Ngô dynasty

Ngô Dynasty
House of Ngô
Capital Cổ Loa
Languages Vietnamese
Government Monarchy
   939–944 Ngô Quyền (first)
  965–968 Ngô Xương Xí (last)
  Battle of Bạch Đằng 938
   Ngô Quyền moves the capital to Cổ Loa 939
  Anarchy of the 12 Warlords 966
   Ngô Xương Xí submits to Đinh Bộ Lĩnh 967
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
Đinh Dynasty
Ngô dynasty
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Nhà Ngô

The Ngô Dynasty (939–967) was a dynasty in Vietnam (then known as Tĩnh Hải quân-The Military region of Tranquil Sea) .

Around the year 930, as Ngô Quyền rose to power, northern Vietnam was militarily occupied by Southern Han and was treated as an autonomous province and vassal state of China and was referred to as Tĩnh Hải quân. Every year the Jiedushi of Tĩnh Hải quân had to pay tribute to China in exchange for peace and political support. Beginning of the 10th century, China was domestically plagued and weakened by internal civil war during what is known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The emperor of China was preoccupied with these civil struggles and lost their grip on Tĩnh Hải quân periodically. Tĩnh Hải quân took advantage of this opportunity and proclaimed its independence and seceded from China. Under the rule of Lord Protector Dương Đình Nghệ, Tĩnh Hải quân state initiated a full blown military campaign for independence.

Dương Đình Nghệ

Dương Đình Nghệ, 937–938) was the self-appointed Jiedushi (regional military governor) around 930. He was a skillful, well-respected, and talented general under Jiedushi Khúc Hạo, descendant of the Khúc family who had sought independence from the Chinese for three generations in the late 9th century. Dương Đình Nghệ's continued the campaign for independence and his rule however was challenged and he was eventually assassinated by a subordinate warlord Kiều Công Tiễn in 938 who tried to usurp with loyalty to the Southern Han court and in turn gain their support as a puppet ruler.

Ngô Vương reign: 939–944

Ngô Quyền (897–944) was Dương Đình Nghệ's most loyal general and son-in-law. He served under Dương Đình Nghệ's command and married one of his daughters. After he saw his mentor and father-in-law killed, Ngô Quyền sought revenge. He launched an attack and defeated Kiều Công Tiễn in 938. The latter, before his death in battle with Ngô Quyền, sent an emissary to Southern Han court to seek for military re-enforcement. The Chinese emperor then sent an army to the South land to assist Kiều Công Tiễn in 938. However, Ngô Quyền's forces were tipped off over the advancing Southern Han army and therefore he quickly mobilized his forces and strategically stationed them in key battle sites.

To defeat the Southern Han army coming to supply aid to his rival, Ngô Vương cleverly planted iron spikes underneath the Bạch Đằng River and timed the attack of the Southern Han navy. The attack began during high tide to conceal the spikes beneath the water. After the Vietnamese held the enemy in check for hours, the tides receded and the spikes impaled the Chinese armada. The Vietnamese forces followed this impalement with ferocious fire attacks, which annihilated hundreds of giant warships. The Southern Han navy and the Prince of Southern Han were killed in the battle. This tactic was repeated again during the Trần Dynasty by Trần Hưng Đạo against the third Mongol invasion of 1288.

The Battle of Bạch Đằng River was the first significant of many victories throughout the centuries at this famous river. Ngô Quyền then ascended to the throne and took the name "Ngô Vương" (吳王 King Ngô) or "Tiền Ngô Vương" (前吳王). He moved the capital back to Cổ Loa Thành.[1] He reigned for only five years, until 944, when he died of illness at age 47. A short reign for an ambitious ruler set the stage for future campaigns for independence. Nevertheless, Ngô Vương ushered in a new Viet era of continuous independence and political automony.

Dương Tam Kha reign: 944–950

Before his death, Ngô Vương's wish was to see his brother-in-law Dương Tam Kha act as regent for his son Ngô Xương Ngập. However Ngô Vương's wish was not fulfilled. Dương Tam Kha usurped the throne and proclaimed himself "Binh Vương" (平王). He took Ngô Xương Ngập's younger brother, Ngô Xương Văn as his adopted son and made him heir to the throne. Fearing for his life, Ngô Xương Ngập went into hiding with his retinue. Dương Tam Kha's reign was unpopular and many revolts and rebellions sprung up across the country.

Hậu Ngô Vương: Nam Tấn Vương & Thiên Sách Vương co-reign: 950–954

Ngô Xương Văn (吳昌文) deposed Dương Tam Kha in 950 and styled himself "Nam Tấn Vương" (南晉王) Out of respect for his uncle, Ngô Xương Văn did not have him killed, but merely demoted him and sent him into exile. Ngô Xương Văn then searched out his older brother Ngô Xương Ngập in order to share the throne with him. After arriving at the capital, Ngô Xương Ngập styled himself "Thiên Sách Vương" (天策王).

Thiên Sách Vương reign: 954–965

Brought back by his younger brother Ngô Xương Văn to the throne, Ngô Xương Ngập soon abused his rights as the oldest son and began to rule Tĩnh Hải quân as dictator, "Thiên Sách Vương" (天策王). The country was ripe for open rivalries between different lords who fought each other to become the next successor.

Ngô Sứ Quân (吳使君),reign: 965–968

After Ngô Xương Văn's death in 965, his son Ngô Xương Xí (吳昌熾) succeeded him. But as he ascended to the throne Ngô Xương Xí was faced with the daunting task of having his rule recognized by the now open rivalry between the 12 lords who fought one another as they vied for control of the country. With the announcement of his rule, the country was thrown into a chaotic period called the Thập Nhị Sứ Quân (十二使君) Rebellion.[2]

"The Anarchy of the 12 Warlords" or "Thập Nhị Sứ Quân Rebellion" (966–968)

The 12 warlords were:


  1. Pelley, Patricia M. (2002). Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past. p. 213. Vietnamese kings and emperors sought the safety of cities that were easy to defend. Thus the Ngô dynasty retreated to Cổ Loa and the Đinh and Early Lê dynasties took refuge in Hoa Lư.
  2. Burke, J. Wills (2001). Origines: The streets of Vietnam: A Historical Companion. p. 16. Following the death of Ngỏ Quyển, who had driven the Chinese from Vietnam after a thousand years of domination, the Ngô Dynasty disintegrated. Vietnam was beset by a reign of confusion as twelve Warring lords fought over who was to rule ...
  1. Đại Việt Sử Ký Toàn Thư, by Ngô Sĩ Liên (大越史記全書。吳士連編。内閣官板)
  2. Việt Nam Sử Lược, by Trần Trọng Kim
  3. Việt Sử Toàn Thư, by Phạm Văn Sơn
  4. Ngô Quyền by Chi D. Nguyen
Preceded by
Third Chinese domination of Vietnam
Dynasty of Vietnam
Succeeded by
Đinh Dynasty

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