Trần Quốc Khang

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Trần Quốc Khang
Prince Tĩnh Quốc
Born1237 (1237)
Thang Long, Đại Việt
Died1300 (aged 6263)
Thăng Long, Đại Việt
House Trần Dynasty
Father Trần Thái Tông (in name)
Trần Liễu (by nature)
MotherPrincess Thuận Thiên

Prince Tĩnh Quốc Trần Quốc Khang (1237–1300) was the first prince of the Emperor Trần Thái Tông, the eldest brother of Trần Thánh Tông and princes Trần Quang Khải, Trần Ích Tắc and Trần Nhật Duật. Although a son of Thái Tông in name, Trần Quốc Khang's father was actually Prince Hoài Trần Liễu, who was forced by grand chancellor Trần Thủ Độ to give up his wife, Princess Thuận Thiên, to his younger brother Thái Tông when she was already pregnant with Trần Quốc Khang. For this reason, Trần Quốc Khang was not chosen as successor of Thái Tông for the throne and he did not have a significant role in royal court either, as his younger brothers did. Afterwards he was appointed as governor of Nghệ An, a position that his descendants inherited. Since Trần Quốc Khang was in fact a son of Trần Liễu, he was also a natural brother of general Trần Hưng Đạo, commander-in-chief of Đại Việt army.

Contents

Background

Trần Quốc Khang was born in 1237 as the first son of the Emperor Trần Thái Tông and his new empress Thuận Thiên. According to Đại Việt sử kí toàn thư , Thái Tông and his wife, the Empress Chiêu Thánh, did not have their first son for a while. This situation made grand chancellor Trần Thủ Độ worried, because he had profited from the same circumstance with the Emperor Lý Huệ Tông to overthrow the Lý Dynasty and create the Trần Dynasty. Therefore, Trần Thủ Độ decided to force Thái Tông's elder brother, Prince Hoài Trần Liễu, to give up his wife Princess Thuận Thiên for the Emperor when she had been already pregnant with Trần Quốc Khang for three months. After the royal marriage, Thuận Thiên was styled the new empress of the Trần Dynasty, while Chiêu Thánh was downgraded to princess. In the fury of losing his pregnant wife, Trần Liễu rose a revolt against the royal family, and Thái Tông felt awkward about the situation and decided to become a monk in Yên Tử Mountain. The stable state was only restored when Trần Thủ Độ successfully persuaded Thái Tông to return to the throne and put down Trần Liễu's revolt. Vietnamese historians in the feudal era, such as Ngô Sĩ Liên or Phan Phu Tiên, often criticized decisions of Trần Thủ Độ and Trần Thái Tông in this event and considered it as the root cause for the downfall of the Trần Dynasty afterwards, during the reign of Trần Dụ Tông. [1]

After the birth of Quốc Khang, Thái Tông and the Empress Thuận Thiên had two other sons, crown prince Trần Hoảng, who eventually became the Emperor Trần Thánh Tông, [2] and Prince Chiêu Minh Trần Quang Khải. Thái Tông also had several sons with his concubines, such as Prince Chiêu Quốc Trần Ích Tắc and Prince Chiêu Văn Trần Nhật Duật. [3]

History

Unlike his famous brothers Trần Quang Khải or Trần Nhật Duật, Prince Tĩnh Quốc (Vietnamese: Tĩnh Quốc vương) Trần Quốc Khang was not an important figure in the royal court during Đại Việt's war of resistance against the Mongol invasion. While Trần Quang Khải was appointed by the Emperor Trần Thánh Tông as minister at age 20, Trần Quốc Khang was not considered capable for an important position and thus he held only some nominal high-ranking title, but without real power in the royal court. [4] [5] However, Prince Tĩnh Quốc always lived in good term with his brothers. It was said that [6] one time when the Retired Emperor Thái Tông wore a white cotton coat, Trần Quốc Khang tried to make the Retired Emperor award him this coat by a dance and finally achieved his purpose, but when the Emperor also wanted to get the coat by another dance, Prince Tĩnh Quốc said: "Even for the most precious thing, the throne, Your Majesty's humble subject [Quốc Khang] did not want to fight with the second brother [Thánh Tông]. Now the Retired Emperor awards me this negligible coat and the second brother still wants to deprive me of it?" [7] His answer was praised by Thái Tông: "So you think that the throne has the same value as this mediocre coat." [8]

