Vietnam history (Lịch Sữ Việt Nam)

French version


The word Vietnam was first known only in the 19th century when Emperor Gia Long decided to rename the country from Nam-Viêt. Marco Polo evoked it in the account of his voyage entitled The Book of Marvels under the name of Caugigui ( Giao Chỉ Quán ).

Vietnam’s history can be summarized in a few words: struggle for independence, conquest of new land, and reunification of the country. The Vietnamese appear for the first time at the Bronze age ( Ðồng-Sơn civilization ). The Vietnamese tribes who lived scattered south of China and north of Vietnam were undoubtedly wandering hunters kind of people who, because of hunting, liked to move constanly beyond the borders. The Chinese character « nam » ( or « nan » in Mandarin ), meaning « southern », was used to indicate these Vietnamese of the South as to differentiate from the Vietnamese of the North who remained in China. As for the word Viet (or Yuê in mandarin ), it was used by the Zhou dynasty ( 1050-249 B.C ) to indicate the territories located south of China. These Vietnamese of the south, or Southern Vietnam had, by the end of the second millenium ( two thousand years ) formed kingdoms.

The first kingdoms of the legendary dynasties were located north in Tonkin. By the 10th century they had, as a name kingdom Văn Lang, then kingdom Âu Lạc, started from the Red River delta, the cradle of the Vietnamese nation, a movement characterized as Nam Tiến (Advancement toward the South)

This nation relentlessly pushed new cells in each parcel of land favorable to its mode of growth. It was based on a multitude of small, politically independent hearths consisted of soldier-peasants reeinforced sometimes by troops from the central authority and behaved like a gigantic madrepore forming its atoll littlle by little, ending up with enclircling and assimilating the new country and thus enlarge Vietnam. It constituted an undeniable advantage for a policy of expansion but would on the other hand always require a strong central authority.

The Wise  Confucius had already talked about these Vietnamese in his Book of Rites ( Kinh Lễ ). Thanks to the prehensile capability of their well detached big toes from the others, these Viets could cross rice fields and climb mountains without ever being tired. The history of Vietnam is not that of dynasties or great movements of thoughts. But it is the history of a people of stubborn peasants who work hard in their rice fields and leave their marks in the landscape.

Il n'ya pas de galerie sélectionné ou la galerie a été supprimé.

At the least relaxation of the latter, the country crumbles easily. This is one of the main reasons of why the history of Vietnam is filled with disorders and eternal wars. It had the advantage of a triple coherent national structure: a bureacratic state built on the Confucian model around an imperial function having the mandate of Heaven, the family, and the village. This helped in preserving the country’s civilization lived by each and every Vietnamese like a total attachment to the forces of the land and the ancestors.

This policy of nibbling silkworms allowed the slow absorption of the space occupied by the Khmer and the Chàm people. Their vestiges currently found in central Vietnam ( Phan Thiết, Ðà Nẫng etc.) and in the delta of the Mekong River illustrate very well this conquest.

The attachment to independence has been proven many times in the past and in the war in Vietnam. It requires long centuries of struggle, wars, pains and jolts for Vietnam to finally become the size of a dragon today. One finds in the history of Vietnam a succession of small stories that the draftmen and storytellers Vink and Sơn succeeded in telling through theircomic strips. They know how to give to each a resonance of grandeur of a people who witness the dignity and the nobility in their poverty and sufferings. One finds in this history two thousand years of constant fight against the soil, water, and nature, which translates into not only a close attachment to the land but also an intimate and profound agreement between these peasants and this nature. Paul Mus did not hesitate in underscoring it in his work entitled « Vietnam, Sociologie d’une guerre, Paris, le Seuil 1952 ». This agreement proved to be so intimate that, everywhere where these circumstances were realized no people has resisted the thrust of the Vietnamese, nor any foreign force then came to the end of their engagement on the ground.

In spite of the Chinese occupation for one millenium, the Vietnamese ingrained of their culture, have preserved their language although it was transcribed in Chinese characters and later romanized after the arrival of Alexandre de Rhodes. If the Vietnamese have not refused any contribution from abroad, it is because they have succeeded with the « Vietnamization » in keeping what is dear to any people in the world, and that is the traditions. It is those that have been transmitted from one generation to the next by the frail men whose feet are buried in the mud of the rice field.

How not to stick to this Vietnam, this lost country where sacrifice is not a vain word? This sacrifice is found time and again in the Annals of the history of Vietnam. I would rather be a ghost in the South than a prince in the North, declared General Trần Bình Trọng before being executed by the Mongols in 1257. Life is a game of chance. The chance is against us. It’s worth dying now for the country and set an example of sacrifice, said the nationalist leader Nguyễn Thái Học before being guillotined on June 17, 1930 in Yên Bái. How to erase in the collective memory the innocent face of the young captive emperor Hàm Nghi, exiled to Algeria at the age of 18 with tears in the eyes? How to forget the tragic death of the exiled emperor Duy Tân ( an aircrash in OuBangui-Chari, Africa ) whose announced return could probably change in 1945 the regrettable events of the history of Vietnam during the last decades?

How not to regret this native country that was however not tender ?. It was the feeling expressed by writer Huỳnh Quang Nhường in his best-seller « The land I lost », published by Castor Poche Flammarion.

The country I love is lost forever.

Yên Bái (Nguyễn Thái Học- Cô Giang)



A great homage to the idyllic couple through my poem in Six-Eight:

He is young and talented;
Dying for his Father Land, he deserves being a valorous man.
She does not worry about her own life;
Dying for her love and duty, she is unforgettable forever.

Version française

Contrary to other Vietnamese towns, Yên Bái has no tourist attractions. It is only the provincial capital, a riverside town located in the valley of the Red river half way on the road going from Hànội to the Chinese border Lào Cai. In spite of that, it continues to be famous in the past by its armed resistance driven by Vietnamese nationalists in the struggle for independence. It incarnates not only the hope of the Vietnamese people to regain their freedom by force but also the dauntlessness of the nationalists before death after the failure of their revolt in 1930. It should be looked at in the political context of that time to understand not only the causes of that revolt but also the Vietnamese people’s profound aspiration for independence after Phan Chu Trinh ‘s failure in advocating priority of overall progress of society over political independence followed by his death, and the house arrest of Phan Bội Châu, another important figure, by the colonial authorities at the capital of Huế.

Despite the warning of colonel Parfait-Louis Monteil in 1924, few reforms were made in favor of the native people. On the contrary, the exploitation of cheap labor in rubber tree plantations was at the top of its efficiency and horror. Writer Roland Dorgelès talked about it in his work « The Mandarin Road« . This virgin land, when it opens on impact, releases a mortal breath. As many as traced paths, as many as open tombs. The rubber trees coming out of the ground, spindly, and well in lines, look like the rows of cross. The dead numbered in the tens of thousand because of diseases and malnutrition. That is why through the following poem, this complaint is heard:

Kiếp phu đỗ lắm máu đào
Máu loang mặt đất máu trào mủ cây
Trần gian địa ngục là đây
Ðồn điền đất đỏ nơi Tây giết người

The coolies’ blood has much shed,
It shed on the ground, it shed through the sap.
This is the hell on earth,
The rubber tree plantation is where the French colonists commit murder.

For half of a century, the colonists harvested latex they converted into gold. It was in the plantations that sprouted the revolt. Someone like Nguyễn Văn Viên arrived at getting out of this hell and joining the Vietnamese nationalist party ( Việt Nam Quốc Dân Ðảng ) led by Nguyễn Thái Học. To show this fervor and find a favorable echo among the deprived, especially the plantation coolies, Nguyễn Văn Viên took the initiative, in spite of Nguyễn Thái Học’s reluctance, to assassinate Bazin known for his opulence in recruiting coolies and shipping them to rubber tree plantations in South Vietnam. The death of this man gave the colonial authorities an opportunity to launch the policy of repression all over the place.

Thus the nationalist party became the favored target in this crusade. It could no longer move easily. If it did not react, it would be a slow death because its members would be captured sooner or later by the colonial authorities. If it did react by the revolt, it knew that it would be a collective, hazardous, and exemplary suicide. That is why Nguyễn Thái Học had the habit of saying to his party companions:

Ðại hà chi thanh, nhân thọ kỷ hà?
Ðợi sông Hoàng Hà trong trở lại, đời người thọ là bao?

Waiting for the Yellow River water to be clear, how many live spans can we count?

The real photo of Nguyễn Thái Học

According to the Chinese, the Yellow River water only regains its clearness every three hundred years. Nguyen Thai Hoc knew for sure he was going to lead his party companions to a definite death. He could not wait any longer. But this death seemed useful because it recalled to the Vietnamese people that there was no other choice but the struggle. It also marked the beginning of   an   awareness and awakening of the whole people facing its destiny that was, up until then, led by the unworthy heirs of the Nguyễn dynasty (Khải Ðịnh, Bảo Ðại). The revolt of  Yên Bái was an indisputable failure because most of the nationalists leaders were captured.

On the other hand, it threw in a sound and long lasting basis upon which the communist party laid its authority and popularity among the people in the following years in the conquest of independence. It also tolled the death knell for a colonial empire that had vainly lost so many opportunities to reestablish the dialogue and cooperation with the native people. This was translated by the death sentence imposed on all the nationalist leaders. Nguyễn Thái Học was the last one to be guillotined. Before his execution, he was impassible. In spite of his weakness, he tried to shout out loud in French:

Dying for one’s country
Is the most beautiful fate
The most envied lot….

