The sovereignty consolidation activities in the South China sea of the Tay Son dynasty (Vietnam) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries

Abstract. At least since the 17th century, the Vietnamese feudal government has established and exercised sovereignty in the Paracel and Spartly islands. Succeeding tradition of the previous dynasties, the Tay Son dynasty, including the reigns of Nguyen Nhac, Quang Trung and Quang Toan, was particularly interested in protecting the nation's islands sovereignty. That concern is showed in two basic aspects: The first one is the policies to protect national interests and sovereignty in the South China Sea; The second one is the policies that show the international responsibility of a dynasty holding sovereignty over this sea. These are the two main aspects that this article focuses on. It shows us the harmonious combination between national interests and international interests in the policies of sea of this dynasty in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The problem is, on the basis of inheriting tradition of the previous dynasties, what were the features of consolidating sovereignty activities in the East Sea of the Tay Son dynasty? What were difficulties and advantages that affect the sea policies of the Tay Son dynasty? How were the effects of this dynasty's efforts on the establishment and protection of Vietnam's maritime sovereignty at that time? The article will focus on highlights and features in the political system of consolidating and establishing the maritime sovereignty of the Tay Son dynasty and specify its impact on the Nation’s protection of sacred maritime sovereignty.

pdf12 trang | Chia sẻ: thanhle95 | Lượt xem: 92 | Lượt tải: 0download
Bạn đang xem nội dung tài liệu The sovereignty consolidation activities in the South China sea of the Tay Son dynasty (Vietnam) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, để tải tài liệu về máy bạn click vào nút DOWNLOAD ở trên
34 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE Social Sciences, 2020, Volume 64, Issue 4D, pp. 34-45 This paper is available online at THE SOVEREIGNTY CONSOLIDATION ACTIVITIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA OF THE TAY SON DYNASTY (VIETNAM) IN THE LATE EIGHTEENTH AND EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURIES Nguyen Thi My Hanh Faculty of Vietnamese Studies, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. At least since the 17th century, the Vietnamese feudal government has established and exercised sovereignty in the Paracel and Spartly islands. Succeeding tradition of the previous dynasties, the Tay Son dynasty, including the reigns of Nguyen Nhac, Quang Trung and Quang Toan, was particularly interested in protecting the nation's islands sovereignty. That concern is showed in two basic aspects: The first one is the policies to protect national interests and sovereignty in the South China Sea; The second one is the policies that show the international responsibility of a dynasty holding sovereignty over this sea. These are the two main aspects that this article focuses on. It shows us the harmonious combination between national interests and international interests in the policies of sea of this dynasty in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The problem is, on the basis of inheriting tradition of the previous dynasties, what were the features of consolidating sovereignty activities in the East Sea of the Tay Son dynasty? What were difficulties and advantages that affect the sea policies of the Tay Son dynasty? How were the effects of this dynasty's efforts on the establishment and protection of Vietnam's maritime sovereignty at that time? The article will focus on highlights and features in the political system of consolidating and establishing the maritime sovereignty of the Tay Son dynasty and specify its impact on the Nation’s protection of sacred maritime sovereignty. Keywords: Tay Son dynasty; South China Sea; Quang Trung; Marine; Sovereignt. 1. Introduction The Tay Son dynasty (1778-1802) was established in the context that Vietnamese society was being in crisis period, the separation of Dang Trong and Dang Ngoài and being faced with the invasion of Siam in 1785 and the Qing Dynasty (China) in 1789. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why most of the researchers who studied about this dynasty focused on the issue of national reunification and independence. Even the official historical texts that were wrritten in the feudal times such as Supplementary Edition of the Annals of Đại Việt, Prequel Records of Đại Nam, Principal biographies of Đại Nam, The Imperially Ordered Annotated Text Completely Reflecting the History of Viet were also not exception. After Vietnam was unified in 1975, many studies on this dynasty were published, such as: Nguyen Hue’s military genius study [Tìm hiểu thiên tài quân sự của Nguyễn Huệ] of Nguyen Luong Bich, Pham Ngoc Phung [1]; Viet Nam literature general volume, episode 8B of Ngo Giap Dau [2]; Some Viet Nam historical works of Nguyen Phan Quang [3]; Vietnam Civil War history of Ta Chi Dai Truong [4]; The discoveries about Emperor Quang Trung of Do Bang [5]; and especially, the Received April 11, 2020. Revised April 24, 2020. Accepted May 15, 2020. Contact Nguyen Thi My Hanh, e-mail address: myhanhvnh@gmail.com The sovereignty consolidation activities in