Jiaozhi (Chinese: 交趾 or 交阯, both p Jiāozhǐ) or Giao Chi (Vietnamese: Giao Chỉ) was the name for various provinces, commanderies, prefectures, and counties in northern Vietnam from the era of the Hùng kings to the middle of the Third Chinese domination of Vietnam (c. 7th–10th centuries) and again during the Fourth Chinese domination (1407–1427). It is the origin of the name Cochinchina.
The name of the territory was also used to refer to the Lac people and their ancient language. It seems to be an Yue or Viet endonym of uncertain meaning, although it has had various folk etymologies over the years. In his Tongdian, Du You wrote that "The Jiaozhi are the southern people: the big toe points to the outside of the foot, so if the man stands up straight, the two big toes point to each other, so people call them the "jiaozhi"." (The Chinese character 趾 means "hallux, big toe".) The Ciyuan disputed this:
The meaning of the word Jiaozhi cannot be understood literally, but the ancient Greek method of "opposite pillar" and "connecting pillar" to label humans on earth—where "opposite pillar" stood for the South side and its logical opposite the North side, whilst "connecting pillar" stood for the East side with the West side connected to it—could provide a suggested origin. If Jiaozhi was intended to characterize "opposite pillar" because this was what people of the North called the people of the South, then the feet of the North side (chân phía Bắc') and feet of the South side (chân phía Nam) must oppose each other, therefore rendering it impossible for the feet of a person to cross or intersect each other (không phải thực là chân người "giao" nhau).
Jiaozhi, pronounced Kuchi in the Malay, became the Cochin-China of the Portuguese traders c. 1516, who so named it to distinguish it from the city and the Kingdom of Cochin in India, their first headquarters in the Malabar Coast. It was subsequently called "Cochinchina".
The native state of Văn Lang is not well attested, but much later sources name Giao Chỉ as one of the realm's districts (bộ). Its territory purportedly comprised present-day Hanoi and the land on the right bank of the Red River. The Van Lang fell to the Âu under their Shu prince Thục Phán around 258 BC.
Zhao Tuo declared his independent kingdom of Nanyue in 204 and organized his Vietnamese territory as the two commanderies of Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen (Vietnamese: Cửu Chân; present-day Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, and Hà Tĩnh). Following a native coup that killed the Zhao king and his Chinese mother, the Han launched two invasions in 112 and 111 BC that razed the Nanyue capital at Panyu (Guangzhou).
The Han received the submission from the Nanyue commanders in Jiaozhi and Jiuzhen, confirming them in their posts and ushering in the "First Northern Domination" of Vietnam. (Shu Âu Lạc and Chinese Nanyue both reckoned by the Vietnamese as "native" states.) These commanderies were headed by grand administrators (taishou) who were later overseen by the inspectors (刺史, cishi) of Jiaozhou or "Jiaozhi Province" (Giao Chỉ bộ), the first of whom was Shi Dai.
Under the Han, the capital of Jiaozhi was first Miling (within Hanoi's Me Linh district) and then Leilou (Luy Lâu, within Bac Ninh's Thuan Thanh district). According the Book of Han’s "Treatise on Geography", Jiaozhi contained 10 counties: Leilou (羸婁), Anding (安定), Goulou (苟屚), Miling (麊泠), Quyang (曲昜), Beidai (北帶), Jixu (稽徐), Xiyu (西于), Longbian (龍編), and Zhugou (朱覯). Đào Duy Anh stated that Jiaozhi's territory contained all of Tonkin, excluding the regions upstream of the Black River and Ma River. Southwestern Guangxi was also a part of Jiaozhi. The southwest area of present-day Ninh Bình was the border of Jiuzhen. Later, the Han dynasty created another commandery named Rinan (Nhật Nam) located south of Jiuzhen from the Ngang Pass to Quảng Nam Province.
