Triệu dynasty (Vietnamese: Nhà Triệu; 家趙) ruled the
kingdom of Nányuè /
Nam Việt ("South Yuè") (Chinese: 南越),
which consisted of parts of southern
China as well as northern
Vietnam. Its capital was Panyu, in modern Guangzhou. The founder of
the dynasty, called
Triệu Đà or Zhao Tuo, was a military governor
for the Qin Empire. He asserted his independence in 207 BC when the
Qin collapsed. The ruling elite included both ethnic Chinese and
native Yue, with intermarriage and assimilation encouraged. Triệu
Đà conquered the Vietnamese state of
Âu Lạc and led a coalition
of Yuè states in a war against the Han Empire, which had been
expanding southward. Subsequent rulers were less successful in
asserting their independence and the Han conquered the kingdom in 111
Triệu Đà or Zhao Tuo
Triệu Mạt or Zhao Mo
4 Triệu Anh Tề or Zhao Yingqi
5 Triệu Hưng or Zhao Xing
6 Triệu Kiến Đức or Zhao Jiande
7 Decline of the dynasty
8 List of kings
9 Nam Việt/
11 See also
The scholar Huang Zuo produced the first detailed published history of
Nam Việt in the fifteenth century. Chinese historians have
generally denounced the Triệu as separatists from the Han Dynasty
(206 BC – 220 AD), but have also praised them as a civilizing force.
A particularly strident denunciation was produced by poet Qu Dajun in
1696. Qu praised
Qin Shi Huang
Qin Shi Huang as a model of how to uphold the
purity of Chinese culture, and compared
Triệu Đà unfavorably to
the emperor. A more positive view of Triệu multiculturalism was
presented by Liang Tíngnan in Nányuè Wŭ Wáng Chuán (History of
the Five Kings of Nanyue) in 1833. Cantonese refer to themselves as
Yuht, the Cantonese pronunciation of Yuè/Việt. In modern times,
the character 粵 (yuè) refers to Cantonese while 越 (yuè) refers
to Vietnamese. But historically, these two characters were
Meanwhile, Vietnamese historians have struggled with the issue of
whether to regard the Triệu heroically as founders of Vietnam, or to
denounce them as foreign invaders. For centuries afterward, Triệu
Đà was a folk hero among the Viets, and was remembered for standing
up to the Han Empire. After
Lý Bí drove the Chinese out of
northern Vietnam, he proclaimed himself "emperor of Nam Việt" (Nam
Việt đế) in 544, thus identifying his state as a revival of the
Trieu, despite obvious differences in terms of location and ethnic
makeup. In the thirteenth century,
Lê Văn Hưu wrote a history of
Vietnam that used the Triệu as its starting point, with Triệu Đà
receiving glowing praise as Vietnam's first emperor. In the 18th
century, Ngô Thì Sĩ reevaluated
Triệu Đà as a foreign
invader. Under the Nguyễn Dynasty,
Triệu Đà continued to
receive high praise, although it was acknowledged that the original
Nam Việt was not in fact a Vietnamese state. The current
Communist government of
Triệu Đà negatively as a
foreign invader who vanquished Vietnam's heroic King An Dương
despite there is a campaign to reconsider the role of
Zhao Tuo due to
tensions rising between
Vietnam and China. Modern Vietnamese are
descended from the ancient Yue of northern
Vietnam and western
Guangdong, according to Peter Bellwood.
Triệu Đà or Zhao Tuo
Main article: Triệu Đà
Triệu Đà (r. 204-136 BC), the founder of the dynasty, was an
ethnic Chinese born in the Kingdom of Zhao, now
Hebei province. He
became military governor of Nanhai (now Guangdong) upon the death of
Governor Ren Xiao in 208 BC, just as the Qin Empire was collapsing.
The Qin Governor of Canton advised Triệu to found his own
independent kingdom since the area was remote and there were many
Chinese settlers in the area. He asserted Nanhai's independence
declared himself the king of
Nam Việt in 204 BC, established in the
area of Lingnan, the modern provinces of comprises Guangdong, Guangxi,
south Hunan, south
Jiangxi and other nearby areas. He ruled Nam
Việt and committed acts of defiance against
Emperor Gaozu of Han
Emperor Gaozu of Han and
he severed all ties with China, killed many Chinese employees
appointed by the central government and favored local customs.
