The Vietnamese "Nation" in the Trinh-Nguyen Era (1600-1771)


Under the glorious banner of the Party, all that is greatest and most worthy of pride in our people has been brought together over the last forty years. This is the time when our people… have leapt ahead with the bold strength of a new era, with all the glorious traditions of our nation, and with the full consciousness of their destiny and their future.[1]


Marxist historians of the Vietnamese Communist Party, in attempting to legitimise their party’s rule, have evoked the “glorious traditions” of the Vietnamese nation, so as to instil in their people a strong sense of unity. This was to enable their countrymen to tide over the current difficult circumstances and look instead towards the rosy future. Consequently, many of these historians have argued that their nation’s roots were entrenched in the distant past, which provided the beginnings for the continual evolution of such a Vietnamese “nation”. The study of the Trinh-Nguyen era, from the 17th to the 18th Centuries, has been an issue among contemporary historians, in the sense that the period entailed the division of Vietnam into two opposing entities, but both professing to represent the entire “nation” of Vietnam. In examining the political, economic and cultural factors of the Trinh-Nguyen era, this paper proposes that there was no one Vietnamese “nation”, but instead two distinct entities and indeed two distinct “Vietnamese” nations.

Considering the political aspects of 17th to 18th Century Vietnam, both the Trinh and Nguyen governments developed different policies and governing structures due to their political isolation. This can be seen in the bureaucracy, in that both the Trinh and the Nguyen developed parallel governing structures in their separate regions, so as to perform the administrative roles necessary for effective governance.[2] Both states also subscribed to different ideas of recruiting the numerous personnel needed to run an expanding bureaucracy. For instance, the Nguyen state opened examinations to all inhabitants regardless of class or nationality. This was a break from the traditional Confucian model, in which officials were only recruited from socially acceptable classes.[3] For the Trinh state, meritocracy in the examination system remained unacceptable, but the government instead resorted to abandoning the system completely so as to cope with rising 18th Century problems of monetary deficiency. This resulted in state offices being sold to the highest bidder, and a weakening of central government power.[4]

In addition to governing policies, the issue of distinct political sovereignty is also important towards arguing that 17th to 18th Century Vietnam was divided into two nations. This can be seen in the territorial sovereignty of both the Trinh and Nguyen states, which possessed distinct political control. Although both regimes acknowledged the Le Emperor as their titular ruler, neither government accorded him the required political authority for total and absolute sovereign control. Moreover, the Nguyens, had by the year 1620, refused to send any further taxes to the royal court, implying a desire to break with the continued political authority of the Le court.[5] Consequently, both the Trinh and the Nguyen administrations were politically distinct as sovereign control rested with their respective lords, and not with the Le ruler.

In arguing towards the existence of two Vietnamese nations, it is important to examine the political recognition of the Vietnamese territories and how society regarded the Trinh and Nguyen states. As historians Li Tana and Anthony Reid argue, both foreigner and Vietnamese alike considered the two entities to be distinct regions. For instance, the Portuguese, French and English referred to the southern entity as “Cochinchina”, in distinction to their recognition of the northern entity as “Tongking”.[6] For the Vietnamese, they were similarly reluctant to accept the Trinh and Nguyen states as one legitimate empire, choosing to name the southern entity Dang Trong or “inner region”, as opposed to the northern entity as Dang Ngoai or “outer region”.[7] By designating different names to the two different Vietnamese entities, it can be argued that society in general viewed the Trinh and the Nguyen polities as separate “nations”, documenting their observations by reflecting this in the prevailing nomenclature.

When examined from an economic perspective, 17th to 18th Century Vietnam was evidently divided into two nations. This can be seen especially from the nature of the economic system and its relationship with trade. For instance, the Trinh economy in the north was heavily centred on its thriving handicraft industry and significantly involved in the development of specialisation in commerce, with whole streets devoted to a single type of commerce such as pottery or silk.[8] In the south, however, the Nguyen economy was heavily dependent on foreign trade, which gave rise to a merchant bourgeoisie.[9] In addition, its economy was appreciably enlarged because of a corresponding increase in the size of cultivated land, especially in the Mekong Delta.

