Chapter 11 : MẠC DYNASTYLinh
After the death of Emperor Lê Thánh Tông, the Court became corrupted. Benighted and brutal, like Lê Uy Mục and Lê Tương Dực, appeared, pushing people into a dark and miserable life. Peasant-led rebels took place throughout the kingdom. Seizing this chance, Mạc Đăng Dung (1483-1541), a general in the court of emperor Lê Chiêu Tông (ruling from 1516 to 1522), usurped the throne. The Mạc Dynasty existed in 65 years (1527-1592) with five emperors. Luckily, during this period, the country’s economy, culture and education were restored.
However, during their ruling time, the Mạc were always threatened by pro-Lê forces. In 1533, descendants and old courtiers of the Lê, headed by Nguyễn Kim (1468-1545), restored the Lê Dynasty. There co-existed two administrations: the North Court (the Mạc) was ruling from Thanh Hóa Province northwards while the South Court (the Restored Lê) was resigning from Thanh Hóa southwards.
During these unstable years, Vietnamese villages and hamlets considerably changed. Each village remained as a relatively independent economic-administrative unit but the central court started to intervene in this self-governing bloc. Since the Mạc Dynasty, in a village, apart from temples, pagodas and shrines there appeared communal houses – the place dedicated to the village’s tutelary gods and for the community’s meetings.
Such commercial port as Vân Đồn in the North and Hội An (Faifo) in the South continued to flourish. Thăng Long was still the country’s biggest town where dwellers were very proud of their elegant lifestyle, of the grandiose Cửu Trùng Đài (Nice-storey Pavilion) standing on the shore of West Lake, and of such handicrafts like folk printings in Tự Tháp (later Hàng Trống).
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VIETNAM – A BRIEF HISTORY IN PICTURES
Compiled by: HIẾU MINH – HUYỀN TRANG (in Vietnamese language)
With an introduction of Historian DƯƠNG TRUNG QUỐC
Illustrated by TẠ HUY LONG
Translated by: NGUYỄN XUÂN HỒNG
P/s: Completed by the volunteers: Nguyễn Ngọc Bích – Second-year student of Foreign Trade University; Takanori Kano from Japan; Antoine Roels from Belgium; Linh – The coordinator of SJ Vietnam.