The Birth of Vietnam

Project: The Birth of Vietnam
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: March/01/2010
Last updated: October/01/2010
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.

When compiling the modern history of Vietnam, scholars recourse to the ancient Dai-Viet legends as presented to them by Vietnamese scholars. Misinformed or misled, they attempted to give the new country a hoary history that rivals Central China in antiquity. We shall argue that, as much as ancient Vietnamese legacies were remembered, they were mostly inherited from Dai-Viet that were shared with China. In an effort to give Dai-viet an indigenous origin of the Annam valley, scholars looked for austroasiatic connection within Vietnamese tongue and other cultural elements presence in Di-Viet occupied territory. Some went far to attribute the vestiges of the Hoabinhian and the Dong-son archeology sites as belonging to Dai-viet' s historical past. We had argued that as part of the Hiong-wang Kingdom, the ancient territory of Dai-viet was originally inhabited by austroasiatic indigenous people. Down to the Han era, Chinese tradition still remembers that the original inhabitants of Annam were the Kun-lun of Mon-khmer stock. On the other hand, evidences show that the Dai-Viet's legacies were not native of the Red-valley Delta but were from Central China. As many other southern states of the Chinese southern continent, the history of Dai-viet was the effect of mass migration in many stages from Central China coupled with the displacement of the Yueh leadership from the Tai-yuan region. The reference of Dai-viet (in some occasion the Yuan) for instance, reflects their shared leadership with the Tai-yuan aristocratic clans of the Chao Yueh-shis (Champapura: The Han Connection: The Yueh Migration). During the Han occupation of Kiao-wang, the Chinese general Ma-yuan built Tonkin as a southern commanding post of Kiao-tche. It was because of this assimilation that scholars mistook Tonkin as Kiao-tche, an autonomous identity that was referring to the kingdom of Hiong-wang. The mistake might be due in part to the Chinese source since according to the Yunnan Chronicle, the Chinese court changed the name of Annam to Kiao-tche after it was brought under Chinese control in 1407 (Notes: Annam becoming Kiao-tche). It gives us information on how Tonkin was formed and sustained as a part of China. During the ruling of the Han, the Tang and later the Ming, China was centralized and Dai-viet was integrated completely as part of the homogenous Chinese nation. In other era, China adopted the decentralized concept of a Cakravatin Empire and Dai-viet was treated as part of the empire, having some degrees of autonomy that most scholars mistook as independent.
Vietnam vs Dai-viet
The Vietnam's identity was conceived when the Nguyen's ruler Gia-long went to request the Chinese Emperor the authorization to use the word "Nam-viet" for the name of his new country. At first, the Chinese court objected strongly, but at the end an agreement was made and the word "Viet-nam" was granted as the official name of the new country. The Chinese Emperor had serious concern that the request might lead to confusion of identity since "Nam-Viet" is a close derivative of "Dai-Viet". The objection was to prevent back claim of the ancient legacy of Dai-viet, a Chinese state that was much more extensive than Tonkin. The rational was that the legacy of Tonkin in connection with Dai-viet was actually Chinese. Its actual history started after the Han drove out the Chou from Central China and formed Tonkin as a commanding post of Kiao-tche. Even then, the history of Tonkin was in large the history of a small group of Yueh leadership from the Tai-yuan country establishing their authority over the ethnic Kinh, migrants from Central China. Receiving investiture from the Han court, the Kaeo leadership topped themselves over both the Kinh and Tai communities of Kiao-tche. The last time that the Mongols were taking control of Yunnan, there were indications that a faction of the Kaeo court still ruled Tonkin while their control over the rest of Yunnan was already stripped out. Taking the advantage of the Ming' s decline, the Le's family detached Dai-Viet from the the sway of the Central Chinese court. Their background was still a mystery even though there was claim of a dynastic connection with ancient Viet royal house. Indications moreover show that they were not part of the local Kaeo ruling house of Yunnan as remembered in northern Siam tradition (The Sri Vijaya Connection: The Yunnan Affair: The Tai-yuan Leadership). Before that, there was no evidences of ancient Viet royal house of any sort ruling over Tonkin (The Construction of Angkor Wat: The Resuscitation of the Cholan Legacy: The Clash with Dai-Viet). Lee Le himself was a Chinese general and the rest of his court members were actually trained delegation from the Chinese court. At the time that the Le court invaded Champapura, Tonkin still had to send tribute to the Sung Emperor of China. The conquest of Champapura however conveys that Tonkin was acting on its own account, but by no means was a free state. The Le's court still owed allegiance to the Chinese court while establishing control over the Viet population of the Red River Valley through the ruling of the Trinh family. Outside of Tonkin, the Nguyen family who run the new conquered country was just a general of the Le's court and their mission was met from the start with resistance. In Champapura and later Cochin China where many centuries of deep-root Indianized culture had taking place, the Nguyen court ruled with Iron fish. Through military means, they were at the beginning invaders than rulers. The most that the Southern Lord could control at the time was their military troops and the vagabond Viet migrants who were to make real effect on the local people. In addition, we shall see that the Nguyen court was facing with rebellions from all around the conquered territory. The Tay-Son uprising, for instance, was the effect of southern rebellion against the occupation of the Nguyen over Champapura and the rest of Prey-Nokor.
We had argued that Champapura was a city of Prey Nokor known in Chinese texts as Lin-yi. Even though there were changes of leadership, Champapura was always a cardinal state of the Angkorian Empire. Only during the Mongol's incursion that Champapura detached itself from Angkor and fell later into Dai-viet' s control. A new leadership from Sri Dharmaraja wrested Champapura from the control of Dai-viet and formed the Kingdom of Kanta. The first ruler Jaya Simhavarman, known to the Vietnamese as "Che Bong Gna", had made his way to invade Tonkin. His exploit, even though defeated by the betrayal of his own people, led to the take over of Tonkin by the Ming. Another ruler, Indravarman continued the work of his predecessor, Jaya Simhavarman, under the tutelage of the Ming Dyansty.
