Ngô Quyền

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Ngô Quyền
King of Ngô dynasty
Tượng Ngô Quyền.jpg
Ngô Quyền's statue in Hai Phong
Grand Prince of autonomous oblast Tĩnh Hải quân
PredecessorPost established
SuccessorDương Bình Vương
King of Ngô dynasty
PredecessorDynasty established
SuccessorDương Bình Vương
Đường Lâm, Vietnam
Died944 (aged 47)
Cổ Loa
SpouseDương Hậu(Daughter of Dương Đình Nghệ)
Dương hậu
Đỗ phi
IssueDuke of Thiên Sách Ngô Xương Ngập
Duke of Nam Tấn Ngô Xương Văn
Ngô Nam Hưng
Ngô Càn Hưng.
Full name
Ngô Quyền
FatherNgô Mân

Ngô Quyền ( March 12, 897 – 944) was a Vietnamese king of Ngô dynasty who ruled from 939 to 944. He defeated the Southern Han kingdom at the Battle of Bạch Đằng River north of modern Haiphong and ended 1,000 years of Chinese domination dating back to 111 BC under the Han dynasty.[1] A central district in modern Haiphong is named after him. [2]

Early life[edit]

Ngô Quyền was born in 897 AD in Đường Lâm (modern-day Ba Vì District, Hanoi of northern Vietnam) during the Tang dynasty. He was the son of Ngô Mân, an influential Tang government official in Annam. His father was a strong supporter of Phùng Hưng, the first Jiedushi (Tiết độ sứ) military governor of Annam and semi-autonomous ruler when the Tang empire was in decline.

In 931, he served under Dương Đình Nghệ (the administrator of Zhou Cho Giao Chỉ) and quickly rose through the military ranks and government administration; by 934, he was promoted to the post of military governor of Ái Châu. After Dương Đình Nghệ was assassinated in a military coup in 938 by a usurper named Kiều Công Tiễn, he took control of the military and was well received. That same year, Ngô Quyền's forces defeated the rebel Kiều Công Tiễn and had him executed. This transpired into an opportunistic pretense for wrestling control of Annam by the new Southern Han regime due to its strategic geographical location. Ngô Quyền foresaw the Southern Han intention. He quickly mobilized the armed forces and made war preparations well in advance. His victory at the Battle of Bach Dang paved the way for Annam independence (future Vietnam).

Ngô Quyền was declared King and was officially recognized by the Southern Han in 939. In the process, Annam gained full independence and governmental autonomy.

Rise in the military[edit]

Ngô Quyền was a commander and trusted son-in-law of Vietnamese warlord and de facto Lord Protector Dương Đình Nghệ. In 931, when Dương Đình Nghệ defeated the crumbling Southern Han influence in Annam, Ngô Quyền was a 33-year-old Army General. Dương Đình Nghệ loved his talent and gave him one of his daughters, Lady Dương, in marriage and placed him in charge of Ái Châu (Nghệ An province at present). The province was Dương Đình Nghệ's hometown and military power base. By giving Ngô Quyền command of this region Dương Đình Nghệ recognized Ngô Quyền's loyalty and talent.

Defeating the Southern Han[edit]

In 938, the Southern Han dispatched an army to quell the An Nam rebellion. Ngô Quyền calculated that the Southern Han would sail down the Bạch Đằng River to unload their troops right in the middle of Giao Châu to do the most damage. To prevent this incursion, Ngô Quyền strategized and ordered the waters of Bạch Đằng embedded with thousands of large wooden pikes hidden just beneath the rising tide water. He used boats with shallow drafts to instigate and lure the Southern Han toward the traps after the tide had risen. When the hundreds of Southern Han ships were punctured and caught against the deadly traps, Ngô Quyền led his forces in the attack. Hundreds of trapped ships were burned and sabotaged and thousands of Southern Han soldiers were killed, while some managed to retreat and were chased out relentlessly by the forces of An Nam. In the thick of battle, most of the Southern Han army, including the Admiral Liu Hongcao (; Vietnamese: Lưu Hoằng Tháo; the son of the Southern Han Emperor), were killed.

King of Viet Nam[edit]

After overthrowing the Chinese government in Vietnam and founding the Ngô Dynasty, arguably the first Vietnamese dynasty, Ngô Quyền transferred the capital to Cổ Loa, the capital of Âu Lạc, the ancient Vietnamese kingdom, thus affirming the continuity of the traditions of the Lạc Việt people.

From this time, Ngô Quyền reclaimed Vietnamese independence and was proclaimed as King (Ngô Vương) of An Nam in 939. He named Vietnam Đại Việt when he was made king.

Ngô Quyền's immediate heirs proved unable to maintain a unified state. After his death in 944, Dương Tam Kha usurped the throne for a brief time, until Ngô Quyền's two sons, Ngô Xương Văn and Ngô Xương Ngập, finally established a joint rule, which lasted until the collapse of the Ngô Dynasty in 954.

Importance in Vietnamese history[edit]

The first history of Vietnam by Lê Văn Hưu (13th century), Anthology of Palace Spirits of Lý Tế Xuyên (14th Century), and successive histories all recognised the importance of Quyền.[3]



  1. ^ Van Dao Hoang Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang: A Contemporary History of a National Struggle: 1927-1954 Page 7 2008 "... expression of the traditional attitude against foreign invasion derived from such heroes as Trưng Sisters Queens, Ngô Quyền, Lê Lợi, Hưng Đạo, and Quang Trung."
  2. ^ "Ngo Quyen, Vietnam King". britannica.
  3. ^ Patricia M. Pelley, Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past (2002), page 177 "For instance, the first history of Vietnam, written in the thirteenth century by Lê Văn Hưu, recognized the importance of the Trưng sisters and Ngô Quyền. Subsequent texts, such as Palace Spirits, the popular compilation of the fourteenth ."

Further reading[edit]

Ngô Quyền
Ngô Dynasty
Born: 897 Died: 944
Preceded by
Kiều Công Tiễn
as governor of Tĩnh Hải quân
King of Nam Việt
Succeeded by
Dương Tam Kha