the South China Sea of the Tay Son dynasty 35 most recent one to mention is a researcher, Nguyen Duy Chinh with a series of works on Vietnam - China diplomacy in this period, such as: The process of recognizing the Quang Trung dynasty [6]; Recall a historical case “fake king to enter”: Is it true that the person who came to China was fake Quang Trung king? [7]; Dai Viet Delegation and the Eighth Week of Life Ceremony of Thanh Cao Tong [8]. Therefore, the study of the Tay Son dynasty on establishing sovereignty in the South China Sea is still a gap to be filled. Basing on the official histories of Vietnam and China, some articles of Nguyen Quang Ngoc and Nguyen Duy Chinh as well as basing on field documents being kept in localities, the article tries to reconstruct activities of the Tay Son dynasty on establishing and protecting the Nation’s sovereignty interests in the the Paracel and Spartly Islands. Simultaneously, the article points out the first cooperation of this dynasty with other countries within area in order to solve problems at the sea, especially the pirate which raged over the South China Sea at that time. 2. Content 2.1. Policies of national interest and sovereignty protection at the South China Sea 2.1.1. Developments of navy implementing tasks at sea On the basis of inheriting nautical experience of the Cham people, the Champa kingdom and especially the previous Nguyen Lords, the Tay Son was particularly interested in building a strong naval force, importantly contributing to the Nation’s protection of sovereignty in the South China Sea. It can be said that, until the late eighteenth century, under the Tay Son age, especially under the Quang Trung dynasty, the Vietnamese navy really had a breakthrough development. That development on the one hand originated from favorable conditions impacted by objective historical context at that time, on the other hand, it is necessary to mention decisive role of the vision, marine policy in general and construction of the navy in particular of this dynasty. * Attempts to yield elite pirate forces to increase the quality, number of marines and restructure the navy ranks to protect the islands Building an elite navy force is not easy. It requires a well training time, not only in theory or books but also must experience many battles, and get used to tornadoes, windstorms, pirates. Understanding that, in order to promptly meet the needs of building and developing the quantity and quality of marines for the civil war, fighting against foreign invasion, protecting security and safety at sea, from the beginning of the Tay Son dynasty, it chose an extremely special plan which is using pirates to build navy force with agile combat skills. As soon as Quang Trung ascended to the throne, he issued a decree of Chinese enticement to submit them. He expressed sympathy for their situation “going in and out of the water tank, gathering the party members and considering plunder as livelihood” is perhaps a reluctant thing, partly because of lack of food then do bad thing, partly because the repellent tyranny policies” [9], at the same time, he appealed them to soon yield. For his own, Quang Trung is also willing to “open tolerance, depending on ability to promote” and follow the wishes of each person, even approve for “people who have great will and want to rush at the waves and wind” [9]. Obviously, from understanding the circumstances, seeing through the potential, strong point of this force, Quang Trung attempted to recruit them. First of all, he seeked shelter for them - thing they didn't have before. “ To the petty pirates of Kwantung, Fukien, Chekiang, and Kiangsu, Nguyen Van Hue was the “Big Boss of Yueh-nan” (Yueh-nan ta-lao-pan 粵南大老板) who sold their booty and gave them between 20 and 40 percent of the profits. The big pirate gangs also benefited from the Emperor’s rule, because he not only allowed them to anchor in the border area to gather recruits and steal food, but also let them use Vietnam as a “nest” to which they could retreat. Nguyen Thi My Hanh 36 These pirates accepted the Emperor as their master because under his authority they were able to reap great profits from the sea” [10; pp. 40-41]. After that, Quang Trung organized the pirate forces into many groups by name, such as Phuong Vi, Tieu Mieu or divided the groups into multiple colors such as Thanh Ky, Hong Ky, Hoang Ky, Hac Ky, Luc Ky [11; pp.41-43], each such group would have an active area with its own leader. According to Robert J. Antony, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, pirates in the South China Sea were gathered in groups by the Tay Son, the number is up to thousands of warships, with more than 70,000 people [11, p.20]. Not only that, Quang Trung also granted to the submitted pirates boat, and especially confered title for their leaders (ordinarily division commander or army commander), making them become an independent arm of the Tay Son navy, although this was a “double-edged sword policy” because it would greatly affect the relationship between the Tây Son Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty at that time. Antony once wrote about the recklessness and risk of this policy as follows: “Even after the Qianlong emperor recognized one of the Tayson leaders as “king” of Vietnam in 1788, the latter continued to pursue a risky double-edged policy of sending tribute misisons to