Lam Son Uprising - Summary and historical significance

Nguyễn Minh Khánh
tháng 1 20, 2024
Last Updated

In the spring of 1418, from the Lam Son mountains, Le Loi, along with other heroes, raised the flag of the Lam Son uprising to expel the invading Ming army. After 10 years of relentless struggle, the uprising finally achieved victory. How did this uprising unfold? What were the causes of its success and the historical significance of the Lam Son uprising?

Historical Context

The Lam Son uprising erupted in a challenging context. In 1414, after suppressing the uprisings of the Later Tran dynasty, the Ming generals Zhang Fu and Mu Sheng began their rule over Dai Viet. They brutally massacred soldiers and villagers, beheading and burning their bodies to terrorize the Vietnamese people.

Lam Son Uprising

During their 20-year occupation of Vietnam, the Ming dynasty caused widespread social unrest, leading to poverty, backwardness, and suffering among the people. In the spring of 1418, Le Loi, along with his civil and military generals and like-minded heroes such as Nguyen Trai, Tran Nguyen Han, Le Van An, and others, raised the flag of the Lam Son uprising.

Le Loi declared himself the Binh Dinh Vuong (Pacification King) and called upon the people to rise up and fight against the invading Ming army.

Who was leader the Lam Son uprising?

Le Loi was the primary leader of the Lam Son uprising from its inception. Born on September 10, 1385, in Lam Son, he was the youngest son of Le Khoang and Trinh Thi Ngoc Huong. When the Ming army invaded the country, he harbored great ambitions and rose up to expel the invaders. In addition, more than 50 civil and military generals joined Le Loi in raising the flag of the uprising.

Summary of the Lam Son Uprising 

In the spring of 1418, Le Loi, along with 50 civil and military generals and several patriotic scholars such as Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Ly, Le Van An, Bui Quoc Hung, and others, raised the flag of the uprising.

The uprising is divided into three main stages:

Stage 1 (1418 - 1423)

The uprising began and operated in the Thanh Hoa region In early 1416, in the Lam Son mountains, Le Loi, along with 18 close companions and other civil and military generals, united to launch the uprising. News of Le Loi raising the flag of the uprising and recruiting generals and soldiers spread widely, attracting heroes from all directions. They all flocked to Lam Son to join the uprising army. 

The composition of the Lam Son uprising included various social strata and ethnic groups. After a long period of preparation, sensing the opportune moment, Le Loi officially launched the uprising in the spring of 1418, declaring himself the Binh Dinh Vuong (Pacification King) and calling upon the people of the whole country to rise up against the Ming invaders.

By mid-1418, the Ming army mobilized forces to encircle the Chi Linh base in an attempt to kill Le Loi. Faced with this critical situation, Le Lai disguised himself as Le Loi and led a suicide squad to break through the enemy's siege.

After Le Lai's death, the Ming army, believing they had killed Le Loi, ordered a retreat. In late 1421, the Ming army mobilized over 100,000 soldiers to launch a major sweep of the insurgent base. Le Loi had to withdraw his troops to Chi Linh Mountain. At this point, the Lam Son uprising faced difficulties due to severe food shortages.

The uprising lasted until 1423, when Le Loi proposed a peace strategy that was accepted by the Ming army. In May 1423, the Lam Son insurgents returned to their base. Summary of Stage 1: The early stage of the uprising faced many difficulties and challenges due to its weak forces, constant encirclement, and attacks by the Ming army.

The insurgents had to retreat to Chi Linh Mountain three times, suffering from food shortages. However, the morale of the troops remained high, and the uprising continued to the next stage.

Stage 2 (1424 - 1426):

The Lam Son uprising advances into the southern region From early 1424 to late 1426, the Lam Son insurgents launched several uprisings and achieved victories. On October 12, 1424, the Lam Son uprising unexpectedly attacked Da Cang (Tho Xuan, Thanh Hoa). After capturing Tra Lan Citadel, the Lam Son army, riding on their victory, advanced to Kha Luu, liberating most of Nghe An. In August 1425, Tran Nguyen Han and Le Ngan mobilized troops to carry out the plan to liberate Tan Binh and Thuan Hoa. From this point on, the liberated area of the Lam Son insurgents extended from Thanh Hoa to Hai Van Pass. 

