Coins and Banknotes of Vietnam
and French Indochina

XVIII. The 莫 Mac and 阮 Nguyen Governments.

The 莫 Mac family. 1527-1667.

莫登庸 MAC DAHG-DUNG. 1527-1530. In chapter XVI notice was taken of General Mac Dang-dung, who made away with the LE Dynasty and proclaimed himself king under the name of 明德 MINH-DUC. Although numerous bands of rebels rose up in arms against him in nearly every province, he at first reigned over the whole of Annam, having his capital at Hanoi.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.170, 明德元寶 - Minh-duc-nguyen-bao

No. 170 (Barker: 46.1-46.2).
Obverse: 明德元寶 Minh-duc-nguyen-bao.
Reverse: plain. Iron coin issued by MAC DANG-DUNG.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.171, 明德通寶 - Minh-duc-thong-bao

No. 171. (Barker: see 45.1-45.3)
Obverse: 明德通寶 Minh-duc-thong-bao.
Reverse: The characters 七分 That-phan, indicating the weight of the coin. They are written in the The-triem style. Copper coin issued by Mac Dang-dung.

莫登瀛 MAC DANG-DINH (1530-1537) succeeded in 1530 through the abdication of his father MAC DANG-DUNG. In 1536 the Emperor of China sent a commission to study the political status of Annam, and in consequence of the report received he declared war against the MAC. Mac Dang-ding died at the very time that the Chinese armies passed the frontiers of the kingdom in 1537, and his father, resuming the management of affairs, hurried to submit to the Imperial will, and declared himself to be a vassal of China- The Emperor then divided the territories of Annam into two kingdoms, giving that of Cochinchina to the LE family, and declaring Tunquin to be a feudatory state of China under the government of the Mac.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.172, 大正通寶 - Dai-chanh-thong-bao

No. 172. (Barker: 47.1-47.6)
Obverse: 大正通寶 Dai-chanh-thong-bao.
Reverse: plain. Copper coin issued by MAC DANG-DINH.

莫福海 MAC PHUOC-HAI. 1541-1546. As already shown, on the death of MAC DANG-DING, his father MAC DANG-DUNG again took up the reins of government. He died in the second moon of 1541, and his grandson Phuoc-hai succeeded him. This prince at once asked for the confirmation of his power, which was granted him on the payment of a valuable tribute. He was very unfortunate in his wars with the LE rulers in the south, and lost several provinces in Tunquin.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.173, 廣和通寶 - Quang-hoa-thong-bao

No. 173. (Barker: 48.1-48.2)
Obverse: 廣和通寶 Quang-hoa-thong-bao.
Reverse: plain. Diminutive copper coin issued by MAC PHOOC-HAI.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.174, 廣和通寶 - Quang-hoa-thong-bao

No. 174. (Barker: 48.3)
Obverse: Same as before, but with the four characters written in the seal style.
Reverse: plain. Diminutive copper coin issued by Mac Phuoc-hai.

莫福源 MAC PHUOC-HGYUEN. 1546-1561. - Was the son of PHUOC-HAI, and to hold the throne, he had to fight against his younger brother 中 Trung, who aspired to that position.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.175, 永定通寶 - Vinh-dinh-thong-bao

No. 175. (Barker: 49.1-49.2)
Obverse: 永定通寶 Vinh-dinh-thong-bao.
Reverse: plain. Diminutive copper coin issued by MAC PHUOC-NGUYEN.

Annam cash coin, Toda No.176, 永定之寶 - Vinh-dinh-ti-bao

No. 176. (Barker: 50.1)
Obverse: 永定之寶 Vinh-dinh-chi-bao.
Reverse: without rim. Diminutive copper coin issued by Mac Phuoc-nguyen.

莫茂洽 MAC MAU-HIEP. 1561-1592. Was the son of the last-named ruler. In his wars against the LE he lost his capital Hanoi, which he however reoccupied in 1573. Forgetting to take a lesson by his past misfortunes, he gave himself up to pleasure, and paid no attention to the great invasion of Tunquin which TRINH-TONG was then preparing. In 1592 he again lost his capital, and was made a prisoner by the LE troops. Carried to Hanoi, MAU-HIEP was condemned to be exposed to the sun in an iron cage for three days, and he was afterwards sentenced to be put to death by being slowly cut to pieces.

