An Dương Vương

An Dương Vương

Statue of An Dương Vương in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
King of Âu Lạc
Reign 257 BC – 207 BC or 179 BC
Predecessor Hùng Duệ Vương of Văn Lang
Successor Dynasty collapsed
Triệu Đà of Nam Việt
Issue Mỵ Châu
Full name
Thục Phán
House Thục Dynasty
Father Thục Chế (in Tày people's legend)[1][2]
An Dương Vương
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese An Dương Vương
Birth name
Vietnamese alphabet Thục Phán

An Dương Vương is the title of Thục Phán, who ruled over the kingdom of Âu Lạc (now Vietnam) from 257 to 207 BC. The leader of the Âu Việt tribes, he defeated and seized the throne from the last Hùng king of the state of Văn Lang, and united its people, known as the Lạc Việt, with the Âu Việt. In 208 BC, the capital Cổ Loa was attacked and the imperial citadel ransacked. An Dương Vương fled and committed suicide.

Historical accounts

Map estimating the territory of Âu Lạc Kingdom ruled by An Dương Vương, around 3rd century BC

According to old Vietnamese historical records Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư and Khâm định Việt sử Thông giám cương mục, Thục Phán was a prince of the Chinese state of Shu (, pronounced Thục in Vietnamese),[3][4] sent by his father first to explore what are now the southern Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan and second to move their people to modern-day northern Vietnam during the invasion of the Qin dynasty.

Some modern Vietnamese believe that Thục Phán came upon the territory Âu Việt tribes (modern-day northernmost Vietnam, western Guangdong, and southern Guangxi province, with its capital in what is today Cao Bằng Province).[5] After assembling an army, he defeated the 18th dynasty of the Hùng king, the last line of rulers of the Hồng Bàng dynasty of Văn Lang, around 257 BC. He proclaimed himself An Dương Vương ("King An Dương"). He then renamed Văn Lang as Âu Lạc after the names of the conquering and conquered peoples. He established his fortress and new capital on a rise above the Red River valley at Co Loa in present-day Hanoi's Dong Anh district, about 16 kilometers (10 mi) northeast of downtown.[6]

Thục Phán and Âu Lạc's administration

There is not much recorded or written about how the new Âu Lạc was administered and organized. Nonetheless, based on legendary records, he is assumed to have been an astute, intelligent, and significant figure. Certainly he was a talented general who knew how to exploit the confusion and turmoil in China during that period, not only to grab a piece of land for himself but also to secure his state's prosperity and survival. Around that same time, various states were fighting for control of China. Eventually, the Qin state rose to power and unified China under Emperor Qin Shi Huang. While Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Great Wall, An Dương Vương had begun the construction of a spiral fortress called Cổ Loa Citadel (Vietnamese: Cổ Loa Thành) to defend against invasions.

The legend of Cổ Loa Citadel and the Magic Crossbow

Bronze statue of Thục Phán inside An Dương Vương Temple, Cổ Loa Commune, Đông Anh District, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Cổ Loa Citadel and Âu Lạc

After Thục Phán defeated the last Hùng king and ascended to the throne as An Dương Vương, he renamed Văn Lang to Âu Lạc and established Cổ Loa Citadel as the new capital.[7] He saw the strategic and geographic importance of Cổ Loa. On two of its sides, Cổ Loa was surrounded by impenetrable mountains and forests. There was also a river flowing by. No one knows why An Dương Vương favored the spiral, shell-like shape of Cổ Loa Citadel, but legend has it that its construction was extremely tough and difficult to complete. Each time it seemed near completion, it was undone at night by a horde of evil spirits.

The legend of Cổ Loa and the Magic Crossbow

An Dương Vương burnt incense, prayed, made offerings, and evoked the gods to help him. One night, in a dream, an old and frail man with long, white hair came to him and told him the only person who could help him build his citadel was a golden turtle that lived somewhere around Cổ Loa.

A few days later, while sitting in a boat on the river and thinking about the meaning of his dream, a giant golden turtle suddenly emerged from the water. The golden turtle told An Dương Vương that he would need one of its claws in order to accomplish his plan. Pulling out one of its claws and throwing it to An Dương Vương, the turtle vanished.

An Dương Vương had Cao Lỗ, his weaponry engineer, build a crossbow incorporating this claw which could shoot thousands of arrows at once. Indeed, right after obtaining this claw, An Dương Vương saw his fortunes change. His capital started taking shape. His kingdom prospered and soon was coveted by neighboring states. Among one of those who coveted his territory was Zhao Tuo (Triệu Đà in Vietnamese), a Qin general who refused to surrender to the newly established Han Dynasty. For a period of ten years around 217 to 207 BC, Triệu Đà attempted many invasions to conquer Âu Lạc but failed each time due to An Dương Vương's military skills and defense tactics.

