In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, “Vietnam” was under the rule of a single dynasty, the Lê Dynasty, but the land was actually divided in two, with each half ruled over by a separate family – the Trịnh in the … Continue reading How Nguyễn Phúc Khoát Declined to Become Emperor
According to the official chronicles of the Nguyễn Dynasty, the Đại Nam thực lục (hereafter ĐNTL), in 1744 Nguyễn Đăng Thịnh, an official in Đàng Trong, presented a petition to his ruler, Nguyễn Phúc Khoát, the “Nguyễn lord” of Đàng … Continue reading Nguyễn Đăng Thịnh’s 1744 Request that Nguyễn Phúc Khoát Become Emperor
In 1744 Nguyễn Đăng Thịnh, an official in Đàng Trong, presented a letter to his ruler, Nguyễn Phúc Khoát, the “Nguyễn lord” of Đàng Trong, encouraging him to take the title of “prince.” Only excerpts from that document remain, but … Continue reading Nguyễn Phúc Khoát, Liu Bang and the Grand Transversal
Following on the previous two posts, it is time to start looking at the documents relating to the 1744 event where Nguyễn Phúc Khoát, the “Nguyễn lord” of Đàng Trong, elevated his status from “commandery duke” to “prince.” The passage … Continue reading A Blossoming Udumbara Tree and the Rectification of Names in 1744 Đàng Trong
As I stated in the previous post, in 1744 Nguyễn Phúc Khoát, the “Nguyễn lord” of Đàng Trong (the southern half of the Lê Dynasty empire) elevated his status from that of a commandery duke (quận công 郡公) to that … Continue reading Premodern Vietnamese Historical Sources, And What Historians Don’t Tell You about Them
In the world of English-language scholarship on Vietnamese history there is a subfield that has focused on “Đàng Trong” (also known as Nam Hà, Cochinchina, etc.), the area to the south of what is now the Gianh River in Quảng … Continue reading Princes (not Kings) in Đàng Trong
It is well known that Vietnamese emperors in the past saw themselves as the “Son of Heaven” (Thiên tử 天子), that is, as the main intermediary between the supreme power of Heaven and human affairs. Although this is common knowledge, … Continue reading LMK Vlog #08: The Son of Heaven (Thiên tử 天子)
The period from 1883-1885 was a dramatic time in Vietnamese history. The troubles began with the passing of Nguyễn Dynasty Emperor Tự Đức, an emperor who had ruled for over 35 years.
In the two years that followed, four emperors would rise and fall before Emperor Đồng Khánh ascended the throne and ruled or for four years, a comparatively long reign in those troubled times.
Emperor Đồng Khánh thus brought some stability to the Nguyễn Dynasty, but the conditions in which he ruled were different from those of his predecessors.
I have been trying to figure out the chronology of events that led to the establishment in 1896 of the Quốc học, a school in the Nguyễn Dynasty capital of Huế that was dedicated to teaching French to the children of the royal family and Nguyễn Dynasty officials.
From what I have been able to determine so far, it was French governor-general Paul Armand Rousseau’s idea. Rousseau then consulted with the French resident-superior in Huế, Ernest Albert Brière, who in turn discussed the matter with members of the Nguyễn Dynasty Privy Council (Viện Cơ mật 機密院).
In bringing up this matter, Rousseau and Brière indicated that they had someone in mind to serve as the director of the Quôc học, a man by the name of Ngô Đình Khả.
In 1896, the Nguyễn Dynasty established a school at the royal capital in Huế for teaching French.
Known in Vietnamese as the Quốc học, its original name in classical Chinese was Quốc học trường 國學場, meaning the “national learning school,” and it was referred to in French as the “Collège national.” (And yes, it is significant that “national learning” at this time meant learning French. . .)