Emperor Minh Mang – Thai To Nhan Hoang De
Emperor Minh Mang, whose real name is Nguyen *!#@^#*m, was the fourth son of Emperor Gia Long and Empress Thuan Thien (Thuan Thien Hoang Hau). He was born in Tan Loc village, Gia Dinh province. According to historical annals, he was a bright, studious student who was good in both martial arts and literature. Upon the death of crown prince Canh, he was chosen as the successor. When Emperor Gia Long passed away in 1820, he succeeded at the age of 30 and changed his reign title to Minh Mang (bright destiny).
Rebuilding of the Imperial Capital:
Emperor Minh Mang was credited with building the Hue citadel into an impregnable fortress, one that was hailed by the European contemporaries as the best in Southeast Asia. Hue (previously Phu Xuan) was built by Gia Long but was improved and beautified by Minh Mang. In a storm of 1822, large sections of the brick citadel built by Gia Long collapsed. Emperor Minh Mang then had the whole 8.2 km of the wall rebuilt with added watch towers and the soldiers who helped built them got an extra 5 month’s wage upon discharge. The most important constructions during this time were Ngo Mon (Noon Gate) with the Ngu Phung Lau (Five Phoenix Pavilion), where the Emperor would watch the military parade and the Cuu Dinh (Nine Dynastic Urns), symbolising the perpetuality of the Nguyen Dynasty. Each ranged from 1900kg to 2600kg.
In term of reforms, the Emperor had the kingdom divided into 31 provinces, each governed by a governor who reported to the central government in Hue. Minh Mang also established the Co Mat Vien (Intelligence Cabinet) to discuss important national matters. In term of education, he set up the Quoc Tu Giam (school for the sons of the nation) to educate the elites and the talented commoners alike. The Emperor also set up the Quoc Su Quan (Committee for history and literature) to encourage and collect works of literature and history writings.
Foreign relations-wise, the Emperor reformed the military through expansion and introduction of better firearms, warships and military structure, with some advisors being Portugese and French. The Emperor, on many occasions sent expeditions into Chan Lap (Cambodia) and Lao (Laos) to calm down the frontier. The reputation and prestige of the Emperor went as far as Xiem La (Siam), Mien Dien (Myanmar), Nam Duong (Indonesia), Tan Gia Ba (Singapore) and the Malay Sultanates. Those countries sent embassadorial missions as well as gifts to the Hue court, of which the Emperor replied in kind by sending away many of his own embassies to find out more about those lands. In 1838, Emperor Minh Mang changed the name of the kingdom to Dai Nam (the Great South), but Dai Viet Nam (Great land of the Southern Viets) was also used. According to the annals of Dinh Tap Quoc Su Di Bien, his proclamation for the name change was that: “The great ancestors created this nation, the great The To (Emperor Gia Long) united all Vietnam proper, the people became more numerous, the land became bigger, now I change the name of this nation to Dai Nam in the year 20 of Minh Mang reign, but the name Dai Viet Nam is also acceptable”.
Life in the Forbidden City:
Among the many issues that the Emperor faced during his reign, one of the most troublesome was the Imperial harem. The Emperor had hundreds of concubines and he had many favourites. However, the struggle for power and gossiping against one another was a recurrent source of headache for him, of which he often withdrew from the arguments and once proclaimed that it was easier for him to rule over his millions of subjects than his hundreds of concubines. In the 20 years of his reign, the concubines bore for him 142 hoang tu (royal sons) and 78 hoang nu (royal daughters).
Administration of the Kingdom:
The Emperor was said to be very diligent and hardworking. According to Quoc Trieu Chinh Bien (Official history of the royal court), the Emperor often stayed up all nights to approve decrees so that they could be distributed to the various parts of the kingdom on time. On one occasion when the Emperor was sick, the princes and princesses gathered to look after him. He took the medication prescribed to him but continued to work, despite words from the imperial doctors and the court officials asking him to rest. The Emperor was deeply moved but said that without his instructions, how could the country be run efficiently and smoothly. As soon has he recovered, he held audience in Dien Thai Hoa (Hall of Supreme Harmony) almost immediately, stating that he missed discussing state affairs with the court officials very much, and that he was tired of the bickering between his concubines. The Emperor also was very enthusiastic about western technology. He decreed the ministry of weaponry to research and build a steam boat, of which one was built successfully in 1839. The Emperor was so happy that he gave a big gold coin to the leader in charge of the project and 1000 taels of gold to share among the workers.
His later life:
In 1840, the year of the pig, Emperor Minh Mang started the construction of his mausoleum. He chose the mountain of Cam Khe, in the district of Huong Tra to build his final resting place, changing the name of the mountain to Hieu Son (the mountain of filiality). The construction was just initiated when he fell ill, knowing that he would not live for long, he gathered his court officials, family and relatives to court to proclaim his will. He assigned Truong Dang Que to proclaim crown prince Mien Tong as the Emperor upon his death. He died shortly after finishing his will. He lived for 50 years and reigned for 20 years. His posthumous title was Thanh To Nhan Hoang De.
The mausoleum was complete3d in 1843. Compared to Gia Long’s mausoleum, it was not as grand but the scenery and layout was more poetic, suitable for a man with a great passion for poetry. A wall was built around the mausoleum, 1,723 metres in length, 2.8 metres in height and half a metre in width. Within its wall is a man-made lotus pond with a pavilion. His tomb was encased in the inner wall that was 248m in perimeter, 2.2 metres in height. The main entrance was constructed with granite and the gates was casted of bronze.
Emperor Minh Mang
Noon Gate and Five Phoenix Pavillion
[Message last modified 10-19-2007 11:03am by Salsa]
It was during this Ming Mang that Khmer was to be Vietnamized, and the term kap youn was realized and appreciated. And you had the gut to ask what if any your people can do to sooth the relationship.
If anything, I would say to get Salsa and his/her people civilized, that would be the first step.
Beside that Ming Mang guy looked like the chinese master anyway. LOLZ
[Message last modified 10-18-2007 10:11pm by khemrin]
Middle finger to Minh Mang, Salsa what is the point of posting this on a Khmer website? You must have no friends or a life.