Ly Thuong Kiet 1019-1105

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Ly Thuong Kiet 李常傑 1019-1105 was a Vietnamese general during the Ly Dynasty. He composed a poem that is considered to be the first Vietnamese declaration of independence. He is revered today as a Vietnamese national hero.

Born in Thang Long (Hanoi), the capital of Dai Viet. His real name was Ngo Tuan. His father was a low ranking general. In 1036, he served the Emperor as a captain in cavalry. With his bravery, intelligence and loyalty, he was given a royal name, Ly Thuong Kiet and served in the Court.

In 1075, Wang Anshi, the Northern Song prime minister, told the Sung emperor that Dai Viet was being worn down by Champa, with less than ten thousand soldiers surviving. He recommended that the timeing was right to annex Dai Viet. The Song emperor mobilized troops, and embargoed Dai Viet. Upon hearing this news, the Ly ruler, Ly Nhan Tong, dispatched Ly Thuong Kiet and Ton Dan with more than 100,000 troops into China on a pre-emptive attack on the Song troops. In the ensuing 40-day battle near Nanning, Dai Viet troops were victorious, even to capturing generals of three Song armies.

In 1076, the Song Dynasty formed an alliance with Champa and the Khmer Empire (on Dai Viet's south and west borders) and invaded Dai Viet. Ly Nhan Tong again appointed Ly Thuong Kiet as commander. Since the Song were attacking both on land and by sea, Ly imbeded iron tipped wooden spikes in the Bach Dang River and lured the Song fleet of large deep water vessels into the river as the tide was receding.Impaled on the spikes the Song vessels were then destroyed by the Dai Viet troops.

After his victory over the Sung troop, he invaded Champa, to Vietnam's south, twice with big victories. He died in 1105, at the age of 86.

His time on earth was roughly contiguous with the life of the great Northern Song poet statesman Su Shi.

Our Southern Emperor Rules! 南國山河

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