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The Đinh Dynasty ( ; Han-Viet: , Đinh Triều) was the imperial dynasty of Vietnam starting in 968 when Đinh Tiên Hoàng vanquished the upheavals of Twelve warlords and ended as the son of Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Đinh Phế Đế, ceded the throne to Lê Hoàn, and ending in 980.

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh's childhood

Đinh Bộ Lĩnh's father was Đinh Công Trứ, a mandarin under the reigns of Ngô Quyền (939-944) and Ngô Xương Văn (950-954). Đinh Công Trứ died while Bộ Lĩnh was still very young. His mother then took him back to her village to live with her family. There Đinh Bộ Lĩnh attended the village school and in his free time rode atop water buffaloes and played games with other children. When he reached adulthood he joined Trần Minh Công (Trần Lãm), one of the Thập Nhị Sứ Quân or 12 Sứ Quân (12 lords fighting each other) who made him a general due to his skills and talents.

Rise to Emperor (965-980)

One by one, Đinh Bộ Lĩnh (926-979) defeated or subdued the other 11 lords. His multitude victories over other lords earned him the title Vạn Thắng Vương, which means "King of Ten Thousand Victories." After unifying the country in 968 and bringing peace back to the land, he proclaimed himself Đinh Tiên Hoàng Đế. He renamed the country "Đại Cồ Việt." Worried that his country was still weak (where outside influences could be easily made), he sought to strengthen the government by appointing military men to important positions. Among his top generals were Nguyễn Bạc, his oldest son Đinh Liễn, Lê Hoàn, etc. The latter became a major figure for the Đinh Dynasty succession and the rise of the Anterior Lê Dynasty.

Đinh Tiên Hoàng's succession (980)

The end of Đinh Tien Hoàng's reign was marked by the following successive events.
  • He removed his oldest son Đinh Liễn from the throne as he had decided to have his second son, Đinh Hang Lăng, succeed him. His infant son, Đinh Tuệ, would be next in line.
  • One night in 980, as Đinh Tiên Hoàng and his son Đinh Liễn were having a party, a mandarin official sneacked into the palace and killed both father and son. Thus fate decreed that the infant son Đinh Tuệ would inherit the kingdom.

Đinh Phế Đế (980) and the threat from the North

When Đinh Tuệ became emperor, because of his age, his mother the Dowager Empress Dương Thái Hậu assumed the role of regent. While all of these events were taking place, to the north, China was enduring some dynastic changes. The Song Dynasty had reunified the country for the first time since the fall of the Tang. The Song Dynasty would last until the end of the 13th century; when they in turn were overrun by the Mongol Yuan Dynastymarker under Genghis Khan. The turmoil of succession of Đinh Tiên Hoàng in their southern border gave the Chinese Song a pretext to meddle and interfere into the matters of the Vietnamese, to invade the country and subjugate it again to their rule.

Lê Hoàn's ascension to the throne (980)

Appalled by this new threat, the Dowager Empress Dương Thái Hậu threw her support to Lê Hoàn who was now commander-in-chief of the army. To confront the Song army who had already arrived at the border, the Empress Dowager agreed to recognize Lê Hoàn and let him step up to the throne as a new king. With the crowning of Lê Hoàn, the Anterior Lê Dynasty was founded. As Lê Hoàn was being crowned Emperor, the Song army approached the boundary of the two countries.

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