Lý Thái Tông

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Lý Thái Tông status

Lý Thái Tông (chữ Hán: ) (1000–1054) was the posthumous title of Lý Phật Mã (), emperor of the Lý dynasty of Đại Việt (Northern Vietnam) from 1028 to 1054. His father was Lý Công Uẩn (), posthumously known as Lý Thái Tổ (), the founder and the first emperor of the Lý Dynasty. During his reign, he built the basic bureaucratic infrastructure for the dynasty and was considered one of the greatest kings and emperors in Vietnamese history.

At the beginning of his reign, Thái Tông relied mostly on his father's advisers who were left to him and together they crushed a rebellion led by two of his brothers challenging his throne. Later, he personally led an army to defeat yet another unsatisfied brother.

When his rule became more secure, Thái Tông started to demonstrate his unconventional style of governing. He promoted one of his favorite concubines to royal status. He rejected his officials' advice and plowed the land himself during the spring plowing ceremony.

In 1039, Thái Tông had a serious discussion with his official about whether a good government depended upon strong personal leadership or a sophisticated institution. In the end, he accepted his officials' opinion and started to reform the government.

One of those reforms was to reorganize the royal family and make it into a parallel of the government, which was a bureaucratic system. Another significant reform was the publication of a new law, which replaced the old law that was either copied or borrowed from China's Tang dynasty.

In 1044, Thái Tông with his army invaded Champa. The war was won and the Champa king was killed. The amount of the plunder was considerable and there was even a reduction of taxes.

Starting around 1049, Thái Tông became less occupied with worldly affairs. He began to seek solutions of life through religion. He died in 1054 and a few months before his death, he transferred the governing job to his son Lý Nhật Tôn (Lý Thánh Tông). The succession went much smoother than the one in 1028 and proved the success of Thái Tông’s institutional reform.

References[edit]

  • Tarling, Nicholas ed., The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia Volume One, Part One. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Express, 1999. 0 521 35505 2
Preceded by
Lý Thái Tổ
Emperor of the Lý dynasty
1028–1054
Succeeded by
Lý Thánh Tông