Champa Wins Independence from Dai Viet Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The successful rebellion by the king of Champa and his subsequent ability to resist Vietnamese military efforts to reinstall their rule is a significant episode in the more than fifteen hundred years of strife between the Vietnamese and Cham people that would end much later with the utter defeat of the Chams.

Summary of Event

From the moment the Chams entered recorded history in the first century, they were in conflict with the Vietnamese then living under Chinese rule in northern Vietnam. Most Chams are believed to have migrated from Java and Malaysia to the coast of south and central Vietnam, where they settled and intermarried with the indigenous Rhade and Jarai people of the central Vietnamese highlands. Migrations;Chams to Vietnam Culturally, the Chams were thoroughly Indianized, like their neighbors in Cambodia and Thailand to the west. Their Indianized culture set the Chams apart from the Chinese-influenced Vietnamese culture. [kw]Champa Wins Independence from Dai Viet (1323-1326) [kw]Dai Viet, Champa Wins Independence from (1323-1326) [kw]Viet, Champa Wins Independence from Dai (1323-1326) Dai Viet Champa Southeast Asia;1323-1326: Champa Wins Independence from Dai Viet[2680] Government and politics;1323-1326: Champa Wins Independence from Dai Viet[2680] Wars, uprisings, and civil unrest;1323-1326: Champa Wins Independence from Dai Viet[2680] Tran Nhan Tong Tran Anh Tong Tran Minh Tong Jaya Sinhavarman III Huyen Tran Jaya Sinhavarman IV Che Nang Che Anan Che Bong Nga

Apart from surviving inscriptions on Cham monuments, what is known of Cham history comes from Chinese and Vietnamese sources and thus has to be evaluated with caution.

The kingdom of Champa was founded by a group who rebelled against Chinese rule in 192, and it was known as Lin-yi by the Chinese and Lam Ap by the Vietnamese. After 875, the Vietnamese called the Cham the Chiem Thanh. At the height of its power in the tenth century, the kingdom of Champa stretched over a coastal area ranging south from the Gate of Annam north of modern Da Nang up to Cape Vung Tau just east of modern Ho Chi Minh City. The Chinese and Vietnamese considered the Cham fierce barbarians and pirates, but with a reputation for cleanliness.

When the Vietnamese gained independence from China in 939, their conflict with the Chams continued. In 982, the Vietnamese emperor Le Dai Hanh Le Dai Hanh captured and destroyed the Cham capital of Indrapura Indrapura;fall of (982) , near the modern Vietnamese city of Quang Nam. Although the Chams would rebuild the city, intermittent warfare with the Vietnamese continued. In 1054, the Vietnamese emperor renamed his nation Dai Viet (“great land of the Vietnamese”), a name that would remain official until the nineteenth century.

In 1070, the victorious Vietnamese obtained the three northernmost provinces of Champa. They ranged south up to the modern city of Quong Tri, near where Vietnam would be partitioned into North Vietnam and South Vietnam from 1945 to 1976. This Vietnamese conquest cemented the enmity of the two people for centuries to come.

In the early 1200’, Champa was occupied by the Khmer of Cambodia. After gaining independence again in 1220, the kingdom of Champa experienced renewed warfare with the Vietnamese. However, in 1252, when Mongol Mongols;Champa and invaders from the north suddenly threatened both peoples, the Chams and Vietnamese united to defeat the Mongols, and their relationship became friendly.

In 1301, the former Vietnamese emperor Tran Nhan Tong Tran Nhan Tong visited the king of Champa, Jaya Sinhavarman III Jaya Sinhavarman III . The former emperor promised the king of Champa his daughter, beautiful princess Huyen Tran, as the king’s fifth wife. Princess Huyen Huyen Tran was the sister of the current Vietnamese emperor, Tran Anh Tong Tran Anh Tong , the son in whose favor Tran Nhan Tong had abdicated, as was the custom of Vietnam’s Tran Dynasty (1225-1400). The Vietnamese debated the promise of their former emperor until 1306; their reluctance to let a Vietnamese princess marry a Cham “barbarian” was overcome only when the king of Champa agreed to cede to Vietnam two more northern Champa provinces, which included the modern cities of Hue and Da Nang.

One year after his 1306 wedding, King Jaya Sinhavarman III died. Cham aristocratic custom demanded that his young wife kill herself to be burned with her husband on his funeral pyre. The princess refused to do so, and the Vietnamese court sided with her. Her former Vietnamese lover went into Champa and rescued her. This incensed the Chams, and war broke out.