The “Western factor” was also a key element in the divergent economic circumstances of the Trinh-Nguyen era. This was because of the value of the West in its scientific and technological influences, which helped to shape the Vietnamese economies in the north and the south.[10] This, in addition to the divergence of the Western powers in choosing which side to ally with, resulted in differing economic circumstances for the Trinh and Nguyen principalities. For instance, the Dutch decided to side with the Trinh, while the Portuguese chose the Nguyen.

Culturally, it can be argued that the Trinh and the Nguyen states were distinct entities dissimilar from each other. While the Trinh in the north retained much of their practises and customs, this was not the same for the Nguyen in the south. For instance, the southern assimilation of non-ethnic Vietnamese had significantly affected the cultural composition of its people. Historian Ellen Hammer argues that towards the end of the 18th Century, at least half of the twelve Nguyen provinces had been conquered from other countries.[11] Accordingly, the general cultural practises of the Nguyen peoples differed considerably from those of the Trinh peoples, not least because of the strong Indian and Islamic influences of the newly assimilated southern peoples.

Another cultural divergence between northern and southern Vietnam can be seen in the declining influence of Confucianism, especially in the south. In the Trinh principality, Confucianism retained its strong influence on Vietnamese society, although this was not as pervasive due to a simultaneous Trinh support of Buddhism. Likewise, the Nguyen support of Buddhism enabled a decline of Confucianism. This was despite the Nguyen building a Temple of Literature to honour Confucius. Instead, a number of Confucianist scholars turned to Buddhism, and a number of pagodas also sprang up throughout Hue.[12] To account for the decline of Confucianism in the south, one can attribute this to the lack of long-term settlements, which resulted in weaker Confucianist roots. Moreover, the increased openness of the Nguyen principality to the West also enabled Catholicism to gain a foothold in its territory.

As can be seen, the political, economic and cultural circumstances surrounding 17th to 18th Century Vietnam point distinctly towards the divergence of the country into two separate nations. Indeed, if one were to examine the common thread enabling such a divergence, he or she would inevitably be directed towards the nam tien or southern expansion of Vietnam. This is because the nam tien process was essential towards the 17th to 18th Century development of Vietnam into two nations.

Politically, nam tien enlarged the territorial size of Vietnam, increasing the need for a large bureaucracy, which led to the Nguyen policy of liberalising the examination system to include people of all classes and nationalities. This has a significant impact on creating a distinct political culture disparate from the Trinh. Economically, the nam tien process resulted in the addition of the Mekong Delta, which served as the rice bowl of the Nguyen and aided to increase the territory’s size of cultivated land. There was also the extension of Vietnam’s coastline, adding more ports to the southern regions, thereby increasing trade and exposure to Western influence, and consequently contributing significantly towards distinguishing the Nguyen from the Trinh.[13]  Culturally, the nam tien process transformed the south into a “frontier area”, with a “pioneering” spirit of expansion, resulting in looser administration and increased landlordism.[14] There was also the idea that a lack of long-term settlement resulted in weaker Confucian roots and hence weaker Confucian influence. More significantly, the assimilation of different cultures and peoples into Nguyen territory implied that the cultural practises of Nguyen society at large were to change to such an extent that these practises differed considerably from Trinh practises in the north.

In conclusion, the “Vietnam” of the Trinh-Nguyen era existed not as one nation, but as two disparate nations distinct in their political, economic and cultural circumstances. Although the country was later reunified as one under the Tay Son, and remained united for about a century under the Nguyen Dynasty, this legacy of Vietnamese disunity remained to haunt its people under the French and again in the North-South civil war. Contemporary Marxist historians, in attempting to consolidate their party rule, and in their efforts to mend the divisive forces within society, have purposefully neglected to mention the Trinh-Nguyen era in their depiction of a “glorious” Vietnamese nation. However, if one were to trace the evolution of Vietnam as a nation, it would be essential to study the Trinh-Nguyen era and how the divergence of nationhood during this period affected the country in later ages.  

The above essay was written by Mark Lim Shan-Loong on 2nd October 2000. It was reproduced by the VietNamJournal (Vol. 3/2002) and can be found at 



Chesneaux, Jean, The Vietnamese Nation:  Contribution to a History, Trans. Malcolm Salmon, 2nd ed., Sydney: Current Book Distributors, 1966.

