Gia Long

Gia Long

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Gia Long

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Emperor Gia Long (Hán tự: ; 8 February 1762 – 3 February 1820), born Nguyễn Phúc Ánh (Hán tự: , often referred to simply as Nguyễn ÁnhIn this Vietnamese name, the family name is Nguyễn, but is often simplified to Nguyen in English-language text. According to Vietnamese custom, this person should properly be referred to by the given name Ánh or Anh (in English-language text)..), was an emperor of Vietnam. Unifying what is now modern Vietnam in 1802, he founded the Nguyễn Dynasty, the last of the Vietnamese dynasties.

A nephew of the last Nguyen Lord who ruled over southern Vietnam, Nguyen Anh was forced into hiding in 1777 as a fifteen year old when his family was slain in the Tay Son revolt. After several changes of fortune in which his loyalists regained and again lost Saigon, he befriended the French Catholic priest Pigneau de Behaine. Pigneau championed his cause to the French government—and managed to recruit volunteers when this fell through—to help Nguyen Anh regain the throne. From 1789, Nguyen Anh was once again in the ascendancy and began his northward march to defeat the Tay Son, eventually moving by 1802 to the border with China, which had previously been under the control of the Trinh Lords. When this was over, he had reunited Vietnam after centuries of internecine feudal warfare with a greater land mass than ever before, stretching from China down to the Gulf of Siam.

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