Hàm Nghi

Emperor Hàm Nghi (Vietnamese: [hâːm ŋi], Hán tự: lit. "entirely right",[1] Arabic: هام نغي‎; 3 August 1872 – 4 January 1943), personal name Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Lịch, also Nguyễn Phúc Minh, was the eighth Emperor of the Vietnamese Nguyễn Dynasty. He reigned for only one year (1884–85).[2]

Emperor Hàm Nghi
Vua Hàm Nghi năm 1900.jpg
Emperor Ham Nghi
Emperor of Đại Nam
Reign2 August 1884 – 19 September 1885
PredecessorKiến Phúc
SuccessorĐồng Khánh
RegentTôn Thất Thuyết & Nguyễn Văn Tường
Emperor of Nguyễn Dynasty
Reign2 August 1884 – 19 September 1885
PredecessorKiến Phúc
SuccessorĐồng Khánh
Born(1872-08-03)3 August 1872
Imperial City, Huế, Đại Nam
Died4 January 1943(1943-01-04) (aged 70)
Algiers, French Algeria
SpouseMarcelle Laloë
IssuePrincess Nguyễn Phúc Như Mai
Princess Nguyễn Phúc Như Lý
Prince Nguyễn Phúc Minh Đức
Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Lịch (𧰡)
Nguyễn Phúc Minh ()
Era name and dates
Hàm Nghi (): 1884–1885
Posthumous name
Temple name
HouseNguyễn Phúc
FatherNguyễn Phúc Hồng Cai (son of Thiệu Trị)
MotherConcubine Phan Thị Nhàn
ReligionRuism, Buddhism


On 4 July 1885, a nationwide insurrection against the French broke out under the leadership of the two regents Nguyễn Văn Tường and Tôn Thất Thuyết. The French stormed the palace and Tôn Thất Thuyết took Emperor Hàm Nghi and three empresses into hiding. Hàm Nghi went to the hills and jungles around Laos along with Tôn Thất Thuyết's force. While they waged guerrilla warfare against the French occupation forces, the French replaced Hàm Nghi with his brother, Đồng Khánh, who was enthroned as the Son of Heaven. In October 1888, after a series of setbacks, Hàm Nghi was hiding in an isolated house near the spring of the Nai river, with Tôn Thất Thiệp, the second son of Tôn Thất Thuyết, and a few attendants.[3] There, he was betrayed by the head of his Muong guards, Trương Quang Ngọc, and captured on 1 November, while Thiệp was killed. He was turned over to French officers on 2 November.[4]

Exile & MarriageEdit

On 12 December 1888, he was exiled to Algeria. There he married a French Algerian woman, Marcelle Laloë, on 4 November 1904. They had three children, Prince Minh-Duc, Princess Nhu May and Princess Nhu Lý.


Hàm Nghi died on 14 January 1944 and was buried in Algiers. During his exile, he had bought the château de la Losse in Thonac, Dordogne, in southwest France. In 1965, Charles de Gaulle proposed to his daughter, Countess de la Besse, to transfer his body in Thonac, where he still lies in a simple grave. In 2002, Vietnam sent a delegation to France to seek permission from Princess Nhu Lý (De la Besse died in 2005, in her 97th year) to move her father's remains to the former Imperial capital of Huế. Her family has so far refused.[5] Some cities in Vietnam have streets named after him.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Derived from Classic of Poetry: "Yin should have received the appointment was entirely right" (殷受命咸宜, translated by James Legge)
  2. ^ Bruce M. Lockhart, William J. Duiker Historical Dictionary of Vietnam 2006 Page 150 "Hàm Nghi (1872–1943). Emperor (r. 1884—1885) of the Nguyén dynasty after establishment of the French protectorate in 1884. Brother of Emperor Kiến Phúc, ...
  3. ^ Spencer Tucker -Vietnam – 1999 Page 36 "In july 1885 Vietnamese nationalists acting in the name of Emperor Hàm Nghi led a brief rebellion, launching a major attack on the French at the fort of Mang Cá near the capital. This failed, whereupon Hàm Nghi fled to Quang Tri Province and ..."
  4. ^ Baille, 1890; Devillers, 1998, pp. 398–469; Gosselin, 1900, pp. 150–56; Gosselin, 1904.
  5. ^ Nguyên Cao Duc, Georges. Un empereur aimé: Hàm Nghi 2007, p.5
  6. ^ Vietnam Country Map. Periplus Travel Maps. March 2002. ISBN 0-7946-0070-0.


  • Baille. "Souvenirs d’Annam 1886–1890" E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, Paris (1890, viii + 266 pp.)
  • Devillers, Philippe. "Français et Annamites. Partenaires ou ennemis? 1856–1902", Denoël, 1998, 517 pp.; ISBN 2-207-24248-X (2-207-24248-X)
  • Gosselin, Charles. "Le Laos et le Protectorat Français". Librairie académique Didier, Perrin & Cie, Paris (1900, 349 pp.) Available here or here
  • Gosselin, Charles. "L’empire d’Annam". Préface de Pierre Baudin, Perrin. Cie: Paris (1904, xxvi + 560 pp.)
  • Bergoend, Isabelle. "Le Dagobert optique". Editions Thierry Marchaisse (2015, 240 pp.)
Preceded by
Emperor Kiến Phúc
Nguyễn Dynasty Succeeded by
Emperor Đồng Khánh