Hammer, Ellen, Vietnam:  Yesterday and Today, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1966.

Lamb, Alastair, The Mandarin Road to Hue, London: Chatto and Windus Ltd, 1970.  

Le, Quy Don, “Miscellaneous Nguyen Records Seized in 1775-6”, Trans. Li Tana, Southern Vietnam under the Nguyen, Eds. Li Tana and Anthony Reid, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1993, 98-126. 

Li, Tana and Anthony Reid, “Introduction:  The Vietnamese Southern Frontier”, Southern Vietnam under the Nguyen, Eds. Li Tana and Anthony Reid, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1993, 1-5.  

Nguyen, Khac Vien, Vietnam:  A Long History, Hanoi: Gioi Publishers, 1993. 

Truong, Dang Que et al., “The Nguyen Chronicle up to 1777”, Trans. Li Tana, Southern Vietnam under the Nguyen, Eds. Li Tana and Anthony Reid, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1993, 127-34.

[1] See Annex A below. Le Duan, former Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary, quoted in Vietnamese history textbook published in Hanoi in 1971, translated by Bruce Lockhart and reproduced in a tutorial handout.

[2] Ellen Hammer, Vietnam:  Yesterday and Today, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc, 1966, p. 86.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., p. 83.

[5] Ibid., p. 82.

[6] Li Tana and Anthony Reid, “Introduction:  The Vietnamese Southern Frontier”, Southern Vietnam under the Nguyen, Eds. Li Tana and Anthony Reid, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1993, p. 2.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ellen Hammer, Vietnam:  Yesterday and Today, p. 83.

[9] Jean Chesneaux, The Vietnamese Nation:  Contribution to a History, Trans. Malcolm Salmon, 2nd ed., Sydney: Current Book Distributors, 1966, p.38.

[10] Ibid., p. 33.

[11] Ellen Hammer, Vietnam:  Yesterday and Today, p. 86. Hammer notes that of the twelve Nguyen provinces, excluding Ha Tien which was still under a separate regime, three had been conquered from Champa and another three from the Khmer.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Derived from a history lecture by Bruce Lockhart on the 22nd August 2000.

[14] Ibid.

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The Writing Page

Annex A

“All the peoples of the world were born equal; every one of them has the right to live, to be happy, and to be free.”  That is the first sentence of the introduction to Chairman Ho Chi Minh’s Proclamation of Independence, read in Ba Dinh Square [in Hanoi] on 2 September 1945, the day when the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born.

The Vietnamese nation rose up to fulfill their sacred right, which they reclaimed after nearly a century of determined struggle for Independence and Freedom.  This was also a warm fraternal greeting to the peoples of the whole world, for their effort and their victory were part of the historic victory of the Vietnamese people.  Vietnam is happy and proud to have been the first colony to carry out a great revolution:  The August Revolution.  Vietnam liberated itself from the shackles of imperialism:  the country was independent, and the people were free.  Although this was only a first step, this victory was very fundamental in the long and difficult struggle to obtain the right for the nation to take its destiny into its own hands.

            On the ridge of Mt. Nghia, at the temple dedicated to the Hung rulers, Chairman Ho [Chi Minh] met with fighters from the People’s Army preparing to liberate the Capital [Hanoi] after the renowned victory at Dien Bien Phu [in 1954]. He said:  “The Hung Kings had the merit of building the country, now you and I must protect the country together.”  [He also wrote that] “We have the right to be proud of the glorious pages of history from the period of the Trung Sisters, Lady Trieu, Tran Hung Dao [who defeated the Mongols in the 13th Century], Le Loi [who drove out the Ming in the 15th Century], Quang Trung [who defeated the Qing in the 18th Century], etc.  We must remember the meritorious efforts of our national heroes because they represent a heroic people.”

            Particularly since 1930 [the founding of the Indochinese Communist Party], under the leadership of our Party, headed by the great Chairman Ho, the people of our whole country have written the most glorious pages of our Fatherland’s history.  Under the glorious banner of the Party, “all that is greatest and most worthy of pride in our people has been brought together over the last forty years.  This is the time when our people, within the greater movement of progressive people [everywhere], have leapt ahead with the bold strength of a new era, with all the glorious traditions of our nation, and with a full consciousness of their destiny and their future” [quote by former Party Secretary Le Duan, writing in 1971].

