The Info List - Lý Dynasty

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The Lý DYNASTY (/liː/ LEE ; Vietnamese: ) (Vietnamese : Nhà Lý, Hán Nôm : 家李), sometimes known as the LATER Lý DYNASTY, was a Vietnamese dynasty that began in 1009 when emperor Lý Thái Tổ overthrew the Early Lê dynasty and ended in 1225, when the empress Lý Chiêu Hoàng (then 8 years old) was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh . During emperor Lý Thánh Tông 's reign, the official name of Vietnam
became Đại Việt . Domestically,while the Lý emperors were devout to Buddhism
, the influence of Confucianism from China
was on the rise, with the opening of the first University in Vietnam
in 1070 for selection of civil servants who are not from noble families.The first imperial examination was run in 1075 and Lê Văn Thịnh became the first Trạng Nguyên( Zhuangyuan ) of Vietnam. Politically, they created a system of administration based on the rule of law rather than on autocratic principles. The fact that they chose the Đại La Citadel as the capital (later renamed Thăng Long and subsequently Hanoi
) showed that they held onto power due to economic strength and were liked by their subjects rather than by military means like prior dynasties.Some of the noble scholar such as Lê Văn Thịnh , Bùi Quốc Khái , Doãn Tử Tư , Đoàn Văn Khâm , Lý Đạo Thành , Tô Hiến Thành who had made the vast contributions culturally and politically to the flourish of dynasty in 216 years.


* 1 Style of emperor proclaimer

* 2 History

* 2.1 Background * 2.2 Founding * 2.3 Moving the capital * 2.4 Throne crisis * 2.5 Flourish era

* 3 Socio-economic conditions

* 3.1 Administration

* 3.1.1 Civil service system

* 3.2 Law * 3.3 Economy * 3.4 Military * 3.5 Foreign relations

* 4 Religion * 5 Chronicle * 6 See also

* 7 References

* 7.1 External links


According to Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư , in the seventh year of Thiên Thành era (1034),emperor Lý Thái Tông generated the order to everyone to call himself as "triều đình" (朝庭) (meaning: royal court) which is similar to YOUR MAJESTY. Until the rule of emperor Lý Thánh Tông , it converted to the title of "Vạn Thặng" (萬乘); the name derived from " Mencius ": "一天萬乘" . Finally, Emperor Lý Cao Tông required all mandarin to call him as "phật"(佛)-Buddha.



In 1009, the Early Lê dynasty passed from flourish and downfall in 29 years with 3 Emperors Lê Đại Hành ,Lê Trung Tông and Lê Ngọa Triều .The last emperor Lê Ngọa Triều died in 1009 after evil and brutal ruling in Đại Cồ Việt which made him and his dynasty becoming unpolular to civilians. According to some history records of Vietnam
like Khâm định Việt sử Thông giám cương mục , Việt sử lược , Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư all proved that in October 1009, Lê Long Đĩnh died because of consequence of his licentious life . The crown prince of Lê Long Đĩnh was still very young and he could not take the power from his dad.Then,the conference by the members of royal court was held to discuss about the fate of nation.Finally, Lý Công Uẩn ,the high position mandarin and aristocrat was chosen by Đào Cam Mộc and Vạn Hạnh buddhist monk to become the new emperor of Đại Cồ Việt .


Statue of emperor Lý Thái Tổ , Hanoi

The founder of the Lý, Lý Thái Tổ (Lý Công Uẩn) 李公蘊 has been said to have had origins from Fujian province somewhere in his paternal bloodline, while little is known about his maternal side except for the fact that his mother was a woman named Phạm Thị. Very few direct details about his parents are known, however, the ethnic Chinese background of Lý Công Uẩn, at least on his paternal side, was accepted by Vietnamese historian Trần Quốc Vượng .

The Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
was started by Lý Công Uẩn , a former temple orphan who had risen to commander of the palace guard, succeeded Lê Long Đĩnh of the Early Lê dynasty in 1009, thereby founding the Lý dynasty. He took the reign name Lý Thái Tổ. The early Lý emperors established a prosperous state with a stable monarchy at the head of a centralized administration. The name of the country was changed to Đại Việt in 1054 by Emperor Lý Thánh Tông.


