, became the Empress Dowager.

Trieu Minh Vương's death precipitated the events that would lead to the seizure and domination of Nanyue by the Han forces.

Triệu Ai Vương or Ai Wang (113-111 BC)

Triệu Hưng, came to the throne under the imperial name of Trieu Ai Vương. Soon thereafter, the Han emperor Wudi summoned him and his mother, Cu Thi, to an audience to pay homage in the Han Imperial court. The Han then sent an army to accompany Cu Thi and Trieu Áp Vương back home to Âu Lạc under the pretext that the young king needed their protection. By acquiescing to this gesture, both the Empress Dowager and the young emperor Trieu Áp Vương gave the public the impression that they were just puppets in the hands of the Han court.

Triệu Dương Vương or Yang Wang (111 BC)

In the South, (i.e., in Nanyue) the Han did not notice a general by the name Lu Gia rising to power. First, Lu Gia named Triệu Kiến Ðức (Triệu Minh Vương's eldest son) the new Emperor to usurp Triệu Áp Vương's throne. Lu Gia selected Triệu Kiến Ðức was because he was sired by Triệu Minh Vương through one of his concubines. Lu Gia wanted to stir up Yue patriotism at this time for his cause. Triệu Kiến Ðức took the emperor-name Triệu Dương Vương. The Han Imperial army became aware of the shift in power and began sending troops south to the border of Nam Việt (Nan Yue).

There, the Han crushed the Yue army. Lu Gia and his emperor Trieu Duong Vuong tried to flee the country but then were caught and executed. The Han now had total control and domination over Nanyue until the time of the revolt of the Trưng Sisters, "Hai Bà Trưng", led by Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị.


* "Viet Nam Su Luoc" by Trần Trọng Kim
* "Viet Su Toan Thu" by Pham Van Son

ee also

*Emperor Wu of Han

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