Triệu Đà's scheme

Triệu Đà, having been beaten several times, devised a new plan. He negotiated a peace treaty with Âu Lạc. He determined to find out where lay the strength and strategies of his foe. He even went so far as to propose marriage between An Dương Vương’s daughter, Princess Mỵ Châu () and his son Trọng Thủy (, Zhong Shi). In time Triệu Đà found out through his daughter-in-law Mỵ Châu that An Dương Vương had a magic crossbow that made him almost invincible. Triệu Đà then he told his son Trọng Thủy to sneak into his father-in-law's palace and steal this "magic crossbow", replacing it with a fake. Triệu Đà, with the magic crossbow in his hands, launched a new attack on his foe and in-law An Dương Vương.

The deaths of Mỵ Châu and Trọng Thủy

This time, Cổ Loa fortress fell into Triệu Đà's hands. An Dương Vương grabbed Mỵ Châu, his only daughter, and fled the scene of the battle. He rode to the river and encountered the giant golden turtle, which told An Dương Vương, “The enemy is sitting right behind you!”

Angered by his own daughter's betrayal, the king slew his daughter (in a popular version of the tale he beheaded her). Then he jumped into the river with the giant golden turtle.

Trọng Thủy, searching for his beloved wife, arrived a few minutes later at the scene. The body of his beloved wife was lying in a pool of blood and his father-in-law was nowhere to be seen. In accordance with conjugal fidelity and devotion, he drew his sword and killed himself as well, in order to be with his wife forever in eternity. The story of Mỵ Châu and Trọng Thủy is a tragic love story retold often in Vietnam's literature.

Having defeated An Duong Vuong, Triệu Đà annexed the newly conquered territory to his own and created the state of Nam Viet (Nanyue), proclaimed himself a new emperor of the Triệu Dynasty (207–111 BC).


Vietnamese historians typically view the main events of this era as having roots in historical fact. However interpretation and reconciliation of the history of the period has been set in, and sometimes against, the history of Soviet interpretation of history.[8]

See also


  1. "Thành Bản Phủ ở Cao Bình". Trang tin Ban quản lý di tích Khu tưởng niệm các Vua Nhà Mạc. 2012-02-27. Thục Chế làm vua được 60 năm thì mất, con là Thục Phán mới 10 tuổi, thay cha lên làm vua, cháu Thục Chế là Thục Mô giúp Thục Phán nhiếp chính.
  2. "Hỏi – đáp về thời Âu Lạc". 2013-06-05. Sách “Ngược dòng lịch sử” của GS Trần Quốc Vượng viết rằng sau khi nước Thục bị Tần diệt, con nhỏ vua Thục là Thục Chế được lập lên ngôi, lưu vong về phía đông nam. Tuy nhiên qua thế hệ Thục Chế vẫn phải lẩn trốn trước sự truy nã của Tần và không có cơ hội khôi phục nước Thục cũ. Cuối cùng tới con Thục Chế là Thục Phán thì hình thành quốc gia nằm ở phía bắc Lạc Việt của họ Hồng Bàng. Và sau cuộc chống Tần thắng lợi đã buộc vua Hùng thứ 18 nhường ngôi, lập ra nước Âu Lạc.
    Truyền thuyết Cẩu chúa cheng vùa (“Chín chúa tranh vua”) của người Tày ở Cao Bằng cũng dẫn chúng ta đến hướng nghĩ như trên về gốc tích của An Dương Vương. Theo truyền thuyết này thì Thục Phán là con Thục Chế, vua nước Nam Cương (tên mới của nước Khai Minh?). Thục Phán đã lãnh đạo nước Nam Cương hợp nhất với Văn Lang để lập ra Âu Lạc. Kinh đô xưa của nước Nam Cương vẫn còn dấu tích khá rõ nét. Đó là kinh đô Nam Bình (Cao Bằng) với thành Bản Phủ là nơi vua ở.
  3. Taylor (1983), p. 19
  4. Asian Perspectives, Volume 28, Issue 1 (1990), p. 36
  5. 1
  6. Ray, Nick; et al. (2010), "Co Loa Citadel", Vietnam, Lonely Planet, p. 123, ISBN 9781742203898.
  7. An Dương Vương Huy Long Tạ, Việt Hà Nguyẽ̂n - 2008 -"King An Dương Vương builds Loa Thành to protect the country but Triệu Đà sets up his son Trọng Thủy marries An Dương Vương's daughter, Mỵ Châu, to discover and steal the secret."
  8. Patricia M. Pelley -Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past - Page 50 2002 "who relied more on the work of Lenin — most notably Trần Quốc Vượng, Hà Văn Tấn, and Phan Huy Lê — published two pathbreaking studies, Primitive Communism and The History of Feudalism, from which they conspicuously omitted the .....proceeding instead directly from primitive communism to feudalism. Inspired by Lenin's assertions regarding the Slavic countries, historians at the university insisted that beginning with the Hùng kings and the kingdom of Văn Lang... during the reign of An Dương Vương, who ruled the kingdom of Âu Lạc, and through the early stages of the Chinese occupation (from 2879 BC to 43 AD, in other words) Vietnamese society was based on primitive communism "


External links

An Dương Vương
Thục Dynasty
Died: 207 BC
Preceded by
Hùng Duệ Vương
as King of Văn Lang
King of Âu Lạc
257 BC – 207 BC
Succeeded by
Triệu Đà
as King of Nam Việt
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