The Court of Hue
The fall of the Ming, not only left Champapura with no supports but also freed the Le Dynasty for full control of Tonkin. Having accumulated their strength under the wings of China, the Le took the opportunity of the Ming's decline to expand their control down south. It was at the worst time that Champapura lost all of its external supports, especially from Cambodia (The Lao Kingdom of Lang-xang: The failing of the Ming's policy: The occupation of Champapura). Modern history of Vietnam portrays the Viet occupation of Champapura as complete allowing the Nguyen court to immediately administrate Champapura as a province of Tonkin. We had argued that it was not so. At its early phase, evidences show that Champapura was mostly inhabited by independent tribesmen under their local rulers. At the time, it was the Trinh who was running the Le's court and was the real power holder of Tonkin. Politically, it was not the building of a Viet state that the Le's court had in mind but of a Viet tribute system to Dai-Viet. To protect Tonkin' s interest, a Vietnamese commanding post had been set-up at Hue to be run by the Nguyen family. Formed on top of the leftover Cham courts, the Nguyen court was extending the control of Tonkin over Champapura. Their mission was primary to crush rebels of the south while collecting tribute for Tonkin. As most control of the country was still hold by the local Cham rulers, the court of Hue had to depend over these smaller Cham courts to carry on the dirty job of tax collection. In turn, the Cham courts were themselves functioning the same way and relied mostly on the cooperation of native authorities to sustain their control. With a slight sense of threat, they could rise quickly into a full-blown rebellion. The Nguyen' s ambition, however, went over their duty and took any auspicious moment to build their own venture (Notes: Administration skill of Nguyen Hoang). To accomplish their plan, the court of Hue needed the cooperation of the local Cham authorities who were actually ruling over the native people. It started by the hand-over of a Vietnamese princess, daughter of Nuyen Phuc Tan (1648-1687) to the Cham King Po Rome, to seal the alliance of Champapura with the court of Hue. At the same time, another princess was handed over to the Khmer King, Jaya Chetha II in 1620. From this time on, the Chronicle of the Cham confirms that the rest of the Cham kings needed to receive investiture, a symbol of vassalage, from the court of Hue (Notes Sur Les Chams: XI-Les archives des dernier rois Chams, By E.M. Durand). The first to receive the investiture was Po Phiktirai who reigned from 1654 to 1657 and was a son-in-law of Po Rome. The same arrangement stayed more than two centuries later, during which time evidences show that the smaller Cham courts were more or less independent from the Hue court. The slow result was primarily due to limited Viet population in the conquered territory. The arrival of the French missionaries, in 1615, helped the Nguyen what they otherwise failed in mobilizing in a bigger scale Viet Migration down south. With the accommodation of the French missionaries, they formed bigger and bigger Viet communities. As new Viet and Chinese migrants were pouring in from the North, the court of Hue started to have more direct control over Champapura through Viet migrants that was crucial in the stabilization of the conquered land. The Nguyen court had now Viet people under their control to stand against any potential Cham rebellion and in no times they went ahead to prevent them from happening. Their strong networked communities allowed the Nguyen to bypass altogether the cooperation of local Cham courts. They then applied the phase two of the Bamboo plantation in the drive to remove the Cham leaders as well as Cham people from their own country. Harsh treatments were applied and many Cham communities had to escape out. When the last Cham King Po Con Can decided to flee Champa and took refuge in Cambodia in 1882, Champapura became then a Vietnamese state. The Vietnamization of Champapura had, however, already completed its course and Champa soon became history. However, evidences show that a faction of the Cham court still sustain their holding at Champapura, even during the rule of the Nguyen king Ming-manh (1820-1840) who was famous for his hash policy in driving out the Cham control.
The Vietnamization of Prey-Nokor *
During the Vietnamization of Champapura, the Khmer control over Prey-Nokor was never been military challenged by the court of Hue. As we had argued, the self-sufficiency in both economic and military resources, down to small communities, was basically the base of the Angkorian governmental system in regard to its dependency (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Break down of the Angkorian Empire: The impact of the repopulation). Long after the fall of Angkor, the same social organization sustained itself and still played its role in preserving local control in all Khmer communities. During the fall of Lawek, even though some low-level governors turned themselves into warlord kings, others stayed faithful to the Khmer legacy. With some coordination, their coalition could stand at least in the early phase of the external occupation. It was due to this self-government style that both Champapura and the rest of Prey-Nokor could stand against the military control of Hue for that long. The Nguyen family knew quite well of this organization but the setback however did not stop them from preparing the next phase of Vietnamization. With no Viet population to support their next move, they proceeded with the same tact that they have used successfully in the past. The next occupation of Prey-Nokor was not done by military conquest but mostly by land encroachment. Done through clever court manipulation, the Nguyen court exerted all their political skill to induce the court of Udong into falling in their political trap. In return to the favor that Nguyen Phuc Tan sent his own daughter to the Khmer King Jaya Chetha II to be his consort, the Khmer King allowed the Nguyen court to use Khmer territory of Prey-Nokor as their southern escape and training ground. It is important to note that after the fading of the Le's authority in Tonkin, the fight between the Thrinh and the Nguyen came out to the open (Notes: The fight between the Thrinh and the Nguyen). The arrangement allowed the Nguyen court to administer the settlement of Vietnamese migrants first time, in the Khmer territory of Prey-Nokor. Through agreement with the court of Udong, Prey-Nokor was loaned and was supposed to be returned to the Khmer control after five years time frame. When the contract ended, the Udong's court however failed to recover it back and the He's court was neither in the hurry to turn it back. Due to the Vietnamese consort's interference, any attempts to enforce the contract were defused. The setback aggravated as foreign interference provided the Nguyen's court with new needed strength. At first, Chinese merchants who were among the first migrants to settle at the south of Prey-Nokor started to form stronger and stronger communities and not before long detached themselves from the Khmer control. The next formation of the southern seaport of Ha-tien by a Chinese businessman Mac Cau, as we shall see, would play important role in the politic of the Nguyen court.
The Chinese Colony of Ha-tien
Dated back since the Ming era, the settlement of Chinese merchants in the Southern China sea continued (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Cinization: The aspect of the Cinicization). Around 1671, a Chinese aristocrat named Mac Cau, while working for Udong's southern ruler Prah Sothat, had developed a new seaport at the location called Banteay Mas (Sai mat in Vietnamese). Located at the southernmost tip of Prey-Nokor at the location of the ancient seaport of Oc-ev, the new seaport became known as Ha-tien. It was formed primary on the grounds of mix seacoast population composed of Khmer, Cham, Malay, and new Chinese migrants. From the start, the venture was particularly profitable and was expanding deep into Cambodia's seacoast. Attracted by lucrative business, more Chinese migrants were soon joining in that made the southern region of Cambodia particularly condensed with ethnic Chinese until today. Seeing as a potential threat to their tribute system of Sri Dharmaraja, the Ayudhyan king (Somdet Phra Chao Yu Hua Thai Sa) launched an attack against Ha-tien in 1717. At the time, the Udong court was in disarray and was split between the influences exerted by both the Siam and the Hue's court. The Khmer ruler Prah Sothat and the Chinese associate Mac Cau defended the best they could the venture, but were defeated. During this time, the Hue's court already had control over Prey-Nokor, but the rest of Cochin-china was still under the Khmer suzerainty. The Khmer King Prah Keo Pha Im who was reigning at Udong sent Khmer troupes to fight off the Siam control. Before it was destroyed, the Siam army pulled itself out of Ha-tien. On the pretext that the Khmer court did not provide adequate protection, the Chinese businessman Mac Cau sent messengers to Hue requesting that Ha-tien was put under Hue's protection and became a Hue' s province. The court of Hue took the opportunity to make itself ruler over another Khmer province and the Chinese businessman Mac Cau received in return the title of Ha-tien's governor. This betrayal of Hue might have been the cause of the rebellion at Prey-Nokor that started with a series of uprisings designed to oust the control of Hue from Prey-Nokor. According to the Khmer source, it was initiated by the Cham leader Po Wamsa. Evidences however show that the court of Udong and the Khmer ruler of Ha-tien, Prah Sothat, who had close connection with the Cham communities at Bing-dinh were also involved. As he was already at odd with Ayudhya, the Khmer King put himself in jeopardy and sure enough, the retaliation of Hue soon started. The Khmer King Prah Keo Pha had to move his court from Udong to Lawek and later to Phnom Penh to avoid the collision. The Siam took the opportunity to launch its own campaign forcing the fleeing king to abandon Phnom Penh and went into hiding. In the process of launching another campaign against Ha-tien, the Siam court installed two of theirs own suitors, Prah Srey Thamma and Prah Ang Thong, back in control of Phnom Penh. When the latter launched its own attack on Ha-tien, the Chinese governor Mac Thien-tu quickly defeated the campaign. It was the last time that the Ayudhyan court, before succumbing, made its intervention in Cambodia. From then on, the Nguyen' s court found in Cambodia a lucrative venture and this time without any more competition from Ayudhya (Notes: The Hue's control of Cambodia). In recognition for his subordination, Mac Thien-tu received the title of a general and became an influential figure at the Hue court. More crises that were carried through by the Nguyen with the intervention of Mac Thien-tu cost Cambodia more southern lands of Prey-Nokor. We don't know much about the fate of the Khmer ruler of Ha-tien, Prah Sothat and his father Prah Keo Pha who lost the battle to Siam. According to the Khmer chronicle, he had to escape back into Prey Nokor. Our assumption is that he would joint the underground Laotian court of Po Wamsa, as they were their only ally left, after the whole ordeal (The Kingdom of Syam: The Kingdom of Syam: The formation of Bangkok: The submission of the court of Udong).