In 1312, the Vietnamese sent a punitive expedition to Champa. The new king, Jaya Sinhavarman IV Jaya Sinhavarman IV , was captured and died in captivity near modern-day Hanoi. The Vietnamese formally declared the kingdom of Champa a province of Dai Viet. They replaced the king with his brother, Che Nang Che Nang . Che Nang had to agree to reign as a “vassal prince of the second rank” in the service of the Vietnamese emperor, and Cham independence came to a temporary end.

In 1314, Che Nang rebelled against his Vietnamese masters but was defeated and fled to his mother in Java, Indonesia. The Vietnamese installed Che Anan as their viceroy in Champa. By 1323, Che Anan Che Anan also had rebelled against the Vietnamese and refused to pay tribute. Emperor Tran Minh Tong Tran Minh Tong , who had succeeded his father who had abdicated in 1314, sent troops south to subdue the Chams. However, the Chams fought off the Vietnamese. By 1326, Tran Minh Tong had abandoned the military effort against the Chams, who no longer recognized Vietnamese rule and no longer paid tribute. Thus, Champa had regained its independence from Dai Viet, which it had formally lost in 1312.


King Che Anan’s stubborn defeat of all Vietnamese forces sent against him from 1323 to 1326 ushered in a new era of Champa’s revival. For a while, it looked as if Champa could retain its national and cultural independence from its Vietnamese enemies to the north. Although the next Vietnamese emperor claimed in an inscription carved into a huge mountain rock facing Laos that the royal heirs of Champa paid homage to him, this claim seems rather suspect to modern historians. There is evidence that Champa remained independent of Dai Viet and flourished.

Che Anan’s successor failed to win back the provinces lost to the Vietnamese in 1070 and 1306, but he defeated all Vietnamese attempts to reimpose their rule in Champa. As Vietnam’s Tran Dynasty declined, the Chams gained even more power.

When Che Bong Nga Che Bong Nga became king of Champa in 1360, he renewed warfare with the Vietnamese. Beginning in 1371, he plundered the Vietnamese capital of Thang Long (near modern-day Hanoi) three times. He terrorized the Vietnamese all over their country, killing their emperor in battle in 1377. A year later, Champa had recovered all five provinces once lost to Vietnam. Its power seemed unstoppable. However, Che Bong Nga died in 1390. Some accounts speak of his death in a naval battle, others relate that he was poisoned.

With Che Bong Nga’s death, Champa’s good fortunes came to an end. By 1401, the Vietnamese had recaptured the five northern provinces and conquered the royal Cham city of Indrapura. The Cham revival that had begun with regained independence in 1323-1326 could thrive only while Vietnam was weakened by internal dynastic decay, and Champa blossomed under its warrior king Che Bong Nga. Later, the Vietnamese would prove victorious.

In 1407, a Vietnamese fleet was poised to take the Cham capital of Vijaya, near modern-day Qui Nhon. It had to turn back only because Vietnam faced invasion by the Chinese. After a brief time of Chinese rule, from 1407 to 1428, Vietnam renewed its struggle with Champa. In 1446, Vijaya was taken, and war ended with total Vietnamese victory over Champa in 1471. The Chams lost much of their land. In the early nineteenth century, their remaining state was erased by the Vietnamese. As of the early twenty-first century, about sixty thousand descendants of the Champa lived as a minority in Vietnam. Theirs is a lost empire of Southeast Asia, with archaeological evidence speaking of its past history.

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Chapuis, Oscar. A History of Vietnam. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995. Discusses the events in detail from both a Champa and a Vietnamese point of view. Very readable. Maps, bibliography, and index.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Hall, Daniel George. A History of Southeast Asia. 4th ed. London: Macmillan Press, 1981. Still a standard work on the period. Chapter 8 surveys the history of Champa, chapter 9 that of Vietnam, from the beginnings to the sixteenth century. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, and index.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Huard, Pierre, and Maurice Durand. Viet Nam: Civilization and Culture. Translated by Vu Thiěn Kim. 2d ed. Hanoi: Ecole Française d’Extrěme-Orient, 1994. General overview of the event from a Vietnamese perspective. Contains a general historic survey and much background on Vietnamese culture through the ages, richly illustrated.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Raj, Hans. History of South-East Asia. Delhi, India: Surjeet Publishers, 2002. Comprehensive account incorporating fresh historical, archaeological, and anthropological research and insights. Maps, bibliography, and index.

Categories: History