Lê Tương Dực

Lê Tương Dực (chữ Hán: 黎襄翼; 16 July 1495 – 8 May 1516), birth name Lê Oanh (黎瀠), reigned 1509 – 1516, was the ninth emperor of the later Lê dynasty of Đại Việt. The only primary account of his life and reign was the Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư, the official historical chronicle of Đại Việt during the Lê dynasty which was completed in 1697 under the direction of Trịnh lords. The chronicle described Lê Tương Dực as initially being a good emperor who reorganized the court and used laws wisely; however, later during his reign, he spent extravagantly on leisure activities and that weakened nation seriously.[1]

Lê Tương Dực
Emperor of Đại Việt
Emperor of Lê dynasty
PredecessorLê Uy Mục
SuccessorLê Chiêu Tông
Born16 July 1495
Died8 May 1516 (aged 20)
Lê Oanh (黎瀠)
Era name and dates
Hồng Thuận (洪順): 1509–1516
Posthumous name
Linh Ẩn vương (靈隱王), later Tương Dực Hoàng đế (襄翼皇帝)
HouseLê Dynasty
FatherLê Tân
MotherTrịnh Thị Tuyên

He was a grandson of Lê Thánh Tông and a second son of prince Lê Tân, a younger brother of Lê Hiến Tông. His mother was Trịnh Thị Tuyên, a daughter of general Trịnh Trọng Phong.[2] In 1509, Hiến Tông's son, Emperor Lê Uy Mục arrested Lê Oanh during a program of purging imperial princes who were suspicious of disloyalty. Oanh fled to Thanh Hoá, the House of Lê's homeland, and gathered an army against the Emperor. With the help of his lieutenants Nguyễn Văn Lang and Nguyễn Hoằng Dụ, Oanh marched his army to the imperial capital and defeated the Emperor's military officers. In retaliation, Lê Uy Mục executed Oanh's elder brother, Lê Sùng. That did not prevent Oanh from decisively routing the Emperor's main army and killing Uy Mục.[3] Oanh then styled himself as Emperor and designed his era name as Hồng Thuận (洪順). In the early years of his reign, Lê Oanh, known to later generations as Lê Tương Dực, had some achievements in reorganizing the government and fostering Neo-Confucianist education. He also ordered the compilation of a new historical chronicle, Đại Việt thông giám thông khảo, by the Minister of War Vũ Quỳnh, and Trị bình bảo phạm, or Rules for Maintaining Social Stability in accordance with Neo-Confucianism.[4][5][6]

However, later in his reign, he spent extravagantly in building many colossal palaces in the imperial capital, Thăng Long. The most notable of those places was one known to the Vietnamese as Cửu Trùng Đài, designed by the emperor's favoured architect Vũ Như Tô. He also spent much time enjoying sexual activities with his concubines, many of whom were former concubines of Lê Hiến Tông and Lê Uy Mục. According to court chroniclers, he ordered the build of special boats for his nude concubines to row on large artificial lakes.[7] As the result of the emperor's luxurious lifestyle and ignorance of state affairs, the people suffered considerable hardships. Many soldiers committed to build imperial palaces died due to diseases.[8] As the government became increasingly unpopular, many rebellions broke out. The largest of them was that of Trần Cảo, a northerner who claimed to be an heir of the House of Trần.[9]

In spring 1516, a group of imperial guards, led by general Trịnh Duy Sản, murdered Lê Tương Dực in the capital.[10][11]



  1. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, p. 553
  2. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, p. 553
  3. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 550–551.
  4. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 553–559.
  5. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 560–561.
  6. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 566–568.
  7. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 566–568.
  8. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 566–568.
  9. ^ Đại Việt's Office of History 1993, pp. 568–569.
  10. ^ Bruce M. Lockhart, William J. Duiker -The A to Z of Vietnam 2010- Page 211 "Lê Uy Mục (1488-1509). Seventh emperor (r. 1505-1509) of the Lé dynasty. Lê Uy Mục quickly showed himself to be a ruthless ruler, murdering his grandmother and two of his ministers. His unpopularity led to the popular nickname given to ...He was assassinated by his cousin in 1509, who then seized the throne under the dynastic title of Tương Dực. ... that Vietnam had enjoyed during the 15th century and paved the way for the usurpation of the throne by Mạc Đăng Dung.
  11. ^ Trần Trọng Kim (2005). Việt Nam sử lược (in Vietnamese). Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House. p. 248.


Preceded by Emperor of Vietnam
Succeeded by