The Ming army was routed, their strongholds isolated and besieged by the Lam Son army. Summary of Stage 2 of the Lam Son uprising:

During this stage, the uprising was planned and executed strategically. The victory in Nghe An boosted the morale of the insurgents, leading to a series of other victories from Thanh Hoa to Hai Van Pass. This attracted many talented individuals to join the Lam Son insurgent forces, preparing for the decisive stage.

Stage 3 (1426 - 1427): Liberating Dong Quan and marching north, the Lam Son uprising achieved complete victory

In September 1426, Le Loi and the command decided to divide into 3 groups and advance north. The first army was to liberate the Northwest, with the main task of preventing reinforcements from the Ming dynasty from Yunnan.

The second army would liberate the lower Nhị River (Red River) and block the Ming's retreat from Nghe An to Dong Quan. The third army would advance straight to Dong Quan. The Lam Son insurgents were supported by people all over the country wherever they went. With great victories in many battles, the uprising officially entered the counteroffensive phase, beginning with the Tot Dong - Chuc Dong battle in 1426.

In October 1426, about 50,000 reinforcements from the Ming army led by Wang Tong attacked Dong Quan city, by which time the enemy's forces had increased to 100,000. In November 1426, Wang Tong attacked the Lam Son uprising army in Cao Bo to gain the initiative.

Schematic diagram of the Tot Dong - Chuc Dong battle.
Schematic diagram of the Tot Dong - Chuc Dong battle.

However, knowing the enemy's plot, our army had ambushed at Tot Dong - Chuc Dong. The Ming army was routed, and Wang Tong had to retreat to Dong Quan.

Taking advantage of the victory, at the end of 1427, the Lam Son insurgents launched the Chi Lang - Xuong Giang campaign, defeating another 100,000 reinforcements from the Ming dynasty. The commanding general, Wang Tong, had to ask for peace and was allowed to withdraw his troops.
After the victory at Chi Lang - Xuong Giang, Le Loi ordered Nguyen Trai to write the Binh Ngo Dai Cao to proclaim to the whole nation, restoring the Dai Viet nation. Le Loi ascended to the throne as King Le Thai To, opening the Le dynasty.

Reasons for the victory of the Lam Son uprising

The uprising of the Lam Son insurgents was victorious due to the following reasons:
The skillful leadership and strategy of the command team, headed by Le Loi. Along with that is Le Loi's talent in commanding troops when he selected and trusted talented generals such as Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Chinh, Le Lai, ... Moreover, Le Loi also knew how to combine both military strength and diplomatic strength to repel the invaders.

The patriotism of the nation and the spirit of indomitable struggle, determined to regain independence for the country. From the early days of raising the Lam Son uprising flag, the army received the wholehearted support of the people. All classes of people, regardless of wealth or status, all united to support and expel the Ming army.

The uprising lasted for 10 years, it was a persistent and long-lasting uprising. Le Loi had the right strategy to fight the enemy and the policy of relying on the people. Thanks to that, the insurgent army grew from a small army to a powerful uprising army on a nationwide scale.

Historical significance of the Lam Son uprising

The victory of the uprising ended more than 20 years of domination by the Ming army. The uprising also crushed the plot of the invaders, the country was free of enemies, opening the Hau Le dynasty with nearly 400 years of history.

The victory of the Lam Son insurgents was also a milestone marking the patriotism and bravery of our people and army. For the Vietnamese people, patriotism is a sacred feeling, a measure of human morality.
This led to the prosperous development of all fields of Economy, Culture, Education, Politics, and Military. Contributing to leaving many great Cultural - Historical values for the future.

Thus, the victory of the Lam Son uprising demonstrated the patriotism of our army and people. Moreover, it also depicted the portrait of the talented general Le Loi who defeated the invaders, opening a new page of history for the nation.

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