The advent of the Tay-son uprising was the least understood in modern history. Either as peasants or bandits, the three brothers were portrayed in modern history books as of Vietnamese ethnicity. From the Khmer sources, we could identify instead that they were originated from ancient Cham court (Nokor Champa: the Uprising against Dai-viet: The Tay-son brothers). Once identified, their mysterious activities during the early phase of the uprising could also be brought into the open. The finding allows us to shed more light on their close relationship with the court of Udong
The Connection with the Court of Udong
As we had identified that their origin to be from the Cham King Po Vamsa, and that their mission was to free Champapura from the occupation of the Nguyen' s court of Hue, their activities must to start long before their emergence in 1770. As a matter of fact, we shall associate their campaign with the Cham uprising at Prey-Nokor that started since 1730. In the fight against the old Nguyen court of Hue, we had seen that one faction of the Khmer court of Udong, under the leadership of Prah Keo Pha Im, had involved in the Tay-son uprising since the settlement of Po Vamasa in Binh-dinh. Through the involvement, it is expected that the Tay-son brothers sustained a good relationship with this faction that suffered not only the retaliation of the Old Nguyen court but also the Ayudhyan court as well. This clarification is needed in bringing to light the complex relationship between the new Nguyen court (the Tay-son brothers) and the broken court of Udong unvailed during the Tay-son uprising. Sure enough, the chronicle of the Khmer heroes had elaborate records about their joint ventures, later during the Tay-son's rise to power at Prey-Nokor. However, limited distinction between the old and the new Nguyen courts creates identity's confusion and obscures the whole dynamic of their relationship with each faction of the court of Udong. As presented in the Khmer sources, reference to both the old and the new Nguyen courts is often unclear during that time period when the Tay-son brothers were still hiding themselves behind the Nguyen identity (Notes: Historical facts about the Tay-son brothers). Only after the fall of the old Nguyen court at 1776, that they came to the open as the sole rulers of both Prey-Nokor and Hue. With that restriction in mind, precaution should be made in identifying which of the Annamete courts when they were referenced in the Khmer chronicle. We started by asserting that the relationship between the court of Prah Keo Pha Im and the old Nguyen court stopped in 1730, after the breakout of the Po-vamsa' s uprising in Prey-Nokor. The old Nguyen court' s retaliation had resulted in the disappearance of the court of Prah Keo Pha and his son Prah Sothat from Cambodia and we had assumed that they took refuge with the underground network of the Tay-son brothers. This triangular affair would explain what happened next at the court of Udong after the breakout of the Tay-son uprising in 1770. According to the Khmer chronicle, the disappeared faction of the court of Udong soon emerged back to take hold of both Udong and Ha-tien (The Kingdom of Syam: The formation of Thonpuri: The relationship with the court of Udong). Through a series of internal intrigues and fighting, we see King Narayraja ascending the throne of Udong while his brother named Prah Ang Non had to escape to Siam (The Siam Kingdome: Notes: The escape to Prey-Nokor). Evidences show that it was through the support of Nguyen Nhac or the Tay-son brothers that the fleeing Khmer ruler Narayraja came back to power (The Siam Kingdom: The formation of Thonpuri: The relationship with the court of Udong). It is important to note that up to this stage, the three Tay-son brothers still masked themselves behind the old Nguyen court but their next victories soon released them from the hiding.
The Rise of the Tay-son Brothers
Despite the successful campaigns that resulted in the destruction of the Old Nguyen house in 1775 and 1778, the Tay-son brothers appeared to have constraint in showing their true identity and motive. They tried to use the captured heir of the Nguyen court to integrate themselves into the security of the old Nguyen family and went the extra length of proposing marriage one of their own daughters to the prince. The latter' s stubborn rejection forced them to come out to the open and operated under their own identity. To their relief, the Thrinh whom they concerned the most, were not in a position to reject their alliance's proposition. The Tay-son brothers soon went on to show the Thrinh that they were worthy of their recognition. In return for abundant valuable gifts and tributes, the Tonkin's court granted them with title and regalia that were used to capture more Viet support at Prey-Nokor. After their position with the Trinh was secured, they went on completing their first mission and the old Nguyen family would soon find out about their fate. While their family members were almost exterminated, the last of the old Nguyen' s court was on the run. The sole survivor who was the nephew of the slain Nguyen ruler Hue Vuong, named Nguyen-Anh, barely escaped the persecution. In 1778, Nguyen Nhac took authority in his own name by proclaiming himself emperor under the name Thai Duc and took the citadel at Cha Ban, an ancient Cham political center, as his own capital. From 1778 to 1781, the Tay-son brothers relaxed their attack on Prey-Nokor, allowing Nguyen-Anh to regroup the Nguyen Court and fight back to restore back its authority. It was when Nguyen Nhac conveyed to European friends of a military incursion into Cambodia (The Kingdom of Syam: The connection with Prey-Nokor: The Tay-son's interference in Cambodia). Before that, the Khmer chronicle mentions about a commander of Prey-Nokor, most likely Nguyen Lu of the Three Tay-son Brothers, making request the Khmer King Prah Narayraja to join in the fight but was rejected by King Ramadhipti Non, the next Khmer King backed by Siam. In retaliation, the Tay-son brothers launched a quick campaign against the court of Udong and soon withdrew after the defeat. They later sent their troops back to support the uprising against King Ramadhipti Non who lost the fight and was executed in the battlefield (The Kingdom of Syam: The Connection with Prey-Nokor: The Udong's uprising). Back in Prey-Nokor, they once again attacked Gia-dinh in 1782. It was a large campaign that destroyed both Nguyen-Anh's stronghold and its support (Notes: The attack of Prey-Nokor). Chinese and Vietnamese communities alike were destroyed in retaliation for their support of Nguyen-Anh. Judging from the fact that the French missionary, Pigneau de Behaine, jointed Ngyen Anh' s fight, we have the reason to believe that the Frenh and other European missionaries also suffered in the same attack. The brothers soon left Prey-Nokor but came back in 1783 to launch another campaign that drove the last of the old Nguyen court out in the run. Nguyen Ahn had to escape to Phu Quoc Island were his troops were reduced to eating grass and bananas but later managed to escape into Siam's protection (TSON: The course of the Tayson uprising: The battles of Dang Trong). Perhaps because Nguyen-Anh had already found refuge at Thonpuri, the new Nguyen court abandoned the pursuit and turned their campaign up north. A new turn of events appears to shift their focus to the northern territories occupied by the Trinh. Leaving Nguyen Lu to take care of Prey-Nokor, the other two brothers went head on facing Tonkin. In 1786, Nguyen Hue leaded an expedition to capture back northern territories, with the assistance of a defector from the Thrinh court named Nguyen Huu Chinh. Chinh was actually a general sent by one of the two Trinh brothers who fought each other to make alliance with the new Nguyen (Notes: Internal conflict of the Trinh). Their original plan was to stop at the traditional boundary between the Nguyen and the Trinh's control; Chinh however urged Nguyen Hue to go further seizing all Trinh territories that were belonged to Champapura in the past.
