Mai Thuc Loan

Mai Thuc Loan
Mai Thúc Loan
Mai Hắc Đế
(Mai the Black Emperor)
Ruler of independent Vietnam
Reign 722
Predecessor Hậu Lý Nam Đế
Successor Phùng Hưng
Full name
Mai Thúc Loan (梅叔鸞)
Mai Huyền Thành (梅玄成)
Born  ?
Thạch Hà, Hà Tĩnh, Protectorate General to Pacify the South
Died 723
Nghệ An, Protectorate General to Pacify the South
History of Vietnam Map of Vietnam
Hồng Bàng dynasty prior to 257 BC
Thục dynasty 257–207 BC
Triệu dynasty 207–111 BC
First Chinese domination 111 BC–39 AD
Trưng sisters 40–43
Second Chinese domination 43–544
Early Lý dynasty 544–602
Third Chinese domination 602–905
Autonomy 905–938
Ngô dynasty 939–967
Đinh dynasty 968–980
Early Lê dynasty 980–1009
Lý dynasty 1009–1225
Trần dynasty 1225–1400
Hồ dynasty 1400–1407
Fourth Chinese domination 1407–1427
• Later Trần dynasty 1407–1413
Later Lê dynasty (Early Lê) 1428–1527
Mạc dynasty 1527–1592
Later Lê dynasty (Restored Lê) 1533–1788
Trịnh Lords 1545–1787
Nguyễn Lords 1558–1777
Tây Sơn dynasty 1778–1802
Nguyễn dynasty 1802–1945
French imperialism 1887–1954
Partition 1954–1975
Democratic Republic (North) 1945–1976
State of Vietnam (South) 1949–1955
Republic of Vietnam (South) 1955–1975
Socialist Republic from 1976
Related topics
Champa Dynasties 192–1832
List of Vietnamese monarchs
Economic history of Vietnam
Prehistoric cultures of Vietnam
v · d · e

Mai Thúc Loan (or Mai Huyền Thành (), titled Mai Hắc Đế (, literally Mai the Black Emperor), was the Vietnamese leader of the 722 uprising against the rule of the Tang Dynasty in the region of Hoan and Ái provinces (now Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An of Vietnam). Regarded as one of the major rebellions of Vietnamese people during the Third Chinese domination, the uprising of Mai Thúc Loan succeeded in capturing the capital Tống Bình (now Hanoi) of the Tang protectorate and Mai Thúc Loan thus became Mai Hắc Đế, the emperor of the independent region for a short time before being put down by the military campaign after the order of the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang. Today Mai Thúc Loan is praised as one of the early national heroes in the history of Vietnam who contributed for the struggle for independence of the country.



According to Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam, the date of birth of Mai Thúc Loan was unknown but he was from the Mai Phụ village, now Thạch Hà District, Hà Tĩnh.[1][2] In the Basic Records of the New Book of Tang, his name was Mai Thúc Loan while in the Book of Tang the name was recorded as Mai Huyền Thành and the one in the Zizhi Tongjian was Mai Thúc Yên.[3]


In 722, Mai Thúc Loan appealed Vietnamese laborers for an uprising against the rule of the Tang Dynasty.[1] Mai Thúc Loan's army of laborers was quickly followed by people of the Hoan and Ái provinces (now Thanh Hóa and Nghệ An of Vietnam). Based on the mountainous and bushy region of Sa Nam – Rú Đụn near the Lam River, the uprising united with forces from Champa and Chân Lạp[4] in fighting against the Chinese troops of the Tang Dynasty and eventually succeeded in occupying both Hoan and Ái provinces.[2][5] After the insurgent army took down the capital Tống Bình (now Hanoi) and forced the Tang governor Guang Suo Ge to flee to China, Mai Thúc Loan was proclaimed the emperor of the independent region, he was called Mai Hắc Đế (Mai the Black Emperor) and decided to establish his new capital in the citadel of Vạn An (now Nghệ An) with stronghold and palaces.[1][5] According to Khâm định Việt sử Thông giám cương mục, the title Black Emperor originated from his distinctively dark skin colour.[6][7] At the end of 722, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang ordered his generals with about 10,000 soldiers to put down the rebellion of Mai Thúc Loan. Could not stand the overwhelming opponent, Mai Thúc Loan was defeated, took refuge in the mountains and subsequently died in 723, thus ended the uprising.[1][7]