See also: Edict on the Transfer of the Capital

after a year of enthronement,in 1010 Lý Thái Tổ started to move the capital from Hoa Lư ( Ninh Bình ) to Đại La ( Hà Nội ) and renamed it to Thang Long.he wrote the Edict on the Transfer of the Capital to announce his plan to move to the new place. Thiên đô chiếu (遷都詔), written in 1010 by Emperor Lý Thái Tổ when he decided to move from Hoa Lư to Đại La (later renamed Thang Long, as known as Hanoi

This decision had mark major circumstance in Vietnam
which opened the flourish era of the dynasty and followed by the other dynasties such as Trần ,Lê ,Mạc that still used Thang Long as their capital in the long time as well as nowaday republic government.


In 1028, Lý Thái Tổ passed away at the age 55 with Posthumous name Thần Vũ hoàng đế (神武皇帝),buried at Thọ royal tomb. In his funeral, Most of his mandarins expected crown prince Lý Phật Mã to take a throne however 3 of his brothers are Duke of Đông Chinh(Đông Chinh vương),Duke of Dực Thánh(Dực Thánh vương) and Duke of Vũ Đức(Vũ Đức vương) rejected this decision, then ambushed royal palace by their own armies to steal the throne. Crown prince Lý Phật Mã discovered the danger, then ordered to close all the gates of palace and arranged guards for protection.However his eunuch Lý Nhân Nghĩa advised him to fight with betrayer.Thus,Lý Phật Mã decide to let Lý Nhân Nghĩa to lead the royal army to fight against his brothers.Lý Nhân Nghĩa succeeded in his campaign and caught Vũ Đức Vương,the 2 others escaped. After that,Lý Phật Mã enthroned and take the temple name Lý Thái Tông .To grant his mercy to all those who tried to opposed him,he pardoned his two brothers Đông Chinh vương and Dực Thánh vương.


From the reign of Lý Thái Tổ with the other emperors, Lý dynasty began to focus on solving some major and minor situation:

+Strengthen internal rule :the economy was promoted to high progress,especially agriculture.The government introduced "Hình thư" (Ministry of Punishments) as the first system of law and legislation of Vietnam
after gain independence from China
and opened the education system based on imperial examination of China
+ Strengthen territory reigning : The royal court tried to expanded their influence to the remote areas by managing the marriage policy such as giving princesses to marry with the other local lords for closer relationships with royal family.To conciliate those who were not loyal mto government,the emperor will order princes to eliminate the revolts. +Protecting country from foreigners: Resolve and reconcile some minor issues with Song dynasty ,(China),fighting against the invasion of Nanzhao and Champa . map of Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty

One of the big event of Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
is changing name of country from Đại Cồ Việt (大瞿越) to Đại Việt (大越) in 1054 under reign of Lý Thánh Tông. Statue of emperor Lý Thánh Tông .

During the Lý dynasty, the Vietnamese began their long march to the south ( Nam tiến
Nam tiến
) at the expense of the Chams. In 1069, Champa Kingdom gained more support from Song dynsaty so Cham stopped paying tributary to Đại Việt so this made the Vietnamese governmetn felt angry.As the result,the emperor Lý Thánh Tông made the expedition against Champa - (Champa- Đại Việt war 1069 ) and successfully captured the king of Champa Rudravarman III .Then Rudravarman III have to sign a treaty with Lý Thánh Tông to cede the Quảng Nam ,Quảng Trị and Quảng Bình to Đại Việt which massively contributed to the expansion of Đại Việt territory.Consequently, Champa had to restore the tributary system to Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
. Soon afterwards, Vietnamese peasants began moving into the untilled former Cham lands, turning them into rice fields and moving relentlessly southward, delta by delta, along the narrow coastal plain. The Lý Emperors supported the improvement of Vietnam's agricultural system by constructing and repairing dikes and canals and by allowing soldiers to return to their villages to work for six months of each year. As their territory and population expanded, the Lý Emperors looked to China
as a model for organizing a strong, centrally administered state. In 1070 Lý Thánh Tông ordered to construct Royal academy school to educate people. Minor officials were chosen by examination for the first time in 1075, and a civil service training institute and an imperial academy were set up in 1076. In 1089 a fixed hierarchy of state officials was established, with nine degrees of civil and military scholar officials. Examinations for public office were made compulsory, and literary competitions were held to determine the grades of officials.