            From the period of the Hung Kings to the time of Ho Chi Minh, through 4000 years of history, the life of our nation has been full of sacrifice and hardship, but it has also been full of a heroic spirit; at times there has been mourning and shame, but there have also been many glorious, shining moments as well.

            The most recent scientific findings have shown that Vietnam is in one of the earliest areas to have had human life, one of the cradles of humankind.  Vietnam is very rich in natural resources, but it is also a place where nature has placed many obstacles which are difficult to overcome:  rain, floods, storms, humidity, drought.  Having been born in such an environment, people have the necessary conditions to live and for their family lines to prosper, but they must go through a period of long and lasting, bitter, complicated struggle before they can gradually conquer nature.  Our ancestors’ spirit of patient struggle against nature has been popularized through the myth of the Mountain Spirit and the Water Spirit, one of the oldest stories [in Vietnamese culture], which may have appeared as early as the time of the Hung Kings, the beginning of Vietnamese history. Every time that the Water Spirit raised the level of the water, the Mountain Spirit would build mountains even higher, determined to defeat the Water Spirit [in their competition to win the hand of a princess] and

to protect the people from being flooded.  Once the Viet people no longer lived only by slash-and-burn and by hunting and gathering in the hills and mountains and had come down to the delta or else moved inland from the coast, they gathered together and settled over a wide area near big rivers—digging channels [for irrigation], building dams, planting mulberries, raising silkworms, farming, and raising animals on a large scale.  Among the fraternal tribes in these two regions—the mountains and the lowlands—mountain and river had been harmonized in the context of unifying the country, and the first nation of the Viet people took shape in embryonic form:  the country of Van Lang.

            Our country occupies a strategic position relative to the rest of Southeast Asia, and it is rich, so it has often been threatened with invasion.  During the period of the Hung Kings our people began to build the country, so they also had to begin protecting it, resisting the plots of foreign feudal powers to invade and occupy it, along with other fierce tribes.  Our ancestors also had to band together in solidarity to protect their native land.  One myth which is strange but also very much in the style of the people—the story of Thanh Giong—demonstrates the people’s powerful spirit of resisting foreign aggression; it is the manifestation of the tremendously rapid growth of our nation.  Giong was three years old but did not yet know how to talk; he would just lie around in a hammock.  Suddenly he heard that there were foreign invaders; he jumped up and grew immediately.  With the sacred call of the nation, he was fed by the people—only with rice, brinjal, and unboiled water—until he became a giant, and he received the mandate to defeat the invaders.  His weapons—an iron whip and iron horse—were forged for him by the people.  When he went into battle, the iron whip broke, so Giong used bamboo shavings to make a weapon to use against the enemy.  When Giong went into battle, he was followed by all the working people of all ages and occupations, including even the young buffalo boys.  When the enemy had been defeated, and the nation and people were once more at peace, Giong disappeared.

            These two legends emphasize the fighting spirit of solidarity of our people in their struggle against natural disasters and human enemies for the national cause of protecting their lives and the survival of the Fatherland as well as to utilize the legacy bequeathed by their ancestors.  Very early on, the Vietnamese people were able to link the interests of their country, their Fatherland with the interests of each family and individual, binding the country to the home and the village to the country in a very close relationship.  It was this environment that forged a national character which was industrious, intelligent, and flexible yet strong and determined not to be overcome by adverse circumstances.  The character of the

Vietnamese is founded upon two precious ideas:  loyalty (trung, Chinese zhong) toward the country and filial piety (hieu, Ch. xiao) toward the people.  For the Vietnamese, the country is the mother, and the people are the father.  When they have been born and nurtured, the highest principles in the hearts of the Vietnamese are to repay their debt to the people and to the country and to achieve independence for the nation; these are their duties.

            It is because of this that four thousand years ago, on the land where we are now living, building, and fighting, a relatively advanced culture appeared which is the pride of our nation and which was a contribution to the ancient civilization of humanity.  This represented a great victory by the ancient Viet against the forces of nature and aggression to stabilize their lives and to live according to established rules and customs.  That was the result of the creative labor of an entire large community, within which there were elements whose lifestyles and levels of development were quite different from each other.  However, during the long process of struggling shoulder-to-shoulder and sharing good and bad times, they drew closer and integrated with each other like branches on the same tree, living and dying in the same place [literally, sharing one place to be buried and to cut the umbilical cord]; all of them were people of the land of Viet.