Being a talented general and cunning diplomat, he sought a peaceful
relationship with China, both with the Qin Empire and the succeeding
In 196 BC, Emperor Gaozu sent the scholar Lu Jia to the court of
Triệu Đà. On this occasion,
Triệu Đà squatted and wore his
hair in a bun, in the Yuè manner. "You are a Chinese and your
forefathers and kin lie buried in Zhending in the land of Zhao", Lu
told the king. "Yet now you turn against that nature which heaven
has given you at birth, cast aside the dress of your native land and,
with this tiny, far-off land of Yue, think to set yourself up as a
rival to the Son of Heaven and an enemy state....It is proper under
such circumstances that you should advance as far as the suburbs to
greet me and bow to the north and refer to yourself as a
'subject'." After Lu threatened a Han military attack on Nam
Triệu Đà stood up and apologized. Lu stayed at Panyu
for several months and
Triệu Đà delighted in his company.
"There is no one in all Yue worth talking to", said the king, "Now
that you have come, everyday I hear something I have never heard
before!" Lǔ recognized
Triệu Đà as "king of Yue". An
agreement was reached that allowed legal trade between the Han Empire
and Nam Việt, as the people of
Nam Việt were anxious to purchase
iron vessels from China. When Lǔ returned to Chang'an, Emperor
Gaozu was much pleased by this result.
Lü Zhi, the Han dowager empress, banned trade with
Nam Việt in 185
BC. "Emperor Gaozu set me up as a feudal lord and sent his envoy
giving me permission to carry on trade," said Triệu Đà. "But
now Empress Lu...[is] treating me like one of the barbarians and
breaking off our trade in iron vessels and goods." Triệu Đà
responded by declaring himself an emperor and by attacking some border
towns. His imperial status was recognized by the Minyue, Western
Ou, and the Luolou. The army sent against
Nam Việt by Empress
Lǚ was ravaged by a cholera epidemic. When
Triệu Đà was
reconciled with the Han Empire in 180 BC, he sent a message to Emperor
Wu of Han in which he described himself as, "Your aged subject Tuo, a
Triệu Đà agreed to recognize the Han ruler
as the only emperor.
The map founded in Tomb 3 of
Mawangdui Han tombs site, marking the
positions of Han military garrisons that were employed in an attack
Nanyue in 181 BC.
Peace meant that
Nam Việt lost its imperial authority over the other
Yue states. Its earlier empire had not been based on supremacy, but
was instead a framework for a wartime military alliance opposed to the
Han. The army
Triệu Đà had created to oppose the Han was now
available to deploy against the
Âu Lạc kingdom in northern
Vietnam. This kingdom was conquered in 179-180 BC. Triệu
Đà divided his kingdom into two regions: Cửu Chân and Giao Chỉ.
Giao Chỉ now encompasses most of northern Vietnam. He allowed each
region to have representatives to the central government, thus his
administration was quite relaxed and had a feeling of being
decentralized. However, he remained in control. By the time Triệu
Đà died in 136 BC, he had ruled for more than 70 years and outlived
In modern Vietnam,
Triệu Đà is best remembered as a character in
the "Legend of the Magic Crossbow". According to this legend, Triệu
Đà's son Trong Thủy married Mỵ Châu, the daughter of King An
Dương of Âu Lạc, and used her love to steal the secret of An
Dương's magic crossbow.
Seal of Emperor Triệu Văn, second ruler of the Triệu Dynasty. The
inscription says: Chinese: 文帝行玺; pinyin: Wén dì xíng xǐ;
literally: "Seal of Emperor Wén [Văn]".
Triệu Mạt or Zhao Mo
Main article: Zhao Mo
Triệu Đà died in 136 BC and was succeeded by his grandson Triệu
Mạt (Chinese: 趙眜; pinyin: Zhao Mo), who took the temple name
Triệu Văn Đế (Chinese: 趙眜帝; pinyin: Zhào Wén Dì).
Triệu Mạt was the son of Trọng Thủy and Mỵ Châu, according
to the Legend of the Magic Crossbow. He was 71 years old at the time.
