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Encyclopedia > Le Loi

Lê Lợi (1384? - 1433). Emperor of Vietnam and founder of the Le Dynasty. Le Loi is the most famous figure from the medieval period of Vietnamese history. Events May / September 3 - Siege of Lisbon by the Castilian army, during the 1383-1385 Crisis Births Antoine, Duke of Brabant (died 1415) St Frances of Rome (died 1440) Khalil Sultan, ruler of Transoxiana (died 1411) Deaths January 1 - King Charles II of Navarre (b. ... Events Births June 23 - Francis II, Duke of Brittany Kettil Karlsson Vasa, later Regent of Sweden. ... // Le Loi(1382-1433), emperor Le Thai To(1428-1433) Background and aspiration Lê Lợi came from a family of wealthy landowners. ...


Background, A Time of Trouble

Le Loi was the youngest of three sons. His father was the chief of a village called Lam-son. The village was in a newly colonized area of Vietnam (it would eventually be called Thanh Hoa province. Lam-son had been established by Le Loi's great-grandfather sometime in the 1330s. His date of birth is not certain but 1384 is often given. Lam-son was on the frontier of Vietnam, and as a result it was the farthest from government's control and the most free. Thanh Hoa Province is a province in Vietnam. ...

This was a troubled time for Vietnam as the Ho Dynasty in 1400, finally displaced the feeble Tran Dynasty and set about reforming the Vietnamese government. The Ho rule was short lived as members of the Tran appealed for help from the powerful Ming Emperor Yongle. He responded by sending a large army south into the country which defeated the Ho. However, rather than restoring the Tran to power, the Ming choose to re-establish rule over Vietnam as they had in the days of the Tang empire, some 500 years previously. The Ho Dynasty has only two (2) emperors, Ho Qui Ly (1400) who, after 9 months of reign, gave the throne to his 2nd son, Ho Han Thuong, who will reign from 1400 till 1407 where the Ho family were defeated by the Chinese Ming, a habit from the previous... Events Henry IV quells baron rebellion and executes The Earls of Kent, Huntingdon and Salisbury for their attempt to have Richard II of England restored as King Jean Froissart writes the Chronicles Medici family becomes powerful in Florence, Italy Births December 25 - John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley, Lord Lieutenant of... The Trần Dynasty (陳朝 Trần Triều; or vernacularly Nhà Trần, meaning the Tran House) was a Vietnamese dynasty that ruled Vietnam (at that time was Dai Viet) from 1225 to 1400. ... The Ming Dynasty (Chinese: 明朝; Pinyin: míng cháo) was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, though claims to the Ming throne (now collectively called the Southern Ming) survived until 1662. ... The Yongle Emperor (May 2, 1360–August 12, 1424), born Zhu Di, was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty of China from 1402 to 1424. ... Also the name of a rock band. ...

The Ming had some support from the Vietnamese, at least in the capital of Hanoi but their efforts to assert control in the surrounding countryside was met with resistance. The Vietnamese claim that the Ming stole many valuable treasures from Vietnam such as gems, jades, golden pieces of art as well as books. Le Loi himself said that he chose the path of revolt against the Chinese when he personally witnessed the destruction of a Vietnamese village by a Ming military force. Hanoi (Vietnamese: Quốc Ngữ Hà Nội; Chữ Nôm 河内), estimated population 3,083,800 (2004), is the capital of Vietnam and was the capital of North Vietnam from 1954 to 1976. ...

The Revolt (1418-1427)

Le Loi began his campaign against the Ming on the day after the new year (February 1418). He was supported by several prominent families from his native Thanh Hoa province, most famously the Trinh and the Nguyen families. Initially Le Loi campaigned on the basis of restoration of the Le to power. A relative of the Le Emperor was the figurehead of the revolt but within a few years, the Le pretender was removed and the unquestioned leader of the revolt was Le Loi himself, under the name "Pacifying King" (Binh Dinh Vuong). Events May 19 - Capture of Paris by John, Duke of Burgundy September - Beginning of English Siege of Rouen Mircea the Old, ruler of Wallachia dies and is succeeded by Vlad I Uzurpatorul. ...

Le Loi as pictured during the Vietnam war
Le Loi as pictured during the Vietnam war

The revolt was not always successful. While Le Loi was able to operate in Thanh Hoa province, he was, for many years, unable to muster the military forces required to defeat the Ming army in battle. As a result he waged a type of guerilla war against the large and well organized Chinese army. Image File history File links LeLoi1. ... are you looking for the political definition of guerilla war? Guerilla War is a video game by SNK. It is an overhead shooter. ...

One famous story from this time is about the heroism of one of Le Loi's comrads, Le Lai. One time during the early years of the revolt, the Chinese had Le Loi's army surrounded on a mountaintop. In an effort to break the siege, Le Lai dressed himself in Le Loi's armor and lead a small part of the rebel army down to attack the Ming. Le Lai was captured (and executed by the Chinese), but during the fighting, Le Loi and the rest of his soldiers were able to escape. (Le Lai Story).