For 30 years, the country was torn apart by war between various rival warlords. The devastating civil war ended with victory of the Imperial force, led by Trần Thủ Độ , the head of Trần clan. Some years later, the last sovereign of the dynasty, Empress Regnant Lý Chiêu Hoàng receded the throne in favor of her consort, Trần Cảnh , one of the nephews of Trần Thủ Độ.

When the Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
was toppled in 1226, some royal members of the clan escaped to Korea and became generals of Goryeo
dynasty .



Terracotta dragon head, used as architectural decoration (11th–13th century)

In 1010, Lý Thái Tổ changed the 10 đạo subdivisions into 24 lộ. The lộ was possibly subdivided into châu (in mountainous areas) or phủ (in the lowlands). The châu and phủ were further subdivided into huyện and giáp, and under them hương and ấp.

Civil Service System

At the central level, under the king were the Thái positions: Tam thái for the three literary mandarins (Thái sư, Thái bảo and Thái phó), and Thái úy for the martial mandarin. Under the Tháis were the Thiếu positions like Thiếu sư, Thiếu bảo, Thiếu phó, and Thiếu úy. Head of the dragon in Lý Dynasty
Lý Dynasty


During the Lý dynasty, laws in Đại Việt were primarily based on royal proclamations, although a body of law composing of civil laws, criminal laws, litigation laws, and laws dealing with marriage existed. However, because the Lý rulers were devout Buddhists, the punishments during this era were not very severe. Modern dragon staircase built in the Ly Dynasty style, Hanoi


The pillar of the Đại Việt economy in the Lý era was agriculture. Technically, all farmland was in possession of the Emperor. Each village allocated the farmland to households. Each household farmed their allocated land and paid annual tax, as well as provided mandatory labors and military services.

To facilitate cultivation, the central court built irrigation facilities and river levees. Buffalo and ox slaughtering was strictly prohibited since these cattle provided indispensable draft force in farming.

The Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
encouraged trade with foreign countries, primarily with Song China, Java, and Siam. Trade between Đại Việt and Song China
in the border areas flourished. Private and government traders frequently visited Chinese trading ports in present Guangxi to exchange spices, ivory and salt for silk. The Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
founded the port of Vân Đồn in modern Quảng Ninh Province , a major trading port in South East Asia for hundreds of years. On the other hand, the Lý court, particularly under Emperor Thái Tông's reign, tried to promote the consumption of domestic products.

For reasons unknown, Emperor Cao Tông forbade the trade of salt and metal, giving rise to unrest and rebellions against the central court, which later led to the collapse of the Lý dynasty.


The dynasty continued to employ "ngụ binh ư nông" (literally "servicemen billeted in farms")- a system dated back to the Tang dynasty and Đinh dynasty . Soldiers stayed in duty only several months per year, the rest of the year they returned to their home in peacetime. However at home they were still required to train regularly with their captains and comrades, and during wartime they were not permitted to leave. Soldiers were not paid by the state but they were exempted from tax and duty. This system allowed for a large trained standing army while the state was not burdened with maintaining it.

"Ngụ binh ư nông" shares many common traits with Swedish allotment system .


Doãn Tử Tư (尹子思) envoy of Đại Việt to Southern Song , China
.The Emperor Xiaozong of Song granted the title of king of Annam( An Nam quốc vương (安南國王).) to emperor Lý Anh Tông in 30/9/1164).

