Trần Bình Trọng: The Definition of a Patriot
“I would rather be a demon of the South than a king to your Northern Nation.”
– Trần Bình Trọng, 1285
Trần Bình Trọng was a young general who fought for the Trần Dynasty, alongside the ranks of Trần Hưng Đạo, against the Yuan Dynasty during the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. As a talented young leader, Trần Bình Trọng was chosen to lead a division of Đại Việt’s forces against the northern invaders.
He was a capable general, helping the Trần defeat the Mongols on several occasions. However, as a young commander, he was defeated in one crucial battle, captured by the Mongols, and taken back to China.
Though they were enemies, Kublai Khan recognized the talents of the young leader and tried to convince Trọng to defect to the Mongols. To this offer, Trần Bình Trọng declined, stating his unwavering loyalty to his homeland.
For the second offer, Kublai offered a reward for Trần if he were to provide information on the nation of Đại Việt and their army. Again, Trọng’s response was a resounding “no!” Unafraid of the Mongol threats.
As a last attempt, the Mongols asked Trần Bình Trọng if he would like to become a prince of the Yuan Dynasty. To this, Trần Bình Trọng responded by saying that he’d rather be a Vietnamese demon than a king of their country.
This was the last straw, the Yuan Dynasty could no longer stand the insult of General Trần Bình Trọng. As a result, the Mongols had him executed. Trần Bình Trọng sacrificed his life to defend the honor of the country. His actions are remembered today by the people of Vietnam as the prime example of courage, loyalty, and patriotism.