Mongol invasions of Vietnam

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Mongol invasions of Đại Việt and Champa
Part of the Mongol invasions
Battle of Bach Dang (1288).jpg
The Battle of Bạch Đằng (1288) during the Third Mongol invasion
Date1258, 1285 and 1287–88
LocationĐại Việt and Champa
Result

First Invasion: Đại Việt victory - Mongol forces repelled.

Second Invasion: Đại Việt/Champa victory - Mongol forces repulsed.

Third Invasion: Decisive Dai Viet victory - Mongol Navy totally destroyed.

Belligerents
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Mongol Empire (1258)
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Yuan dynasty (1285 and 1287–88)

Đại Việt under the Trần dynasty

Champa
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Möngke Khan
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Kublai Khan
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Uriyangkhadai
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Aju
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Sodu
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Toghan (vi) [1]
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Umar bin Nasr al-Din (Yunnan)
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Abachi
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Fanji
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Aqatai
Flag of the Mongol Empire 2.svg Arikhgiya
Trần Thái Tông
Trần Thánh Tông
Trần Nhân Tông
Trần Hưng Đạo
Trần Quang Khải
Jaya Indravarman VI
Strength
40,000 Mongols and 10,000 Yi people.[2]
Less than 100,000 in 1285
70,000 Yuan troops, 21,000 tribal auxiliaries, 500 ships in 1287–88[3]
Đại Việt more than 200,000–300,000 people in 1285
Champa about 60,000 people[citation needed]
Casualties and losses
Unknown but heavy in 1258
heavy in 1285 and heavy in 1288.
Unknown

The Mongol invasions of Vietnam or Mongol-Vietnamese War refer to the three times that the Mongol Empire and its chief khanate the Yuan dynasty invaded Đại Việt during the time of the Trần dynasty, along with Champa: in 1258, 1285, and 1287–88.[4] The first invasion began in 1258 under the united Mongol Empire, as it looked for alternative paths to invade Song China. The Mongol high ranking commander Uriyangkhadai was successful in capturing the Dai Viet capital (Thang Long); however, his army was weakened by the tropical climate and were later defeated [5]. The second and third invasions occurred during the reign of Kublai Khan of the Yuan Dynasty. By this point, the Mongolian Empire had fractured into 4 separate entities with Yuan Dynasty being the strongest and biggest empire. These invasions resulted in a disastrous land defeat for the Mongols in 1285 and the annihilation of the Mongol navy in 1288. However, both the Trần dynasty and Champa decided to accept the nominal supremacy of the Yuan dynasty and serve as tributary states in order to avoid further conflicts.[6]

Background[edit]

By the 1250s, the Mongol Empire controlled large amounts of Eurasia including much of Eastern Europe, Anatolia, North China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Central Asia, Tibet and Southwest Asia. Möngke Khan (r. 1251–59) planned to attack the Song dynasty in South China from three directions in 1259. Therefore, he ordered the prince Kublai to pacify the Dali Kingdom. After subjugating Dali, Kublai sent one column under Uriyangkhadai to the southeast after conquering eastern Tibet. Uriyangkhadai sent envoys to demand the submission of Đại Việt, but the Trần rulers imprisoned the Mongol envoys.[2] This action led Uriyangkhadai and his son Aju to invade Đại Việt with 40,000 Mongols and 10,000 Yi people.[2]

The Trần Dynasty, with the marriage between the first emperor and the later queen of Lý Dynasty, succeeded in taking the reins and power. After the death of the rebel leaders like Đoàn Thượng, Nguyễn Nộn, the Trần Dynasty became the only ruler of Vietnam. Under the threat from the Mongols, the Trần Dynasty tried to negotiate with the Mongol delegation. However, the aim of the Mongol Empire was not only the exchange of delegations and trading, but also to conquer Vietnam and then and use this land as a supply source for the campaign against the Southern Song Dynasty in the first invasion, and as a base to attack other lands in Southeast Asia.