The Conquest of Tonkin
By the time that Nguyen Hue completed his conquest on the northern occupied territories, the Trinh' s defense system suffered casualty to the point that they could no longer resist. The next stop into Tonkin was soon complete virtually without resistance. Once in the capital, Nguyen Hue presented to the emperor Le-hien-tong his submission and the recognition of the Le suzerainty in return for a title of the grand general and the hand of a Le's princess (RPCA: 10: Dissensions entre les Trinh). The Le's emperor died the following year in 1787 and left the Tonkin' s throne to his grand son Le-chien-tong to succeed him. Nguyen Hue left Tonkin back to Hue with all the elephants full loaded with treasure wrested from the court of Le. At the time, he left his close ally Chinh to watch over a small northern city for his account. Chinh later submitted himself to Le-chien-tong and was made commander of the Le's army. Back in Hue, Nguyen Hue heard the new and sent one of his generals, Nguyen Nham, to attack Chinh who died in combat with Nham. Nham went further to oust Le-chien-tong off the Le' s court and proclaimed himself king. In 1788, Nguyen Hue then brought his troops to unseat Nham and after killing his betrayal general he called for Le-chien-tong back to rule Tonkin. Having too many bad experiences with Nguyen Hue in the past, the Le emperor did not answer to the invitation. For self-interest, it is clear that Nguyen Hue had no intention to take TGonkin as his own. Well aware of the unfavorable sentiment of Viet population who were now in majority of the Red Delta valley, Hue had no personal ambition for his conquered country. He was wise enough to know that the Tonkin's throne was not for him and, in a more cautionary measure, he could not even stay in the country for long. Once again, he left Tonkin with treasure belonging to the Le's palace and headed home. During the attack, the rest of the Le's court escaped to China and requested the Chinese Emperor for help. With the strong suggestion of Soun-che-I, the vice-king of Quanton, the Emperor consented to restore the Le court back in Tonkin. Mission accomplished, Soun-che-I was rewarded with the title of " Valiant tactician" from the Chinese court. Nevertheless, his ambition drove him to commit a serious mistake. Blinded by the need of more recognition, he then prepared for the southern campaign against the new Nguyen stronghold at Hue. Well informed of the Chinese intention, Nguyen Hue launched a surprise attack on Tonkin that caught Soun-che-I and the Chinese army off guard. While everyone escaped back to China, Soun-che-I submitted himself to the court of Peking for punishment of his misjudgment leading to his defeat.
The rise of the new Siam court at Thonpuri undermined the stability of the new court of Udong and the suzerainty of the Tay-son brothers. Not only that they brought Prah Ang Non back to challenge his brother's reign at Udong, they also help the sole survivor of the old Nguyen court, Nguyen-Anh, to come back challenging the three Tay-son brothers. With the help of the Chinese Mac Thien-tu and the intervention of the French missionary, Pigneau de Behaine, Nguyen Anh found himself taking refuge at Thonpuri. Taksin took Nguyen-Anh under his wing and ordered the court of Udong that was now under his Khmer suitor, King Prah Ang Non, to take side with Nguyen-Anh. It was the formation of a consortium in the mission to set the falling court of the old Nguyen court back in power. The set back due the Burmese attack against Siam and the uprising at Udong against the Khmer King however delayed the campaign of Nguyen-Anh to take back Prey-Nokor.
The Intervention of Thonpuri
After the unsuccessful retaliation in 1778 against Udong, the Tay-son brothers withdrew their troops and returned back to Prey-Nokor. They left Cambodia only to return later when requested by Chaopha Mo to support the Khmer uprising against King Prah Ang Non. In the campaign against the Lao country, Taksin's pressure to the Khmer King Prah Ang Non for support cost the latter his life during the uprising of his own people against him (The Kingdom of Syam: The Connection with prey-Nokor: The Udong's uprising). An Udong' s court member named Chaopha Mo, requested the support of the new Nguyen court at Prey-Nokor to join in with his family's revolt against the King. Together, they managed to subdue Prah Ang Non and after ridding him off along with his immediate family, took control of the court of Udong. The incidence, as we shall see, created a deep split of the court of Udong into two antagonist factions. One side that was leaded by Chaopha Mo maintained good relationship with the Tay-son brothers and continued on to take control of the Udong court. On the premise that the next King was still too young, Chaopha Mo made himself the head of the Udong' s court. The other side that was leaded by two old members of the slain king Prah Ang Non, named Chaopha Su and Chaopha Ben, plotted to unseat the regency of Chaopha Mo. In an elaborate scheme, they managed to kill off Chaopha Mo along with other members of his family. One of his younger brothers, Chaopha Ten was spared due to circumstances. He continued on working with the Tay-son brothers in the hope of recovering back the control over the court of Udong (Notes: The alliance between Chaopha Ten and the Tay-son brothers). From this time on, the Khmer chronicle had made its clear that the Annamite court of which Chaopha Ten would find support was of the new Nguyen court. In consistency with the fact that they were Cham, the Tay-son bothers also induced support from local Cham communities inside Cambodia to help Chaopha Ten and his clan in the fighting against Chaopha Ben. Seeing his safety worsening under the Cham's attack, the latter decided to escape to Siam. He brought along with him, the young Khmer King Prah Ang Eng, and all his caretakers to live under the protection of the Siam King at Bangkok. After the submission of northern Siam and successful campaigns against Burma at the western front, Bangkok was now poised to take care of the Nguyen-Anh's affair against the new Nguyen court of Hue. The recent acquisition of Laos and the submission of Chaopha Ben along with the court of Udong moreover could be put to good use for the next fight against the New Nguyen court. In the first campaign, the Siam King sent many of his officers, leading Siam troops by land, to fight against Prey-Nokor. Leaded by Chaopha Ben, a faction of the Siam army passed through Udong and took the opportunity to drive Chaopha Ten and his clan out to join the new Nguyen court at Prey-Nokor. With Khmer troops collected from Udong, Chaopha Ben then joined the Siam mission in liberating Hue for Nguyen-Anh.
