Nguyễn Kim

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Map of Vietnam showing the Mạc in control of the north and central part of Vietnam while the Nguyễn-Trịnh alliance controls the south.

Nguyen Kim (Vietnamese: Nguyễn Kim; 1476–1545) was a Vietnamese statesman who was the ancestor of the famous Nguyễn Lords who later ruled south Vietnam (and much later, all of Vietnam). During his rule, the war with the Mạc Dynasty started.

Nguyễn Kim claimed descent from Nguyễn Trãi, one of the top aides of Lê Lợi. He was the son of Nguyễn Hoang Du, one of the leaders of the first revolt against Mạc Đăng Dung). After the first revolt was crushed and his father executed, a second revolt against Mạc Đăng Dung took place in response to Dung's usurpation of the throne in 1527. This second revolt was led by Nguyễn Kim and his son-in-law, Trịnh Kiểm.

At first, the Mạc army was too powerful and the rebels had to flee to Laos. From their base in Laos they managed to raise an army and reclaimed Thanh Hoa province in Vietnam. The Nguyễn-Trịnh army captured the Western Capital (Tay Do) and enthroned Emperor Lê Trang Tông in 1533. The emperor appointed Nguyễn Kim as Court Chancellor and granted him the title "Hưng Quốc Công" (the Dynasty Restoring Duke)

The Lê Loyalists then sent a formal embassy to China in 1535 on behalf of the new emperor. The embassy denounced the usurpation of Mạc Đăng Dung and asked for help. In 1536, Emperor Jiajing of Ming dispatched an army to topple Mạc dynasty, it arrived on the border of Vietnam in 1537. However, with protestations of loyalty to the Ming Dynasty and the offer of a piece of north Vietnam to the Chinese, Mạc Đăng Dung was able to get the Chinese army to leave. The official position of the Chinese government was, the Mạc should rule in the north, and the Lê should rule in the south. The Lê Loyalist force refused to accept this settlement, and so the war continued. By 1540, they captured Nghệ An Province.

In 1545, Nguyễn Kim was assassinated by a surrendered Mạc general. Nguyễn Kim had two young sons (Nguyễn Hoàng and Nguyễn Uông) but it was Trịnh Kiểm who took control of the Loyalist army.

Preceded by
Mạc Đăng Dung
Ruler of Vietnam
1533–1545
Succeeded by
Trịnh Kiểm

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