In 135 BC, the
Minyue attacked and Triệu Văn requested the
assistance of the Han Empire. Emperor Wu offered to "help" by
sending his army, ostensibly to suppress the assist Nam Việt, but
with an eye of seizing the country should an occasion arise. Crown
Prince Triệu Anh Tề was sent to live and study in the Hàn
court. The king took this as a gesture of goodwill by the emperor,
whom he viewed as a brother, to strengthen the
relationship between Han and Nam Việt.
Triệu Mạt died in 124 BC.
His mausoleum was found in
Guangzhou in 1983.
Triệu Anh Tề or Zhao Yingqi
Main article: Zhao Yingqi
Triệu Anh Tề (Chinese: 趙嬰齊; pinyin: Zhào Yīngqí, r.
124-112 BC) was the crown prince when his father, Triệu Vǎn
Vương, died. Triệu Anh Tề's appointment to the position of
Triệu Minh Vương (Chinese: 趙明王; pinyin: Zhào Míng Wáng,
lit. "King Ming of Zhao") was a conciliatory measure to the Emperor in
Chang'an as a sign of respect. This crowned prince, Triệu Anh Tề,
lived most of his life in China. In
China he had
fathered a son by an ethnic Chinese woman surnamed Cù (Chinese: 樛;
pinyin: Jiū); In one popular theory, she was Emperor Wu's own
daughter. He named the son Triệu Hưng. Only when
his father, Triệu Văn Vương, died did Triệu Anh Tề receive
permission to go home for his father's funeral. This happened in 124
BC. Triệu Anh Tề ascended the throne as Triệu Minh Vương. Not
much is known about Triệu Minh Vương's reign, probably because it
is a short one and he was subservient to the Han emperor. His
Chinese-born son, Triệu Hưng, was only about 6 years old when
Triệu Minh Vương died. Owing to Triệu Hưng's extreme youth, his
mother Cu Thi, became the Empress Dowager.
Triệu Minh Vương's death precipitated the events that would lead
to the seizure and domination of
Nam Việt by the Hán
Triệu Hưng or Zhao Xing
Main article: Zhao Xing
A hufu 虎符, or Tiger Tally, made of bronze with gold inlay, found
in the tomb of the King of
Nanyue (at Guangzhou), dated 2nd century
BCE, during the
Western Han era of China; tiger Tallies were separated
into two pieces, one held by the emperor, the other given to a
military commander as a symbol of imperial authority and ability to
Triệu Hưng (r. 113-112 BC), just 6 years old, ascended the throne
and adopted the temple name Triệu Ai Vương. Soon thereafter,
Emperor Wu of Han
Emperor Wu of Han summoned him and his mother, Cu Thi, to an audience
to pay homage in the Hán court. The Han held Cu Thi and Triệu Ai
under the pretext that the young emperor needed their protection. By
acquiescing to this gesture, both the empress dowager and the young
emperor gave the public the impression that they were just puppets in
the hands of the Hán court. With Triệu Ai in their hands and the
empress dowager beheaded, the Chinese prepared their army for an
invasion. In 112 BC, the emperor sent two of his commanders, Lo Bac
Duc and Duong Boc, along with 5,000 of his best soldiers to invade Nam
Triệu Kiến Đức or Zhao Jiande
Main article: Zhao Jiande
Nam Việt's senior prime minister, Quan Thai-pho, Lữ Gia (Lü Jia)
sent out the army to meet the Hán at the border to repel the
invasion. The army was strong, but smaller in number. Meanwhile,
inside the country, the word has spread that Triệu Dương Vương
was in the hand of the Han emperor. The Việt feared that if they
resist, their Emperor would be harm by the hands of the Han
Emperor. The country was now in a state of chaos.
When the Han kept sending more and more reinforcements for his army at
the border, the Nam Việt's army was unable to hold their position.
Lữ Gia saw that
Nam Việt must have a new king in order to calm its
people and to stir up
Nam Việt patriotism to fight. Triệu Kiến
Ðức, Triệu Minh Vương's eldest son from one of his concubines,
took the burden of leading his people to war. Triệu Kiến Ðức
took the title of Triệu Dương Vương (Emperor Zhao Yang) (ca. 111
Decline of the dynasty
Main articles: Southward expansion of the
Han Dynasty and Han–Nanyue
Emperor Wu of Han
Emperor Wu of Han dispatched soldiers against Nam Việt. With its
king being too young and inexperienced and leading an untrained,
however brave army,
Nam Việt was only able to keep their stronghold
for a while. Hán crushed the
Nam Việt army along with Lữ Gia (Lü
Jia) and his King (Triệu Dương Vương), both resisted until the
end. Based on many temples of Lữ Gia (Lü Jia), his wives and
soldiers scattering in
Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, the war
might last until 98 BC.
