Khải Định

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Khải Định
越南阮朝弘宗宣皇帝阮福昶(启定1916年—1925年)31岁登基时的冕服照片(1916年).jpg
Emperor of Vietnam
Reign 18 May 1916 – 6 November 1925
Predecessor Đồng Khánh
Successor Bảo Đại
Spouse Hoang Thi Cuc
Tu Cung
Issue
Bảo Đại
Full name
Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Đảo
Era dates
Khải Định (1916–1925)
Posthumous name
Tự Đại Gia Vận Thánh Minh Thần Trí Nhân Hiếu Thành Kính Di Mô Thừa Liệt Tuyên Hoàng Đế
Temple name
Hoằng Tông
Father Đồng Khánh
Born (1885-10-08)8 October 1885
Died 6 November 1925(1925-11-06) (aged 40)
Burial Ứng Lăng
Signature

Emperor Khải Định (born Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Đảo; 8 October 1885 – 6 November 1925) was the 12th Emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty in Vietnam. His name at birth was Prince Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Đảo. He was the son of Emperor Đồng Khánh, but he did not succeed him immediately. He reigned only nine years: 1916–1925.

Emperor Khải Định in his study (1916)
Emperor Khải Định, 1916

Biography[edit]

Khải Định
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Khải Định
Hán-Nôm
Birth name
Vietnamese alphabet Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Đảo
Hán-Nôm

After Emperor Đồng Khánh's era came the eras of Emperor Thành Thái and Emperor Duy Tân, both of whom were exiled by the French for their resistance to the colonial regime. After this trouble, the French decided to enthrone Bửu Đảo as he was the son of the monarch who was the most submissive Nguyễn collaborator with the colonial regime, standing with the French colonizers and opposing any independence movements, Emperor Đồng Khánh.

Nguyễn Bửu Đảo became the nominal ruler of Annam on 18 May 1916, after the exile of Duy Tân (Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San) and took the name Khải Định for his reign, meaning "auger of peace and stability." He said he wanted to restore the prestige of the empire, but this was not possible with his close collaboration with the French occupiers. Although not satisfied with his position, Khải Định enacted a policy of close collaboration with the French government and was effectively a puppet political figurehead for the French colonial rulers, following all of their instructions to give "legitimacy" to French policies.

Because of this, Khải Định was very unpopular with the Vietnamese people. The nationalist leader Phan Châu Trinh accused him of selling out his country to the French and living in imperial luxury while the people were exploited by France. Nguyễn Ái Quốc (later known as Hồ Chí Minh) wrote a play about Khải Định called "The Bamboo Dragon" that ridiculed him as being all grand appearance and ceremony but a powerless puppet of the French in government. His 1922 visit to France to see the Marseilles Colonial Exhibition was also ridiculed by nationalist leaders, who naturally hated Vietnam's status as a colonial subject of France and saw nothing in the exhibition worth celebrating.

Flying dragon. Phi long (coin) of Khải Định

Emperor Khải Định's unpopularity reached its peak in 1923 when he authorized the French to raise taxes on the Vietnamese peasants, part of which was to pay for the building of his palatial tomb, and which caused a great deal of hardship. He also signed the orders of arrest against many nationalist leaders, such as Phan Bội Châu, forcing them into exile and having their followers who were captured beheaded.

Marriages[edit]

Khải Định married, as his first wife, Hoang Thi Cuc, in 1907.

He married as his second wife (1890–1980), in 1913, a daughter of Ho Dac Trung, who became Annam's Minister for Public Instruction. They had no child.

Later, he had one son with one of his concubines, Tu Cung. She was crowned to Queen due to giving birth to their son, Nguyen Phuoc Thien, who became Prince Vinh Thuy and later Emperor Bảo Đại.

The king also had four secondary wives and 10 concubines.[1]

Death[edit]

Khải Định suffered poor health like his father and became a drug addict. He eventually died of tuberculosis at the Purple Forbidden City in Hué, according to his concubine Ba Phi, who described him as "not interested in sex" and "physically weak".[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "In Vietnam, the Queen Mother Clings to a Faded Court Life". The New York Times. 28 August 1973. p. 30. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Khải Định at Wikimedia Commons

Khải Định
Born: 8 October 1885 Died: 6 November 1925
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Duy Tân
Emperor of Vietnam
1916 – 6 November 1925
Succeeded by
Bảo Đại