This day in 1820 marked the death of Vietnamese emperor Gia Long, one of the most powerful rules in the entire history of Vietnam.
Namely, in his time the Vietnamese Empire reached a yet-unseen territorial extent. It covered the areas of the current states of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos – i.e. the entire area between China and Thailand.
Gia Long was the first ruler from the Nguyen dynasty. This was the last Vietnamese imperial dynasty, and it reigned from the time Gia Long acceded to the throne in 1802 and all the way until the abdication of the last Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai in 1945 (he was allegedly persuaded to abdicate by the communist leader Ho Chi Minh).
According to his year of birth (1762), the mighty emperor Gia Long was around seven years older than Napoleon Bonaparte. It is interesting that Gia Long collaborated with the French back in the time before the French Revolution, when the Kingdom of France was ruled by Louis XVI, who was married to Marie Antoinette. Namely, Gia Long relied a lot on French support for his efforts to achieve dominion over Vietnam.
Gia Long’s imperial capital was located near the city of Huế, not far from the sea coast, roughly around the border between North and South Vietnam in the 20th century. The French very actively tried to introduce Catholicism into Vietnam, but Gia Long’s country remained inclined towards Confucianism.
There were several French officers at the Vietnamese imperial court, who received many privileges, luxurious residences, and the status of mandarins. They were also allegedly exempt from the obligation to prostrate themselves before the Vietnamese emperor.