Then he lay down on his back facing the blade of the guillotine. « Long live Vietnam » was the last words heard before the fall of the guillotine’s blade. His blood spurted everywhere under a covered sky. His head fell in a bucket containing saw dust (June 17 1930). He was only 27. Faithful to her Vietnamese tradition, his wife Nguyễn Thị Giang did not take long to follow him to commit suicide on June 18, 1930 at the inn where they had met often before their marriage. She left a letter whose sentences illustrated well the indefectible love she had for her husband and her country:

Sống nhục sao bằng sự thoát vinh
Nước non vẹn kiếp chung tình
Cuộc đời xá kể chi thành bại
Trai trung thì gái phải trinh

Dying in pride rather than living in humiliation
I make it whole the love for you and the nation
Success and failure do not matter in life
As long as man is faithful and woman has fidelity.

The remains of the thirteen Vietnamese nationalists were buried the following day on a hill near the Yên Bái railway station.

If this town is not as well known as most of Vietnamese cities, it incarnates on the contrary something the other towns cannot have. It is the symbol of maturity and dignity rediscovered in a people facing its own fate. It grew valiantly in the past along with the Vietnamese people in its struggle for independence.

(Việt Nam Quốc Dân Ðảng)

Nguyễn An Ninh (Version anglaise)

Version française

Sống sao không thẹn với đời

Chết sao để tránh ngàn lời mĩa mai

Sống vỉ thế hệ tương lai

Chết vì đất nước tù đày không than

A great homage to Nguyễn An Ninh

through my  Six-Eight verses:

To live in such a way one has no shame of living
To die in such a way to avoid thousands of ironies
Is to live for future generations
And to die for one’s country without complaining days in imprisonment.


dead at Poulo Condor


Facing Nguyễn An Ninh’s flat refusal to repent and the alarming situation caused by the imminent landing of the Japanese army in Indochina in 1943, his jailer, the warden of the Poulo Condor prison, Mr. Tisseyre decided to eliminate this burdensome prisoner who was sick and potentially dangerous in his view because the Japanese could later use him as a pawn on the Indochina chessboard.

Nguyễn An Ninh since his coming back to Vietnam, became not only, as time went by, an idol for the Vietnamese youth but also one of the most respected leaders among Vietnamese intellectuals in Cochinchina. Even during his imprisonment in Poulo Condor, he was the only one to have received the esteem of all political prisoners no matter they are communists, nationalists, Trotskists or other etc…  and to have brought peace in case of stormy debates or virulent altercations between prisoners.

How come a young man like Nguyễn An Ninh arrived at becoming a « bête noire  » of the colonial authorities? However at the beginning he did not have intention to resort to violence like the Nguyễn Thái Học nationalists or the Vietnamese communists. He supported himself with his pen and the newspaper « La cloche fêlée » whose director was a longtime friend of his, a French of the name Eugene de Jean de la Bâtie. He made a mistake to have dared demand with fanfare for his compatriots the freedom of expression and fundamental rights which he had fully enjoyed during his years of study at the Sorbonne in Paris, and which were lacking then in Vietnam, by using his caustic and careless critics, and succinct analyses in his newspaper. He did not even conceal his sympathy that his has always had for the leader Phan Chu Trinh, a friend of his father Nguyễn An Khương. He was the translator of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s « Social Contract ». By means of seminars and public debates, he succeeded in provoking a collective awareness among Vietnamese intellectuals of the 1920’s and 1940’s who up until then were asleep in a seemingly happiness, freedom and justice created by the colonial authorities. Those young intellectuals only bothered with universally human subjects such as love, family, sadness of separation etc… Although they are often alongside with the rural area, they never asked any questions about what was going on there. Not that they ignore the poverty outside urban areas but they never lived there. Even though they were not issue of large estate bourgeoisie or sons of collaborators, they nourished the dream of becoming government officials.
From his return to Vietnam in 1922, instead of going into this traditional mould like others of his age, his generation, Nguyen An Ninh, this young man of 22 years of age, with rounded hairdo, law graduate from the Sorbonne, made his way in the opposite direction by advocating the method of the Indian poet Tagore. The latter thought it would be possible to obtain independence without bloodshed from the British by means of straightening up to the intellectual level of the Indian people. That was why with the help of some of his friends he did not hesitate to launch a series of debates on themes such as  » A culture for the Annamites », « The ideal of the Annamite youth » etc…, which provoked from then on visible swirls in a harbor of peace established by the Governor of Cochinchina, Mr. Cognacq.

He was the instigators of several petitions claiming not only freedom of expression but also freedom of education and freedom of the press for the natives. It was a significant worry for this governor because through his tonic speeches, Nguyễn An Ninh arrived at mobilizing and electrifying the intellectual youth of South Vietnam, casting doubts among the Vietnamese intellectuals having at the time total confidence in the French education system in Indochina. Cognacq was compelled to react because each speech animated by Nguyễn An Ninh provided the occasion to mobilize more and more people. Cognacq did not hesitate to remind him several times that there was always room at the prison of Poulo Condor for recalcitrant people like him. On the other hand, he would have access to an important post in the colonial administration if he gave up this suicidal adventure. Despite this reminder full of threat, Nguyen An Ninh continued persevering in this political involvement, which compelled the colonial authorities to imprison him several times. His first incarceration was shortened thanks to the strong intervention of many French personalities of that time, especially that of Romain Rolland, Nobel Price winner in literature in 1915, before the colonial authorities. From then on, Nguyễn An Ninh became not only a regular visitor of the prison but a man to bring down for the colonial authorities. Having been aware of the impossibility of claiming before the colonial authorities the fundamental rights by peaceful means, he soon undertook secretly the armed struggle. He became thus the leader of the party « Hope of the Youth ( Ðảng Thanh Niên Cao Vọng ) being successful in having more than 7000 adherents during its existence and aiming at redistributing land to poor peasants in 1927.

His renown allowed him to make friend with the leaders of other political movements, especially with trotskist Tạ Thu Thâu, journalist Hồ Hữu Tường, young attorney Trịnh Ðình Thảo, communist Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai etc…

He was contacted several times by the communists and the Nguyen Thai Hoc nationalists and asked to join their movements but he took the pretext of being closely watched by the colonial authorities to refuse their proposals with courtesy. Closer to the communists in his ideas and struggle, he knew however how to make a difference. He never concealed that he had in himself the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau and Diderot. He loved to be above the melees and political rivalries and considered himself above all a Vietnamese intellectual serving his country.

Taking advantage of the political confusion taking place in France by the dissolution of the French communist party by president Edouard Daladier ( 25 September 1939 ) and of the lack of support from the French intellectuals that Nguyễn An Ninh had up until then, it did not take the colonial authorities long to put their hand on Nguyễn An Ninh and expeditiously sent him to the Poulo Condor prison by charging him with being the troublemaker and instigator of peasant revolts.
Very few Vietnamese dared talk about this prison without emotion. It is all about an archipelago of 14 small islands located at 180km from Vũng Tàu (ex Cap Saint Jacques) and accessible after 12 hours by boat. By the end of 13th century, Marco Polo noted that island Côn Sơn, the greatest of all 14 islands was uninhabited. The Poulo Condor archipelago was the object of secular dispute between the Vietnamese, Khmers and Malays. It was discovered one beautiful morning, 28 November 1861, by the lieutenant of the French Royal Navy of Napoleon III, Lespes Sebastien Nicolas Joachim. It became thus a French possession during colonial time and stood out among famous prisons.

But Nguyễn An Ninh remained the only one capable of wiping out all stormy discussions between protagonists. To relax in jail, Ninh composed many poems but the most famous remains the following found in his pocket at his interment by his prison inmates:

Sống và chết

Sống mà vô dụng sống làm chi
Sống chẳng lương tâm, sống ích gì
Sống trái đạo người, người thêm tủi
Sống quên ơn nước , nước càng khi
Sống tai như điếc, lòng đâm thẹn
Sống mắt dường đui dạ thấy kỳ
Sống sao nên phải cho nên sống
Sống để muôn đời, sử tạc ghi…
….. ….
Chết được dựng hình tên chẳng mục
Chết đưa vào sử chữ không phai.
Chết đó, rõ ràng danh sống mãi
Chết đây, chỉ chết cái hình hài
Chết vì Tổ Quốc, đời khen ngợi
Chết cho hậu thế, đẹp tương lai

Living and Dying

Living useless is not worth living
Living without a conscience is living useless
Living counter to humanism is pitiable
Living forgetting one’s country is despicable.
Living as if deaf is shameful
Living as if blind is embarrassing
Living the way one should would one live
Living as such that history engraves memory

Dying statue erected in one’s name undecayed
Dying legacy entering history unfaded
Dying that way is like living for ever
Dying as such is only physical dying
Dying for one’s country is praised at all time
Dying for posterity is a beautiful dying

His death could have gone unnoticed had there not been the check of prison guard Rognon who by coincidence verified the bag containing the bodies of prisoners dead the day before ( 14 August 1943 ) and scheduled to be sent to the morgue. Taken by pity and admiration he always had for Nguyễn An Ninh, he decided to alert Mr. Tisseyre, the director of the prison and asked him for permission to bury Nguyễn An Ninh in a coffin. But he did not know that Nguyễn An Ninh was liquidated on order of Tisseyre with a shot of arsenic. That was why Tisseyre, embarrassed by that suggestion, did not hesitate to remind Rognon that he was beginning to be interested in businesses that have nothing to do with him. Alerted by the death of her friend Nguyen An Ninh she had known at the time when she was a young student at the Sorbonne, the wife of the director of the electric company at Poulo Condor, Mme Charlotte Printanière insisted at length with Tisseyre that Nguyễn An Ninh be buried with dignity. Facing Tisseyre’s inhuman treatment, she was compelled to to tell him with irritation:

A person like him deserves being respected when it comes to a Vietnamese patriot. You would lose nothing if you bury him the way it should be. Besides, you will be appreciated for your your generosity. For what reasons do you continue to stop showing your admiration toward this true revolutionary? Who dare say in the future you will always be the winner? »

In spite of this remark, Tisseyre remained impassible. He left the body of Nguyen An Ninh in a pitiful condition with his clothes in tatters. He was buried the next day at Hàng Keo by his prison inmates. As for Mme Charlotte Printaniere, she was recalled to Saigon a few days later and was forbidden to return to the island. Her remark became a prophecy a few years later. Tisseyre was imprisoned in his turn by the Japanese army and was sentenced to 20 years in prison by General De Gaulle ‘s court martial for having surrendered without conditions to the Japanese Army.

