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Trịnh Tùng (died c.1623) ruled Vietnam from 1570 to 1623 (he is also known as Trịnh Tòng and also given the title Bình An Vương).

He was reputed to have been the first of the famous Trịnh Lords who ruled Vietnam from 1553 to 1789. Theoretically, Trịnh Tùng belonged to the second generation of the Trịnh family which took turns in assuming the military power of the country as assistants to the figurehead Lê kings, who nominally reigned over the country. However, Trịnh Kiểm, Tùng's father, was conferred only with the title of 'mandarin'. Thái Vương, which means "Great Prince", was merely his posthumous name. From the time of Trịnh Tùng onwards, a succession of members of the Trịnh family were titled as wangs while still in power. They were better known as lords and had the right to choose the crown prince. Therefore, Trịnh Tùng was presumed to be the first official one of the Trinh Lords. During his rule, the war with the Mạc Dynasty was carried to a successful completion.

Trịnh Tùng was the second son of Trịnh Kiểm. In 1570, upon the death of his father, Trịnh Tùng's elder brother Trịnh Cối took command but was inept. He lost a battle to the Mạc, and so Trịnh Tùng took control over the situation. He proved to be a very capable leader and in 1571, the Royal Army captured the capital Hanoi from the Mạc king Mạc Mậu Hợp. However, a counteroffensive the next year drove them out. In the midst of this reversal, the nominal Lê King, Lê Anh Tông, fled to Nghệ An province. Trịnh Tùng appointed a new king (Lê Thế Tông), and had the previous king assassinated. The war against the Mạc continued for the next twenty years until 1592, when Hanoi was reconquered. Mạc Mậu Hợp was captured during the retreat and subsequently executed.

Further military actions took place against the army of the Mạc in the years 1593 and 1594. The Royal (Trịnh) army was helped in this battle by a Nguyễn army.

In formal recognition for his defeat of the Mạc, Trịnh Tùng was given the title Peaceful Prince (Bình An Vương) in 1599.

In 1619 a new Lê king, Lê Kinh Tông, and Tùng's own son Trịnh Xuân tried to have Trịnh Tùng killed so the king could take power but the plot was discovered, the king was forced to garrotte himself and a new king was put in his place (Lê Thần Tông). This led Nguyễn Phúc Nguyên to a formal ending of his relations with the court which, after seven more years, led to the Trịnh-Nguyễn War.

By 1623, Trịnh Tùng was growing old. He tried to secure his succession by dividing rule between his two sons in order to avoid conflict. His attempt was not successful.

"Jealousy broke out in his family even before his death, as not only both his sons but also one of his brothers tried to (take) his power. Trịnh Tùng was taken ill to his brother's house and there his younger son was murdered. The elder, called Trịnh Tráng, hearing of this, ran away to the province of Thanh Hóa, taking with him the king and the royal family. Trịnh Tùng was then driven away from his brother's place, and, abandoned by the servants who had carried him away in a sedan chair, died alone on the road. So ended the life of a statesman who had more capacity and energy than any other man mentioned in the whole of Annamese history..." - Annam and its Minor Currency Chapter 16 (downloaded May 2006)

Preceded by
Trịnh Kiểm
Ruler of Vietnam

1570-1623
Succeeded by
Trịnh Trang

Sources

See also

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