The Campaign against the Nguyen Court
During the fight at the South of Prey-Nokor, one of the Siam commanders apparently yielded to the Tay-son brothers by releasing all war prisoners back to the latter. It was not clear that he had done it in showing off Siam's army superiority or in contrast, showing sympathetic advance to the Tay-son brothers. In neither case, the Siam King was allowing that to happen. Upon hearing the speculation, the Siam King pulled his troops back to Bangkok in preparation for the next campaign. This time, it was conducted through sea route and included both Nguyen-Anh and Mac Tien-thu in taking parts in the fighting. They stopped first at Ha-tien and Mac Thien-Tu was assigned to go gathering food and human supply from his old domain. Arriving at the outskirts of Prey-Nokor, Nguyen-Anh went on land to rally Viet communities to be on his side. The Tay-son's army however managed to disconnect the Siam fleet that store all armament and food supplies from the Siam army that went aground to fight on land. Unable to go back to their fleet, the Siam army withdrew themselves and took the long road by land to Udong. The Tay-son's army then captured the leftover Khmer-Siam army and put them under the command of Chaopha Ten to go after the fleeing Siam army. They went to Phnom Penh and forced the Siam army and Chaopha Ben to flee again to Battambang. Chaopha Ten later sent his troops to fight them but was defeated and in a twist of fate, found himself fleeing Udon. Chased out by his rival Chapopha Ben, he went out to join with remaining Cham troops at Phnom Penh. Frustrated with the slow development of the Siam court that was tied up again with Burmese incursion, Nguyen-Anh decided to break off and run away. He saw in making an alliance with the Khmer suitor Chaopha Ben, more beneficial than with the Siam King. In Bangkok, Nguyen-Anh was closely watched and brought along to all the battlefields that the Siam King had to go. He was not allowed to carry on anything of his own campaign against the Tay-son brothers. Now that he was free, he went on mobilizing Viet and even Khmer communities at Prey-Nokor with the help of Chaopha Ben. While the latter and his clan had made the last move to drive all Cham army from Phnom Penh, Nguyen-Anh made his move to capture Prey-Nokor. This defeat, as we shall see, marked the start of the Tay-son brothers' decline. The lost of Prey-Nokor to Nguyen Ahn would soon lead to the formation of a strong base for future take over of Hue. In his own campaign against the Cham at Phnom Penh, Chaopha Ben managed to capture his rival, Chaopha Ten, and sent him to Bangkok awaiting the final decision by the Siam King PutyotphaCholalok. During his control at Udong, Chaopha Ben succeeded to set the country in order, but his tough management style alienated against the people and some court members decided to send petition to Bangkok for the return of the young Khmer King Prah Ang Eng back to Udong. To the disappointment of Chaopha Ben, the Siam king agreed to the proposition and more to his disbelief, Chaopha Ten also came back. He came not as a prisoner, but as one of the high court members to the new King Prah Ang Eng. Astute as he was, Chaopha Ben then made a stunt maneuvering that became another iconic event of the new history of Cambodia. First, he requested the Siam King to move him out from Udong and install him as the governor of the two northeastern Khmer provinces, Battambang and Siemreap. To remove himself further from the authority of his rival Chaopha Ten, he requested that the two provinces were put under the control of Bangkok. Needless to say, the King PutyotphaCholalok was very much delighted to fulfill his request (Notes: The lost of Battambang and Siemreap to Siam). In 1795, Chaopha Ben got the best of what he asked for. The Siam King secured him as a warlord king in control of the two khmer provinces that became since under the protection of the Siam court.
The Fall of the Tay-son Brothers
Upon reading the petition of the Tay-son brothers, the Chinese Emperor granted investiture to the youngest of the three brothers, Nguyen-Hue to rule Tonkin. At the same time he awarded to Le-chien-tong, a post of a functionary position at his court. Nguyen-Hue and his brothers understood quite well that Tonkin was off limited to them. What they had originally in mind was not the taking over Tonkin, but the liberation of Champapura (Notes: The fight against Tonkin). As the Annam valley was already inhabited by Viet people, his rule was then totally depending on China. Becoming vassal of Peking, he has to send tribute to the Chinese court, a costly obligation that later became their burden. After repeatedly requesting the control of Quansxi and Quangnam without success, the venture of the three Tay-son brothers was about to crumble. Nguyen-Hue reigned for only a few years and died in 1792. His son Nguyen-quang-bang, age only 15 years, was set to succeed his father. He sent the petition to Peking in 1793 with a special tribute of ten lingoes of gold. The Chinese emperor sent the young king the investiture, but made necessary precaution for the worst that could happen in the backing a young king of a disturbing country. He sent a senior court member named Tcheng-lin, the chief judge of the province of Quang-xi to investigate the condition of new Annam. With the reassurance of the latter, the emperor renewed his support for both the new Nguyen courts of Hue and Tonkin. In 1796, an envoy sent to bring an extraordinary tribute to thank the emperor of felicitation, died in Pekin. The emperor decided to render him proper honor and went to the extra length of ordering Chinese officers to carry the corpse back to Annam. While appreciating the hight price tribute from the new Nguyen courts, the Chinese emperor also purportedly ignored sinister practices of how the new Nguyen courts were to conduct their business. Like his father had done before him, Nguyen-quang-tang ruled Tonkin by the force of his arms. When he requested investiture from Peking, the country was already in turmoil. By now, their true identity was already in the open and the Viets were rallying against them. Back in Hue where his uncle Nguyen-nhac ruled, the crisis already took the upper hand of the country. By this time, with the support of Siam and the French missionary, Nguyen-Anh already staged a comeback. Needless to say, the city of Prey-Nokor where high concentration of Viet migrants became the big asset for Nguyen-Anh, was where he started his next campaign. At the mean time, the southern Chinese communities, centered at Ha-tien flourished again under the Khmer rulers Prah Narayraja and Prah Sothat. But when Prah Narayraja decided to submitted to the King Ramadhipdi Non who himself was a close ally of Thonpuri, Ha-tien became a dependency of Siam and a strong competitor of Hue. Together with the Siam tribute system of Sri Dharmaraja, they restricted Hue's seaport activity. Commercial ships trying to avoid Chinese pirates no longer stopped at Hue and headed directly to Chinese seaports. Evidences show that after limiting Macao from the monopoly of the Portugese, the Chinese courts took on the South Chinese trade itself and the few commercial ships that traded with Mallaka were mostly Chinese. As the revenue dipped, Nguyen-nhac of Hue and his nephew Nguyen-quang-bang were recurring into desperate measures. His decision of joining into piracy alienated further the Chinese Emperor who, instead of coming to the rescue, took the long stand awaiting the campaign of Nguyen-Anh to realize.