By means of Tisseyre, the colonial authorities succeeded in killing Nguyễn An Ninh. But they forgot the phrase that Nguyễn An Ninh had recalled well in his poem « Living and Dying« . Dying here is just the physical death of the body. Actually, Ninh has gone but there are many other Ninhs who came to take his place and the torch of the struggle. Since the beginning of time, history has taught us that it is always possible to eliminate all the instigators of revolts but it is impossible to eradicate their ideas, especially those having to do with the defense of a just and legitimate cause.

Nguyễn An Ninh is not only the person having a notable influence on the intellectuals of South Vietnam in the 1920’s and 1940’s but also a person capable of waking up a generation. It was the opinion of historian Daniel Hémery in his work « Saigon 1925-1945 » published in 1972 in Paris.

Nguyễn An Ninh was not only a Vietnamese patriot but also a valiant militant revolutionary who fought for the Country and the People to the last breath of his life. It was the terms used by Phạm văn Ðồng to pay homage to Nguyễn An Ninh in the Liberated Saigon newspaper issue 14 August 1993, no. 571. When he was alive Ngô Ðình Diệm, the ex-president of the Republic of Vietnam, did not even forget what Nguyen An Ninh had done to the country by giving to Admiral Courbet street near the Bến Thành central market the name Nguyễn An Ninh and restoring his tomb in Poulo Condor island.

It is no surprise to see Nguyễn An Ninh succeed in receiving still after so many decades unanimous approvals from all Vietnamese political tendencies. He has always been considered by his compatriots as a Vietnamese intellectual in his service to his country. He had the possibility to become rich with his degree at that time, to put himself on the side of the strongest in the difficult moments of the Vietnam history but he preferred to choose another way, the one to share the misfortune with his people and to engage a political combat in the pursuit of freedom.

How many Vietnamese politicians still have this ideal like Nguyễn An Ninh on this land of legends?

Nguyễn An Ninh (Version française)

English version

Sống sao không thẹn với đời

Chết sao để tránh ngàn lời mĩa mai

Sống vỉ thế hệ tương lai

Chết vì đất nước tù đày không than

Hommage à Nguyễn An Ninh

à travers mes quatre vers en Six-Huit

Comment faut-il vivre pour n’éprouver aucune honte avec cette vie?
Comment faut-il mourir pour ne pas recevoir des milliers de blâmes?
Vivre pour les futures générations
Mourir pour la patrie sans se plaindre un jour dans la prison.


mort à Poulo Condor

Devant le refus catégorique de Nguyễn An Ninh de se repentir et devant la situation alarmante provoquée par le débarquement imminent de l’armée japonaise en Indochine en 1943, son geôlier, le directeur du bagne de Poulo Condor, Mr Tisseyre décida d’éliminer ce prisonnier encombrant, malade et potentiellement dangereux à ses yeux car les Japonais pourraient s’en servir plus tard comme un pion sur l’échiquier indochinois.

Nguyễn  An Ninh, depuis son retour au Viêt-Nam, devint non seulement. au fil des années, l’idole de la jeunesse vietnamienne mais aussi l’un des leaders les plus écoutés et les plus respectés auprès des intellectuels vietnamiens en Cochinchine. Même durant son emprisonnement au bagne de Poulo Condor, il fut le seul à recevoir l’estime de tous les prisonniers politiques que ce soit communistes, nationalistes, trotskistes ou autres etc … et à ramener la paix en cas de débats houleux ou d’altercations.

Comment un jeune homme comme Nguyễn An Ninh arriva-t-il à devenir la bête noire des autorités coloniales? Pourtant il n’avait pas l’intention de recourir au début à la violence comme les nationalistes de Nguyễn Thái Học ou les communistes. Il ne vivait que de sa plume avec le journal intitulé « La Cloche Fêlée » dont le directeur était son ami de longue date, un Français de nom Eugène Dejean de la Bâtie. Il avait le tort d’oser revendiquer à cor et à cri pour ses compatriotes la liberté d’expression et les droits élémentaires dont il avait bénéficié pleinement durant ses années d’études à la Sorbonne à Paris et qui faisaient défaut jusqu’alors au Viêt-Nam par ses critiques acerbes et sans ménagement et ses analyses succinctes dans son journal. Il ne cachait pas non plus la sympathie qu’il avait eue toujours pour le leader Phan Chu Trinh, un ami de longue date de son père Nguyễn An Khương. Il était aussi l’auteur de la traduction en vietnamien de l’ouvrage « Le contrat social » de Jean Jacques Rousseau. Par le biais des séminaires et des débats publiques, il réussit à provoquer une prise de conscience collective de tous les jeunes intellectuels vietnamiens des années 1920-1940 qui étaient jusque-là endormis au Sud-Vietnam par un semblant de bonheur, de liberté et de justice crée par les autorités coloniales. Ces jeunes intellectuels ne se préoccupaient jusqu’alors que des sujets universellement humains: amour, famille, tristesse des séparations etc … 

Bien qu’ils côtoyassent souvent le milieu rural, ils ne se posaient jamais des questions sur tout ce qui touchait de près ou de loin à ce dernier. Ils n’ignoraient rien de la pauvreté périurbaine mais sans jamais y vivre. Bien qu’ils ne fussent pas issus de la bourgeoisie latifundiaire ou des fils des collaborateurs, ils nourrissaient tous leur rêve de devenir fonctionnaires. De son retour au Viêt-Nam en 1922, au lieu d’être rentré dans ce moule traditionnel comme les autres jeunes de son âge, de sa génération, Nguyễn An Ninh, ce jeune homme de 22 ans, à la chevelure bombée, licencié en droit à la Sorbonne, fit le chemin inverse en prônant la méthode du poète indien Tagore. Celui-ci pensa qu’il était possible d’obtenir l’indépendance sans effusion de sang auprès des Anglais par le biais de redressement du niveau intellectuel du peuple indien.  C’était pour cela qu’il n’hésita pas à donner avec l’aide de quelques amis une série de débats sur les thèmes tels que  » Une culture pour les Annamites », « L’idéal de la jeunesse Annamite » etc… , ce qui provoqua dès lors des remous visibles dans un havre de paix établi par le gouverneur de la Cochinchine, Mr Cognacq.   

Il fut l’instigateur de plusieurs pétitions réclamant non seulement la liberté d’expression mais aussi la liberté d’enseignement et la liberté de presse pour les autochtones. C’était un souci non négligeable pour ce gouverneur car à travers ses discours toniques, Nguyễn An Ninh arriva à mobiliser et à électriser la jeunesse intellectuelle du Sud Viet-Nam, à semer un doute auprès des intellectuels vietnamiens ayant une confiance totale jusque là dans le système d’enseignement français en Indochine. Cognacq fut obligé de réagir car chaque discours animé par Nguyễn An Ninh donna l’occasion de mobiliser de plus en plus des gens. Cognacq n’hésita pas à lui rappeler plusieurs fois qu’il y avait encore de la place au bagne de Poulo Condor pour les gens récalcitrants comme lui. Par contre, il pourrait accéder à un poste important dans l’administration coloniale s’il renonçait à cette aventure suicidaire. Malgré ce rappel empreint de menaces, Nguyễn An Ninh continua à persévérer dans cet engagement politique, ce qui obligea les autorités coloniales de l’emprisonner à maintes reprises. Son premier internement fut écourté grâce à l’intervention énergique de plusieurs personnalités françaises de cette époque, en particulier celle de Romain Rolland, prix Nobel de la littérature en 1915 auprès des autorités coloniales.

Dès lors, Nguyễn An Ninh devint non seulement un habitué de la prison mais un homme à abattre pour les autorités coloniales. Ayant pris conscience de l’impossibilité de réclamer auprès des autorités coloniales les droits élémentaires par des voies pacifiques, il ne tarda pas à s’engager secrètement dans une lutte armée. Il devint ainsi le leader du parti « Espoirs de la Jeunesse ( Ðảng Thanh Niên Cao Vọng ) » ayant réussi à avoir plus de 7000 adhérents durant son existence et ayant pour but de redistribuer la terre aux pauvres paysans en 1927.

Sa renommée lui permit de se lier d’amitié avec les jeunes dirigeants des autres mouvements politiques, en particulier avec le trotskiste Tạ Thu Thâu, le journaliste Hồ Hữu Tường, le jeune avocat Trịnh Ðịnh Thảo, la jeune communiste Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai etc…

Il était contacté à maintes reprises par les communistes et par les nationalistes de Nguyên Thái Học pour lui demander de rejoindre leur mouvement mais il prit le prétexte d’être surveillé étroitement par les autorités coloniales pour refuser avec courtoisie leur proposition. Plus proche des communistes dans les idées et la lutte, il sut montrer pourtant sa différence. Il ne cacha jamais qu’il avait toujours en lui les idées de Jean Jacques Rousseau et de Diderot. Il aima à être au dessus de toutes les mêlées et des rivalités politiques et se considéra avant tout comme un intellectuel vietnamien au service de la nation.

