Heroes of the Great Nguyen Dynasty of Viet Nam
      One of the most heroic figures of the Nguyen Dynasty was the young Prince Nguyen Vinh San, who as Emperor Duy Tan, planned and instigated a struggle for freedom for Vietnam against the French colonial authorities. Despite his age, Emperor Duy Tan was a thoughtful and ethical monarch who refused all French efforts to corrupt him. He became only more determined to end their control over his country. In 1916, while France was fighting the First World War, he took to the seas in his junk and called on the people to join him in fighting for their liberty. Sadly, Duy Tan was betrayed and captured by the French who sent him into exile. He fought against the Axis Nations during World War II and was on his way to Vietnam to help further when his plane crashed.
      The last august Emperor of Vietnam was Prince Nguyen Vinh Thuy, who reigned as Bao Dai, "keeper of greatness" from 1926-1945 and 1948-1955. Although not allowed much freedom to rule by the French, as Emperor he improved education, reformed the courts, ended forced labor and was working to allow freedom of the press when the Communist VietMinh forced him to abdicate in 1945. Later, in 1948, despite great personal danger, he returned to Saigon as Head of State for Vietnam. He continued to work as a constitutional monarch and sought to bring world attention and international support for Vietnam's struggle against Communist aggression and tyranny. When he tried to remove the Prime Minister because of his harsh policies he was betrayed and deposed in a fraudulent referendum that forced him into exile in 1955.
      One of the greatest rulers of Vietnam, in the thousands of years of Vietnamese history was the great Emperor Minh Mang, son and heir of the Father of Vietnam Emperor Gia Long. He took the nation his father had built and led it to its greatest extent in history. He brought stability at home and repelled an invasion by Siam. The borders were extended farther than ever before as Vietnam reached its peak of power and prestige. People called the nation of Minh Mang "Dai Nam", the Great South. During his years on the throne Dai Nam was the most powerful and prosperous nation in all of Southeast Asia. He built many great monuments in Hue City and was known as a gentle and highly intelligent Confucian scholar who led by example. His reign has been called "The Golden Age" of Vietnamese history.
      The youthful Emperor Ham Nghi was one of the great freedom fighters of Vietnamese history. He grew up outside of the imperial court in quite humble surroundings, the brother of the virtuous but short-lived Emperor Kien Phuc. After the previous emperor was deposed the 14-year-old boy was taken to Hue and enthroned as Emperor Ham Nghi of Vietnam. He soon realized that the French were ruling, not "protecting" his country and was determined to see them driven out. The Forbidden City was armed and on July 4, 1885 Ham Nghi and some leading Mandarins fled the city and began waging a war of liberation in the mountainous jungles near the Laos border. This continued until 1888 when, through bribery and betrayal, Ham Nghi was captured by the French and exiled to Africa.