Yên Thế Insurrection

The Yên Thế Insurrection (Vietnamese: Khởi nghĩa Yên Thế) was a 25-year-long popular revolt in Yên Thế District, Vietnam, against French rule and in defiance of the Nguyễn dynasty's collaborative stance.

The band of Đề Thám (photo by Romain-Desfossés)

The revolt was led by the "Tiger of Yên Thế",[1] Đề Thám, lasting some two decades (1887–1913).[2][3] The rebellion was violent with intervals of truce when the French colonial authorities settled for peace, ceding four cantons to Đề Thám's control.

The policy of appeasement and containment was chosen after several military campaigns sweeping through the mountainous terrain to defeat Đề Thám failed to stomp out the resistance. Đề Thám variously resorted to guerrilla warfare, harassing local patrols, and at other times launching full attacks on French colonial forces.

The insurrection collapsed with the murder of Đề Thám in 1913 by an agent working for the French. The surviving forces were scattered, ending one of the longest chapters of anti-French resistance in pre-modern Vietnam.


  1. ^ Bội Châu Phan Overturned Chariot: The Autobiography of Phan-Bội-Châu - English translation 1999 - Page 4 "His dogged resistance earned him the nickname of "the Tiger of Yên-thế."
  2. ^ J. Wills Burke, Origines: the streets of Vietnam : a historical companion, 2001, page 53. "Movement, this rebellion was most active in Yên Thế District, Bắc Giang Province. Under Để Thám's leadership, the Yên Thế Insurrection lasted for some 25 years (1887–1913). In an effort to suppress the insurrection, the French established a ...
  3. ^ Hy V. Luong, Tradition, Revolution, and Market Economy in a North Vietnamese, ISBN 0824833708, 2010, page 42. "The remaining incidents of resistance involved the Đề Thám movement, which until 1913 militarily harassed the French all the way from the hilly Yên-Thế area to the neighboring provinces of Phúc-Yên and Vĩnh-Yên (later merged with ..."