Profitant de la confusion politique provoquée en France par la dissolution du parti communiste français par le président Edouard Daladier (25 Septembre 1939) et du manque de soutien que Nguyễn An Ninh avait eu jusque-là auprès des intellectuels français, les autorités coloniales ne tardèrent pas à mettre la main sur Nguyễn An Ninh et l’envoyer expéditivement au bagne de Poulo Condor en le taxant d’être le fauteur de troubles et l’instigateur des révoltes paysannes.

Très peu de vietnamiens osaient parler de ce bagne sans émoi. Il s’agit bien d’un archipel de 14 îlots situé à 180 km au large, accessible depuis Vũng Tàu (ex Cap Saint Jacques) en douze heures de bateau. Lors de son passage à la fin du XIIIe siècle, Marco Polo nota que l’île de Côn Son, la plus grande des 14 îles était inhabitée. L’archipel de Poulo Condor fut l’objet de litiges séculaires entre les Vietnamiens, les Khmers et les Malais. Il fut découvert un beau matin, le 28 Novembre 1861, par le lieutenant de la marine royale française de Napoléon III, Lespes Sébastien Nicolas Joachim. Il devint ainsi français durant l’époque coloniale et se distingua par ses célèbres pénitenciers. C’était un passage obligé pour ceux qui osaient parler de la politique sur cette terre des légendes durant la période coloniale. On trouva non seulement parmi les pensionnaires du bagne des communistes célèbres comme Phạm Văn Ðồng, Lê Duẫn,Tôn Ðức Thắng, Nguyễn Văn Tạo, mais aussi des nationalistes, des trotkistes et des partisans du « Grand Viêt-Nam ( Ðại Việt ) « ..

Mais Nguyễn An Ninh resta le seul leader capable d’annihiler toutes les discussions houleuses entre ces protagonistes. Pour se détendre dans la cellule, Ninh composa beaucoup de poèmes mais le plus célèbre restait le suivant trouvé dans sa poche au moment de son enterrement par ses compagnons de prison:

Sống và chết

Sống mà vô dụng sống làm chi
Sống chẳng lương tâm, sống ích gì
Sống trái đạo người, người thêm tủi
Sống quên ơn nước , nước càng khi
Sống tai như điếc, lòng đâm thẹn
Sống mắt dường đui dạ thấy kỳ
Sống sao nên phải cho nên sống
Sống để muôn đời, sử tạc ghi…
….. ….
Chết được dựng hình tên chẳng mục
Chết đưa vào sử chữ không phai.
Chết đó, rõ ràng danh sống mãi
Chết đây, chỉ chết cái hình hài
Chết vì Tổ Quốc, đời khen ngợi
Chết cho hậu thế, đẹp tương lai

Vivre et Mourir

Vivre inutile, ce n’est plus la peine de vivre
Vivre sans conscience, ce n’est plus utile de vivre
Vivre immoral, on se sent plus pitoyable
Vivre sans patrie, on se sent plus méprisable

Vivre sourd aux cris d’injustice, on se sent éprouver de la honte intérieure
Vivre en aveugle, on se sent très gêné
Vivre comment pour se montrer digne de vivre
Vivre comment pour être mémorisé par l’histoire

Mourir c’est avoir une statue érigée et un nom qui ne se décompose pas avec le temps
Mourir c’est laisser dans l’histoire des lettres indélébiles.
Mourir de cette manière c’est faire vivre éternellement le nom
Mourir ici, c’est laisser mourir seulement son corps
Mourir pour la Patrie, c’est mériter de recevoir des louanges pour toujours
Mourir pour la postérité, c’est vouloir rendre radieux l’avenir.

Sa mort pourrait être inaperçue s’il n’y avait pas le contrôle du gardien de prison Rognon. Celui-ci vérifia par hasard le sac contenant les corps des prisonniers décédés la veille (14 Aout 1943) et prévu pour la descente dans la morgue. Saisi par la pitié et par l’admiration qu’il avait eue toujours pour Nguyễn An Ninh, il décida d’alerter Mr Tisseyre, le directeur du bagne et demanda à ce dernier de pouvoir enterrer Nguyễn An Ninh avec un cercueil. Mais il ne savait pas que Nguyễn An Ninh fut liquidé sur l’ordre de Tisseyre avec une piqûre d’arsenic. C’était pourquoi Tisseyre, gêné par cette suggestion, n’hésita pas à rappeler à Rognon qu’il commença à s’intéresser à des affaires qui ne le concernaient pas. Alertée par la mort de son ami Nguyễn An Ninh qu’elle avait connu à l’époque où elle avait été encore une jeune étudiante à la Sorbonne, la femme du directeur de la compagnie d’électricité à Poulo Condor, Mme Charlotte Printannière insista longuement auprès de Tisseyre pour que Nguyễn An Ninh fût enterré avec dignité. Face au traitement inhumain de Tisseyre, elle fut obligée de lui dire avec énervement:

Une personne comme lui mérite d’être respectée lorsqu’il s’agit d’un Vietnamien patriote. Vous ne perdez rien si vous l’enterrez comme il faut. Par contre, vous serez apprécié pour votre générosité. Pour quelle raison continuez-vous à nous empêcher de montrer notre admiration envers ce révolutionnaire authentique? Qui ose dire dans l’avenir que vous serez toujours le vainqueur?

Malgré cette remarque, Tisseyre resta impassible. Il laissa le corps de Nguyễn An Ninh dans un état lamentable avec ses vêtements en lambeaux. Il fut enterré le lendemain à Hàng Keo par ses compagnons de prison. Quant à Mme Charlotte Printanière, elle fut rappelée quelques jours plus tard à Saigon et fut interdite de séjour dans l’île. Sa remarque devint une prophétie quelques années plus tard. Tisseyre fut emprisonné à son tour par l’armée japonaise et fut condamné à 20 ans de prison par le tribunal militaire du Général De Gaulle pour sa lâcheté de capituler sans conditions devant l’armée japonaise.

Par le biais de Tisseyre, les autorités coloniales réussirent à tuer Nguyễn An Ninh. Mais ils oublièrent la phrase que Nguyễn An Ninh avait bien rappelée dans son poème « Vivre et Mourir ». Mourir ici, c’est laisser mourir seulement son corps. Effectivement, Ninh était parti pour toujours mais il y avait d’autres Ninh qui venaient prendre sa place et le flambeau de la lutte. Depuis la nuit des temps, l’histoire nous avait appris qu’on pouvait éliminer toujours les instigateurs des révoltes mais il était impossible d’extirper leurs idées, en particulier celles ayant trait à la défense d’une cause juste et légitime.

Nguyễn An Ninh était non seulement la personne ayant une influence notable sur les intellectuels du Sud-Vietnam dans les années 1920-1940 mais aussi la personne capable de réveiller une génération. C’était le jugement de l’historien Daniel Héméry dans son ouvrage « Saigon 1925-1945 » paru en 1972 à Paris.

Nguyễn An Ninh était non seulement un Vietnamien patriote mais un militant révolutionnaire vaillant qui s’était battu pour la Patrie et pour le Peuple jusqu’au dernier souffle de sa vie. Ce sont les termes employés par Phạm Văn Ðồng pour rendre hommage à Nguyễn An Ninh dans le journal Saigon libéré paru le 14 Aout 1993 et portant le numéro 571. De son vivant, Ngô Ðình Diệm, l’ex-président de la République du Viêt-Nam, n’oublia pas non plus ce que Nguyễn An Ninh avait fait pour la nation en donnant à la rue d’Amiral Courbet qui est proche du marché central Bến Thành le nom Nguyễn An Ninh et en rénovant sa tombe à l’île Poulo-Condor.

Rien n’est étonnant de voir Nguyễn An Ninh réussir à recevoir encore après tant de décennies les approbations unanimes de toutes les tendances politiques vietnamiennes. Il est considéré toujours par ses compatriotes comme un intellectuel vietnamien au service de la nation. Il eut la possibilité de s’enrichir à cette époque avec son diplôme, de se ranger du côté des plus forts dans les moments difficiles de l’histoire du Viêtnam mais il préféra choisir une autre voie, celle de partager avec son peuple les malheurs et d’engager un combat politique courageux en quête de la liberté.

Combien d’hommes politiques vietnamiens ont-ils encore cet idéal?

