Emperor Duy Tân (, vi-hantu|維新
, lit. "renovation"; 19 September 1900 – 26 December 1945), born Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San, was an emperor of the Nguyễn Dynasty
who reigned for 9 years between 1907 and 1916.
Duy Tân (at the time, known by his birth name, Prince Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San) was son of the Thành Thái
emperor. Because of his opposition to French rule and his erratic, depraved actions (which some speculate were feigned to shield his opposition from the French) Thành Thái was declared insane and exile
d to Vũng Tàu
in 1907. The French decided to pass the throne to his son Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San, despite the fact that he was only seven years old. The French hoped that someone so young would be easily influenced and controlled, and thus raised to be pro-French.
The efforts on the part of the French to raise the prince to support them largely failed. Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San was enthroned with the reign name of Duy Tân, meaning "friend of reform", but in time he proved incapable of living up to this name. As he became older he noticed that, even though he was treated as the emperor, it was the colonial authorities who were actually obeyed. As he became a teenager, Emperor Duy Tân came under the influence of the mandarin Trần Cao Vân
, who was very much opposed to the colonial administration. Emperor Duy Tân began to plan a secret rebellion with Trần Cao Vân and others to overthrow the French.
In 1916, while France was preoccupied with fighting World War I, Emperor Duy Tân was smuggled out of the Forbidden City
with Trần Cao Vân to call upon the people to rise up against the French. However, the secret was revealed and France immediately sent troops there, and after only a few days, they were betrayed and captured by the French authorities. Because of his age and to avoid a worse situation, Emperor Duy Tân was deposed
and exiled instead of being killed. Trần Cao Vân and the rest of the revolutionaries were all beheaded. Prince Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh San was exiled with his father to Réunion Island
in the Indian Ocean.
Exile in Reunion Island
Prince Vĩnh San continued to favor national liberation
for Vietnam in exile. During World War II he resisted the Vichy Regime until the Liberation of La Réunion
, after which he joined the Free French Forces
and became a low-ranking naval officer on the French destroyer Léopard
, serving as radio officer. He then joined the Free French army as a second lieutenant in December 1942, receiving successive promotions to lieutenant (1943), captain (1944), major (July 1945) and lieutenant-colonel (September 1945).
Plane crash in Central Africa
When France was facing defeat by the Viet Minh
, and the regime of Emperor Bảo Đại
proved incapable of gaining any public support, French leader Charles de Gaulle
talked to Prince Vĩnh San, who was still very popular in the Vietnamese public memory for his patriotism, about returning to Vietnam as Emperor. However, he died in a plane crash in Central Africa on his way home to Vietnam in 1945 and the great hopes of many died with him – as a patriotic challenge to Hồ Chí Minh
. For his wartime service, the French posthumously awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour and the Officer's Médaille de la Résistance
, also appointing him a Companion of the Ordre de la Libération
Reburial in Vietnam
In 1987, his son, Prince Bảo Vàng
, and the royal family of Vietnam accompanied his father's remains, which were removed from Africa and brought home to Vietnam in a traditional ceremony to rest in the tomb of his grandfather, Emperor Dục Đức
In 2001, Prince Bảo Vang wrote a book titled ''Duy Tân, Empereur d'Annam 1900–1945'' about his father's life.
Most cities in Vietnam have named major streets after him.
*1st Wife: Mai Thị Vàng (1899-1980)
*2nd Wife: Marie Anne Viale (b.1890)
**Armand Viale (b.1919)
*3rd Wife: Fermande Antier (b.1913)
**Rita Suzy Georgette Vinh-San (b.1929)
**Guy Georges Vinh-San (b.1933)
**Yves Claude Vinh-San (b.1934)
**Joseph Roger Vinh-San (b.1938)
*4th Wife: Ernestine Yvette Maillot (b.1924)
**Andrée Maillot Vinh-San (1945–2011)
File:Nguyễn Hữu Bài.jpg|Nguyễn Hữu Bài, Minister of personnel of Duy Tân court.
File:Duy Tan.jpg|The Emperor Duy Tân on a litter, probably on the occasion of the coronation celebrations, 1907
File:Empereur duy-tham jeune.jpg|Emperor Duy Tan in 1907.
Category:Child rulers from Asia
Category:Nguyen dynasty emperors
Category:Rulers deposed as children
Category:Military personnel of the Free French Naval Forces
Category:Free French military personnel of World War II
Category:French Army officers
Category:Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in Africa
Category:Companions of the Liberation
Category:Victims of aviation accidents or incidents in 1945