Ma Yuan's bronze column was supposedly erected by Ma Yuan after he had suppressed the uprising of the Trưng Sisters in the early 40s. Ma Yuan followed his conquest with a brutal course of assimilation, destroying the natives' bronze drums in order to build the column at the edge of Chinese territory. Six Chinese characters were carved upon it: "If this bronze column collapses, Jiaozhi will be destroyed" (銅柱折 交趾滅). The location of the column is unknown, with various explanations given for its disappearance. One popular story is that locals developed a superstitious habit of placing rocks to support the column as they passed and that, over time, this pile grew so large that it completely covered the columns. Another is that they threw the rocks from hatred. Later rationalist Chinese and Vietnamese scholars opined that it had probably simply fallen into the sea in the course of an earthquake or change of shoreline.
During the rule of Emperor Ling (168-189) of the Eastern Han, Lý Tiến was the first native of Jiaozhi to be the inspector of Jiaozhou. Lý Tiến then petitioned the Han emperor to allow natives of Jiaozhi to be officers and mandarins in the Han court, but the emperor only accepted the ones who graduated with maocai (茂才) or xiaolian (孝廉) degrees on the imperial exam; these were only accredited to low positions in Jiaozhi. Another native of Jiaozhi named Lý Cầm petitioned the throne and eventually the natives were allowed to take higher positions in other regions of the Han empire. For example, a Jiaozhi native named Trương Trọng was grand administrator of the Jincheng Commandery.
During the Three Kingdoms period, Jiaozhi was administered from Longbian (Long Biên) by Shi Xie on behalf of the Wu. His family controlled several surrounding commanderies, but upon his death Guangzhou was formed as a separate province from northeastern Jiaozhou and Shi Xie's son attempted to usurp his father's appointed replacement. In retaliation, Wu executed the son and all his brothers and demoted the remainder of the family to common status.
Jiaozhi underwent attacks from the neighboring kingdom of Linyi (Champa) starting from 270 and continuing until at least 280. In 280, the governor of Jiaozhi wrote to the emperor of the Western Jin complaining about these attacks aided by allies from Kingdom of Funan.
In 679, this was renamed Annan (Annam), fully the "Protectorate General to Pacify the South". This comprised 12 prefectures (州), one of which continued under the old name Jiaozhou. This prefecture contained 8 counties: Jiaozhi, Songping, Zhuyuna, Pingdao, Wuping (武平), Nanding (南定), and Taiping (太平).
In 938 Ngô Quyền defeated the Southern Han Dynasty at the Battle of Bạch Đằng River north of modern Haiphong. He took Cổ Loa as his capital. In 1257, after invading China in 1251, the Mongol Empire invaded Đại Việt but they had to draw back in 1258 because of local resistance. Between 1284 and 1287, the Mongol Empire tried to invade Đại Việt twice but they were defeated both times.
In 1407, the Ming dynasty invaded Đại Việt, destroyed the Hồ dynasty, and began the Fourth Northern domination (1407–1427). The Ming restored "Jiaozhi Province" (交趾承宣布政使司). At this time, the Jiaozhi Province area contained all the territory of Vietnam under the Hồ dynasty. The Jiaozhi Province was divided into 15 prefectures (府) and 5 independent prefectures (直隶州):
- 15 prefectures: Jiaozhou (交州), Beijiang (北江), Liangjiang (諒江), Sanjiang (三江), Jianping (建平, Kiến Hưng in Hồ dynasty), Xin'an (新安, Tân Hưng in the Hồ dynasty), Jianchang (建昌), Fenghua (奉化, Thiên Trường in the Hồ dynasty), Qianghua (清化), Zhenman (鎮蠻), Liangshan (諒山), Xinping (新平), Yanzhou (演州), Yian (乂安), Shunhua (顺化).
- 5 independent prefectures: Taiyuan (太原), Xuanhua (宣化, Tuyên Quang in the Hồ dynasty), Jiaxing (嘉興), Guihua (歸化), Guangwei (廣威)
Together with the 5 independent prefectures, there were other administrative divisions, which were under the normal prefectures. There were 47 divisions in total.