In 1269, Trần Quốc Khang was appointed as commander in chief (thượng tướng quân) to govern the southern frontier province Nghệ An. [9] Prince Tĩnh Quốc decided to build his palace there, which was so luxurious that the Emperor knew about its reputation. Ultimately Prince Tĩnh Quốc transformed his palace into a Buddhist pagoda which still remains today with the name Thông Pagoda. [10] During the invasion of the Yuan Dynasty in Đại Việt, Trần Quốc Khang's son, Marquis Chương Hiến (Chương Hiến hầu) Trần Kiện surrendered to Kublai Khan's prince Toghan. He was one of the highest ranking defectors of the Trần Dynasty, just lower than Trần Ích Tắc, Trần Quốc Khang's younger brother. Before he could flee to northern border, Trần Kiện was killed in February 1285 by Nguyễn Địa Lô, house servant of Trần Hưng Đạo who incidentally was a son of Trần Liễu and thus a natural brother of Trần Quốc Khang. [11]

Prince Tĩnh Quốc Trần Quốc Khang died in March 1300 at the age of 63. Afterwards, his position of governor of Nghệ An was inherited by his descendants for several generations. [12]

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Prince Chiêu Minh Trần Quang Khải (1241–1294) was the third son of Trần Thái Tông, first emperor of the Trần Dynasty of Vietnam. Being the younger brother of the Emperor Trần Thánh Tông and holding the position of grand chancellor of the Trần Dynasty for many years, Trần Quang Khải was one of the most important figures of the Trần family and the royal court during the reigns of emperors Thánh Tông and Nhân Tông. In the second war of resistance against the Mongol invasion, Trần Quang Khải and Trần Hưng Đạo were two key commanders of the Đại Việt army who helped the Emperor defeat the troops of Kublai Khan's son prince Toghan. Besides his military and administrative activities, Prince Chiêu Minh was also a famous poet and was credited as the creator of the dance of flowers. Today, Trần Quang Khải is still considered one of the most famous historical figures of the Trần Dynasty and is worshiped in several temples in Vietnam.

Marquis Hoài Văn Trần Quốc Toản was a marquis of the Trần Dynasty who was well known for his active role in the second war of resistance of Đại Việt against the Mongol invasion. Although there were only a few historical records about Trần Quốc Toản, he is still widely known as an example of patriotism in Vietnam while he participated and ultimately sacrificed himself for the country at a very young age. Today, story about Trần Quốc Toản is taught in Vietnamese schoolbooks and many places in Vietnam are named in honour of this young hero.

Trần Ích Tắc, or Prince Chiêu Quốc, was a prince of Đại Việt, the fifth son of emperor Trần Thái Tông of the Trần Dynasty, and the younger brother of the Emperor Trần Thánh Tông and grand chancellor Trần Quang Khải.

Prince Yên Sinh Trần Liễu (1211–1251) was the elder brother of the Trần Thái Tông, the first emperor of Trần Dynasty. Initially, Trần Liễu was honoured by his younger brother with the title King Hiển but he was downgraded to Prince Yên Sinh after the short-lived revolt in fury of losing his pregnant wife, Princess Thuận Thiên, to the Emperor under the pressure of Imperial Regent Trần Thủ Độ. Besides this event, Trần Liễu was well known in the history of Vietnam for being the father of Trần Hưng Đạo, commander-in-chief of the Đại Việt army during the second and third war of resistance against the Mongol invasion.

