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Forced into submission

On January 29, 1258, the Mongols invaded Dai Viet, now known as Vietnam, for the first time. By the 1250s, the Mongol Empire had spread over Eurasia, including Eastern Europe, Anatolia, North China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Central Asia, Tibet and Southwest Asia.

The Mongols had been wanting to invade South China for a while now and Mongke Khan, the fourth Great Khan, of the Mongol Empire decided to attack the Song Dynasty of China. The plan was to attack them from three directions, in 1259. He ordered Kublai Khan, the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, to conquer the Dali kingdom, which he did. Mongke Khan then sent a unit under Uriyangkhadai, one of his commanders, to the southeast. Uriyangkhadai, in turn sent his representatives and demanded that Dai Viet surrender. But, Dai Viet did not agree, and instead imprisoned the Mongol diplomats. Uriyangkhadai and his son Aju invaded Dai Viet with 40,000 Mongols and 10,000 Yi people who came from the Dali kingdom.

First attack

The Vietnamese used war elephants and Aju ordered his men to shoot arrows at the elephants, specifically aiming for the animals' feet. Panic prevailed, and the ensuing chaos led to disorder within the Dai Viet army. The King of Dai Viet fled and the Mongols occupied the capital city Thang Long which is now known as Hanoi.

In January 29, 1258, Dai Viet’s Emperor Tran Thai Tong, along with Prince Tran Hoang counterattacked and defeated the Mongols at Dong Bo Dau. The Mongols retreated from Dai Viet.

But they were not defeated. They planned and plotted and came back in 1259. Uriyangkhadai returned to Dai Viet with an army of 3,000 Mongols and 10, 000 Yi people. He led his army into Song China. They fought their way to the Yangtze River and joined the army led by Kublai which invaded from the north. Vietnam was conquered.

There were two more invasions — the second in 1286 and the third between 1287 and 1288. But they lost the third time around. The Tran dynasty and people from the area of Champa (South Vietnam) decided to accept nominal supremacy of the Yuan dynasty to avoid future conflicts.

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Printable version | Jan 12, 2022 2:21:52 AM |

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