Le tombeau de l’empereur Hàm Nghi (Ngôi Mộ của vua Hàm Nghi)

Version vietnamienne

Empereur Hàm Nghi

Depuis longtemps, je nourris l’espoir de pouvoir visiter un jour le tombeau de l’empereur exilé Hàm Nghi lorsque je sais qu’il était enterré dans la commune Thonac située dans le département de la Dordogne, en région Nouvelle-Aquitaine. À la fin de la semaine dernière, j’eus l’occasion d’être dans ce coin mais j’étais complètement déboussolé et triste quand je trouvai son caveau. Celui-ci continue à être ravagé par la mousse et ne ressemble pas à la photo qu’on a mise sur internet. Nous sommes tous abasourdis et révoltés face à la tricherie et l’absence de respect envers Hàm Nghi, un jeune empereur exilé à 18 ans par les colonialistes français et mort à Alger. Je me pose des questions sans avoir hélas aucune réponse. De retour à Paris, étant attristé par cette histoire, je n’ai pas assez de temps non plus pour mettre sur mon site les photos de Thonac, en particulier celles du château De Losse dont le propriétaire n’est autre que la fille aînée de l’empereur Hàm Nghi, la princesse Như Mây. Celle-ci a acheté le château en 1930 avec la somme de 450000 francs. À cause du problème financier, elle l’a revendu à un Français puis celui-ci l’a cédé plus tard à la famille anglaise en 1999. Aujourd’hui, ce château est classé monument historique depuis 1932. C’est pour cette raison que les cendres de  l’empereur Hàm Nghi furent ramenés en France à Thonac lorsque l’Algérie obtint l’indépendance en 1965 et y furent ré-enterrés avec sa famille (son épouse, sa fille aînée Như Mây, son fils unique Minh Đức et sa ménagère). Un jour, en France, s’il y a une association vietnamienne prenant l’initiative de restaurer la tombe de Ham Nghi, j’accepterai très volontiers de participer à cette entreprise.


 Version vietnamienne


Mộ vua Hàm Nghi

Từ lâu cứ mang hoài bão được một lần đến viếng thăm và đốt nhan kính cẩn trước mộ của vua Hàm Nghi nhất là mộ của ông được an táng ở làng Thonac thuộc vùng hành chánh Aquitaine, khu vực Dordogne, tỉnh Sarlat-la-Canéda, huyện Montignac (Pháp Quốc).

Cuối tuần qua, tôi được đến nơi nầy nhưng lòng ngổn ngang, bùi ngùi khi tìm thấy lại mộ của ông. Không ngờ ngôi mộ nầy đã trải qua bao năm tháng rêu phong vẫn phủ đầy, không có đựợc như hình trông thấy mà hai người việt kiều ở Mỹ nói sùng tu lại trên internet. Minh cùng các anh chi em trong đoàn mới biết đây là một trò luờng ngạt với muc đích gì, điều nầy mình không được rỏ nhưng dù sau cũng nên kính trọng một vị vua anh hùng của đất nước bị lưu đày lúc 18 tuổi bỡi thực dân Pháp và chết ờ Alger. Có những câu mình tự hỏi mà không có ai trả lời giải đáp cho mình  được cả. Tôi trở về Paris rất buồn bã và bận bịu vì vậy cho đến hôm nay mới tải hình lên trang nhà cho anh chị xem lầu đài De Losse mà đươc công chúa Như Mây, trưởng nữ của vua Hàm Nghi mua lại vào ngày 6/8/1930, với giá 450.000 quan. Sau nầy, vì không còn khả năng tài chánh, công chúa Như Mây bán lại cho một người Pháp (1972) rồi lại qua tay một người khác nữa rồi đến ngưới Anh sau cùng vào năm 1999. Nay được nhà nước Pháp xếp hạng lầu đài nầy là di tích văn hoá lịch sử từ năm 1932. Chính nhờ vậy mà hài cốt cua vua được cải táng mang về Pháp ở làng Thonac khi Algérie được độc lập vào năm 1965 và được chôn ở nơi nầy cùng vợ con và bà quản gia. Nếu ngày nào, liên đoàn nào ở Pháp có quyên tiền sùng tu lại mộ của vua Hàm Nghi, tôi tình nguyện tích cực tham dự.

Château De Losse


Gia Long ( Founder of Nguyễn dynasty)



Gia Long

French version

Gia Long is the imperial title prince Nguyễn Phúc Ánh took in 1802 for his reign at the time of the reunification of the Vietnam empire which extended from the border of Lạng Sơn to the point of Cà Mau on the gulf of Siam.

Gia long results from the combination of two following words: Gia and Long (Gia being a word extracted from the name Gia Định, the ancient city of Saïgon and Long that of the name Thăng Long, the ancient capital Hànội). During the 25 years of fighting against the Tây Sơn, he roamed the whole Cochinchina. He knew perfectly well all the corners of the Mekong delta. Prince Nguyễn Ánh was so attached to the people of the South and in particular to Saigon city that he was khnown at the time as « General Gia Định ».

Before the unification of Vietnam (1801), the last survivor of the Nguyen was hunted down several times by the Tây Sơn ( or the people from the West ) of Nguyễn Huệ. He owed his safe life to a French missionary Pierre Joseph Pigneaux de Behaine who shared with him his meal brought in by a confidant, P. Paul Nghi, and who did not hesitate to organize his escape in the Cancau principality of Mạc Thiên Tứ, the son of his allied Mạc Cửu Hà Tiên region) after the assassination of Nguyễn Huệ. Vương by the Tây Sơn, which is told by the British John Barrow in his book  » Voyage in Cochichina » in 1793.

The tough life he experienced during his years of vicissitude gave his partisans an occasion to interpret later his exploits and perils that he succeeded in overcoming as a sign of God’s will in helping him to regain the throne. The grotto of coins (Hang Tiên) in the region of Ha Tien, accessible nowaday by boat, evokes the souvenir of the young prince Nguyễn Ánh, who took shelter there with his troops while waiting for French reinforcements. One  finds coins left by pirates. Vietnamese sayings go with his exploits, such as:

« Kỳ đà cản mũi »

The varanus is in front of the prow

to mean a task cannot be done because of the obstruction of someone. Thanks to the presence of a monitor that blocked his junk on its way to the sea, he was narrowly saved because his enemies were waiting for him there. Another time in the region of Ha Tien, his junk was bothered by the presence of snakes. He was forced to give order to his subordinates to row faster so as not to be pursued by the snakes. This allowed him to reach Phú Quốc island sooner and avoid the trap set by his adversaries. That is why a Vietnamese saying goes:

« Gặp rắn thì đi, gặp qui thì về »

to mean it is possible to keep going when encountering snakes and it is better to go back when encountering turtles.

Thoughout historical accounts, it is noted that Nguyen Anh was lucky during the years of fighting with the Tây Sơn. One time he was chased by the enemies. He was forced to cross a river by swimming. He was aware that the river was infested with crocodiles. He had to resort to buffaloes that splashed about the riverside to take him over. Even the perilous rescue of his boat engulfed by waves by the young intrepid Lê Vân Duyệt (15 years of age ) who later became his talented general, in a stormy night was the object of prophecy discussed for so many years by the people of Long Hưng Tây village before the event took place.

In spite of these facts having something to do with legitimizing by divine protection the struggle led by Nguyễn Ánh, it is not fair to ignore the qualities in this outstanding personage. He did not have the genius of strategy of his adversary, general Nguyễn Huệ. But he had an incommensurable patience parallel only to that of Gou Jian (or Cẩu Tiễn in Vietnamese ), the prince of Yue in the North at the episode of Spring and Autumn ( thời Xuân Thu )( 476 B.C ) who waited long years to get ready for revenge against Fu Chai ( Phù Sai ) the Wu State’s sovereign ( nuớc Ngô của Ngủ Tử Tư ).

He was gifted at being able to recruit as subordinates individuals of valor ( Võ Tánh, Lê Văn Duyệt, Nguyễn Văn Thành etc…) and grant to frienship a particular signification during his reign, which has been noted towards French missionary Pigneaux de Behaine or his French lieutenants Jean Baptist Chaigneau ( Nguyễn Văn Thắng), Philippe Vaniera, Olivier Puymanel or Siamese king Rama I ( or Chakkri ).

In acknowledgement of the debt that Nguyễn Ánh had let him go back safe and sound with his army to rescue his imprisoned family, the latter was fast to offer many years of hospitality to prince Nguyễn Ánh and his suite when he was forced to take refuge in Bangkok after his scathing defeats against the Tây Sơn at Mỹ Tho (1785).

Nguyễn Ánh was a brave and tough man. With him it seems like there is no one in the South who dares to oppose him. To repay the debt toward his family assassinated by the Tay Son, he remained unruffled before the tortures he reserved for his adversaries. The vanquished enemies were put to death by appalling tortures. Men were torn and women and children were stamped by elephants. Their corpses were thown in the field for crows to eat. It was the fate reserved for the female general Bùi Thị Xuân, the son of emperor Nguyễn Huệ, king Nguyễn Quang Toản etc…

This pact of friendship was born in a military confrontation between his lieutenant Nguyễn Hữu Thùy and Chakkri which was still a general sent by the Siamese king Taksim (Trịnh Quốc Anh ).

Before the volte-face of Taksim imprisoning his family, Chakkri was forced to compromise with Nguyen Anh and return to Bangkok to overthrow Taksim. To recognize this debt and to assist Nguyen Anh to recover the throne, Chakkri sent an army of 50,000 men which was completely decimated in 1785 by the strategist Nguyễn Huệ in the western Mékong (Mỹ Tho).

For political reasons, he did not hesitate to kill people who had served him with devotion when he was still a young prince hunted down by the Tây Sơn. It is the case of Nguyễn Văn Thành, Ðặng Trần Thường. That is why he was ofen compared to Liu Bang (Lưu Bang), the great Han emperor having reserved the same treatment toward his comrades-in-arm. Despite that, he was also seen as a man of the heart. He was fast to render great homage to his comrade-in-arm Nguyễn Văn Thành whom he forced to commit suicide for a calomnious insinuation and burst into tear before the altar set up in honor of the latter. He ordered freedom for his family and restitution of confiscated possessions and titles. One also finds his profound attachment to his subordinates’ lives through the message addressed to his brother-in-law, general Võ Tánh in charge of defending Qui Nhơn or to Pigneaux de Behaine, his spiritual father, military advisor through the ceremony arranged at the funeral of the latter, which was reported by Father Lelabrousse at the Missions Etrangeres on April 24, 1800.