            Ho Chi Minh upheld the solidarity among different parts of the Vietnamese nation:  “Whether Kinh [ethnic Vietnamese] or Tay, Muong or Dao, Jarai or Rhade, Sedang or Bahnar or members of other ethnic groups, everyone is a child of Vietnam, all are blood brothers and sisters.  We live and die together, we share joy and misery, and we help each other in times of plenty and in times of want.”  That is the voice of the Fatherland echoing from the distant past.

            Very early on our ancestors were able to join together in solidarity to preserve the country and victoriously oppose outside aggression.  When this principle was violated, the country was lost.  [When someone] turned the country into the private property of a clan, a lineage, or a family and failed to rely on the people to resist invasion, the consequences were even more tragic and disastrous:  families and lineages were wiped out.  This is the first major history lesson to be learned from the myth of My Chau and Trong Thuy.  King Thuc An Duong was the ruler of Au Lac, which had succeeded the country Van Lang of the Hung Kings; he built the strong citadel at Co Loa and knew how to use dangerous weapon technology:  the crossbow and bronze arrows (the sacred crossbow).  The Qin Dynasty was defeated when it sent troops, and the Qin general Zhao Tuo (Trieu Da) used the stratagem of “asking for peace”, asking for his son Trong Thuy to be able to marry Princess My Chau, the daughter of King An Duong, who fell for the trick.  King An Duong failed to rely on the people; he only depended on high walls, the precious crossbow, and a regular army. He treated the kingdom as his private property and thought that by marrying his daughter to the enemy, he would be able to hold on to his throne—he placed family sentiments and the interests of his lineage above his duty to the nation and above the interests of the people.  Unexpectedly defeated by the enemy, he fled and was forced to kill his unfortunate daughter—the victim of his selfish miscalculations, and he himself committed suicide by jumping into the sea.

            In addition to the strong national spirit of the Viet people during An Duong’s time, the story of My Chau and Trong Thuy also shows us something else:  within Vietnamese society at the time there was a clear class distinction.  When King An Duong took the throne and replaced the Hung Kings, he transformed the patriarchal country of Van Lang—basically [governed] by chiefs—into a relatively structured nation—the country of Au Lac.  The capital was moved down to the lowland area.  The large-scale construction of dikes and walls and the development of artisanry, especially the production of weapons, required a centralized state apparatus in order to mobilize and control a growing labor force. Under such conditions the ruling class could only be an aristocracy tied to the power of a monarchy with an absolutist orientation; this was the first stage of the relatively early emergence of feudal relations with an Asian character. Naturally, this ruling class was increasingly removed from the community of the people and came to the point of being cut off from them, in terms of its style of governing as well as its lifestyle.  The boundary [between ruler and ruled] is shown fairly clearly in the architecture of the citadel at Co Loa.  Military matters were the main priority, and the design of Co Loa shows a change in defense strategy.  It was no longer leaders from the people like Giong who led troops into battle, but rather professional officers commanding a standing army. Such changes did not take place overnight; they were the result of a long process within Van Lang society, linked to the gradual break-up of the patriarchal relations of the original communal society and the development of tools used for production, especially the knowledge of bronze technology.  Each threat of foreign invasion—beginning in the 3rd Century BCE, after a fierce feudal clique in the North [meaning the Qin Dynasty] had achieved hegemony in the plains [of China]—exerted pressure to accelerate this process of transformation in Vietnamese society.  Objectively speaking, this was inevitable; it represented a step forward for ancient Vietnamese society and [caused it] to gradually make the transition to a feudal system.

            However, if [rulers] only depended on developments in technology and did not rely on the people, if they were not able to mobilize the entire people to stand up and defend the nation as happened in Giong’s time, and if a ruling minority actually heightened its oppression of the people, then it became difficult to effectively resist the growing pressure of Northern feudalism [i.e., China]. Thus, from an independent country, Vietnam was turned into provinces and districts of foreign feudalism. This did not mean that the Vietnamese people were wiped out, however; this was only the first act of a huge challenge to the vital force of our nation.  History would show just how heroically our people were able to overcome this challenge.