In foreign relations with the Song dynasty during the Lý dynasty, Vietnam
acted as a vassal state , although at its zenith it had sent troops into Chinese territory to fight the Song during the Song-Lý War . In 1075, Wang Anshi , the prime minister, told the Song emperor that Đại Việt was being destroyed by Champa , with less than ten thousand soldiers surviving, hence it would be a good occasion to annex Đại Việt. The Song emperor mobilized troops and passed a decree to forbid all the provinces to trade with Đại Việt. Upon hearing the news, the Lý ruler sent Lý Thường Kiệt
Lý Thường Kiệt
and Tôn Đản with more than 100,000 troops to China
to carry out a preemptive attack against the Song troops. In the ensuing 40-day battle near modern-day Nanning , the Đại Việt troops were victorious, capturing the generals of three Song armies. In 1076, the Songs formed an alliance with Champa and the Khmer Empire and sent troops to invade Đại Việt. Lý Nhân Tông again sent Lý Thường Kiệt. Being one of the many great military strategists of Vietnam, Lý Thường Kiệt
Lý Thường Kiệt
had placed spikes under the Như Nguyệt River before tricking the Song troops into the deadly trap, killing more than 1,000 Song soldiers and forcing the Song army to retreat. According to legend, during this time Lý Thường Kiệt had also composed the famous poem Nam quốc sơn hà (Rivers and Mountains of the South Nation), which asserted the sovereignty of Vietnam
over its land. This poem is considered the first Vietnamese Declaration of independence .


One pillar pagoda ,built by emperor Lý Thái Tông in 1049.

The main religion in the Đại Việt during the Lý dynasty
Lý dynasty
was Buddhism
.The first century of Lý rule was marked by warfare with Song dynasty (China) and the two Indianized kingdoms to the south, the Khmer Empire and Champa . After these threats were dealt with successfully, the second century of Lý rule was relatively peaceful, enabling the Lý Emperors to establish a Buddhist ruling tradition closely related to the other East Asian Buddhist kingdoms of that period. Buddhism
became a kind of state religion as members of the royal family and the nobility made pilgrimages, supported the building of pagodas, sometimes even entered monastic life, and otherwise took an active part in Buddhist practices. Bonzes became a privileged landed class, exempt from taxes and military duty. At the same time, Buddhism, in an increasingly Vietnamized form associated with magic, spirits, and medicine, grew in popularity with the people. Ceramic pagoda with lotus, bodhi leaf, dancer decoration, Hanoi (11th-13th century)


Thái Tổ

Thái Tông

Thánh Tông

Nhân Tông

Sùng Hiền hầu

Thần Tông

Anh Tông

Cao Tông

Huệ Tông

Chiêu Hoàng


* List of emperors of the Lý dynasty


* ^ Taylor 2013, p. 120. * ^ Le Minh Khai (Liam Kelley Professor of Vietnam
History at University of Hawaii at Manoa ). The Stranger Kings of the Lý and Trần Dynasties.

* ^

Dream Pool Essays
Dream Pool Essays
volume 25

Classical Chinese :桓死、安南大亂、久無酋長。其後國人共立閩人李公蘊為主。 — 夢溪筆談 卷25

Chinese Wikisource
has original text related to this article: 夢溪筆談/卷25

* ^ (in simplified Chinese) 千年前泉州人李公蕴越南当皇帝 越南史上重要人物之一 * ^ (in simplified Chinese) 两安海人曾是安南皇帝 有关专家考证李公蕴、陈日煚籍属晋江安海 * ^ Lynn Pan. The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas. Harvard University Press. p. 228. ISBN 0674252101 . * ^ Frank Ra Zen: from China
to Cyberspace * ^ Cuong Tu Nguyen (1997). Thiền Uyển Tập Anh. University of Hawaii Press. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-8248-1948-4 . * ^ The Ly dynasty Countrystudies.us * ^ Ho Chi Money Trail Forbes.com


* Cœdès, George. (1966). The Making of South East Asia (illustrated, reprint ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0520050614 . Retrieved 7 A