the Qing court in Beijing while simultaneously backing piratical raids along the China coast” [11; p.39]. With this policy, many leaders of the naval bandit got important positions, such as Tran Thiem Bao (陳 添 保), who was confered division commander title in 1783, and then Admiral who command a large fleet, including Vietnamese-led warships; or Tran Thiem Bao 's subordinate, Lương Quý Hưng (梁 貴 興), confered as Hiep Duc Hau, Luong Van Canh (梁 文 庚), Capital general and Phan Van Tai (樊 文 才), commander title [10; p.36]. As a result, these leaders won other pirate troops in the South China Sea, making Tay Son naval forces more and more crowded. Remarkably, under general command of the Tay Son dynasty, the leaders of these troops directly managed all activities of their troops in strict regulations with very strict forms of discipline. In this regard, Neumann, Charles Fried in the Jinghai Fanji (靖 海 氛 記), clearly reflected: “... Truong Bao (or Admiral Bao) ordered that all goods, either wine or paddy rice, villagers must be paid fair, whoever disobeyed or bilked will be sentenced to death. Therefore, the bandits never lacked gunpowder, food or other necessary items. Mainly due to this strict discipline, his fleet was tightly organized. Trinh Nhat's wife is very firm in all transactions: nothing was carried out without papers. All import and export items must be entered into the store book, the sailors are only allocated in case of need and no one is allowed to keep for their own. In a robbery campaign, anyone who leaves the ranks, either go ahead or back, will be put on trial in front of a congress, in case of being convicted then will be decapitated. Mainly due to Truong Bao's strictness, sailors observed discipline very well...” [12; pp.14-15]. As a result, under Quang Trung dynasty, the pirate forces was no longer troops that sporadically operated and illegally outside the law or specialized in raiding and pillaging seagoing ships as before, but gathered and organized into ranks, be “bound” by strict discipline to become a large, regular and battle-hardened army. It can be said that turning pirates into a regular army is a rare thing and a very risky decision. Therefore, being able to submit this force as Quang Trung King did is not simple. With his own organized mind, prestige and bravery, Quang Trung succeeded in turning Chinese who drifted at sea into a regular, elite and disciplined force. Explaining for this success of Quang Trung, researcher Nguyễn Duy Chính in The role of Pirate in Ky Dau victory has shown that: “For fishermen, the boat is not only residence but also workplace and their entire property. It can be said that it is the private world, and then arose absolute compliance affection for the captain (and also the patriarch). The owner of a boat must always set an example for the others, sacrifice and prove himself to be superior to those around him to continue as a commander. That The sovereignty consolidation activities in the South China Sea of the Tay Son dynasty 37 natural custom formed a close-knit collective strength which means living and being dead together in career as well as in fighting, only obeying on those who have the same personality and was also reason why they followed Nguyen Hue and gradually abandoned Nguyen Nhac and Nguyen Lu” [13]. Once being mobilized into disciplined regular military organizations, at least these pirate groups would themselves minimize robbery activities area sea as they had done before. The fact shows that, this force soon became an effective control tool for traffic and trade routes at the South China Sea of the Tay Son Dynasty at that time. For example, in 1790, the Chinese army discovered and captured four warships escorting a Chinese trading ship and discovered that the captain of that ship had surreptitiously carried intelligence letters received from Western missionaries. Those boats were taken to Phu Xuan (Hue - Vietnam) and added to the Tay Son naval force [14]. * Organizing the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa crews In addition to trying to find a way to submit the elite pirate force to increase the quality and quantity of navy to protect the islands, the Tay Son dynasty also focused on building and developing the Hoang Sa, Truong Sa and other naval crews. In 1773, Tay Son army seized Quy Nhon port, moved to Quang Nam, captured Binh Son wharf and Sa Ky seaport (Quang Ngai). Until the end of this year, Tay Son officially occupied a large area from Quang Nam to Binh Thuan. Accordingly, the entire homeland of the Hoang Sa and Bac Hai crew were very early under the control area of Tay Son troops. From here, the Tay Son troops deployed and organized activities for these two naval crews. In 1775, foreman Ha Lieu in Cu Lao Re ward (Ly Son Island), An Vinh commune, Binh Son district, Quang Ngai province submitted the Tay Son Court a request to restore to the Hoang Sa and Que Huong crews to perform duties at the Spartly and Paracel beach. The application clearly stated: “Our commune inherently had two crews of Hoang Sa and Que Huong. In year 1631, the war commander Võ Hệ, submitted an application for setting up two teams more, which were Dai Mao Hai Ba and Que Huong Ham, with 30 people. Every year, the tax was usually paid by 10 (quintal) of tortoise, marine turtle, 5 ounce of purfume cinnamon. Until year 1723, obeyed the command that: “Now (1775), we