            The policy of assimilation which was pursued after the Han Dynasty replaced the Qin, along with countless incidences of shame and suffering under the cruel and corrupt yoke of [local and Chinese] governors, served to strengthen the national spirit and the will of the Viet people to regain independence and freedom.  The uprising of the Trung girls was the first manifestation, extremely courageous and unique, of this spirit; it demonstrated a powerful force of great historical significance.  It showed the miraculous force of a people who for thousands of years had been the master of an area of land and who were proud of the advanced culture which they had created.

            This culture was built through the hard work, industriousness, and creativity of the Vietnamese people before they lost their independence.  That civilization had unique forms and very distinctive features, most notably the bronze drum. The emergence of this civilization was a major step forward in the progress of the Vietnamese nation from its primordial stage to the time of civilization.  The powerful vitality of the nation began at this point.

      It is rare, particularly in ancient times, to see a small people—the nation of Vietnam numbered only around a million people in the early Common Era when it was absorbed by feudal invaders from the North—able to preserve and develop their own character and identity even when under harsh foreign rule for thousands of years.  Even more special is the fact that that nation never gave up the will to regain its independence and sovereignty.  The close sense of solidarity in shared suffering of the nation and race, with the idea that “[We] live and die together, we share joy and misery, and we help each other in times of plenty and in times of want”; the deep sense of patriotism and an unbreakable will, nurtured by the essence of an ancient and unique culture; the determination to achieve independence combined with an unusual degree of flexibility in adopting good elements from outsiders in order to strengthen their own ability to liberate themselves—these were the fundamental elements which forged our nation’s strong vitality.

      Without such conditions it would be hard to explain the nation’s incredible strength and ability to leap forward after escaping from the yoke of northern feudal rule.  That liberation was also a shining page in history, one verse in the 4000-year heroic epic of the nation.  The glorious victory of Ngo Quyen [in the 10th Century] opened a period of flourishing development for the national culture which lasted nearly five centuries—from the 10th through the 15th Centuries, under the Dinh, Early Le, Ly, Tran, and Later Le Dynasties.  Of course, having just cast off the yoke of foreign rule in the 10th Century, Vietnam could take no other path than that of development according to the laws of the feudal mode of production.  For most East Asian countries at the time, Chinese-style feudalism was the model.  It is also natural that the organizational structure of the feudal Vietnamese nation in many ways absorbed the experiences and influences of the North in terms of form.  In terms of the nature [of these structures], however, we demonstrated our sense of independence, sovereignty, and equality vis-à-vis foreign countries.  With this idea in mind, the country was now known as Dai Viet (Ch. Dayue, “Great Viet”).

      After winning back independence, the national sentiment and national pride, along with strong determination, developed tremendously.  Even though Vietnam had regained its independence, the plots of conquest and the pressure from Northern feudal forces remained a long-term threat.  In order to preserve that independence, it would be necessary to build the country, to make it strong, rich, and solid in every way.


      “Like our country Dai Viet in the past,

      Which has long been known as civilized

      It has its own borders, rivers, and mountains

      Northern and Southern customs are different, too

      The Dinh, Ly, and Tran [Dynasties] succeeded each other in building the country

      They and the Han, Tang, Song, and Yuan Dynasties were each masters of their own area

      Although there were periods of strength and periods of weakness

      [Vietnam] has never lacked heroes”


      It is difficult to imagine the grief and suffering piled upon this small country by three horrible invasions by the Mongol-Yuan troops over a thirty-year period in the second half of the 13th Century, as well as the brutal invasion and occupation by Ming forces for two decades in the early 15th Century.  Determined not to be defeated and holding high the banner of the righteous cause of independence and freedom, our people produced, built, and struggled at the same time. Mainly because of this intelligent and heroic integration of the two tasks of building the country and preserving the country, the heroic spirit and creative strength of our people grew and were toughened, demonstrating the nation’s unusual vitality, pride, and ability to keep moving forward.  It was this that pushed our nation a great distance forward in protecting their right to live and to determine their own [fate]; all three Mongol invasions were crushed, and the evil rule of the Ming forces was broken and swept away.