First Mongol invasion in 1258[edit]

Kublai Khan, the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, and the founder of the Yuan dynasty

In 1258, a Mongol column under Uriyangkhadai, the son of Subutai, invaded Đại Việt. A battle was fought in which the Vietnamese used war elephants: their Emperor even led his army from atop an elephant. Aju ordered his troops to fire arrows at the elephants' feet. The animals turned in panic and caused disorder in the Đại Việt army, which was routed. The Dai Viet senior leaders were able to escape on pre-prepared boats while part of their army was destroyed at No Nguyen (modern Viet Tri on the Hong River). The remainder of the Dai Viet army again suffered a major defeat in a fierce battle at the Phu Lo bridge the day after. This led the Tran leadership to evacuate the capital. The Dai Viet annals report that the evacuation was "in an orderly manner;" however this is viewed as a embellishment because the Dai Viet must have retreated in disarray to leave their weapons behind in the capital.[7]

The emperor of Đại Việt fled to an offshore island, and the Mongols occupied the capital city Thăng Long (now Hanoi). They found their envoys in prison, however one of whom died. Although Mongol successfully captured the capital, the provinces around the capital was still in Đại Việt control.[8] Đại Việt hold the position. They applied scorched earth policy, burning all the farm and evacuate all food supply around the capital, which starved off the enemy[9]. In addition, Mongol force also suffered heavy casualty from unhealthy climate [10]. Knowing that Mongol force was weakened and demoralized, Trần Emperor grasp that opportunity. Trần army counterattack Mongol at Đông Bộ Đầu, Thăng Long at the midnight on 28 January 1258. Mongol force suffered a heavy defeat, losing Thăng Long to Trần army and had to retreat back to China. On the way of the retreat, they got ambushed by a Trần general Ha Bong.[11].

Although Trần Dynasty won the war, their land was devastated. Vietnamese also realized the fact that their protector- Southern Song dynasty was weaken and Mongol empire was rising and very soon captured the whole China, which actually happened in 1278. Trần Emperor had submitted unwillingly later in 1260, and were reluctant vassals after the Mongolian Empire fractured following Mongke Khan's death. According to the history of the Yuan dynasty, the Trần court sent tribute every three years and received a darughachi. However, the Vietnamese emperor repeatedly ignored demands to attend the Yuan court and offer his personal submission to the Great Khan. By 1266, a standoff developed, as the Emperor Thánh Tông sought a loose tributary relationship, while Kublai demanded full submission. Trần Thánh Tông sent an official letter requiring Kublai to take his darughachi back. Because of civil war in the Mongol Empire, and the Yuan conquest of Song China, armed conflict was delayed. Instead, Kublai reminded him of the peace treaty signed by the Mongols and Đại Việt.

As a result of the Mongol conquest of the Song Empire, by 1278–79, Mongol troops reached Đại Việt's northern borders. Some former Song officials fled to Đại Việt and Champa, former vassals of Song China, during the final stage of Mongolian conquest of China.[12] The Viet rulers, Emperor Emeritus Thánh Tông and the new Emperor, Nhân Tông resisted renewed Mongol demands for personal attendance at Kublai's court, but dispatched Tran Di Ai (Thánh Tông's uncle) as envoy. Kublai tried to enthrone Di Ai as prince in 1281 but Di Ai and his small army were ambushed by Đại Việt forces.

Champa[edit]

Sogetu of the Jalairs, the governor of Guangzhou, was dispatched to demand the submission of Champa. Although the king of Champa accepted the status of a Mongol protectorate,[13] his submission was unwilling. In 1282, Sogetu led a maritime invasion of Champa with 5,000 men, but could only muster 100 ships because most of the Yuan ships had been lost in the invasions of Japan.[14]

However, Sogetu was successful in capturing Vijaya, the Champa capital later that year. The aged Champa king Indravarman V retreated out of the capital, avoiding Mongol attempts to capture him in the hills. His son would wage guerrilla warfare against the Mongols for the next few years, eventually wearing down the invaders.[15] Stymied by the withdrawal of the Champa king, Sogetu asked reinforcements from Kublai but sailed home in 1284 just as another Mongol fleet with more than 15,000 troops under Ataqai and Arigh Khaiya reembarked on a fruitless mission to reinforce him. Sogetu presented his plan to have more troops invade Champa through Đại Việt. Kublai accepted his plan and put his son Toghan in command, with Sogetu as second in command.

