Khúc Thừa Dụ

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Khúc Thừa Dụ
Jiedushi of Tĩnh Hải quân
Reign 905–907
Successor Khúc Hạo
Ruler of autonomous Vietnam
Reign 905–907
Predecessor none
Successor Khúc Hạo
Issue Khúc Hạo
House Khúc family
Born  ?
Ninh Giang, Hải Dương, Tĩnh Hải quân
Died 907
Đại La, Tĩnh Hải quân
History of Vietnam Map of Vietnam
2879–0258 Hồng Bàng dynasty
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11140 1st Chinese domination
40–43 Trưng Sisters
43–544 2nd Chinese domination
544–602 Early Lý dynasty
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Khúc Thừa Dụ (?–907) or Khúc Tiên[1] (Chinese: 曲承裕; pinyin: Qū Chéngyù) was a Vietnamese Jiedushi of Vietnam, Jinghai-jun Tĩnh Hải quân, in the early 10th century.

Khúc Thừa Dụ was the head of the Khúc family in Hải Dương and was well known by people in the region for his wealth and benevolence.[2] Khúc Thừa Dụ began to rule the country when the Tang Dynasty collapsed, and is considered the ruler who marked the beginning of the independent Vietnam, which had until then been ruled by China as a province. When he died in 907, his position was inherited by his son Khúc Hạo who continued to strengthen the autonomy and prosperity of the country.


According to Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam, the date of birth of Khúc Thừa Dụ was unknown but he was from Hồng Châu, Cúc Bồ (now Ninh Giang, Hải Dương, Vietnam).[1][3][4] The Khúc family of which Khúc Thừa Dụ was a member was a powerful clan with a long history and tradition in Hồng Châu. It was said that Khúc Thừa Dụ was known for his hospitality and generosity that made him an admired figure by people in the region.[3][4][5] Keith Weller Taylor in his The Birth of Vietnam wrote that this background information about Khúc Thừa Dụ appeared in the 18th century in an unofficial source (dã sử) therefore one cannot draw firm conclusions from it.[6]

In the early 10th century, the Tang Dynasty began to fall into chaos and could not hold its authority in the remote protectorate Tĩnh Hải quân (now northern Vietnam)[3][4] when the Chinese Jiedushi Tsang Kun with his soldiers had to abandon the region in 880.[6] Profiting from the situation, Khúc Thừa Dụ became the leader of the indigenous revolt against Tang control and eventually succeeded in taking over the country. Since the Chinese officials had to flee northwards, Khúc Thừa Dụ claimed the position Jiedushi of Tĩnh Hải quân which marked the beginning of the independence of Vietnam.[1][3] While Vietnam still nominally belonged to the Tang Dynasty, it was now autonomous with a native ruler who could decide matters without any interference from China.[4] As the Tang Dynasty did not have any more strength to start a military campaign in Tĩnh Hải quân,[7] the Tang emperor had to accept the autonomy of that region by giving Khúc Thừa Dụ the title chancellor (đồng bình chương sự), together with his position Jiedushi, in the first month of 906.[1] This appointment was recorded in Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian,[5] and it was the first time Khúc Thừa Dụ was mentioned in Chinese historical records.[6]

Khúc Thừa Dụ died in the seventh month[4] of 907[1] and was succeeded by his son Khúc Hạo who continued to consolidate the autonomy of Tĩnh Hải quân.[8] For his achievement, Khúc Thừa Dụ was respectfully called by people Khúc Tiên chủ or Khúc Tiên chúa (literally Khúc the First King)[5] and he is still worshipped in a temple dedicated to him in his native province.[9] On the other hand, in old historical books such as Đại Việt sử lược or Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, it was Khúc Hạo, instead of Khúc Thừa Dụ, who was mentioned as the first member of the Khúc family holding the position Jiedushi.[10][11] According to Đại Việt sử lược, he took over the title from the Chinese Jiedushi named Độc Cô Tồn[11] while in Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, Khúc Hạo appointed himself Jiedushi after starting a revolt that took control of Tĩnh Hải quân.[10] Keith Weller Taylor argued that since the power was smoothly transferred from Khúc Thừa Dụ to his son Khúc Hạo and there was no indication of political conflict between 880 and 906, one can reason that the Khúc family was actually in control of the country throughout those years.[6]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Khúc Thừa Dụ" (in Vietnamese). Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam. 
  2. ^ Anh Thư Hà, Hồng Đức Trần A Brief Chronology of Vietnam's History 2000 - Page 28 "Khúc Thỉr̉a Dụ (905-907) Khúc Thừa Dụ, a native of Cúc Bổ (Ninh Thanh, Hải Dương province nowadays), was a mild-mannered rich man who enjoyed the admiration of the local inhabitants. He staged a rebellion against the Tang authorities."
  3. ^ a b c d Trần Trọng Kim 1971, p. 28
  4. ^ a b c d e Đinh Xuân Lâm et al. (2005). Từ điển nhân vật lịch sử Việt Nam (in Vietnamese). Hanoi: Education Publishing House. p. 102. 
  5. ^ a b c National Bureau for Historical Record 1998, pp. 72–73
  6. ^ a b c d Taylor, Keith Weller (1976). The birth of Vietnam. University of California Press. pp. 259–260. ISBN 0-520-04428-2. 
  7. ^ Chapuis 1995, p. 35
  8. ^ "Khúc Hạo" (in Vietnamese). Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam. 
  9. ^ "POLITICS IN BRIEF 16/11". 2009-11-16. 
  10. ^ a b Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993, p. 52
  11. ^ a b Nguyễn Gia Tường (translator) (1993). Đại Việt sử lược. Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City Publishing House, University of Ho Chi Minh City. p. 21. 


Khúc Thừa Dụ
Born:  ? Died: 907
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Dugu Sun
Jiedushi of Tĩnh Hải quân (Jinghai Circuit)
Succeeded by
Khúc Hạo
Preceded by
Ruler of autonomous Vietnam
Succeeded by
Khúc Hạo