Lý Thường Kiệt: A Brief Biography

Lý Thường Kiệt of the Lý Dynasty is one of the greatest generals in Vietnamese history, helping the country defeat the Chinese Song Dynasty in the 11th century.  He was born in the city of Thang Long (modern day Hanoi) in 1019 and died in 1105 at the age of 86.  Lý served as the captain of a cavalry before rising through the ranks of the Vietnamese military.  In order for him to lead the Imperial Guards, he had to be castrated and become a eunuch.  As a military leader Lý Thường Kiệt proves to be more than capable, not only was he victorious against the Chinese, but against the Cham and Cambodian armies as well.  Besides his military triumphs, Lý Thường Kiệt is also remembered for writing the famous poem Nam Quốc Sơn Hà, the very first Declaration of Independence of Vietnam. To this day, Lý Thường Kiệt is still revered as one of Vietnam’s greatest heroes.


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