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Đinh Bộ Lĩnh (Hán tự: ; 923–979; r. 968-979), originally named Đinh Hoàn (), was the emperor and founder of the Đinh Dynasty, the second Vietnamese dynasty.

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh was born in 923 in Hoa Lưmarker (south of the Red River Delta, in what is today Ninh Binh Provincemarker). He was the founder of the Đinh Dynasty and a significant figure in the restoration of Vietnamese independence in the tenth century.

Life and career

Growing up in a local village, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh became a local military leader. From this anarchic era, the first independent Vietnam emerged. Faced once more with the threat of a powerful Chinamarker, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh tried to find ways to reunify the country. Upon the death of the last Ngô king in 963, he seized power and founded the new kingdom in his home province, Hoa Lưmarker. To consolidate his legitimacy, he married a member of the Ngô family.

At first, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh had been careful to avoid antagonizing the Southern Han Empire. But in 966 he adopted the title of Emperor (Hoàng Đế) and declared his independence from Chinese rule. Under the name of Đinh Tiên Hoàng, he founded the Đinh Dynasty and called his kingdom Đại Cồ Việt. Well aware of the new Chinese Song Dynasty's military might, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh obtained a non-aggression treaty of the country's independence in exchange for tributes payable to the Chinese every three years. This arrangement with China was carried out until the 19th century and the advent of French colonization.

In 972, however, he pacified the new Song Dynasty by sending a tribute mission to demonstrate his fealty to the Chinese Emperor. Emperor Taizu of Song, who was ruling China, subsequently recognized the Vietnamese ruler as Giao Chỉ Quận Vương (Head of Giao Chỉ District).

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh energetically reformed the administration and the armed forces to strengthen the foundation of the new Vietnamese state. He established a royal court and a hierarchy of civil and military servants. He instated a rigorous justice system and introduced the death penalty to serve as a deterrent to all who threatened the new order in the kingdom.

However, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh's reign did not last long. In 980 a palace guard killed both Đinh Bộ Lĩnh and his eldest son Đinh Liễn in their sleep. He was succeeded by his six-year old son. In the meantime, the Chinese Emperor wanted to take advantage of the young king by sending an army to attack Đại Cồ Việt.

In this crisis, Lê Hoàn, a general in Đinh Bộ Lĩnh's army, dispossessed the child of Đinh, killed all of his opponents in the court, and entered into illicit relations with the Queen Mother. Lê Hoàn proclaimed himself King, and founded the Prior Lê Dynasty.

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh is also known by his posthumous name Đinh Tiên Hoàng ().


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