Early Lê dynasty

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The Early Lê dynasty (Vietnamese: Nhà Tiền Lê; Hán Nôm: ; pronounced [ɲâː tjə̂n le]) was a dynasty that ruled Vietnam after the Đinh dynasty and before the Lý dynasty. They ruled for a total of three generations and was known for repelling the Song invasion.

Early Lê Dynasty
Nhà Tiền Lê ()

Capital Hoa Lư ()[1]
Religion Buddhism
Government Monarchy
 -  980-1005 Lê Đại Hành Hoàng Đế
 -  1005 Lê Trung
 -  1005-1009 Lê Ngọa Triề
Historical era Postclassical Era
 -  Military Takeover 980
 -  Disestablished 1009

Lê Đại Hành Hoàng Đế (980–1005)[edit]

1. Lê Hoàn (940–1005): When the Song dynasty (Nhà Tống in Vietnamese) menaced Đại Cồ Việt, with the heir to the throne an infant, the Dowager Empress Dương Vân Nga threw rule of the country to Lê Hoàn (940–1005). Lê Hoàn then proclaimed himself emperor Lê Đại Hành Hoàng Đế in 980. He then went with his general, Phạm Cự Lượng, to meet and battle the coming Song army. His naval forces were defeated at Bạch Đằng River, but he succeeded halting the overland forces. Lê Đại Hành sent out emissaries to negotiate for peace. Thus the annual show of homage, and offerings to the Celestial Emperor of China is resumed. With Lê Đại Hành, the southward expedition to Champa began in 990 and again in 994. Che Dong and Che Cai, the 2 successive Cham kings, negotiated with Lê Đại Hành for peace and agreed to be a Vietnamese vassal state.

2. Lê Đại Hành succession: Emperor Lê Đại Hành committed the same error as his predecessor Đinh Tiên Hoàng in that he repudiated his oldest son Lê Ngân Tích as heir to the throne. In his will, he gave preference to a younger son, Lê Long Việt. Lê Đại Hành died in 1005, at the age of 65 and after 25 years of rule.

Lê Long Việt, Lê Trung Tông (1005)[edit]

Lê Long Việt's reign was very brief; he was assassinated by a coalition of his brothers Lê Ngân Tích, Lê Long Kính, and Lê Long Đĩnh who refused to recognize him out of jealousy. Lê Long Việt's emperor-name was Lê Trung or (Trang) Tông. After the assassination, all three brothers vied against one another for one throne. Lê Ngân Tích was captured and beheaded while attempting to flee the country. Lê Long Kính "disappeared" and was never heard from again. The last remaining brother, Lê Long Đĩnh, took control of the realm and proclaimed himself emperor.

Lê Ngọa Triều (1005–1009)[edit]

Lê Long Đĩnh's reign and court was famous for its "lying sessions" when presiding, giving reception, etc., earning him the name Lê Ngọa Triều - the one who rules while lying.[2] Lê Long Đĩnh's rule was characterized by debaucheries, wild orgies and decadence. Historians compare him to the Roman Emperor Nero as he was well known for his cruelties, not the least of which were sadism and torture (of relatives, prisoners, thieves, beggars, traitors, etc.) in which he loved to participate. The only person under his rule who did not fear or run away from him was Lý Công Uẩn (973–1028), a high-ranking mandarin counselor in the court.

The rise of the Later Lý dynasty (1009)[edit]

Never before in Vietnam's history had an emperor's rule been so hated as Lê Long Đĩnh's. The people and peasants at that time were sick and tired of the cruelty which marked his rule. A few counselors and monks were plotting to install a new ruler. When Lê Long Đĩnh died he left an infant son who was to succeed him, but the court, now heavily under the influence of monks and Buddhism, agreed to enthrone Lý Công Uẩn as the new emperor. As the first emperor of the Lý dynasty, Lý Công Uẩn would take the emperor-name Lý Thái Tổ, inaugurating a new era in Vietnam's history.


Preceded by
Đinh dynasty
Ruler of Vietnam
Succeeded by
Lý dynasty