Lê dynasty

Imperial dynasty in Vietnam

The Lê dynasty, also known as Later Lê dynasty (Vietnamese: Hậu Lê triều Hán tự: 後黎朝 or Vietnamese: nhà Hậu Lê Hán tự: 家後黎), was the longest-ruling Vietnamese dynasty, ruling from 1428 to 1789. The Lê dynasty is divided into two historical periods – the Early period or Lê sơ (1428–1527) before usurpation by the Mạc dynasty (1527–1683), in which emperors ruled in their own right, and the restored period or Revival Lê (Lê Trung hưng) (1533–1789), in which figurehead emperors reigned under the auspices of the powerful Trịnh family. The Restored Lê period is marked by two lengthy civil wars: the Lê–Mạc War (1533–1592) in which two dynasties battled for legitimacy in northern Vietnam and the Trịnh–Nguyễn War (1627-1672) between the Trịnh family in Tonkin and the Nguyễn lords of the South. The dynasty officially began in 1428 with the enthronement of Lê Lợi after he drove the Ming army from Vietnam. The dynasty reached its peak during the reign of Lê Thánh Tông and declined after his death in 1497. In 1527, the Mạc dynasty usurped the throne; when the Lê dynasty was restored in 1533, the Mạc fled to the far north and continued to claim the throne during the period known as Southern and Northern Dynasties. The restored Lê emperors held no real power, and by the time the Mạc dynasty was finally eradicated in 1677, actual power lay in the hands of the Trịnh lords in the North and Nguyễn lords in the South, both ruling in the name of the Lê emperor while fighting each other. The Lê dynasty officially ended in 1789, when the peasant uprising of the Tây Sơn brothers defeated both the Trịnh and the Nguyễn, ironically in order to restore power to the Lê dynasty. The Lê dynasty expanded Vietnam's borders through the domination of the Kingdom of Champa and expedition into today Laos and Myanmar, nearly reaching Vietnam's modern borders by the time of the Tây Sơn uprising. It also saw massive changes to Vietnamese society: the previously Buddhist state became Confucian after the preceding 20 years of Ming rule. The Lê emperors instituted many changes modeled after the Chinese system, including the civil service and laws. Their long-lasting rule was attributed to the popularity of the early emperors. Lê Lợi's liberation of the country from 20 years of Ming rule and Lê Thánh Tông's bringing the country into a golden age was well-remembered by the people. Even though the restored Lê emperors' rule was marked by civil strife and constant peasant uprisings, few dared to openly challenge their power for fear of losing popular support. The Lê dynasty also was the period Vietnam saw the coming of Western Europeans and Christianity in early 16th-century.
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main subject: Lê dynasty

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