The traditional record about Mai Thúc Loan's uprising in historical books of Vietnamese dynasties was brief, for example the Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư of Ngô Sĩ Liên only acknowledged that there was a rebellion led by the rebel leader Mai Thúc Loan in 722 with the said army of 30,000 soldiers with allies from Champa, Lâm Ấp and that the rebellion was quickly pacified by Tang troops.[3] In Khâm định Việt sử Thông giám cương mục, the total number of Mai Thúc Loan's forces was 40,000 but the compilers of the book expressed their doubt about this number and thought that it might be made by Tang generals who wanted to emphasize their victory over the uprising with the Emperor Xuanzong.[6] While Đại Việt sử ký and Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư only regarded Mai Thúc Loan as a rebel (giặc) of the Tang authority, Ngô Thì Sĩ in Đại Việt sử ký tiền biên, compiled during the Tây Sơn Dynasty, praised the uprising as a symbol of the independent spirit of Vietnamese people and thus criticized Lê Văn Hưu and Ngô Sĩ Liên for misjudging the real value of Mai Thúc Loan's rebellion.[8]


Today Mai Thúc Loan is appreciated as one of the early national heroes in the history of Vietnam who contributed for the struggle for independence of the country.[9] In the site of his ancient citadel of Vạn An, people erected a temple to worship Mai Thúc Loan and he was considered being equal with other Vietnamese emperors although his rule was short-lived and he was not officially called an emperor of Vietnam in dynastic historical books.[2][6] According to folk legend, Mai Thúc Loan had a daughter named Mai Thị Cầu and a son named Mai Kỳ Sơn who followed their father in fighting against the Tang Dynasty, today there still remains a shrine to worship Mai Thị Cầu and Mai Kỳ Sơn in Haiphong where people hold an annual festival in the third lunar month to celebrate the deeds of Mai Thúc Loan's children.[10][11] A street of Hanoi and several places in Vietnam are named in honour of Mai Thúc Loan.[12][13][14]



  1. ^ a b c d "Mai Thúc Loan" (in Vietnamese). Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam. 
  2. ^ a b c Trần Trọng Kim 1971, p. 26
  3. ^ a b Ngô Sĩ Liên 1993, p. 44
  4. ^ Whiting, Marvin C. (2002). Imperial Chinese Military History: 8000 Bc – 1912 Ad. iUniverse. p. 279. ISBN 0595221343. 
  5. ^ a b "Khởi nghĩa Mai Thúc Loan 722" (in Vietnamese). Từ điển Bách khoa toàn thư Việt Nam. 
  6. ^ a b c National Bureau for Historical Record 1998, p. 58
  7. ^ a b Chapuis, Oscar (1995). A history of Vietnam: from Hong Bang to Tu Duc Numéro 5 de Contributions in Asian studies. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 35. ISBN 0313296227. 
  8. ^ Phan Huy Lê, Dương Thị The, Nguyễn Thị Thoa (1985). "Vài nét về bộ sử của Vương triều Tây Sơn" (in Vietnamese). Hán Nôm Magazine (Hanoi: Institute of Hán Nôm) (1/1985). 
  9. ^ "Fight for your life". 2008-04-05. 
  10. ^ "What's On April 3 – 10". 2006-04-03. 
  11. ^ "Hai chị em Mai Thị Cầu – Mai Kỳ Sơn" (in Vietnamese). Library of Haiphong. 
  12. ^ "I love even the dust of Vietnam". 2007-02-05. 
  13. ^ "Flood tides a chronic problem". 2006-10-24. 
  14. ^ "Vietnam’s oldest baobab tree discovered". 2007-04-03. 


  • National Bureau for Historical Record (1998) (in Vietnamese), Khâm định Việt sử Thông giám cương mục, Hanoi: Education Publishing House 
  • Ngô Sĩ Liên (1993) (in Vietnamese), Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư (Nội các quan bản ed.), Hanoi: Social Science Publishing House 
  • Taylor, Keith Weller (1991), The Birth of Vietnam, University of California Press, ISBN 0520074173 
  • Trần Trọng Kim (1971) (in Vietnamese), Việt Nam sử lược, Saigon: Center for School Materials 
Mai Thuc Loan
Born:  ? Died: 723
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Hậu Lý Nam Đế
Emperor of independent Vietnam
Succeeded by
Phùng Hưng

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