He was also a seducing warrior. His consideration toward queen Ngọc Bích, the young wife of his adversary, young king Cảnh Thịnh (son of king Quang Trung) was exemplary. She was crying out when she saw a very majestuous man standing in front of her:

-General Gia Ðịnh, what do you want of me?

He smiled and answered her with kindness:

Don’t be afraid and stop crying please. General Gia Dinh will be more gentle than a Tay Son one. This residence remains the same for you despite of the change of ownership.

Since his gentleness and his will to conquer the heart of the queen was so strong the latter could not resist. She became thus his first rank concubine and had two sons with him. She was married two times to two kings (Cảnh Thình and Gia Long) and was the last daughter of the Lê kings. That is why the two implacable adversaries became « brothers-in-law » because Nguyễn Huệ was the spouse of Ngọc Hân and Gia Long that of Ngọc Bích. It is also for the latter that a Vietnamese saying goes:

Số đâu mà số lạ lùng
Con vua mà lấy hai chồng làm vua

What a bizarre fate she has
Daughter of a king, she got twice married to kings.

In spite of his reputation of being a warrior hardened by years of war and vicissitudes, he was also as vulnerable as any ordinary man. A great number of worries has come upon him that he did not wish to hide and reveal to his confidant, Frenchmen Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau:

Ruling country is easier than managing a harem.
This was revealed by Michel, the son of J.B. Chaigneau in his journal « Le Moniteur de la Flotte » in 1858.

Despite the treaty initialed at Versailles in 1787 by Counts de Vergennes and de Montmorin for king Louis 16th and by his son Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh witnessed by bishop of Adran, Pigneaux de Behaine, the collaboration of a great number of French subordinates in his ranks and his interest in science and Western techniques, he continued adopting a very ambiguous policy toward the Europeans, in particular the missionaries. Was this benevolent attitude due to the friendship he tried to honor toward his friend Pigneaux de Behaine or to his open mindedness like KangXi in China aiming at better utilizing the catholic missionaries’s competences?

One keeps asking these questions up to now. However, one knows that throughout the construction of the Purple City, the maintenance of the mandarinal system, the reform of the Le code based on that of the Qing in China, he appeared to be more than never an admirer of the Ming and Qing dynsties, a convinced Confucianist and a more retrograde emperor. During his last years, he began a policy of folding back by choosing as his successor prince Nguyễn Phúc Ðảm supported by most of the Confucianist mandarins in lieu of the children of prince Cảnh who deceased of an illness. The prince known under the name of Minh Mang did not hesitate to do away with the children and wife of Cảnh (Mỹ Ðường) and gave the Europeans an opportunity, especially the French government to intervene militarily, by deliberately leading an anti-western and anti-catholic policy and thus renewing a policy in line with the Chinese policy. Nguyen Anh could have become a great emperor at the image of a Japanese « Meiji » when he had the advantage of being circled by a great number of Frenchmen including his private physician (a certain Despiaux) and he had an open mind to Western techniques and sciences.

It is a shame for Vietnam to have lost an opportunity to enter the era of modernization.

It was unfortunate for the Vietnamese people to have written later their history with blood and tears

He does not deserve being forgotten in our history because he arrived at enlarging our territory and unifying the country under his banner. But he is no longer a great emperor of Vietnam because grandeur is measured by not only the enlargement of Vietnam but also by the good deeds he brought to the Vietnamese people and by the magnanimity toward his adversaries.

It is regrettable to say so because Nguyễn Ánh with the qualities he showed us during his 25 years of vicissitude could have done better to his country and people more than any other kings of Vietnam (including king Quang Trung).

Concubines under the Nguyễn dynasty (Cung tần mỹ nữ)

French version



Trong cunq quế âm thầm chiếc bóng
Ðêm năm canh trông ngóng lần lần
Khoảnh làm chi bầy chúa xuân
Chơi hoa cho rữa nhị dần lại thôi.

In the royal genaeceum, I stay alone with my shadow,
All night long, I eagerly wait for his visit.
Instantly, many springs have gone by,
He ceased coming in as this flower is withering.

Ôn Như Hầu

Except Gia Long, the founder and Bảo Ðại, the last emperor of the Nguyen dynasty no emperors of this dynasty granted a title to their principal spouse during their reign. No historic documents found today show why there was that systematic refusal since the application of Minh Mang’s decree. On the contrary, only this spouse received her title after her disappearance.

First imperial concubine ( Nhất giai Phi ) ( 1st rank )
Second imperial concubine ( Nhị Giai Phi ) (  2nd rank )
Superior concubines ( from 3rd to  4th rank ) (Tam Giai Tân và Tứ Giai Tân ), simples concubines ( from 5th to 9th rank ) ( Ngũ Giai Tiếp Dư , Lục Giai Tiếp Dư, Thất Giai Quí Nhân, Bát Giai Mỹ  Nhân, Cữu Giai Tài Nhân ).

Then came the Ladies of the Court, next, the subordinate servants. It was estimated that those women along with the eunuchs, the queen mothers and the emperor made up a purple forbidden society of Huế. The status of those women (even that of the servants) no matter what it was, went up considerably when they gave birth to a son.
Speaking of those concubines, it is impossible not to evoke the love story of Nguyễn Phi, the future empress Thừa Thiên Cao Hoàng Hậu with prince Nguyễn Ánh, the future emperor Gia Long. This one, beaten by the Tây Sơn (or the peasants of the West) in the Fall of 1783, had to take refuge on the Phú Quốc Island. He had to send his son Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh, 4 years old, accompanied by archbishop Pigneau de Behaine to France to ask for military aid before king Louis XVI (Treaty of Versailles 1787), and took refuge in Bangkok ( Thailand) waiting for French reinforcement. Before the time of separation, he hastened to cut a gold bar into two halves and gave one to his spouse, Nguyễn Phi telling her:

Our son has already gone. I am about to leave you to resettle in Thailand. You stay here to take care of our queen mother. I do not know the date of my return nor the place of our reunion . I leave with you this half gold bar as the token of our love. We will have the chance to see each other later if God helps us to defeat the Tây Sơn.

During Nguyễn Anh’s years of exile and setback in his reconquest of power, Nguyên Phi continued to take care her mother-in-law, queen Hiếu Khương (spouse of Nguyễn Phúc Luân ) and to make uniforms for recruits. She arrived at overcoming all the difficulties destined to her family and showed her courage and bravery in escaping traps set up by their adversaries.

Thanks to his perseverance and stubbornness, Nguyễn Ánh succeeded in defeating the Tây Sơn in 1802 and became our emperor Gia Long. The day following their touching reunion, he asked her about the other half of the gold bar he had given her at the moment of their separation. She went looking for it and gave it back to him. Seeing the half of the bar in the state of shining, emperor Gia Long was so touched he told his spouse Nguyễn Phi:

This gold that you succeeded in keeping in its splendor during our difficult and eventful years shows well the blessings and grace of God for our reunion today. We should not forget that and should talk about it to our children.

Then he reassembled the two halves of the gold bar to make it whole again and gave it to Nguyễn Phi. This gold bar later became under the reign of Minh Mạng, not only the symbol of eternal love between Nguyễn Ánh and his spouse Nguyễn Phi but also an object of veneration found on the altar of emperor Gia Long and empress Thừa Thiên Cao Hoàng Hậu in the Ðiện Phụng Thiên temple in the purple city of Huê.

No one was surprised that thanks to his daughter Ngô Thị Chánh, former Tây Sơn general Ngô Vân Sở was spared from summary execution by emperor Gia Long during the victory over the Tay Son, because his daughter was the favorite concubine of his crown prince Nguyễn Phúc Ðảm, our future emperor Minh Mang. When this one acceded to power, he did not hesitate to grant her all the favors uniquely reserved up until then for his principal spouse. This concubine, when alive, often had the chance to tell the emperor:

Even you love me as such, the day I decease, I will be alone in my tomb empty-handed.

That was why when she died a few years later, the emperor followed her to the place of burial taking with him two ounces of gold. He then asked the eunuch to open the two hands of the concubine. The emperor himself put an ounces of gold in each hand saying with emotion:

I give you two ounces of gold so that you do not go empty-handed.

One found this love fifty years later in poet emperor Tự Ðức. At the funeral of his favorite concubine, he composed a poem entitled « Khóc Bằng Phi » whose two following verses immortalized love and affection emperor Tự Ðức reserved for his concubine Bằng Phi:

Ðập cổ- kính ra, tìm lấy bóng
Xếp tàn-y lại để dành hơi

I break the old mirror to find your shadow
I fold your fading clothes to keep your warmth.

Cung tần mỹ nữ

Under the Nguyen dysnasty, the genaeceum took an important dimension. To consolidate his authority and gain fidelity from his subordinates, emperor Gia Long himself did not hesitate to establish the politics of alliance in taking for concubines most of the daughter of the subordinates. This was revealed by his confidant, the French mandarin J.B. Chaigneau in his  » Souvenirs of Huế 1864 « . But sometimes the concubine of the emperor may be issue of a different medium. It is the case of the concubine of emperor Thành Thái, the father of Duy Tân. This concubine was the rower of a ferry boat in the region of Kim Long known for the charm and grace of its inhabitants. That is why people did not hesitate to sing the following popular song to evoke the idyllic love that emperor Thanh Thai reserved for the charming rower of the ferry and his audacity to disguise himself as a common traveler to visit Kim Long.

Kim Long có gái mỹ miều
Trẩm yêu trẩm nhớ trẩm liều trẩm đi

Kim Long is known for its charming girls
I love, I miss, I dare and I go.