Map depicting Mongol campaign in Đại Việt in the north and Champa in the south

Second Mongol invasion in 1285[edit]

This was the first invasion of Đại Việt by Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty. In 1284 Kublai appointed his son Toghan (Vietnamese: Thoát Hoan) to conquer Champa. Toghan demanded from the Trần a route to Champa, which would trap the Champan army from both north and south. While Thánh Tông and Nhân Tông accept the demand reluctantly, generalissimo Hưng Đạo rallied 15,000 troops and help the Chams defending their lands.

Planning to weaken the enemies first, the Đại Việt imperial family abandoned the capital, letting the Mongols capture it and retreated south while enacting a scorched earth campaign by burning villages and crops.[15] At the same time, Sogetu moved his army up north in an attempt to envelop the imperial family in a pincer movement,[15] which the Vietnamese managed to escape.

Sogetu's army was weakened by the summer heat and the lack of food, so they stopped chasing the imperial family and move north to join with Toghan. Seeing the Mongol's movement, Trần Hưng Đạo concluded that the Mongol was weakened and decided to take the opportunity to strike, selecting battlefields where the Mongol cavalry could not be fully employed.[16]

The Cham were in pursuit of Sogetu as he was heading north,[17] and killed him and defeated his army.[16] However, according to Vietnamese history, Sogetu was defeated in Hàm Tử, Hưng Yên and was killed by the Vietnamese in his retreat. As the Yuan forces advanced down the Red River, dispersing their power, Prime Minister Quang Khải personally launched a large counterattack at Chương Dương, forcing Toghan to withdraw. Toghan returned without a huge loss of the army under him thanks to the Kipchak officer Sidor and his navy.[18]

The next year, Kublai installed Trần Thánh Tông's younger brother Trần Ích Tắc, a defector to the Yuan, as prince of Đại Việt, but hardship in the Yuan's Hunan supply base aborted his plan.

Third/Final Mongol invasion, 1287-88[edit]

This was the second invasion of Đại Việt by Kublai Khan's Yuan dynasty. In 1287 the Yuan commander Toghan invaded with 70,000 regular troops, 21,000 tribal auxiliaries from Yunnan and Hainan, a 1000-man vanguard under Abachi, and 500 ships under the Muslim Omar (Vietnamese: Ô Mã Nhi) (who was the son of Nasr al-Din (Yunnan)) and Chinese Fanji (according to some sources, the Mongol force was composed of 300,000–500,000 men). Kublai sent veterans such as Arigh Khaiya, Nasir al-Din and his grandson Esen-Temür. The strategy of this invasion was different: a huge base was to be established just inland from Hải Phòng, and a large-scale naval assault mounted as well as a land attack. Despite the Mongol large-scaled invasion, Trần Quốc Tuấn confidently told the emperor Nhân Tông that the invaders can be defeated easily this time. Trần Hưng Đạo withdrew from inhabited areas, leaving the Mongols with nothing to conquer. The whole fleet bringing food provisions to Toghan's army by maritime route was ambushed and destroyed by Trần Khánh Dư. Facing the lack of food again, Toghan retreated to China through the Bạch Đằng River.

Borrowing a tactic used by king Ngô Quyền in 938 to defeat an invading Chinese fleet, the Đại Việt forces drove iron-tipped stakes into the bed of the Bạch Đằng River, and then, with a small flotilla, lured the Mongol fleet into the river just as the tide was starting to ebb, while their route to the sea had been blockaded by large warships. Unable to return or escape to the sea, the entire Mongol fleet of 400 craft was caught in a bloody boarding and missile battle, sunk, captured, or burned by fire arrows. This would later become known as the Battle of Bạch Đằng (1288). The Yuan admiral Omar was captured and executed. Toqan remaining army got routed hard during the retreat . However they were able to withdraw back to China.[19]

The causes of victory[edit]

The most fundamental cause for Trần dynasty's success is the internal solidarity of the leaders. Although some members of the Tran dynasty were betrayed, thanks to the support of the people, Trần dynasty finally won.

