Lady Triệu: The Goddess Who Fought the Wu
Third Century (225-248A.D.)Triệu Thị Trinh was a female warrior who fought against the Chinese occupants in the third century. Her story takes place during the Three Kingdoms period in China, after the collapse of the Han Dynasty. During this time, Vietnam was occupied by the Kingdom of Wu. Similar to the Han, life under the Wu was bleak and oppressive. The people of Nam-Việt needed a hero, and the courageous Lady Triệu rose to the occasion.
Lady Triệu, also known as Triệu Trinh, was orphaned as a child and lived under the household with her older brother. When she turned 20 years old, Triệu Trinh fled to the mountains to follow her older brother. It was there that she learned her revolutionary ways, meeting many Vietnamese warriors who were ready to fight the Wu.
Her older brother, Triệu Quốc Đạt, feared for her safety and asked her to reconsider joining the rebels. Triệu Trinh did not accept, telling him that she refused to bow her head down and become another slave to the Chinese invaders. Her brother was taken by her words and in the end, he respected her decision.
“All I want to do is ride the storms, tame the crashing waves, kill the sharks of the Eastern Sea, cleanse the land, and save the people from drowning. I refuse to mimic the others, bow my head down, lower myself, and become another concubine!”
– Triệu Thị Trinh, 248A.D.
From then on, Triệu Thị Trinh fought alongside the rebels, engaging the Wu forces and resisting the kingdom from China. Her bravery, intellect, and valor in battle earned her the name of Lady Triệu. The warriors also chose her as the leader of their organization. Lady Triệu was remembered as a strong, intelligent, and beautiful woman, able to tame the heart of any warrior that stands in her way. She marches fearlessly into battle, wrapped around a silky golden robe, riding on the back of a ferocious elephant.
Under her leadership, the rebels managed to take on the Kingdom of Wu for a short time. The rebels forces were small, often fighting the much larger army of the Wu Kingdom. After six months of vigorous battles, Lady Triệu and her forces were finally defeated in battle. Though they fought valiantly, the Wu forces were much too large for the rebels to withstand.
After escaping from the grasps of the enemy, Triệu Trinh found refuge in the region of Bồ Điền. In the tradition of the Trung Sisters and the ways of the warrior, to defend her honour and the honour of her brethren, Lady Triệu Thị Trinh ended her own life. The year was 248A.D. and Triệu Trinh was only 23 years old.
Lady Triệu is remembered, along with the Trung Sisters, as one of the most celebrated female heroes in the history of Vietnam. In a time when no one else dared to oppose the Wu, Lady Triệu stepped up and fought them to the death. Though she never succeeded in expelling the Chinese, her courage inspired future generations to keep on fighting and never give up. Lady Triệu has become a legendary figure of strength and resilience, a goddess in Vietnamese folklore. In the 10th century under the Lý Dynasty, a temple was built in her memory. The emperor of the Lý Dynasty also gave her the honourary title of Lady Triệu: The Honourable, Courageous, and Virtuous Woman.