set up Hoang Sa and Que Huong crews as before, including people not register with village authority, all would be listed in contribution books, crossed boats to the islands or islets for searching items such as copper, tin, sea turtle, tortoise, and all would be listed in contribution books. If there was a newspaper announcing war, we would stand firmly to fight with intruder. After that, we asked for flyer to find the treasure and duty contribution. We pledged to follow the wishes without any complain. We bow our heads in gratitude “[15; p.185]. When this application was submitted, the Tay Son government (Thai Duc - Nguyen Nhac) approved. Currently, the application is still carefully kept at the Vo family’s church in An Vinh ward (now Tay village, Ly Vinh commune, Ly Son district, Quang Ngai province, Vietnam). Through the application, we know the continued existence of the Hoang Sa and Que Huong naval crews under Tay Son age. Notably, Foreman Ha Lieu's proposal on how to organize and operate the Hoang Sa and Que Huong crews was approved by the Tay Son government. In addition to the previously existed naval crews, the Tay Son Court also agreed to set up two more crews which were Dai Mao Hai Ba and Que Huong Ham with 30 people. In addition, the application of An Vinh Ward of Cu Lao Re Island which proposed to separate from An Vinh Commune in the mainland, dated February 11th, Gia Long 3rd year (1804) [15; p.185] also reveals to us more information: Under the Tay Son age, the organization of Hoang Sa and Dai Mao crews was still joint work of both An Vinh ward and An Vinh Nguyen Thi My Hanh 38 commune. At this time, An Vinh ward had not been separated yet from An Vinh commune in the mainland as after 1804 under the Nguyen Dynasty. At that time, the head of Hoang Sa crew was the leader or captain, who also took over the management of the defense of Sa Ky seaport and was in charge of collecting taxes and security at sea and fighting pirates” [16; p.88]. Besides, it must be mentioned existence of the Bac Hai crew. Like previous dynasty, Bac Hai crew was sent to exploit and manage islands such as Paracel, Con Lon, Ha Tien area, ... [17; p.131. As reflected by Miscellaneous Chronicles of the Pacified Frontier, Bac Hai crew was also in charge of “the North Sea area, the Con Lon, Cu Lao, Ha Tien and Con Tu regions” [17; p.61]. Clearly, the Bac Hai and Hoang Sa crews had no division in area of activity. Especially, the Tay Son state also required that these crews must bring naval badge when going to the sea. It is strictly forbidden to use the name of the navy to harass fishermen in order to ensure the quality and spirit of the naval ranks at that time. 2.1.2. Development of naval shipbuilding technology and modern weapon equipment Inheriting the shipbuilding technology of Cochinchina, collecting pirate’s ships, the Tay Son dynasty actively improved, upgraded and deployed to build more new boats, equipped with modern weapons to develop its naval quality in order to effectively support for the sea exploitation and protection, including the Paracel and Spartly archipelagos. With determination to make navy to become army, the Tay Son dynasty built various types of warships. It is worth noting that there are large boats with a tonnage up to 900 tons, which could carry war elephants or 700 sailors, with 60 - 70 cannons [9]. Particularly for pirate, beside boats often used by pirate to rob traditionally (sometimes merchant ships which were repaired into pirate ships), the Tay Son dynasty provided them with largely battled boats to turn them into a powerful official army, specifically boats with “masts of more than 80 feet high and flanks covered with many layers of cowhide, and spreaded net which is bigger and more steady than the boats pirates earned by themselves. They are equiped with cannons up to 4000 pounds of weight (catty, about 600 gr) and also equipped with guns more completely” [10; p.49]. At that time, the Thai people greatly admired shipbuilding technique of the Vietnamese, even called the Vietnamese “experts” in this field [18; p.42]. Not only Thai people, many Westerners when arrived in the Cochinchina at this time expressed their surprise at the shipbuilding techniques of the Tay Son Dynasty at that time. For example: From far-away England to the Cochinchina in 1792-1793, John Barrow praised the proficient boat building industry of the Cochinchinaese. In his work, A Voyage to Cochinchina, he constantly praised: “The unique art of the Cochinchinaese which can be considered to be great in this day is boat building technique without depending on quality and stature of wood used for that goal at all. The rowboats for travelling is really skillful. Those ships, from 50 to 80 feet long (15 to 24 meters), sometimes jointed by only five pieces of plank, each bar stretched from one end to the other, the edge is jointed by tenon, tightly fitted by wooden pegs, tied together with bamboo strips, without any ribs or other wooden frames. The prow and stern of the boat were quite high, carved into dragon-shaped monsters and flamboyant, decorated with paint or gold-plated” [19; pp.318-319]. He was particularly interested in the technique of dividing the bilge into different compartments and according to him, due to that the boat would not sink even if hitting a reef. J. Barrow said that this shipbuilding industry is
Tài liệu liên quan