Khúc clan

The Khúc family or Khúc clan (Vietnamese: Họ Khúc, Chữ nôm 𣱆曲) was a succession of native leaders who ruled over Vietnam during the late Tang until the Five Dynasties period.[1]

The Tang took control of the northern Vietnamese region of Jiaozhi (Giao Châu; roughly corresponding to the area of the modern Red River Delta) after 618 and established twelve provinces and 59 districts under the Protectorate of Annam (Vietnamese: An Nam Đô Hộ Phủ). This control lasted until the 10th century, when Khúc Thừa Dụ took over as tiết độ sứ in 905. By 906 an autonomous region in Vietnam was established under the Khúc clan in Tống Bình (near modern-day Hanoi) in 906, paving way for total independence from China under Ngô Quyền.


Periodical rebellions have uprised in Annam in 828, 841, 858, 860, 880, involving more and more people every time. After every uprising Tang authorities were forced to retreat to China.

China have been torn apart by upheaving dynasties from 874, until 907 when the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period had started. Tiết độ sứ of Annam since 892, brother of marshal Zhou Juanzhong, Zhou Quanyu has failed to rule this land, he asked Tang to call him back. Instead of him brother of ex-first minister Du Sun was appointed as jiedushi. After two months of Du Sun's rule, commoners had started to call him "villain minister".

Khúc Thừa Dụ (905–907)

Soon Du Sun was transferred to Hainan, and Vietnamese took their chance to uprise. Leader of a local clan, Khúc Thừa Dụ (曲承裕), came to take over the empty post.[2] The weakened Tang dynasty now recognizes him and titles him tiết độ sứ of Tĩnh Hải quân.

Khúc Thừa Hạo (907–917)

July 23 of 907 Khúc Thừa Dụ died, his son Khúc Hạo became the new jiedushi tiết độ sứ. This time China legitimate ruler was the Later Liang, which acnowleged Khuc Hao, but gave title An Nam Tiết độ sứ to another mandarin in Guangzhou, to make Vietnamese remember Chinese territory claims.

Hao had handled several reforms, dividing his land to administrative districts lom phu, chiao, diap, xa. He also changed some of the local landlords, changed the taxing system. Tax collecting was flattened, homages were canceled. People loved his rule[3]

Khúc Thừa Mỹ (917–930) and decline

The next tiết độ sứ after Hao was his son Khúc Thừa Mỹ. Meanwhile, the Southern Han Dynasty was established in 917. Khúc Thừa Mỹ, being a Later Liang jiedushi, does not recognize the newly formed dynasty, hoping instead for assistance from the dwindling Later Liang court. This angers the Southern Han emperor and its ruler were willing to annex Annam once more. In 930, Southern Han sent an army to Annam, led by Li Shouyong and Liang Kezheng. Han soldiers captured Thừa Mỹ and occupied Tong Binh. Li Jin became Annam's jiedushi.


Eaves tile during Khúc-clan period, excavated in Ninh Giang District, Hải Dương Province, Vietnam

Although the Khúc did not declare themselves kings or emperors like many of other breakaway states during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, they had established more power for local rule than ever before. In 931, another Vietnamese native Dương Đình Nghệ, summoned a 3,000 strong army that took control of Tống Bình. Southern Han retreated again and this time for good. No other Chinese dynasty would have managed an established rule over Vietnam in the next five centuries, until the Ming dynasty invaded in 1407 and occupied Vietnam for 20 years.


  1. Anh Thư Hà, Hò̂ng Đức Trà̂n A brief chronology of Vietnam's history 2000 Page 29 "Dưong Đình Nghệ (Diên Nghệ) (931-938) Dương Đình Nghệ was a native of Ái Châu (Thanh Hoá province nowadays). As a general of the Khúc family, he staged a rebellion resulting in the capture of the Đại La fortress (Hanoi nowadays)."
  2. Việt sử Thông giám cương mục (欽定越史通鑑綱目), book 15
  3. Việt sử Thông giám cương mục, book 5, p. 94
Preceded by
Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
Ruler of Vietnam
Succeeded by
Dương Đình Nghệ
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