Lý Thái Tổ
|Lý Thái Tổ|
|Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt|
|Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt|
|Predecessor||Lê Long Đĩnh|
|Successor||Lý Thái Tông|
|Monarch of Lý Dynasty|
|Reign||20 November 1009–31 March 1028|
|Successor||Lý Thái Tông|
|Born||8 March, 974|
Cổ Pháp, Bắc Giang, Đại Cồ Việt
|Died||31 March, 1028 (aged 54)|
Thăng Long, Đại Cồ Việt
|Spouse||Lê Thị Phật Ngân and 8 other empresses|
|Issue||Prince of Khai Thiên Lý Phật Mã as emperor Lý Thái Tông|
Prince of Khai Quốc Lý Bồ
Prince of Đông Chinh Lý Lực
Prince of Vũ Đức (? - 1028)
Prince of Uy Minh Lý Nhật Quang
Princess An Quốc
8 sons, and 13 daughters.
|Father||Hiển Khánh vương|
|Mother||Minh Đức Thái hậu Phạm Thị|
|Vietnamese alphabet||Lý Thái Tổ|
|Vietnamese alphabet||Lý Công Uẩn|
Lý Thái Tổ (Hán tự: 李太祖, 8 March 974 – 31 March 1028), personal name Lý Công Uẩn, temple name Thái Tổ, was a Vietnamese monarch, the founder of the Lý dynasty of Vietnam and the 6th ruler of Đại Việt; he reigned from 1009 to 1028.
Lý Công Uẩn was born in Cổ Pháp village, Đình Bảng, Từ Sơn, Bắc Ninh Province in March 974. Lý Công Uẩn’s family background is mysterious. According to the Vietnamese chronicle, he was conceived when his mother had intercourse with a "divine being" at a temple in the heartland of northern Vietnam and at the age of 3 was given for adoption to a man named Lý Khánh Vân, of whom not much information is available. Some historical sources claim that Lý Công Uẩn's paternal line originated from Fujian, China. This view, however, is challenged by some historians and scholars. He was educated by Vạn Hạnh, the most eminent Buddhist patriarch of the time, in the village of Đình Bản, a short distance across the Red River from Hanoi to the northeast. He acquired a reputation as a devout Buddhist, and then a historian student, and a soldier. He was gradually promoted from a minor official to a prominent post of the government and was ultimately bestowed with the title Tả Thân Vệ Điện Tiền Chỉ Huy Sứ (The Commander of the Palace's Left Flank), which was one of the most important positions within the royal guards.
In 1005, the ruling king Lê Hoàn died, resulting in a civil war between his sons. Lý Công Uẩn began serving at the royal court, eventually rising to a high position of trust at the side of the designated heir to the throne. In 1009, the ruling king Lê Long Đĩnh (r. 1005–1009), the last king of the Lê family, developed hemorrhoids and had to lie down while listening to officials’ reports. Incapacitated by declining health, Long Đĩnh watched helplessly as the monks of Giao launched a propaganda campaign that nurtured belief in the inevitability of Lý Công Uẩn becoming king. He died in November 1009 under the wrath of the people because of his brutality and cruelty during his reign. Đào Cam Mộc, an royal official, and Patriarch Vạn Hạnh seized the opportunity and imposed their power and political influence to enthrone their trusted disciple Lý Công Uẩn without much resistance, thus ended the reign of the Lê dynasty.
Two days after Long Đĩnh's death, advised and assisted by his patron, the monk Vạn Hạnh, and by the efforts of the entire Buddhist establishment, Lý Công Uẩn was proclaimed king by general acclamation. After his ascension to the throne, Lý Công Uẩn named his era "Thuận Thiên" (順天) meaning "Will of Heaven".
The royal court decided to relocate from Hoa Lư to the site of Đại La (modern-day Hanoi) in the next year, 1010. Đại La was known as the city that the Tang general Gao Pian had built in the 860s after the ravages of the Nanzhao War. In 1010, Lý Công Uẩn published an edict explaining why he move his capital to Dai La. Lý Công Uẩn chose the site because it had been an earlier capital in the rich Red River Delta. He saw Đại La as a place "between Heaven and Earth where the coiling dragon and the crouching tiger lie, and his capital would last 10,000 years". When Lý Công Uẩn’s boat docked at the new capital, a dragon, symbol of sovereign authority, reportedly soared above his head; he accordingly renamed the place Thăng Long, the "ascending dragon".
The royal city at Thăng Long was laid out in the standard pattern: the urban center encompassed the Royal City. The Throne Room Palace was located within a Dragon Courtyard and faced south. The Crown Prince of the Lý dynasty lived in the Eastern Palace outside the city walls. Palaces and offices were constructed of timber. Càn Nguyên Palace where the king held audience was located on the Nùng hill. By 1010, 11 palaces were built in Thăng Long. The earthworks which were ramparts of the new capital still stand to the west of the modern city of Hanoi, forming a vast quadrilateral by the side of the road to Sơn Tây.
The outer regions of the Red River Delta, beyond the Lý heartland, were in the hands of families allied with the Lý family by marriage. Lý Thái Tổ abandoned a scheme of dividing the plain into "ten circuits" that had been devised by Đinh Bộ Lĩnh (r. 968–979) and replaced it with 24 routes; these were not administrative jurisdictions but rather itineraries designating various localities. He organized the southern provinces into military outposts, indicating a policy of garrisons and patrols. Officials did not receive a salary controlled by the capital, but were entirely dependent upon local resources, a region's fish and rice. The soldiers did receive some largesse at the same time as they were expected to do some farming of their own. The village communities scattered about the countryside stayed within their own frames of reference except in times of emergency or of specific royal demands. Only then would they interact with the central power. Otherwise they sent some of their resources to the local lord, who in turn forwarded a share as tribute to the throne. This administrative system resembles a naturally Southeast Asian mandala system.
