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Thiệu Trị
Emperor of Vietnam
A royal edict issued by Thiệu Trị. His royal seal reads "Order and Obey".
Reign 1841 - 1847
Predecessor Minh Mạng
Successor Tự Đức
House Nguyễn Dynasty
Father Minh Mạng
Mother Hồ Thị Hoa
Born 6 June 1807
Died 4 November 1847

Nguyễn Phúc Miên Tông (Hán tự: ; 6 June 1807 – 4 November 1847) was the third emperor of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty taking the era name of Thiệu Trị. He was the eldest son of emperor Minh Mạng, and reigned from 14 February 1841 until his death on 4 November 1847.

Emperor Thiệu Trị was much like his father Minh Mạng and carried on his conservative policies of isolationism and the entrenchment of Confucianism. Highly educated in the Confucian tradition, Thiệu Trị had some curiosity about the West, but like his father was very suspicious of all non-Chinese outsiders.

At this same time, the French were in a colonial race with Great Britain and were pushing hard for stronger relations with Indochina. This, just as in the reign of Minh Mạng, brought up again the persecution of Christian missionaries, most of whom were Spanish and French. When Emperor Thiệu Trị began to suppress the missionaries, it prompted an immediate response from France. In 1843, the French government sent a military expedition to Indochina with orders to protect and defend French interests, rescue the oppressed missionaries, if possible without causing an international incident.

Thiệu Trị was not, however, personally cruel, but his determination to eliminate all Roman Catholic missionaries from his country could not be reconciled with a peaceful relationship with France. In 1845, this almost prompted a clash between Vietnam and the American warship USS Constitution who attempted to force Thiệu Trị to free the missionary, Dominique Lefebvre.

The French task force reached Tourane on 23 March 1847, and demanded that the safety of French nationals be assured and for Thiệu Trị to cease the persecution of missionaries. For reasons of pride, the imperial mandarins put off delivering the emperor's reply and fighting broke out. Thiệu Trị had fortified the coast, but the French forces far outmatched the Vietnamese due to the Nguyễn Dynasty policy of shunning all innovation and technology. All of the Vietnamese coastal forts were destroyed and three Nguyễn junks were sunk before the French squadron sailed away.

In response, Emperor Thiệu Trị called all missionaries enemy spies and demanded that all Christians should be executed on the spot. The mandarins did not put this order into effect and Emperor Thiệu Trị died shortly afterwards.

Preceded by
Emperor Minh Mạng
Nguyễn Dynasty Succeeded by
Emperor Tự Đức


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