Tay Son Uprising

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tay Son Uprising


a peasant war in Vietnam from 1771 to 1802.

The uprising began in the Tay Son (Western Mountains) region, which had suffered the most during the internecine war between the two ruling feudal clans—the Trinhs in the north and the Nguyens in the south. The rebelling peasants were led by the three Nguyen brothers (who were not related to the ruling clan): Nguyen Nhac, Nguyen Hue, and Nguyen Lu. At first the rebels allied themselves with the more powerful Trinhs; they undertook a number of campaigns in the south between 1776 and 1780 and drove the ruling Nguyens into Siam. In 1784 the Tay Sons defeated a large Siamese army that had invaded southern Vietnam. In 1786 they marched into northern Vietnam, defeated the Trinh army, and restored the “legal” Le emperor. In reality, Nguyen Hue became the ruler of northern Vietnam, and Vietnam was united under the Tay Sons.

A new stage in the uprising began in 1788, when the Tay Sons led a struggle against the Manchus, who had invaded Vietnam from China. In early 1789, Nguyen Hue, who had proclaimed himself emperor in 1788 under the name Quang Trung, defeated a 200,000-man army of the Manchurian Ch’ing dynasty near Thang Long (present-day Hanoi). Having defended the independence of Vietnam, the Tay Sons set about strengthening the country’s economy. Although they improved to some extent the lot of the peasants, they enhanced the position of the new feudal lords—the leaders of the rebels.

In 1792 the Tay Son state went into decline as a result of conflicts of interest among its leaders, the death of Quang Trung in 1792, and the activity of Nguyen Anh in the south. Nguyen Anh was one of the Nguyens who had fled to Siam, and he now had the support of France. In addition, during this period the position of the popular masses deteriorated sharply, and the peasants began turning away from the Tay Son movement. By 1802 the southern feudal lords, led by Nguyen Anh and supported by the French, had suppressed the Tay Son Uprising.


Ognetov, I. A. Vosstanie Teishonov vo V’etname (1771–1802). Moscow, 1960.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Tay Son Uprising. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2006.
George Dutton's The Tay Son Uprising is the best book on the subject.
The Tay Son uprising; society and rebellion in eighteenth-century Vietnam.