Hồ Quý Ly

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Hồ Quý Ly
Emperor of Đại Ngu
Emperor of Hồ dynasty
Reign1400 - 1401
PredecessorTrần Thiếu Đế
Hồ dynasty established
SuccessorHồ Hán Thương
Retired Emperor of Hồ Dynasty
PredecessorTrần Thuận Tông (of Trần Dynasty, Đại Việt)
SuccessorGiản Định Đế (of Later Trần Dynasty, Đại Việt)
Đại Lại village, Vĩnh Ninh district, Ái Châu, Thanh Đô town, Đại Việt
Beijing, Ming China
SpouseHuy Ninh, daughter of Trần Minh Tông
IssueHồ Nguyên Trừng, unknown who is the mother
Hồ Hán Thương, son of Princess Huy Ninh
Princess Thánh Ngâu, daughter of Princess Huy Ninh; later as Empress Khâm Thánh of Trần Thuận Tông
Full name
Lê Quý Ly (黎季犛), later Hồ Quý Ly (胡季犛)
Era dates
Thánh Nguyên (聖元)
DynastyHồ dynasty
FatherLê Quốc Mạo
MotherLady Phạm

Hồ Quý Ly (Hán tự: 胡季犛, 1336 - 1407?) was the founding emperor of Hồ dynasty, who rose from the post as an official of Trần dynasty.[1][2][3]


According to the text in the Complete Annals of Đại Việt, Hồ claimed descent from the Hồ clan which originated from Zhejiang, and later migrated south to Annam under Hồ's ancestor Hồ Liêm 胡廉, before settling in Thanh Hóa.[4][5] Hồ Quý Ly also made claims that his family was descended from Duke Hu, the founder of Chen, along with the Hồ's being descendants of Shun of Yu 虞舜, which was the reason Hồ immediately changed the name of his country from Đại Việt to Đại Ngu 大虞, using 虞 as a reference to Shun's fiefdom of Yu (Sino-Vietnamese, Ngu).[6][7]

Hồ Quý Ly was born in 1336 at Đại Lại village, Vĩnh Ninh district, Ái Châu, Thanh Đô town with aristocracy's standing. His birth name was birth name Lê Quý Ly (黎季犛), courtesy name Lý Nguyên (理元) or Nhất Nguyên (一元), owed to the fact that he was adopted by Lê Huan, after whom he took the family name. It was not until Hồ Quý Ly deposed of the last Trần emperor that he reverted his family name of Hồ.


In 1400, Hồ Quý Ly dethroned the last Trần emperor and declared himself emperor, establishing the Hồ dynasty and renaming the country from Đại Việt to Đại Ngu. During his reign, he made several significant economic and administrative reforms.[8] In 1396, he enacted a law issuing paper money instead of minting bronze coins but failed, mostly because of the lack in credibility in paper money as it was easy to duplicate at that time. In 1397, he began to work on land reform policies, limiting the area of land to be owned by aristocrats, mandarins and landlords to 10 acres for each household. He also ordered standardisation of measurement methods, imperial examination reforms and promote the use of Nom script as official writing system instead of Han script.

In 1401, he abdicated in favor of his second son Hồ Hán Thương. In accordance with the former Trần dynasty's tradition, Hồ Quý Ly styled himself as Emperor Emeritus and still possessed much power over state affairs.

From 1400 to 1403, Hồ Quý Ly and his son, Hồ Hán Thương sent three expeditions against Champa. The first and third expeditions ended with Champa's defensive victory; however the second one (1402) resulted in the Champa King Jaya Simhavarman V relinquishing southern Quảng Nam and northern Quảng Ngãi to the Hồ dynasty.[9]:111–112

In 1407, Hồ Quý Ly failed to rally his subjects in the war of resistance against a huge invasion by the Ming Yongle Emperor's forces.[10] He was captured by Ming forces in Thiên Cầm cave and was exiled to China. He was forced to enlist in the Ming army as a common soldier. It is not clear when he died.[8] His son, Hồ Hán Thương, and grandson, Hồ Nhuế, also died in Chinese exile.[9]:112–113


  • Forefather : Hồ Hưng Dật
  • Father : Hồ Quốc Mạo
  • Mother : Phạm Thị Mỗ
  • Brothers : Hồ Quý Đôn, Hồ Quý Uông, Hồ Quý Mỗ, Hồ Quý Hàm, Hồ Quý Tì
  • Spouses : Huy Ninh Princess, Thái Từ Empress, Nguyễn Thị Mỗ
  • Children : Hồ Nguyên Trừng (general), Hồ Hán Thương (second emperor), Hồ Thánh Ngâu (Trần dynasty's empress)
  • Grandchildren : Hồ Nhuế (crown prince), Hồ Ngũ Lang, Hồ Vô Cữu, Hồ Tử Chương, Hồ Tử Việp, Trần Thiếu Đế



  • Quốc ngữ thi nghĩa (國語詩義)
  • Minh đạo lục (明道錄)


Hồ Quý Ly has been a subject of controversial debates among Vietnamese historians, some scholars highly value his radical thoughts and reformation, while others regard him as an usurper. He ordered the construction of a citadel in Thanh Hóa Province. The remnants of this citadel are included in UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.


  1. ^ Anh Tuấn Hoàng Silk for Silver: Dutch-Vietnamese Relations, 1637-1700 2007 Page 18 "By the end of the following century, however, the Trần had declined and the dynasty was eventually usurped by Hồ Quý Ly, who founded the Hồ dynasty in 1400 but failed to preserve independence of the country from Ming invasion..."
  2. ^ Taylor (2013), p. 166
  3. ^ Hall (2008), p. 161
  4. ^ K. W. Taylor (9 May 2013). A History of the Vietnamese. Cambridge University Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-0-521-87586-8.
  5. ^ Kenneth R. Hall (2008). Secondary Cities and Urban Networking in the Indian Ocean Realm, C. 1400-1800. Lexington Books. pp. 161–. ISBN 978-0-7391-2835-0.
  6. ^ Trần, Xuân Sinh (2003). Thuyết Trần. p. 403. ...Quý Ly claims Hồ's ancestor to be Mãn the Duke Hồ [Man, Duke Hu], founding meritorious general of the Chu dynasty, king Ngu Thuấn's [king Shun of Yu] descendant, created his country's name Đại Ngu...
  7. ^ Trần, Trọng Kim (1919). "I.III.XI.". Việt Nam sử lược. Vol.I. Quí Ly deposed Thiếu-đế, but respected [the relationship] that he [Thiếu Đế] was his [Quí Ly's] grandson, only demoted him to prince Bảo-ninh 保寧大王, and claimed himself [Quí Ly] the Emperor, changing his surname to Hồ 胡. Originally the surname Hồ [胡 Hu] were descendants of the surname Ngu [虞 Yu] in China, so Quí Ly created a new name for his country Đại-ngu 大虞.
  8. ^ a b Corbin, Justin, The History of Vietnam, 2008, p. 10–11.
  9. ^ a b Maspero, G., 2002, The Champa Kingdom, Bangkok: White Lotus Co., Ltd., ISBN 9747534991
  10. ^ Patricia M. Pelley Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past 2002 Page 151 "The combination of the Trần court's incompetence and the treachery of Hồ Quý Ly, who first inserted himself in the royal family and then, in 1400, usurped the throne, provided the Ming Chinese with a pretext to invade."
Hồ Quý Ly
Hồ dynasty
Preceded by
Trần Thiếu Đế
as Emperor of the Trần dynasty
Emperor of Đại Ngu
Succeeded by
Hồ Hán Thương