VIETNAM ( SERIES -42 )
A POET EMPEROR AND HIS FOREIGN POLICY REFORMS
EMPEROR LE THANH TONG was himself a poet . His poetic excellence could be judged by the poem he wrote during his campaign against CHAMPA , which was as follows : “One hundred thousand officers and men , Start out on a distant journey . Falling on the sails , the rain Softens the sounds of the army .” As we know that the CHAM and the VIETNAMESE had a long history of conflicts. When fighting resumed in 1471 AD , the Kingdom of CHAMPA found itself weakened and isolated to a considerable extent . The MING SHILU ( the Imperial annals of the Emperor of the MING DYNASTY from 1368 AD to 1644 AD ) holds that the DAI VIET launched an initial incursion into CHAMPA in 1461 AD which forced the younger brother of the king MO-HE-PAN-LUO-YUE to flee to the mountains . And King of CHAMPA, PAN-LUO-CHA-QUAN was captured by DAI VIET in 1471 AD . Though the CHAMPA requested the MING DYNASTY to intervene and help the former in demarcating the border between CHAMPA and DAI VIET , yet the latter ( MING DYNASTY ) only verbally rebuked DAI VIET for their incursion . And the DAI VIET ignored such rebuke . As the new Emperor of DAI VIET , LE THANH TONG was a CONFUCIAN student , his key goal in diplomacy was fostering a SINOCENTRIC worldview among all the South-East ASIAN states . His focus on relations with CHAMPA was based on this assumption that it was an uncivilized state , therfore , civilization to be brought about there by transforming it from an age long ‘aristocratic model’ of governance to the bureaucratic one , based on MING CHINA’S institutions .
The CHAM-DAI VIET war of 1471 AD marked the downfall of CHAMPA . According to the historical sources of DAI VIET , in 1470 AD a CHAM army numbering about 100,000 under the command of King MAHA SAJAN besieged the garrison of DAI VIET located in HUE . The local commander sent appeal to the capital for help . Emperor LE THANH TONG responded angrily to the attack . On 28th November 1470 AD , he , with a 100,000-strog naval forces followed by another 150,000 civilian support personnel , attacked CHAMPA . Fighting started on 24th February 1471 AD , when the Emperor ordered five hundred warships and thirty thousand troops to block the way of five thousand troops and elephants . Then one thousand warships and seventy thousand troops under Emperor LE THANH TONG tried to flank CHAM position . Meanwhile , another VIETNAMESE column quietly moved west of the mountains . After bitter fighting , the CHAM troops withdrew their lines from the coast to the inland and then they realized that they had been surrounded by the invaders from three sides — from north , from west and from sea . Using gunpowder superiority , the troops of DAI VIET defeating war elephants of CHAMPA reached its capital VIJAYA . Nearby THI NAI citadel , about four hundred CHAM were killed . The CHAM King TRA TOAN apparently tried to compromise and surrender his kingdom , but Emperor LE THANH TONG ignored it and pressed on the siege . The troops of DAI VIET used cannons to bombard the CHAM capital VIJAYA . The city fell after a four-day siege on 22nd March 1471 AD . The King TRA TOAN and his family members with thirty thousand CHAM were captured and brought to DAI VIET . More than sixty thousand troops were killed and around forty thousand were executed . MING Empire sent a censor , CHEN CHUN , to CHAMPA to install the King of CHAMPA again , but his entry was blocked by the soldiers of DAI VIET as they had taken over CHAMPA . In the long run more VIETNAMESE had moved south to settle in conquered lands of CHAM . And in this way , only the small portion of CHAM kingdom i.e PANDURANGA remain with them in the south .
As we know that in 1448 AD , DAI VIET had annexed the land of MUANG PHUAN in the north-eastern LAOS . Emperor LE THANH TONG made that territory a prefecture of DAI VIET in 1471 AD . In 1478 AD , an incident took place in LAOS which drew attention of DAI VIET Emperor LE THANH TONG who was about to prepare for an invasion into LAOS . A white elephant had been captured and brought to King CHAKKAPAT of LAOS . A white elephant is a rare species . In the HINDU PURANAS , the God INDRA had a white elephant . In the throughout southeast ASIA , the elephant had been potent symbol of kingship . So, Emperor LE THANH TONG requested the king of LAOS that the animal’s hair to be brought as a gift to the DAI VIET court . But it was seen as an affront . And according to the legend , a box filled with drug was sent to the court of DAI VIET . As a result , Emperor LE THANH TONG became so irritated that he led an army of 180,000 men towards west and attacked MUANG PHUAN , LAN XANG and NAN . LUANG PHABANG ( Literary meaning ‘Royal Buddha Image’ is a city in North Central LAOS ) was captured and King CHAKKAPAT of LAOS was killed . His forces moved further to the upper IRRAWADDI River towards BURMA . According to MING SHILU , in 1488 AD , the BURMESE AVA (Upper BURMA) embassy in CHINA complained about DAI VIET incursion into its territory . And in 1489 AD , the MING court sent envoys to admonish DAI VIET to stop such incursion . Similarly , as per MING SHILU , Emperor LE THANH TONG led ninety thousand troops to invade LAN XANG , but in a battle with the SULTAN of MALACCA thirty thousand VIETNAMESE soldiers were killed and the Emperor had to retreat . However , his anti-pirate expedition in the GULF OF TONKIN in 1470 AD became successful . In 1485 AD , Emperor LE THANH TONG claimed tributes from countries like MELAKA , JAVA , SIAM , LAOS and CHAMPA . To rule over “barbarian” ethnic minorities in the mountain border areas , a system known as TUSI was used . TUSI were hereditary tribal leaders . They used to rule certain ethnic minorities in the areas .
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS AND OTHER WRITTEN MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT .
TO BE CONTINUED ………………..
2 thoughts on “THE WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND INDIA , PART-124”
Very interesting and useful post and a lovely pic as well.
Thanks for sharing.
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