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Coins of Vietnam
Vietnam was the only region to rival China in the production of cash coins, issuing a vast variety over a 1000 year period, from 960 A.D. to the early 20th century. The coins of Vietnam relate to historically relevant people, places, and events, and include coins issued by rebels and competing political factions.
|This was the first struck coin minted in . Most continued to be cast. |
Nguyen Hoang Tong held the title of Khai Dinh, meaning "auger of peace and stability." He was a puppet figurehead for the French colonial rulers, following all of their instructions giving "legitimacy" to French policies. As a result, he was very unpopular with the people. Nguyen Ai Quoc (later known as Ho Chí Minh) wrote a play about Khai Dinh called "The Bamboo Dragon" that ridiculed him as grand only in appearance and ceremony but a powerless puppet of the French government. In 1919, the Emperor decreed cease using Chinese as official written language and replaced it with Romanized .
|In 1744 Nguyen Phuc Khoat proclaimed the southern region a kingdom and took the regnal name Vo Vuong. Although he listened to music by western missionaries, Vo Vuong banned both missionaries and Christianity in 1750. He expanded his territory, taking parts of Cambodia. The Vietnamese-Cambodianestablished by the end of his reign remains the today. After declining availability of coins became a serious problem, in 1746 he purchased zinc from Dutch merchants to . He also allowed over 100 private mints. These mints became a problem when they mixed cheaper black lead (lead) with the white lead (zinc). In 1776, Le Quy Don wrote in Phu Bien Tap Luc ('Miscellaneous records in the area'), "There was one kind of coin called Thien Minh Thong Bao, which had black lead mixed in and became very fragile. People refused to accept it because of its ugliness; therefore the trade did not go smoothly, coins were not circulated well."|
|A nephew of the last Nguyen lord who ruled southern, at age 15, Nguyen The To (also known as Nguyen Anh) was forced into hiding 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 recruited volunteers to him take the throne. From 1789, he advanced , defeating the Tay Son, reaching the Chinese 1802, and reuniting all , from China down to the Gulf of Siam, after centuries of feudal warfare. He took the regnal name Gia Long, moved the capital from Hanoi to Hue, and reinstated Confucian education and civil service. In return for French support, he tolerated Catholic missionaries, which was increasingly restricted under his successors. Using French expertise, he modernized Vietnam's military, gained dominance in Indochina, and made Cambodia into a vassal state.|
|Emperor Thanh Thai bitterly opposed French control ofand maintained passive resistance. A man of the people who cared deeply for his country, he would often slip out of the Forbidden Purple City in Hue dressed in the clothes of a commoner to talk with his people directly and see how they were being affected by government policies. He also held "town hall" meetings sitting on a mat with his subjects in a around him, discussing the issues of the day and hearing their point of view. When he realized his palace had been thoroughly infiltrated with French spies, he feigned insanity to escape constant scrutiny. Seen as a harmless lunatic, Thanh Thai was able to for autonomy while waiting for the right time to throw off colonial rule. He was on his way to join a resistance movement in China when he was arrested by French forces who declared him insane and forced him to abdicate. In 1907, his son was installed as Emperor Duy Tan. He was exiled first to Vung Tau in South and when Duy Tan rebelled against the French they were both exiled to Halong Island in 1916. He never gave up hope for the liberation of his country. In 1945, he was allowed to return but was kept under house arrest in Vung Tau. Thanh Thai died in Saigon on 24 March 1954.|