In 1011, Lý Thái Tổ raised a large army and attacked rebels in the southern provinces, in what is now Thanh Hoá and Nghệ An. He campaigned there for two years, burning villages and capturing local leaders. While returning by sea in late 1012, a great storm threatened to sink his boat, which he understood as a divine judgment upon him for the violence he had brought upon so many people.
He also reformed the tax system in 1013 by creating six tax classifications, which enabled the royal court to efficiently collect taxes and citizens to clearly know which tax classification affected them, for instance, applied mostly to goods produced on royal estates:
- Tax on fishing and seafood production
- Tax on agricultural production (farming)
- Tax on logging/wood and masonry
- Tax on salt production
- Tax on luxury goods production (ivory, gold, silk, precious materials, etc.)
- Tax on fruits and vegetable production
When a severe earthquake occurred in 1016, Lý Thái Tổ prayed to the gods that were in charge of the mountains surrounding the capital, while also sending more than 1,000 people to teach in Buddhist schools. He journeyed around his kingdom both to propitiate its disparate genies and co-opt them by having them "declare" themselves to him.
During the reign of Lý Thái Tổ, the Song Dynasty was pre-occupied with maintaining internal stability and still recovering from previous defeats or skirmishes with the Liao dynasty and Western Xia. Đại Việt, as a result, was mostly left alone and political relations between the two states revived. In 1010, the Song emperor recognized Lý Công Uẩn without delay, conferring upon him the usual titles of vassalage.
In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ attacked and caught thirteen persons of Địch Lão (bandit) ethnicity and presented the captives to the Chinese court. In August 1014 he sent a mission to China, presented 60 horses as gifts and notified the Song court that he had subdued a Hani community. Chinese records stated that in 1017, Lý Thái Tổ was recognized as king of Nanping, and in 1019 a younger brother of Lý Thái Tổ offered goods. Chinese history texts also recorded that Lý Thái To sent three more missions to China in 1022, 1027 and 1028 that presented gifts valued thousands strings of cash (1,628 and 2,000). In 1028 the Song officials noticed that Vietnamese envoys had sold drugs for 3,060 strings of cash.
Having begun life as a Buddhist monk, Lý Thái Tổ practiced Buddhism and promoted it as the national religion. As a result, he gave much support to the Buddhist clergy and institutions. He donated money to build pagodas throughout Đại Việt. Initial, he built 8 Buddhist temples in the Tiên Du area, heart land of Vietnamese Buddhism and three others around the capital region itself.
Consistent with his geo-administrative vision and his kingship to appease and tame the spirit world, during the eleventh century the Lý court "brought back" to Thăng Long a firmament of local spirits that had long dominated more distant regions of the kingdom. The spirits of the Trưng sisters from the western delta, the earth genie of Phù Đổng north of the capital, and the Mountain of Bronze Drum god from Thanh Hoá in Ái to the south were all relocated to the capital and housed there in temples specially dedicated to them. If these spirits were "symbols of regional powers", their pacification involved the extension of monarchical authority to the regions of Đại Việt.
In 1024, a temple was built for Lý Thái Tổ to use for reading and reciting the Buddhist scriptures, a copy of which he had requested and received from the Song court a few years earlier. After establishing suitable relationships with the terrestrial powers, he showed an interest in establishing proper relationships with the supernatural powers, patronizing the Buddhist religion and local cults, thereby cultivating a cultural basis for his authority. Thereafter he began to withdraw from public affairs. In 1025, Vạn Hạnh died. He had been Lý Thái Tổ’s teacher, mentor, and, to some extent, father figure. He had previously been an advisor to Lê Hoàn and was a central figure in effecting the transition from the Lê family at Hoa Lư to the Lý family at Thăng Long. It seems that Lý Thái Tổ’s royal personality was in some degree animated as an extension of Vạn Hạnh’s expectations of him, for from this time little of note is recorded about Lý Thái Tổ until his death in the spring of 1028.
Lý Công Uẩn died in 1028 at the age of 55 according to the royal official accounts. He was buried at Thọ Lăng, the Mausoleum of Longevity, outside of Thiên Đức Palace. He was posthumously named as "Lý Thái Tổ"; his posthumous imperial title was "Thần Võ Hoàng Đế". Today the ancestor spirit of Lý Thái Tổ is among those popularly honoured in rites at national shrines.
- Hiển Khánh vương (posthumously honored by Lý Thái Tổ in 1010)
- Lý Khánh Vân (adoptive father)
- Phạm Thị Ngà
- Dực Thánh Vương (翊聖王)
- Lý Mỗ
- Empress Lập Giáo
- Lady Chu Ái Vân (婤爱雲夫人)
|Ancestry of King Lý Thái Tổ|
Dream Pool Essays volume 25
Classical Chinese :桓死、安南大亂、久無酋長。其後國人共立閩人李公蘊為主。
- (in Chinese) 千年前泉州人李公蕴越南当皇帝 越南史上重要人物之一
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- Taylor 2013, p. 60.
An Nam chí lược volume 12
Classical Chinese :李公蘊，交州人（或謂閩人，非也），有韜略。
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Lý Thái TổBorn: 974 Died: 1028
Lê Long Đĩnh
| Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt
Lý Thái Tông
|New title|| Emperor of Lý Dynasty|
|Lý royal family (notable members)|