莫宣 MAC TUYEN. 1592. - His father MAU-HIEP had abdicated in his favour sometime before having been made a prisoner. TUYEN was not less unfortunate, however, for his troops were defeated by the LE armies. Soon after his accession be was made a prisoner and murdered.

莫敬至 MAC KING-CHI. 1592-1593. This prince came to power by the death of TUYEN. He assembled the dispersed bands of his troops and formed in 莫敬恭 Dong-trieu an army of seventy thousand men, with whom he defeated the forces sent against him by TRINH-TONG. But fortune soon turned against him, and in the first moon of 1593 his army was utterly defeated, and he himself made a prisoner by the royal LE troops.

莫敬恭 MAC KING-CUNG. 1593-1616. The rest of MAC'S army retired to the North of Tunquin, establishing the court and their camps in 萬寧 Van-ninh. Thence they began to devastate the territories of the LE, and became so troublesome that the king had to appeal to the Lord NGUYEN for help. With his aid the royal troops defeated the MAC several times, but the power of these Lords becoming very feeble, they appealed to the Emperor of China, accusing the Lords TRINH of having usurped the royal authority and making use of the name of the Le Dynasty merely to screen their position as real rulers of the country. The Emperor again despatched a Commission to Annam, and after hearing its report in 1598, he gave to the Mac family the sovereignty over the two provinces of 太原 Thai-nguyen and 高平 Cao-bang.

From this time the Lords MAC lost all their importance, and could only maintain themselves in their small territory by the help they received from China. They attempted the invasion of Tunquin on several occasions, but were always defeated, and in 1667 they were finally driven away from Cao-bang by TRINH-TAC. They reappeared as Invaders of Tunquin in the same year, but their army, composed of undisciplined Chinese bands, was completely routed; and the Emperor of China put an end to their last hopes by ordering them away from the Annamese frontiers.

The 阮 Nguyen Family. 1562-1776.

Mention has already been made before of how the Lord TRINH, moved by jealousy, confined the two sons of General 阮金 NGUYEN CAM to the territories afterwards known by the name of 廣南 Quang-nam. The elder of the two brothers, known under the name of 仙王 NGUYEN-HOAHG, and under the title of 順化 Tien-vuong, was considered the chief of the principality. He went to Cochinchina in 1562, establishing himself in the provinces of Quang-nam and 清華 Thuan-hoa, where he passed ten years, occupied in the work of subduing the native chiefs who would not submit to his authority. In 1572 the Lords MAC, who then pretended to be the real sovereigns of these states, sent against the Nguyen an army of ten thousand men, which was defeated. The Lords Trinh likewise sent some royal troops to fight against the Nguyen, but they also were repulsed by Hoang, whose authority was much strengthened by these victories. Nevertheless, the Lords Nguyen did not consider themselves sufficiently strong to resist openly the royal power of the Le rulers, still maintained with great vigour by the iron hand of the Lords Trinh. In 1593 the chief Hoang went personally to the court of King The-tong, bringing with him a tribute from his provinces, and an army to be employed against the Lords MAC.

In 1622 the NGUYEN declared themselves in open rebellion against the LE Dynasty and the Lords Trinh, and refused to pay any more tribute, or to send any more soldiers. At that time they were able to resist several invasions of their territory by the royal armies.

In 1637 a Dutch settlement, which existed till 1700, was founded on the coast of Quang-nam.

In 1653 the NGUYEN armies invaded Tunquin for the first time, and after defeating the royal troops, occupied the province of Nghe-an, but had to give it up again in 1660, owing to the rivalry existing between the two generals in command. They also enlarged the principality on its Southern and Western frontiers by occupying the whole of Cambodia and annexing it to Cochinchina.

The division of the kingdom was then practically made, and the name of Annam was applied to Tunquin only in the possession of the LE family. Cochinchina formed another kingdom under the name of 農耐 Dong-nai, with its capital at Hue.

Then followed a long period of peace which was employed by the Lord 義王 NGAI-VUONG and his successors in reorganizing the country, exhausted and tried by so many wars. However, the faults to be found in the constitution of any Annamese power were soon revealed in the government of the Quang-nam Principality. To the first NGUYEN rulers, good and intelligent men, had succeeded others, full of vice and ready to commit any kind of crime. Thus was the way prepared for the great rebellion of the Tay-son, which overthrew all the old institutions of the kingdom. This rebellion is perhaps the most important event in the whole history of Annam.

Annam and its Minor Currency