One beautiful morning of our new year, Thành Thái intrigued by the charm of the Kim Long region decided to go there alone. He disguise himself as a young traveler to visit that famous region. On his way back, he had to take the ferry the rower of which was a charming girl. Seeing her timid in gait with her red cheeks under the overwhelming sun, emperor Thành Thái began to flirt with her and tease her with this idea, saying:

Miss, do you like to marry the emperor?

Stunned by this hazardous proposal, the girl looked attentively at him and replied with sincerity: Don’t you talk nonsense, they are going to cut off you head.

Seeing her in a fearful state, the emperor was determined to bother her more: That’s right, what I have proposed with you. If you agree, I will be the intermediary in the matter! Caught by a sense of decency, she hid her face behind her arm. On the ferry, among the passengers, there was an older and well dressed person. This one, having heard their conversation, did not hesitate to push on by saying to the girl:

Miss, just say « Yes » and see what happens!

Encouraged by the daring advice, the ferry rower responded promptly: Yes Happy to know the consent of the rower, Thành Thái stood up, went toward the rower and said with tenderness:

My dear concubine, you may rest. Let me take care of rowing the ferry for you.

Everyone was surprised by that statement and finally knew that they were in front of young emperor Thành Thái, known for his anti-French activities, deposed and exiled later by the French authorities to the Reunion island because of his excess in « madness ». When the ferry reached the Nghinh Lương dock, Thành Thái ordered the passengers to pay for their tickets and led the young rower into the forbidden city.

Generally speaking, the concubines lived surrounded by Ladies of the Court, eunuchs and devoted their time in embroidering and weaving. Some died without ever having received the emperor’s favor, or having got out of the palace.

A famous poet of 18th century Nguyễn Gia Thiều known under the name of Ôn Như Hầu (because of his title), had denounced the injustice inflicted upon these women, their sadness and isolation, in his work  » Cung Oán Ngâm Khúc » (or Sadness of the Palace ). Others enjoyed their status of a favorite but none was equal to Ỷ Lan, the favorite of Lý Thánh Tôn of the Lý dynasty, who had assumed brilliantly the regency of the kingdom during her husband’s campaign against Champa.

Concubines sous la dynastie des Nguyễn (Cung tần mỹ nữ)

English version

Trong cunq quế âm thầm chiếc bóng
Ðêm năm canh trông ngóng lần lần
Khoảnh làm chi bầy chúa xuân
Chơi hoa cho rữa nhị dần lại thôi.

Dans le gynécée royal, je suis toute seule avec mon ombre
Tout le long de la nuit, j’attends avec impatience sa visite
Plusieurs printemps ont été partis instantanément
Il cessait de venir et je suis comme une fleur qui se fane.

Ôn Như Hầu Lire la suite

Politique de rapprochement avec le Vietnam (Thaïlande)

L’hospitalité que Rama 1er a réservée à Nguyễn Ánh servira de base plus tard au développement de la future relation entre les deux pays. Elle n’est pas étrangère à la conduite attentionnée de Nguyễn Ánh dans la recherche d’une solution adéquate pour gérer la double suzeraineté sur le Laos et sur le Cambodge avec les Thaïs. Selon le checheur vietnamien Nguyển Thế Anh, ces pays furent considérés à cette époque comme des enfants élevés ensemble par le Siam et le Vietnam, le premier s’arrogeant le titre du père et le second le titre de mère. Cette double dépendance est connue en langue thaïe sous le nom « song faifa ». Selon les sources siamoises, Nguyễn Ánh envoya 6 fois de Gia Định à Bangkok des arbres d’argent et d’or, signe d’allégeance entre 1788 et 1801. (2). Dans une lettre adressée à Rama 1er avant son retour à Gia Đinh, Nguyễn Ánh accepta d’être placé sous le protectorat du Siam au cas où il réussirait à rétablir son pouvoir. Le Đại Nam (ancien nom du Vietnam) accepta-t-il d’être un état de mandala? Il y a plusieurs raisons de réfuter cette hypothèse. D’abord le Đại Nam n’était pas sous l’influence du bouddhisme théravadà et n’avait pas non plus la culture indianisée comme cela a été avec le Cambodge et le Laos car le rôle religieux joue un rôle important dans le mandala défini par le chercheur O. Wolter. Le Siam tenta d’étendre jusqu’alors son influence et son emprise dans les régions où les Thaïs étaient plus ou moins implantés et où la culture indianisée était visible.

Ce n’est pas le cas du Vietnam. Chakri et son prédécesseur Taksin ont déjà échoué dans cette démarche en Cochinchine qui était pourtant une terre neuve car il y avait une colonnie vietnamienne importante de culture différente. La vassalité paraît improbable. On ne connait jamais la vérité mais on peut s’appuyer sur le fait que pour reconnaître les bienfaits du Ralma 1er, Nguyễn Ánh pourrait adopter ce comportement compréhensible qui n’était jamais incompatible à son tempérament et surtout à son esprit confucianiste dont l’ingratitude ne faisait pas partie. On trouve toujours en lui la reconnaissance et la gentillesse qu’on ne pourra pas réfuter plus tard avec Pigneau de Béhaine ayant consacré beaucoup d’effort pour le convaincre de se convertir au catholicisme. Sous son règne, il n’y avait pas la persécution des catholiques qu’on peut interpréter comme une reconnaissance envers Pigneau de Béhaine. De ce point de vue, on peut voir en lui le principe d’humanité (đạo làm người) en honorant à la fois la gratitude envers ceux qui l’avaient protégé durant les 25 années de vicissitudes et la vengeance envers ceux qui avaient tué tous ses proches et sa famille. (thù phải trả, nợ phải đền)

Au moment de son intronisation en 1803 à Huế, Nguyễn Ánh reçut une couronne offerte par le roi Rama 1er mais il la lui retourna tout de suite car il n’accepta pas d’être traité comme un roi vassal et de recevoir le titre que le roi siamois Rama 1er était habitué à accorder à ses vassaux. Ce comportement déjuge l’accusation qu’on a toujours sur Nguyễn Ánh.

Pour certains historiens vietnamiens, Nguyễn Ánh est un traître car il fait venir les étrangers et leur donne l’occasion d’occuper le Vietnam. On aime à coller l’expression vietnamienne « Đem rắn cắn gà nhà » (Introduire le serpent pour mordre le poulet de la maison) à Nguyễn Ánh. Il est injuste de le taxer de trahison car dans le contexte difficile où il était, il n’y a aucune raison de ne pas agir comme lui en tant que humain lorsqu’il était au gouffre du désespoir. Probablement l’expression suivante « Tương kế tựu kế ( Combiner un stratagème de circonstance) lui convient mieux bien qu’il y ait un risque de faire le jeu des étrangers. Il faut rappeler aussi que les Tây Sơn eurent l’occasion d’envoyer un émissaire auprès de Rama 1er en 1789 dans le but de neutraliser Nguyễn Ánh avec le stratagème ( Điệu hổ ly sơn ( Éloigner le tigre loin de la montagne) mais cette tentative fut vaine à cause du refus de Rama 1er. (3)

Etant intelligent, courageux et résigné à l’image du roi des Yue Gou Jian (Cẫu Tiển) de la période des Printemps et des Automnes (Xuân Thu), il devrait connaître les conséquences de son acte. Il y a non seulement Gia Long mais aussi des milliers de gens ayant accepté de le suivre et d’assumer cette lourde responsabilité de faire venir les étrangers dans le pays pour contrer les Tây Sơn. Sont-ils tous des traîtres? C’est une question épineuse à laquelle il est difficile de donner une réponse affirmative et une condamnation hâtive sans avoir au préalable le sens de l’équité et sans se laisser convaincre par des opinions partisanes lorsqu’on sait que Nguyễn Huệ reste toujours le héros le plus adulé par les Vietnamiens pour son génie militaire.

Déçu par le refus de Gia Long, Rama 1er, ne montra aucun signe de rancune mais il trouva la justification dans la différence culturelle. On trouve en Rama 1er non seulement la sagesse mais aussi la compréhension. Il voudrait traiter désormais d’égal à égal avec lui. Ce traitement égalitaire peut être interprété comme une relation bilatérale « privilégiée » entre l’aîné et le jeune dans le respect mutuel. Chacun d’eux devrait savoir qu’il avait besoin de l’autre même il s’agit d’une alliance de circonstance. Leurs pays étaient guettés respectivement par des ennemis redoutables qu’étaient la Birmanie et la Chine.

Leur relation privilégiée ne s’estompa pas au fil du temps du fait que Rama 1er tomba amoureux entre-temps de la soeur de Nguyễn Ánh. On ne sait pas ce qu’elle deviendrait (sa femme ou sa concubine). Par contre il y avait un poème d’amour que Rama 1er lui a dédié et qui continuait à se chanter encore dans les années 1970 durant la procession annuelle des barques royales.

Quant à Nguyễn Ánh ( ou Gia Long ), durant son règne, il évita d’affronter militairement la Thaïlande sur les problèmes épineux cambodgien et laotien. Avant sa mort, Gia Long ne cessa pas de rappeler à son successeur Minh Mạng de perpétuer cette relation d’amitié qu’il avait réussi à établir avec Rama 1er et de considérer le Siam comme un allié respectable dans la péninsule indochinoise (4). Cela se justifiera plus tard par le refus de Minh Mạng d’attaquer le Siam à la demande des Birmans.

