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The Trần Dynasty (Vietnamese: Nhà Trần, Hán Việt: , Trần Triều) was a Vietnamesemarker dynasty that ruled Vietnam (at that time known as Đại Việt) from 1225 to 1400. They are credited with 2 victories over Mongol invasions, most notably a decisive battle at the Bạch Đằng River.

The dynasty began in 1225 when king Trần Thái Tông ascended to the throne after his uncle Trần Thủ Độ orchestrated the overthrow of the Lý Dynasty. The dynasty ruled for a total of 175 years, ending in 1400 when king Thiếu Đế, then 5 years old, was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of his maternal grandfather Hồ Quý Ly.


The person who actually founded the Trần Dynasty was Trần Thủ Độ. When the Lý Dynasty was in a period of decline, much of the power fell into the hands of Trần Thủ Độ. After he forced Lý Chiêu Hoàng (then 8 years old) to abdicate the throne for her husband Trần Cảnh (then 7), the Trần Dynasty officially began. In their 175-year reign, the Trần rulers three times successfully led the Vietnamese people in their resistance against the invading Mongol forces of the Yuan Dynastymarker: in 1258, 1285, and 1288. (See Mongol invasions of Vietnam.) However, in their later years (from Emperor Dụ Tông on), the dynasty declined due to many reasons, foremost among them were the rifts among imperial family members which led to civil war in mid fourteenth century. There were also disorder and corruption of the civil service system that weakened the dynasty overall. In 1370s the Chams again invaded Vietnam and even looted her capital, Thang-long or present-day Hanoi. Finally, in 1400, Hồ Quý Ly, a powerful official who was a relative of an imperial concubine, usurped the throne. The 175-year rule of the dynasty finally ended.

This dynasty also showed interest in consolidating the country since the foundation of its rule. Unfortunately, the Vietnamese kingdom fell into the abyss of wars, particularly the war with the Mongols. The dynasty's elite followed more and more the Chinese-style of government and bureaucracy. The civil examinations were held and became the mean of recruitment the new civil officials.

It was also under the Trần Dynasty that Vietnam started the southward expansion (Nam Tiến) and a series of wars with its southern neighbor, Champa. The Đại Việt kingdom eventually emerged not only as winner in this series of wars but also prevented eastward expansion of the Indianmarker-Thaimarker influence.

The success in wars made Vietnam under this dynasty became more confident and proud. Culturally, the new style of 'national characters' called 'nôm' was created. Also the first 'official', national history, 'Đại Việt Sử Ký', or the Historical Record of The Great Viet (Empire), was compiled and became one of the most important historical sources of Vietnam.

Raids against Champa

The fourteenth century was marked by wars with Champa, which the Trần reduced to a feudatory state by 1312. Champa freed itself again by 1326 and, under the leadership of Cham hero Chế Bồng Nga, staged a series of attacks on Vietnam between 1360 and 1390, sacking Thăng Long in 1371. The Vietnamese again gained the upper hand following the death of Chế Bồng Nga and resumed their southward advance at Champa's expense.

Period of decline and rise of Hồ Quý Ly

Despite their earlier success, the quality of the Trần rulers had declined markedly by the end of the fourteenth century, opening the way for exploitation of the peasantry by the landlords, which caused a number of insurrections. Natural calamity such as typhoon, flood and drought, was also the cause of disorder and grievance of the people. The relief measures of the authority were apparently abortive. Huge portions of cultivated lands and its products were in the hands of aristocrats and elites. Rising the tax as the recovering plan of the court was even harmful for the people.

At the same time, rifts and struggles among imperial members eventually led to civil war. From 1361-89, the Chams invaded and finally looted the capital, Thang-long. After the recovery from war, the court politics was in the hands of General Lê (Hồ) Quý Ly, a relative of an imperial concubines. The general controlled the late emperors who were child. Hồ Quý Ly began purging imperial princes.In 1400 General Hồ Quý Ly eventually seized the throne and proclaimed himself founder of the short-lived Hồ Dynasty (1400-07).

See also

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