After the fall of Panyu,
Tây Vu Vương
Tây Vu Vương (the captain of Tây Vu area
of which the center is Cổ Loa) revolted against the First Chinese
Western Han dynasty. He was killed by his
assistant Hoàng Đồng (黄同).
Nam Việt as the prefecture of Giao Chỉ (Jiaozhi) of
the Han Empire, was divided into nine districts. Han
dynasty would dominate
Jiaozhi until the revolt of the Trưng Sisters,
who led a revolt in 40.
List of kings
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Triệu Vũ Vương
203 – 137
Triệu Văn Vương
137 – 122
Triệu Minh Vương
Triệu Anh Tề
122 – 115
Triệu Ai Vương
115 – 112
Triệu Thuật Dương Vương
Shù Yáng Wáng
Triệu Kiến Đức
112 – 111
There was a fusion of the Han and Yue cultures in significant ways, as
shown by the artifacts unearthed by archaeologists from the tomb of
Nanyue in Guangzhou. The imperial
Nanyue tomb in
extremely rich. There are quite a number of bronzes that show cultural
influences from the Han, Chu, Yue and Ordos regions.
State of King
Triệu Đà (Zhao Tuo)
Bronze wine vessel
Đông Sơn bronze drum
Bronze house model
Mausoleum of King
Triệu Mạt (Zhao Mo)
Chengpan gaozu bei
Jade burial suit
Jade burial suit of King
Triệu Mạt (Zhao Mo)
Đông Sơn bronze jar
Bronze mortar and pestle
Bronze mirror inlaid with silver
Game of Liubo
Game of Liubo
Armour with reconstructed replica
Prime minister Lữ Gia (Lü Jia) and General Nguyễn Danh
Emperor Wu of Han
Nam Việt people
Nam Việt War
An Dương Vương
Phiên Ngung Palace
Museum of the Mausoleum of King Triệu Mạt
Luobowan Tomb No.1
Tây Vu Vương
Đông Sơn culture
^ Patricia M. Pelley Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the
National Past 2002 Page 177 "The fact that he was Chinese was
irrelevant; what mattered was that
Triệu Đà had declared the
independence of Vietnam."
^ Snow, Donald B., Cantonese as written language: the growth of a
written Chinese vernacular (2004), Hong Kong University Press, p. 70.
^ a b c d e f Yoshikai Masato, "Ancient Nam Viet in historical
descriptions", Southeast Asia: a historical encyclopedia, from Angkor
Wat to East Timor, Volume 2, ABC-CLIO, 2004, p. 934.
^ a b Shmuel Noah Eisenstadt, Wolfgang Schluchter, Björn Wittrock,
Public spheres and collective identities, Transaction Publishers,
2001, p. 213.
^ Caihua Guan, English-Cantonese Dictionary: Cantonese in Yale
Romanization, New Asia - Yale-in-
China Chinese Language Center, p. 57,
2000. "Cantonese N....Yuhtyúh (M: geui)".
Ramsey, S. Robert, The Languages of China, 1987, p. 98. "Named after
an ancient 'barbarian' state located in the Deep South, the Yue
[Cantonese] are true Southerners.
Constable, Nicole, Guest People: Hakka Identity in
China and Abroad
^ Hashimoto, Oi-kan Yue, Studies in Yue Dialects 1: Phonology of
Cantonese, 1972, p. 1. See also "百粤", YellowBridge.
^ Woods, L. Shelton (2002). Vietnam: a global studies handbook.
ABC-CLIO. p. 15.
^ Anderson, James (2007). The rebel den of Nùng Trí Cao: loyalty and
identity along the Sino-Vietnamese frontier. NUS Press.
^ Peter Bellwood. "Indo-Pacific prehistory: the Chiang Mai papers.