Selon le chercheur Nguyễn Thế Anh, dans l’Asie du Sud Est continentale, sur une vingtaine de principautés importantes vers 1400, il ne restait que trois royaumes qui réussirent à s’imposer au début du XIXème siècle en tant que puissances régionales parmi lesquelles figuraient le Siam et le Đại Việt, l’un entamant la marche vers l’Est et l’autre vers le Sud au détriment des états hindouisés (Laos, Cambodge, Champa). Ce conflit d’intérêts s’intensifia de plus en plus à la disparition de Rama 1er et de Nguyễn Ánh.

Leurs successeurs ( Minh Mạng, Thiệu Trị du côté vietnamien et Rama III du côté siamois) furent empêtrés par le problème de succession des rois cambodgiens qui ne cessaient pas de se battre entre eux et de solliciter leur aide et leur protection. Ils furent guidés dès lors par la politique de colonialisme et d’annexion qui les amena à se confronter militairement 2 fois en 1833 et en 1841 sur les territoires cambodgien et vietnamien et à trouver à la fin de chaque confrontation un compromis d’entente en leur faveur et au détriment de leurs protégés respectifs. L’alliance de circonstance n’est plus prise en compte. La rivalité qui devenait de plus en plus visible entre les deux pays concurrents Đại Nam et Siam, éloigne désormais tout rapprochement et toute alliance possible. Même leur politique est tout à fait différente, l’un s’alignant sur le modèle chinois pour éviter tout contact avec les colonialistes occidentaux et l’autre sur le modèle japonais pour prôner l’ouverture des frontières.

La capitale khmère Phnom Penh fut occupée à une certaine époque par l’armée vietnamienne du général Trương Minh Giảng tandis que les régions de l’Ouest cambogien ( Siem Reap, Battambang, Sisophon) étaient aux mains des Thaïs. Selon l’historien français Philippe Conrad, le roi du Cambodge était considéré comme un simple gouverneur du roi de Siam. Les insignes royaux ( épée d’or, sceau de la couronne) étaient confisqués et détenus à Bangkok. L’arrivée des Français en Indochine mit fin à leur double suzeraineté sur le Cambodge et le Laos. Elle permit aux protégés cambodgien et laotien de récupérer une partie de leur territoire aux mains des Vietnamiens et des Thaïs. Le Đại Nam de l’empereur Tự Đức dut faire face aux autorités coloniales françaises qui avaient annexé les six provinces de Nam Bộ (Cochinchine). Grâce à la clairvoyance de leurs rois (en particulier celle de Chulalongkorn ou Rama V) , les Thaïs s’appuyant sur la politique de rivalité entre les Anglais et les Français, réussirent à garder leur indépendance au prix de leurs concessions territoriales (les territoires birmans et malais occupés rendus aux Anglais et les territoires laotien et khmer aux Français). Ils optèrent une politique étrangère flexible (chính sách cây sậy) comme le roseau qui s’adapte au gré du vent. Ce n’est pas un hasard de voir l’union sacrée des trois princes thaïs aux prémices de la nation thaïe en 1287 et la soumission face aux troupes sino-mongoles de Kubilai Khan.

C’est cette politique synthétique d’adaptation qui leur permet d’être à l’écart des guerres coloniales, de se ranger toujours du côté des vainqueurs et d’exister jusqu’à aujourd’hui en tant que nation florissante malgré leur émergence tardive ( datant du début du 14ème siècle ) dans l’Asie du Sud Est continentale


(1) Bùi Quang Tùng: Professeur, membre scientifique de EFEO. Auteur de plusieurs ouvrages sur le Vietnam.

(2) P.R.R.I, p. 113.

(3) Pool, Peter A.: The Vietnamese in Thailand, p 32, note 3.

Conflits larvés avec le Việtnam (Thaïlande)

Version vietnamienne

Il y a des victoires et des défaites de chaque côté. En conduisant une armée de 20.000 hommes et une flotte, Taksin réussit à chasser après un siège de dix jours, Mo Shi-Lin (Mạc Tiên Tứ en vietnamien) le fils de Mạc Cửu) de Hà Tiên. C’est un allié chinois de poids des seigneurs Nguyễn et le protecteur du fils du dernier roi de la dynastie d’Ayutthaya, Chao Chuy (Chiêu Thúy). Celui-ci continue à être l’un des compétiteurs éventuels à la couronne et un sujet d’inquiétude journalière pour Taksin. À cause de ses revers militaires à Châu Đốc et dans la région de Sadec, Taksin fut obligé d’accepter le traité de paix offert par Mạc Thiên Tứ et d’abandonner Hà Tiên en ruines en échange du retour du prince Chiêu Thúy, de la remise en liberté de la fille de Mạc Thiên Tứ capturée au moment de la chute de Hà Tiên et du maintien sur le trône cambodgien un roi pro-Thaï de nom Ang Non. Dès son retour, Chiêu Thúy fut exécuté ainsi que son frère capturé au Cambodge. Quant au seigneur Nguyễn Phúc Thuần (connu plus tard sous le nom Duệ Tông ), mis en difficulté par la révolte des frères « Tây Sơn (Paysans de l’Ouest) », il fut obligé de cautionner cet accord et de laisser temporairement aux Thaïs le champ libre dans leur politique d’expansion territoriale sur le Laos et le Cambodge. Mais le trêve fut de courte durée pour Mạc Thiên Tứ car entre-temps, il fut poursuivi par les Tây Sơn ayant réussi à prendre Gia Định (ou Saïgon) en 1776 et à capturer le seigneur Nguyễn Phúc Thuần à Cà Mau. Il dut trouver refuge avec sa famille et ses subordonnés auprès de Taksin à Thonburi (Thailande). Mais ce dernier, obsédé et habité par tant de soupçons et de méfiance, finit d’exécuter sa famille et ses subordonnés parmi lesquels figurait le prince Tôn Thất Xuân. Pour préserver sa dignité et son honneur, Mạc Thiên Tứ se suicida en septembre 1780 en avalant une rondelle d’or. La méfiance de Taksin est de plus en plus envahissante jusqu’au point où elle devient une maladie mentale accompagnée par un comportement paranoïaque et tyrannique.

Rạch Gầm- Xoài Mút

Tableau du Musée national de Saïgon

C’est l’un des traits communs des grands hommes politiques (Ts’ao Ts’ao ( Tào Tháo) des Trois Royaumes, Qin Shi Huang Di (Tần Thủy Hoàng) par exemple). C’est cette méfiance qui le pousse à emprisonner plus tard ses proches en particulier la famille de son gendre Chakri qui était en train de s’engager dans une campagne militaire au Cambodge contre les Vietnamiens du jeune prince Nguyễn Ánh. Chakri ( futur roi Rama 1er) fut obligé de pactiser avec les lieutenants de Nguyễn Ánh, Nguyễn Hữu Thùy et Hồ văn Lân. Ceux-ci lui envoyèrent un couteau, une épée et un drapeau en signe de leur soutien contre Taksin. Ayant réussi de rentrer à temps au moment où éclata un coup d’état renversant ce dernier, le général siamois Chaophraya Mahakasatsuk (ou Chakri) devint ainsi le roi Rama 1er et le fondateur de la dynastie Chakri. Son avènement permet de clore la dynastie de Thonburi et de la remplacer par la nouvelle dynastie avec le transfert de la capitale à Bangkok. C’est ici que le roi Rama 1er tenta de restaurer le style Ayutthaya à travers son palais royal (Bangkok). L’installation de la nouvelle capitale ne correspond pas à un renouvellement de l’art siamois. Rama 1er s’intéressa à poursuivre l’oeuvre inachevée de Taksin le Grand dans la marche vers l’Est. Il n’hésita pas à monter une expédition militaire pour aider le prince héritier Nguyễn Ánh dans sa lutte contre les Tây Sơn. Malheureusement, cette expédition vietnamo-siamoise fut écrasée en 1783 dans les arroyos Rạch Gầm- Xoài Mút de la province Tiền Giang d’aujourd’hui par le roi stratège Nguyễn Huệ. De l’armée siamoise constituée d’au moins de 50.000 hommes et de 300 jonques au départ, il ne restait que 2000 hommes ayant réussi de passer par le Cambodge pour rentrer en Thailande.

Profitant de la méconnaissance géographique du terrain (đia lợi) et de la sous-évaluation militaire des ennemis, Nguyễn Huệ évita l’engagement frontal à Sadec et réussit à faire échouer très vite l’invasion siamoise dans les arroyos proches de Mỹ Tho. Nguyễn Huệ avait besoin d’une victoire éclair car il savait que les Trịnh au Nord Vietnam pouvaient profiter de cette occasion pour envahir Qui Nhơn dans le centre du Vietnam.

Traqué comme une bête fauve et plongé dans l’abîme de tristesse, Nguyễn Ánh fut obligé de s’exiler à Bangkok, accompagné d’une trentaine de mandarins et d’environ 200 soldats pour une courte durée (de 1785 à 1787). Puis il fut rejoint plus tard par les 5000 soldats du général Nguyễn Huỳnh Đức. Selon le professeur vietnamien Bùi Quang Tùng (1), beaucoup de réfugiés préférèrent de rester en Thailande et de se marier avec les Siamoises.

(1) Bùi Quang Tùng: Professeur, membre scientifique de EFEO. Auteur de plusieurs ouvrages sur le Vietnam.


Pool, Peter A.: The Vietnamese in Thailand, Cornell University Press. 1970. 180pp

The diplomatic worldviews of Siam and Vietnam in the pre-colonial period (1780s – 1850s). Morragotwong Phumplab, National university of Singapore, 2011.

Đại Nam Thực Lục (7 fascicules).