Code-named Nam-Tien by the Vietnamese historians, the Vietnamese relentless campaign toward the south started after the fall of the Ming Dynasty. Conducted first against Champapura and later the southern part of the ancient Prey-Nokor, the Nam-tien' s campaign resulted to the formation of Vietnam today. It was a series of campaigns that Dai-viet never done it or had the opportunity to do it before. As we had seen, the process was not as simple as portrayed in modern history books that the Vietnamese people were making their way to settle at the South, and in the process formed Vietnam under the protection of the Hue's court. As a matter of fact, evidences shows that the early waves of Vietnamese migrants were mostly Chinese who would make up the majority of the aristocratic class of the new Viet communities. It is because the dynamic of non-native settlement in Prey-Nokor was done primary trough the sea trade business. Since the Ming era, Chinese migrants were pouring in the South China Sea (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Cinicization: The aspect of the Cinicization).
The Intervention of the French Missionary
During its last stage when the Nguyens found in both the Khmer and Champa' s court the support in deploying the Viet people to the south, they were met with rebellion from the locals. After it was almost annihilated by the Tay-son uprising, the Nguyen' s court found in foreign intervention another chance to recover. The next involvement of the French missionary allowed the next members of the Nguyen family to carry through the last phase of the Vietnamization campaign over the Khmer territory of Prey-Nokor. Barely escaping death, Nguyen-Anh found help from a French missionary, Pigneau de Behaine who took upon himself the mission of restoring back the Nguyen court. In 1787, Pigneau de Behaine went to France carrying Nguyen-Anh's son, to the court of Louis XVI, seeking military assistance for restoring Nguyen-Anh back to power. Through his effort, a Franco-Vietnamese treaty was signed. It provided French military aid to the Nguyen court, in exchange for a grant of monopoly of external trade, the cession of Puolo Condore island and the port of Danang to the French. The French Government directed its colonial governor of Pondicherry (in south India) to provide the military assistance. The French governor, perhaps because of internal crisis happening in France, failed to carry through the order. De Behaine took the mission on himself to gather troops and armament for the Nguyen Anh's campaign. He raised 300 volunteers and funds in Pondicherry just enough to purchase several shiploads of arms. He arrived in Vietnam in 1789, barely a month before the fall of Bastille. Before his arrival, Nguyen-Anh went on to capture Saigon in 1788 where he found support from fellow Vietnamese settlers (Notes: Viet Settlers at Prey-Nokor). After De Behaine' s arrival, they went to conquer Hue in 1801 and Hanoi a year later. It appears that the French missionary help was marginal, but for a sole survival of a completely destroyed court to recover and to take back the control of the country in a short time, Nguyen-Anh must to be backed by a strong support. Through his associate, the Chinese Mac Thien-tu, Nguyen-Anh himself went to stay and requested protection from the new Siam court of Thonpuri. But their intervention was not gone beyond Hue's southern province of Ha-tien, and their campaigns against the Tay-son brothers ended mostly in defeat. At the contrary, the Bishop Pigneau de Behaine, who himself participated in the military campaign and died in 1799 was virtual the main support of Nguyen-Anh. The fact that he himself participated in the campaign tells us one way or the other that he was not just a priest, but a colonizer. In a hostile country against Christianity, he must already build a defense system to safeguard his missionary work on the ground of the new converted Viet Christians. Evidences also show that he knew to procure himself with military supplies and volunteers without much help from the French government. His personal relationship with Nguyen-Anh was crucial in initiating the latter into the western style of governing and military foundation of which Vietnam still inherited until today. It is true that his effort in the court of France yielded less result than he expected. His initiative however created interests among French colonialists to come joining the new Nguyen court, bringing along their talent and know how to build the new county (IHIF: Preface: la France en Indochine: P. 8). They helped Vietnam in the construction of Vauban-type forts, casting better and larger cannons and creating a navy. Most of all, his presence and death in the campaign shows how deep he was committed to his cause (Notes: The purpose of the French's mission).
The Reign of Gia Long (1802-1820)
With the help of the French Bishop Pigneau de Behaine, Nguyen-Anh went on to eliminate the Tay-son brothers out of the way. In just a few years, they retook control of Prey-Nokor and went ahead to capture both Hue and Tonkin. In 1802, Nguyen-Anh proclaimed himself Emperor of Annam with the title of Gia Long. The title was meant to represent the unification of Tonkin with the South Annam. Formed by a contraction of "Gia Ding", the name of the region around Saigon and Thanh Long, that of region around Hanoi, the title was to represent the unification of the new Vietnam. He reorganized the country into three divisions, and the traditional center of Nguyen power, Hue became the capital of his new kingdom. He sent messengers to Peking to request the investiture to rule the new country and to have its name changed to Vietnam (HRCA: 35: Le Viet-nam).
Nguyen-Phac-Anh begged the emperor to give him a name for the new country that was just unified. The Majesty then made a decree changing the Name of Annam to Yue-nan (Viet-nam) that referred to the whole of Cochin-china of today
In exchange, Nguyen-Anh promised to pay tribute to Peking and requested the Chinese Emperor to make his demand.
The emperor made a decree that, according to decision made in 1792, the Viet-nam should sent a tribute to Peking every two years and came to rend homage every four years.
Looking back, neither the crushing of the Tay-son brothers nor the full control of the South was done with much support from China. At the contrary, the help of the French Bishop De Behaine and perhaps other French missionaries were the main contributor to the victory. It is important to note that, under Chinese tough control of the European trade with China, European ships no longer went further east past Sri Dharmaraja ports. Not only that the Bishop could wage a campaign to stop European business with the courts of the three brothers, but he himself had actively joined in the military campaign. Due to his effort, France was able to make business with Vietnam through direct control of the seaport of Turane and a station at Polo Condore. It was due to the French intervention that Nguyen-Anh could establish his Kingdom. To Nguyen-Anh however, China was always the source of his inspiration and it was the Confucianism that enabled him to make the best of the situation. The practical concept of the rise and fall of the Yin-Yang energies enabled him to benefit from both worlds and still worked wonder during the formation of the new Vietnam. In anytime soon, Christianity could ever replace the practicality of Confucianism and Gia-long would make sure that his son also understood it. In clearing up the way for the next step of Vietnamization, Ming-manh had put in place a harsh policy designed to crush both rebels and missionary works.