Volume 2". Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association of Australian National
^ Taylor (1983), p. 23
^ a b Chapius, Oscar, A history of Vietnam: from Hong Bang to Tu Duc
^ a b c d e f Taylor, Keith Weller, The Birth of Vietnam, p. 24.
University of California Press, 1991.
^ a b c Sima Qian, Burton Watson, Records of the Grand Historian: Han
Dynasty I, pp 224-225. ISBN 0-231-08165-0.
^ a b c d Sima Qian, p, 226.
^ a b c d e Wicks, Robert S., Money, markets, and trade in early
Southeast Asia: the development of indigenous monetary systems to AD
1400, SEAP Publications, 1992. p. 27.
^ a b c Wicks, p. 28.
^ Hansen, Valerie (2000). The Open Empire: A History of
China to 1600.
New York, USA & London, UK: W.W. Norton & Company.
p. 125. ISBN 0-393-97374-3.
^ Sachs, Dana, Two cakes fit for a king: folktales from Vietnam, pp.
19-26. University of Hawaii Press, 2003.
^ a b Taylor, p. 27.
^ Yu, Yingshi (1986). Denis Twitchett; Michael Loewe, eds. Cambridge
History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. –
A.D. 220. University of Cambridge Press. p. 453.
^ "Lễ hội chọi trâu xã Hải Lựu (16-17 tháng Giêng hằng
năm) Phần I (tiep theo)". 2010-02-03. Theo nhiều thư tịch cổ
và các công trình nghiên cứu, sưu tầm của nhiều nhà
khoa học nổi tiếng trong nước, cùng với sự truyền
lại của nhân dân từ đời này sang đời khác, của các
cụ cao tuổi ở Bạch Lưu, Hải Lựu và các xã lân cận
thì vào cuối thế kỷ thứ II trước công nguyên, nhà Hán
tấn công nước
Nam Việt của Triệu Đề, triều đình
nhà Triệu tan rã lúc bấy giờ thừa tướng Lữ Gia, một
tướng tài của triều đình đã rút khỏi kinh đô Phiên
Ngung (thuộc Quảng Đông – Trung Quốc ngày nay). Về đóng
ở núi Long Động - Lập Thạch, chống lại quân Hán do
Lộ Bác Đức chỉ huy hơn 10 năm (từ 111- 98 TCN), suốt
thời gian đó Ông cùng các thổ hào và nhân dân đánh theo
quân nhà Hán thất điên bát đảo."
^ "List of temples related to
Triệu dynasty and
Nam Việt kingdom
Vietnam and China". 2014-01-28.
^ Từ điển bách khoa quân sự Việt Nam, 2004, p564 "KHỞI
NGHĨA TÂY VU VƯƠNG (lll TCN), khởi nghĩa của người Việt
ở Giao Chỉ chống ách đô hộ của nhà Triệu (TQ).
Khoảng cuối lll TCN, nhân lúc nhà Triệu suy yếu, bị nhà
Tây Hán (TQ) thôn tính, một thủ lĩnh người Việt (gọi
là Tây Vu Vương, "
^ Viet Nam Social Sciences vol.1-6, p91, 2003 "In 111 B.C. there
prevailed a historical personage of the name of Tay Vu Vuong who took
advantage of troubles circumstances in the early period of Chinese
domination to raise his power, and finally was killed by his general
assistant, Hoang Dong. Professor Tran Quoc Vuong saw in him the Tay Vu
chief having in hands tens of thousands of households, governing
thousands miles of land and establishing his center in Co Loa area
(59.239). Tay Vu and Tay Au is in fact the same.
^ Book of Han, Vol. 95, Story of Xi Nan Yi Liang Yue Zhao Xian, wrote:
^ Gernet, Jacques (1996). A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge
University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-521-49781-7.
Guangzhou Xi Han
Nanyue wang mu bo wu guan, Peter Y. K. Lam, Chinese
University of Hong Kong. Art Gallery - 1991 - 303 pages - Snippet view
Taylor, Keith Weller. (1983). The Birth of
reprint ed.). University of California Press. ISBN 0520074173.
Retrieved 7 August 2013.
Viet Nam Su Luoc by Trần Trọng Kim
Viet Su Toan Thu by Pham Van Son
Dynasty of Vietnam
First Chinese domination
Coordinates: 23°08′25″N 113°15′22″E / 23.1404°N