Aftermath[edit]

In Đại Việt[edit]

Kublai angrily banished Toghan to Yangzhou for life. The Mongols and the Tran Vietnamese agreed to exchange their war prisoners. While Nhan Tong was willing to pay tribute to the Yuan, relations again foundered on the question of attendance at the Yuan court and hostile relations continued.

The Trần Dynasty decided to accept the supremacy of the Yuan dynasty in order to avoid further conflicts. Because he refused to come in person, Kublai detained his envoy, Dao-tu Ki, in 1293. Kublai's successor Temür Khan (r.1294-1307), finally released all detained envoys, settling for a tributary relationship, which continued to the end of the Yuan.

In Champa[edit]

The Champa Kingdom decided to accept the supremacy of the Yuan dynasty as well. A tributary relationship continued for some time, but Champa disappears from Yuan records before 1300. The king of Champa made the act of vassalage to the Mongols.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ James A. Anderson; John K. Whitmore (7 November 2014). China's Encounters on the South and Southwest: Reforging the Fiery Frontier Over Two Millennia. BRILL. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-90-04-28248-3. 
  2. ^ a b c Atwood, C. (2004) p. 579
  3. ^ Christopher Atwood, Encyclopedia of Mongol Empire and Mongolia, p. 579-80
  4. ^ Tansen Sen - The Yuan Khanate and India: Cross-Cultural Diplomacy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, pp. 305
  5. ^ P.D. Buell, “Mongols in Vietnam: end of one era, beginning of another ”, paper given at the First Congress of the Asian Association of World Historians, 29– 31 May 2009,Osaka University Nakanoshima-Center
  6. ^ Bulliet, Richard; Crossley, Pamela; Headrick, Daniel; Hirsch, Steven; Johnson, Lyman (2014-01-01). The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History. Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781285965703. 
  7. ^ Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger: A History of Vietnam by Vu Hong Lien, Peter Sharrock, Chapter 6.
  8. ^ Descending Dragon, Rising Tiger: A History of Vietnam by Vu Hong Lien, Peter Sharrock, page 85.
  9. ^ Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, Bản Kỷ, Kỷ Nhà Trần, mục Thái Tông Hoàng đế chép trận đánh diễn ra ngày 24 tháng 12 năm Đinh Tỵ.
  10. ^ P.D. Buell, “Mongols in Vietnam: end of one era, beginning of another ”, paper given at the First Congress of the Asian Association of World Historians, 29– 31 May 2009,Osaka University Nakanoshima-Center
  11. ^ Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, Bản Kỷ, Kỷ Nhà Trần, mục Thái Tông Hoàng đế chép trận đánh diễn ra ngày 24 tháng 12 năm Đinh Tỵ.
  12. ^ Hok-Lam Chan - Chinese Refugees in Annam and Champa at the End of the Sung Dynasty, Journal of Southeast Asian History, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Sep., 1966), pp. 1-10
  13. ^ Grousset, R. (1970) p. 290
  14. ^ Delgado, J. (2008) p. 158
  15. ^ a b c Delgado, J. (2008) p. 159
  16. ^ a b Delgado, J. (2008) p. 160
  17. ^ Zofia Stone (1 March 2017). Genghis Khan: A Biography. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-93-86367-11-2. 
  18. ^ Paul Buell, Mongols in Vietnam, p. 9.
  19. ^ Buell, p.9.

References[edit]

  • Atwood, Christopher Pratt. (2004). Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire. New York: Facts of File. ISBN 978-0-8160-4671-3.
  • Connolly, Peter. (1998). The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-57958-116-9.
  • Delgado, James P. (2008). Khubilai Khan's Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 978-0-520-25976-8.
  • Grousset, René. (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-1304-1.
  • Haw, S. G. (2013) "The Deaths of Two Khaghans", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies.

See also[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.