Nguyen Emperors were regarded as the last kings of Vietnam under Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945). This collected article will explain how their names of Emperors were used and their influence in the history and culture of Vietnam
The kings of Vietnam, in imitation of the emperors of China, adopted, when they ascended the throne, a name which was used in counting the years of their reign. Independently of these titles assumed by the emperor at the beginning of a reign, it had been the custom, since the year 36 before the Christian era, to give particular names to the years of their reign, borrowed from some remarkable event, or adopted from mere fancy. These names, which the emperor may change at pleasure, served for dates in letters, in books of accounts, in almanacs, and in conversation, and are recorded with accuracy in history. The Japanese, who are imitators of the Chinese, introduced the practice into their empire, AD 650.
It appears to have been at the commencement of the eleventh century, that it was introduced into Tongking by the first king of the Ly dynasty. This prince did not change the name during the whole of his reign of eighteen years. His successor who was upon the throne twenty-seven years, changed the name of the years of his reign five times; since which time most of the kings of Tongking changed the name more or less frequently. The notion which leads them to make these changes of the name of the year was often prompted by superstition, as they regard such a change as a means of averting public calamities, and of securing a more tranquil and happy reign.
It was also the custom in Vietnam, as it was in China, to decree to their sovereigns, after their death, an honorary name expressive of some virtue, or some brilliant quality, or some eminent prerogative. It is this name which is commonly used in history. Sovereigns who have been dethroned by a usurper, do not ordinarily receive an honorary name, unless some prince of the same family regains the throne. On the contrary, a name is given them, which refers to their misfortunes, or the titles of the years of their reign, are still employed.
Below are collection of beautiful paintings of Nguyen Emperors
Gia Long (1802-1820) – Originally Nguyen Phuc Anh
Minh Mang (1820-1841) – fourth son of Gia Long
Thieu Tri (1841-1847) – Eldest son of Minh Mang in his 142 children
Tu Duc (1847-1883) – Second son of Thieu Tri
No painting or photos
Duc Duc (1883) – Eldest adopted son of Tu Duc, reigned 3 days; dethroned
Hiep Hoa (1883) – Brother of Tu Duc; reigned 4 months; died from suspected poisoning
Kien Phuc (1883-1884) – Adopted son of Tu Duc; reigned 6 months
Ham Nghi (1884-1885) – Younger brother of Kien Phuc; exiled to Algeria, where he is buried
Dong Khanh (1885-1889) – Elder brother of Ham Nghi and Kien Phuc
Thanh Thai (1889-1907)- Son of Duc Duc; exiled to Reunion
Duy Tan (1907-1916) – Son of Thanh Thai; exiled to Reunion
Khai Dinh (1916-1925) – Son of Dong Khanh
Bao Dai (1926-1945) – Son of Khai Dinh; last Emperor exiled to France