The Viet Emperor Minh-Mang (1820-1841)
Ming Mang was an ardent devotee of Confucianism and eager to apply the Chinese archaic ruler-ship over the new conquered territory (Notes: The Nguyen' s royal house). Under Gia Long, evidences show that the two river's deltas of Tonkin and Cochinchina were still not fully controlled by the Nguyen court (Notes: Kamboja Krom). With the French colonization in the horizon, Minh-Mang came to realize that he must to complete his father's work as soon as possible. He knew quite well about the hostile situation that he was set into as it was apparently obvious, even to the foreigners (Notes: The rebellious mood against Ming-mang). Still he continued on his father's work and did not hesitate to use what it took to win over the setback. First he started to clean-up Prey-Nokor from any residual Khmer authorities, in making it into a full-blown Vietnamese colony. Many of the provinces south of Prey-nokor were still under local authorities who were fighting for their own autonomy. One of such authorities was the governor Kuy, a prominent Khmer governor of the province Phrah Trapeang (TraVinh of today) who alongside with other Khmer authoritie fought to repulse back the occupation of Minh Mang. Completely cut off from Udong, they were however fighting for the losing battle. Knowing that he could not win to Viet army under Ming-Manh's generals, the governor went on offering his life in exchange for the promises to keep Khmer institution in tack during the next Vietnamization of his province (Kuy: The ideology of the Governor Kuy). With the support of the French missionaries, Ming-Manh and his generals won battle over battle. After driving the Siamese troops out from Ha-tien, he continued on extending his Campaign into the whole of Cochin-China without any setbacks. His action however started to meet with resistance from an unexpected front. The objection came from the French missionaries who, being aware of Ming-mang's real intention, were becoming more and more alarmed of his Vietnamization. In a twist of fate, they became the next target of persecution by the Viet Emperor. In 1833, a French missionary, Father Marchand, was suspected in the involvement of a rebellion led by Le Van Khoi. In retaliation, Minh-mang issued a decree ordered churches to be demolished and closed all his ports to European shipping. Evidences however show that the restriction the sea trade to European ships might have been dictated by the Chinese policy. Instilled since the Tay-Son Brothers rule, the policy on monopolizing the sea route between China and Mallaka continued (The French Indochina: The French Cochincina: The French invasion). During all that time, the resistance of the indigenous people who were mostly Khmer and Cham of the lowland of Cochin-China did not lessen. If the policy of Ming-mang was harsh in regard to the missionaries, it was even harsher in regard to the non-Viet population of the new country. As we recall back, they were the rebels who took part in the Tay-son uprising that almost annihilated the Nguyen family. They were rebellious still, as far as the Vietnamization continued. The same way that they have done to destroy all the missionary works, the Nguyen court went on committing genocide to the natives. According to oral tradition, the ethnic Khmer and Cham suffered the worst mistreatment ever during the reign of the Viet emperor Ming-manh (Notes: The Vinh-the canal's account). As they could not stand any longer, both Cham and Khmer natives escaped into Cambodia and neighboring countries. As a result, the Nguyen court got what they wanted for their next mission was to deplete the native and to make room for the next Viet immigrants to move in. It is important to note that the next Nguyen' s court continued on their harsh treatment over the natives, even under the French' s rule (The French Indochina: The French Cochinchina: The Viet re-population). During the internal conflict of the Khmer court, Minh-Mang took the opportunity to send his military personal to run the Khmer court of Udong. His new endeavor resulted in landing a huge influx of Vietnamese migrants inside Cambodia making the Khmer country even more vulnerable to his Vietnamization.

  1. CRC: JA: Chronique Royale Du Cambodge, by Ochna Vong Sarpech Nong, French Translation by M. Francis Garnier
  2. CKH: The Chronicle of Khmer heroes, by Sot Eng
  3. HRCA: Histoire des relations da la Chine avec l'Annam-Vietnam du XVIe au XIXe siecle: d'apres des documents Chinois, Translated by G. Devaria)
  4. ANNAM:Histoire Moderne du Pays D' Annam (1592-1820), M. Maybon
  5. HNV: History of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam, By Dr. Liem T. Vo, B. Sc Hons
  6. TSON: The Tay son Uprising, By George Dutton
  7. IHIF: Iconographie Historique de L' Indochine Francaise, Documents sur l' histoire de l'intervention Francaise en Indochine, By Paul Boudet et Andre Masson
  8. VTTA: Vietnam Trials and Tribulations of a Nation, By D.R.SarDesai
  9. VRFI: The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, By Mark W. McLeod
  10. MSA: The Making of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
  11. HSEA: A history of Southeast Asia, by D.G.E. Hall
  12. EEC:Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam and Muscat in the U.S. Sloop-of-War Peacock, David Geisinger, Commander, By Edmund Roberts
  13. LKam:The Low Land Kamboja' power without the Khmer, by Traigchat Buth
  14. Kuy:The Governor Kuy, by Keo Suvath
  15. ACV:L'Annexion du Cambodge par les Vietnamiens au XIX Siecle, by Kin Sok
  16. ANGKA:Who was Angka? (Angka Chea Narna?), by Kim Thy Ouy
  17. NCHAO: Histoire particuliere du Nan-Tchao, by Yang Chen, Translated by Camille Sainson
  1. Chronology
    1558-1613: Nguyen Hoang ruled over the court of Hue; 1615: A new mission, specially to take care of Cochin-china and Tonkin was formed; 1648-1687: The reign of Nuyen Phuc Tan; 1730: First uprising at Prey-Nokor; The Tay-son brothers captured Hue; 1750: The French adventurer, Pierre Poivre visited Hue; 1787: Pigneau de Behaine started campaigning for Nguyen-Anh; 1789: The fall of the Bastille; 1789: Nguyen-Hue ascended the throne of Tonkin; 1793: Louis XVI was guillotined; 1788-1802: Nguyen-Anh (Gia Long) won over the Tay-son Brothers; 1820-1840: The reign of Nguyen Phuc Dam (Minh-Mang); 1882: The last Cham king Po Con Can escaped to Camdodia; 1694-: The reign of King Ang Eng (Udong); 1806-: The reign of King Ang Chan (Udong); 1835-: The reign of King Ang Mei (Udong); 1845-: The reign of King Ang Duong (Udong)
  2. Annam becoming Kiao-tche
    In 1407, Mou Cheng, Tchang Fou and others submitted Annam. They took as prisoners Li-Ki-Li, Li Tcheng, Li tsang, Li Jouei, Li Ki-lie and others and all the rest of partisans were submitted. The army had conquested 48 Kiun, 186 subprefectures, 3,125,900 families. At the sixth moon, we changed the name of Annam to Kiao-tche. The empeor took charge the administration of the country, as commissaries. (NCHAO: VI-Recitals extracted from the Annals)
  3. Administration skill of Nguyen Hoang
    There are general misconceptions that the occupation of Champapura resulted immediately into forming southern Annam, thanks to the administration skill of Nguyen Hoang.
    From that moment, Nguyen Hoang was free to spend all his efforts in organizing his provinces. His talents of administration was equal to his military's talents and he succeeded of unifying all elements of the population: The incomplete submitted Chams, the vagabond people of the north, the condemned exile people, the ancient partisans of the Mac, the mandarins and transfuged soldiers of the Trinh, and the salvaged mountainous people. (ANNAM: Les Seigneur du Nord et les Seigneur due Sud)
    We shall argue that, during this early stage, the incomplete submitted Cham and the salvaged mountainous people were still holding the control of their communities. That leaves only the vagabond people of the north, the condemned exile people, the ancient partisans of the Mac, the mandarins and transfused soldiers of the Trinh as the real subjects of the Hue's court.
  4. The fight between the Thrinh and the Nguyen
    For unknown reason, the rivalry between the Trinh and the Nguyen that was rather contained before became aggravated into open battles.