In 1408, the independent administrative division Taiyuan, Xuanhua was promoted to a prefecture, which increased the number to 17. Afterwards the Yanzhou prefecture was dismissed and its territory became an independent prefecture.
After Lê Lợi defeated the Ming army and restored Đại Việt's independence, he dismissed all former administrative structure and divided the nation into 5 đạo. Thus, ever since that time, the name Giao Chỉ and Giao Châu have never been applied to official administrative units.
In the ninth Yanxi year [AD 166], during the reign of Emperor Huan, the king of Da Qin [the Roman Empire], Andun (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, r. 161-180), sent envoys from beyond the frontiers through Rinan... During the reign of Emperor He [AD 89-105], they sent several envoys carrying tribute and offerings. Later, the Western Regions rebelled, and these relations were interrupted. Then, during the second and the fourth Yanxi years in the reign of Emperor Huan [AD 159 and 161], and frequently since, [these] foreigners have arrived [by sea] at the frontiers of Rinan [Commandery just south of Jiaozhi] to present offerings.
The Book of Liang states:
The merchants of this country [the Roman Empire] frequently visit Funan [in the Mekong delta], Rinan (Annam) and Jiaozhi [in the Red River Delta near modern Hanoi]; but few of the inhabitants of these southern frontier states have come to Da Qin. During the 5th year of the Huangwu period of the reign of Sun Quan [AD 226] a merchant of Da Qin, whose name was Qin Lun came to Jiaozhi [Tonkin]; the prefect [taishou] of Jiaozhi, Wu Miao, sent him to Sun Quan [the Wu emperor], who asked him for a report on his native country and its people."
The capital of Jiaozhi was proposed by Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877 to have been the port known to the geographer Ptolemy and the Romans as Cattigara, situated near modern Hanoi. Richthofen's view was widely accepted until archaeology at Óc Eo in the Mekong Delta suggested that site may have been its location. Cattigara seems to have been the main port of call for ships traveling to China from the West in the first few centuries AD, before being replaced by Guangdong.
- Ciyuan, volume Tý, page 141.
- Yule, Sir Henry Yule, A. C. Burnell, William Crooke (1995). A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases: Hobson-Jobson. Routledge. p. 34. ISBN 0-7007-0321-7..
- Reid, Anthony (1993), Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, Vol. 2: Expansion and Crisis, New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 211.
- Xiong (2009).
- Đất nước Việt Nam qua các đời, Văn hóa Thông tin publisher, 2005
- Hall, D.G.E. (1981). A History of South-East Asia, Fourth Edition. Hong Kong: Macmillan Education Ltd. p. 28. ISBN 0-333-24163-0.
- Hill (2009), pp. 27, 31.
- Hill (2009), p. 292.
- Ferdinand von Richthofen, China, Berlin, 1877, Vol.I, pp.504-510; cited in Richard Hennig,Terrae incognitae : eine Zusammenstellung und kritische Bewertung der wichtigsten vorcolumbischen Entdeckungsreisen an Hand der daruber vorliegenden Originalberichte, Band I, Altertum bis Ptolemäus, Leiden, Brill, 1944, pp.387, 410-411; cited in Zürcher (2002), pp. 30-31.
- Hill 2004 - see:  and Appendix: F.
- Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
- Xiong, Victor Cunrui (2009), "Jiaozhi", Historical Dictionary of Medieval China, Lanham: Scarecrow Press, p. 251, ISBN 978-0-8108-6053-7.
- Zürcher, Erik (2002): "Tidings from the South, Chinese Court Buddhism and Overseas Relations in the Fifth Century AD." Erik Zürcher in: A Life Journey to the East. Sinological Studies in Memory of Giuliano Bertuccioli (1923-2001). Edited by Antonio Forte and Federico Masini. Italian School of East Asian Studies. Kyoto. Essays: Volume 2, pp. 21–43.