By 1425, the revolt had spread throughout Vietnam and the original Ming army of occupation had been ground down and destroyed. The new Ming Emperor, Xuande wished to end the war with Vietnam, but his advisors urged one more effort to subdue the rebelious province. The result was a very large army (some 100,000 strong) was sent into Vietnam. While the Chinese thought this should be enough, Le Loi's army by this point was huge, about 350,000 men. Events Foundation of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium Births John II, Duke of Lorraine (died 1470) Edmund Sutton, English nobleman (died 1483) Deaths January 18 - Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, English politician (born 1391) March 17 - Ashikaga Yoshikazu, Japanese shogun (born 1407) May 24 - Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of... Categories: China-related stubs | 1398 births | 1435 deaths | Ming Dynasty emperors ...

The final campaign did not start out well for the Chinese. Le Loi's forces met the Ming army in battle but quickly staged a mock retreat. The Chinese general, Liu Shan, urging his troops on, was cut off from the main part of his army and he was captured and executed by the Vietnamese. Then, by sending false messages of dissention within the ranks of Le Loi's own generals, the Chinese army was lured into Hanoi where it was surrounded and destroyed in a series of battles. All told the Chinese army lost some 70,000 men.

Emperor Le Loi

Le Loi sent very diplomatic messages to the Ming Court of Xuande, promising Vietnam's loyalty as a vassel state of China. The Ming accepted this arrangement, much as they accepted the vassel status of Korea under the Joseon Dynasty. The Chinese largely left Vietnam alone for the next 500 years, intervening only about once every hundred years. ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... The Joseon Dynasty (also Chosŏn, Hangul: 조선왕조, Hanja: 朝鮮王朝) was the final ruling dynasty of Korea, lasting from 1392 until 1910. ...

Le Loi, now calling himself Le Thai To, embarked on a significant reorganization of Vietnamese government, clearly based on the Confucian government which was developed by the Tang Dynasty. He also elevated his long time comrades and generals such as Nguyen Trai, Tran Nguyen Han, Le Sat, Pham Van Sao, and Trinh Kha to high official rank. Also the name of a rock band. ...

The Le government rebuilt the infrastructure of Vietnam: roads, bridges, canals. Land was given to the victorious soldiers who were mustered out of the army. New money was created and new laws were passed. The system of selecting government administrators by examination was restored and exams were held at regular intervals throughout Le Loi's reign.

Le Loi died just six years after the war ended. His eldest son was not considered suitable for the Kingship and so rule passed to his second son, the 10 year old Le Thai Tong. Internal palace politics quickly decimated the ranks of Le Loi's trusted councilors, Tran Nguyen Han and Pham Van Sao were executed in 1432 and Le Sat (who ruled as regent for five years after Le Loi's death) was executed in 1438. Nguyen Trai was killed in 1442 (it was claimed he was linked to the death of Le Thai Ton). Only Trinh Kha survived to an old age and even he was executed in 1451.

Le Loi - Myth and Legend

Many legends and stories were told about Le Loi. The most famous story concerns his magical sword. Much like King_Arthur and his sword Excalibur, Le Loi was said to have a magic sword of wonderous power. One story tells that he obtained the sword, inscribed with the words 'The Will of Heaven' (Thuan Thien) from a Golden Turtle (Kim Qui) a demi-god to the local people. The stories claim Le Loi grew very tall when he used the sword and it gave him the strength of many men. Other stories say that the sword blade and the sword hilt came together from different places, the blade fished out of a lake, the hilt found by Le Loi himself. King Arthur is an important figure in the mythology of Great Britain, where he appears as the ideal of kingship in both war and peace. ... How Sir Bedivere Cast the Sword Excalibur into the Water. ...

The stories largely agree on what happened to the sword: One day, not long after the Chinese had accepted Vietnam as independent, Le Loi was out boating on a lake in Hanoi. Suddenly a large turtle surfaced, took the sword from Le Loi's belt, and dived back into the depths. Efforts were made to find both the sword and the turtle but without success. Le Loi then acknowledged the sword had gone back to the Golden Turtle and caused the lake to be renamed 'The Lake of the Returned Sword' (Ho Hoan Kiem). This lake can still be seen in Hanoi today and ancient turtles live there.

Countless poems and songs were written about Le Loi, both during his life time and in later years. Le Loi is looked upon as the perfect embodiment of the just, wise, and capable leader. All future Vietnamese kings were measured against the standard of Le Loi and most were found wanting.


Very little in English has been written about Le Loi. The most detailed source is the doctoral thesis of John K. Whitmore "The Development of the Le Government in Fifteenth Century Vietnam" (Cornell University, 1968). The thesis is mostly concerned with the structure and make-up of the Le government from 1427 to 1471.

Short biography of Le Loi from Vietmedia.com
The Legend of Le Loi from JourneyFromTheFall.com

Preceded by:
Ho Dynasty
Le Dyansty

Succeeded by:
Le Thai Ton

List_of_Vietnamese_dynasties The Ho Dynasty has only two (2) emperors, Ho Qui Ly (1400) who, after 9 months of reign, gave the throne to his 2nd son, Ho Han Thuong, who will reign from 1400 till 1407 where the Ho family were defeated by the Chinese Ming, a habit from the previous... // Le Loi(1382-1433), emperor Le Thai To(1428-1433) Background and aspiration Lê Lợi came from a family of wealthy landowners. ... Main article: History of Vietnam This is a list of Vietnamese dynasties. ...



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