National Matriarch Linh Từ Trần Thị Dung (?–1259) was the last empress and the last empress mother of the Lý Dynasty. She was entitled by the Emperor Lý Huệ Tông as Empress Consort of the Lý Dynasty from 1216 to 1225 before becoming Empress Mother of the Lý Dynasty when her daughter Lý Phật Kim was enthroned as Lý Chiêu Hoàng in 1225. After Trần Thủ Độ, Trần Thị Dung's cousin, successfully overthrew the Lý Dynasty and founded the Trần Dynasty, Trần Thị Dung was downgraded to Princess Thiên Cực while her brother Trần Thừa's son became Trần Thái Tông, first emperor of the Trần Dynasty. Before Lý Chiêu Hoàng, Trần Thị Dung had another daughter who eventually also became Empress Consort of the Trần Dynasty, Empress Thuận Thiên.

Empress Thuận Thiên (1216–1248) was the second empress of Trần dynasty, she succeeded her younger sister Empress Chiêu Thánh in 1237 by an arrangement of Trần Thủ Độ in which Prince Hoài Trần Liễu was forced to give up his 3-month pregnant wife Princess Thuận Thiên to the Emperor Trần Thái Tông. Thuận Thiên was born in the royal family of the Lý dynasty as the first child of the Emperor Lý Huệ Tông and Lady Thuận Trinh Trần Thị Dung with whom she witnessed the turbulent time of the Late Lý and Early Trần Dynasty. She was mother of four princes including the second emperor of the Trần Dynasty Trần Thánh Tông and grand chancellor Prince Chiêu Minh Trần Quang Khải.

Marquis Chương Thành Trần Tự Khánh was a general of the Lý Dynasty during the reigns of Lý Cao Tông and Lý Huệ Tông. He was son of Trần Lý, head of the Trần clan, and brother of Trần Thừa and Trần Thị Dung who married to Lý Huệ Tông. Renowned as a skilled general, Trần Tự Khánh was one of the most prominent figures during the turbulent time at the end of Cao Tông and the beginning of Huệ Tông's rule. He had many victories on the battlefield and was responsible for putting down several revolts against the Lý Dynasty. Although died before the coronation of his nephew Trần Thái Tông, Trần Tự Khánh was considered one of the main factors that led to the rising position of the Trần clan in the royal court and ultimately the overthrowing of the Lý Dynasty by Trần Thủ Độ to create the Trần Dynasty.

Trần Quốc Tảng was the third son of Trần Hưng Đạo. He was a general of the Trần Dynasty during the reign of emperors Trần Nhân Tông and Trần Anh Tông who was also his son-in-law. As a member of Yên Sinh's line in Trần clan, Trần Quốc Tảng supported the plot of taking over the throne from Trần Cảnh's line which was opposed by his father Trần Quốc Tuấn and his elder brother Trần Quốc Nghiễn, this difference made Hưng Đạo break off the paternal relation with Trần Quốc Tảng until his death in 1300.

Lê Phụ Trần (?–?) was a general of the Trần Dynasty during the reigns of three successive emperors: Thái Tông, Thánh Tông, and Nhân Tông.

References

Notes

  1. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 165
  2. National Bureau for Historical Record 1998 , p. 198
  3. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 166
  4. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 176
  5. National Bureau for Historical Record 1998 , p. 213
  6. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , pp. 180–181
  7. In Vietnamese: "Cái quý nhất là ngôi hoàng đế, hạ thần còn không tranh với chú hai. Nay đức chí tôn ban cho thần một vật nhỏ mọn mà chú hai cũng muốn cướp lấy chăng?". Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 180
  8. On Vietnamese: "Thế ra mày coi ngôi vua với cái áo xoàng này chẳng hơn kém gì nhau." Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 181
  9. National Bureau for Historical Record 1998 , p. 218
  10. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 181
  11. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 192
  12. Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993 , p. 210

Bibliography