    From 1620 to 1674 the campaign of the Trinh against the Nguyen or the Nguyen against the Thrinh were conducted more and more often. (ANNAM: Les Signeurs du Nord et les Seigneurs du Sud)
  5. The Hue's control of Cambodia
    The court of Hue' s control over Cambodia was by no meant a land or territory control as most historians had portrayed it. It was just an influential control done mostly through manipulation of the Khmer royal court. Even at Prey-Nokor, the complete control of the Nguyen court backed with Vietnamese population was only done at the late stage of the French colonial era.
  6. Historical facts about the Tay-son brothers
    The Chronicle of Khmer heroes' s compiler, Sot Eng, appears to have no information that the Annamite court of Hue between 1775 to 1802 was the court of Nguyen Nhac, the eldest brother of the Tay-son brother. Due to this deficiency, the new Nguyen Nhac' s court of Hue was referred in Khmer chronicle as Annamite. To make the matter worst, he identified all the Annamete Kings, including Tienti, as the Annamite King Ya-long. With limited information, he could not link the exploit of the Tay-son brothers to the emergence of the new Nguyen court at Hue. For instance, King Tien-ti or Tien-voun (Tien-vamsa) was the title of the eldest of the three Nguyen brothers, Nguyen Nhac, reigning over Sri Vijaya, and not of Gia Long.
  7. The attack of Prey-Nokor
    The two brothers assembled a hundred warships and moved south, forcing their way up to the sai Gon River to launch an assault against the citadel of Gia Dinh. Having succeeded in fighting their way into the city, tay son troops pillaged the shops of Chinese merchants and massacred thousands of Chinese residents. This massacre was directly provoked by the Nguyen Nhac's key lieutements by an ethnic Chinese general fighting the Nguyen, but more genrally reflected the Tay-son anger at the increasing support given by the Chinese community to their Nguyen rival (TSON: The course of the Tayson uprising: The battles of Dang Trong).
  8. Internal conflict of the Trinh
    Trinh-dong, the chief of the Trinh, died in 1786. His two sons, Trinh-tong and Trinh-can fought each other. Tring-can sent to new Nguyen, in the principality of Quang-nam, one of his ministers named Cong-chinh to make an alliance against his brother Trinh-tong, whom he wanted to eliminate. (RPCA: 10: Dissensions entre les Trinh)
  9. The alliance between Chaopha Ten and the Tay-son brothers
    From this time on, the Khmer chronicle had made its clear that the Annamite court that Chaopha Ten went to find support was of the new Nguyen court. As we had argued, their settlement at Binh-dinh and their exploit were closely connected with the Khmer court of Prah Keo Pha and his son Prah Sothat, it is not a surprise that Chao-pha Ten, a faithful member of that court, received full support from the Tay-son brothers as well as from all Cham communities, in general.
  10. The lost of Battamabang and Siemreap to Siam
    Under repetitive pressure from Bangkok, the Khmer king Ang Eng at udong gave in to the demand of the Siam King. Like the early delegation of Prey-Nokor to the Nguyen court, the ceding was supposed to be temporary. In his reply letter to the Siam King, Prah Ang Eng clearly indicated that the accord applied only for the reign of king PutyotphaCholalok.
    Prah Chao Krong Kampujadhibti agreed that the requested provinces to report to Krong Thep Puri (Bangkok) only during the reign of King PutyotphaCholalok who is our king father (foster father). After the end of the King father's reign, we would request all the provinces back under Cambodia like before.
    The province of Battambang, MahaNokor (Siemreap), Somnat, Chongkal, and maugn Risi, were then delegated to Siam in 1795.
  11. Viet Settlers at Prey-Nokor
    Under the pact done by Nguyen Phuc Tan with the court of Udong, Viet settlements were allowed since the time that Nguyen Phuc Tan made a deal with the court of Udong, by sending his daughter to marry King Jaya Chetha II.
  12. The purpose of the French's mission
    Perhaps he saw in his Vietnamese Christian converts as better citizens that would dominate and westernize Cochin-china in the near future, and it was his solemn duty to make that to happen.
  13. The fight against Tonkin
    The un-subordination of one of his generals, Nguyen-nham, and the suspicion of Le Chien Tong, under protection of the Chinese Emperor complicated the matter. When Nguyen-nham tried to make himself king of Tonkin, Nguyen-Hue quickly took him down but it did not make Le Chien Tong to trust him again.
  14. Kamboja Krom
    Until the recent development of Kamboja Krom' formation, there were never peaceful arrangement between Vietnamese government and ethnic Khmer of Kochin-china. From oral sources there were uprisings and rebellious activity from the start that were met with bloody retaliation from the court of Hue.
  15. The strategic importance of the port of Prey-Nokor
    It was this strategic importance that motivated the French in involving into Indochinese affair. Knowing that the Mekong River reached the southern tip of the Mainland China, the French could use it to bypass altogether other English or Dutch controlled maritime ports of Southern China.
  16. The Nguyen' s royal house
    It is questionable that the Nguyen' s court had anything of its own tradition. As far as the administration was concerned, it was an exact zion of the court of China.
    The government of Cochin-China is thoroughly despotic, being framed in close imitation of that of China. The sovereign, who, till lately, bore the title of King and who still pays a nominal tribute to China under that title, assumes, among his own subjects, and with all foreign countries, except China, the Chinese title of Hwang-te (emperor), with the peculiar attribute, "sacred" or "divine", commonly used by the court of Peking. (EEC: Chapter XV: Mandarin's House)
  17. The Vinh-the canal's account
    Retained as the Khmer of Kamboja Krom' tradition, the oral of Vinh-the's account recalled the worst treatment that the Khmer communities in Cochin-china had to endure under the Nguyen King Ming-manh. It was happening during the digging of the canal of Vinh-theby Khmer workers mobilized by the Nguyen court. The following version of the incident is retrieved from the book "Angka Chea Narna?" (Who was Angka?), authored by a native of Kamboja Krom who took refuge in Cambodia during the late stage of the French colonization (ANGKA).
    From 1815 to 1820, Yuan (Vietnamese) mobilized Khmer Kamboja Krom for forced labor to dig a canal. Of length 53 Km, of width 33 m, and of depth 2.60 m, from the province of Mat Chrouk to the northern coast of the city of Peam, the canal set the frontier between Central Kamboja and Kamboja Krom. The canal is named Vinh-the canal. During the dig, if any of the Khmer workers could not work, Yuan ordered each one of them to dig a hole to bury himself up to the neck in a group of three. They used them as the three prongs to support a container and boiled hot water to make the Tea Ong (a specific brand of Vietnamese tea). When any one of the heads tilted, the hot water would spill on them. Since then, there is a slogan to remember the ordeal that says "Beware, do not spill the Tea Ong".
    The terror was meant to scare other Khmers from rebelling or to move out from the region. When the work was done, the Khmer workers had all been exterminated.
    At the end of the years 1820, after the canal Vinh-the was done, Yuan tied all the Khmer workers and laid them on the bed of the canal then they let the water flowing on them.