Lý Long Tường and the Other Mongol Invasion. “Part 1”
The Mongols’ defeats at the hands of Trần Hưng Đạo of the Trần Dynasty are one of the most prominent feats in the history of Vietnam. There is however, another glorious victory during the Mongol Wars, accomplished this time by Prince Lý Long Tường. As a survivor of the overthrown Lý Dynasty, Prince Lý Long Tường would help fend off the Mongol invasions on the kingdom of Korea, decades before Trần Hưng Đạo and the nation of Đại Việt.
Trần Thủ Độ and the Fall of the Lý
The story of Lý Long Tường begins in a tragic way, as the last Lý monarch, princess Lý Chiêu Hoàng, abdicated the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh. This was made possible because of Trần Thủ Độ, a man who exploited the conflict of a female ruler to break the line of succession of the Lý family. As a result, the Lý family was deposed from the royal throne and replaced by the Trần family.
Infuriated by Trần Thủ Độ’s political schemes, the members of the Lý family became a strong opposing force to the new Trần rulers. Fearing a revolt, the diabolical Trần Thủ Độ, regent of the fledgling Trần Dynasty, would orchestrate a political purge aimed at the entire Lý family. With the power of the military, members of the Lý were targeted and ruthlessly executed. Thousands of Vietnamese people died at the hands of Trần Thủ Độ, just for baring the name of Lý.
Lý Long Tường and the Voyage to Korea
Recognizing the serious situation that the Lý were facing, Prince Lý Long Tường decided to take action. With the last of his political power, Lý Long Tường rounded up the remaining members of the Lý family, formulating a plan to evacuate them from Đại Việt. What was once the homeland of the proud Lý Dynasty now became a hostile territory, a place where the first great rulers were no longer welcome.
With three giant ships, Lý Long Tường and the remnants of the Lý Dynasty set sail for the Eastern Sea. On their journey at sea, the prince’s envoy encountered a typhoon. In order to prevent the destruction of the envoy, Lý Long Tường had to make a pit stop, landing on the shores of Taiwan. When the storm finally passed, the prince gathered his forces and continued northward.
However, Prince Ly’s son, Lý Long Hiền, was afflicted with a serious ailment during their stay in Taiwan. As a result, Hiền was forced to stay behind while his father proceeded on his voyage in the Eastern Sea. A number of mandarins and government officials stayed with Lý Long Hiền, becoming members of what is now known as Taiwan.
The Shores of Korea
After more than a month on the high seas, Lý Long Tường’s forces finally landed on the Korean peninsula, where they were warmly welcomed by Kojong, the king of the Korean kingdom. It is here that Prince Lý will spend the rest of his days, along with the remaining members of the Lý clan. When Prince Lý fled Đại Việt, he brought numerous talented people under his wing, all of which would be fully utilized by Korean rulers.
The time that Prince Lý arrived in Korea was also the time that Genghis Khan and his Mongols unleashed their fearsome conquests upon all of Eurasia. Korea, like any other country at the time, was in danger of Mongol domination. As a result, the Koreans mobilized their country to prepare for the Mongol invasion.
Since the Prince was a talented military commander for Đại Việt, Lý Long Tường was granted a leadership position in the Korean army. With his help, the kingdom of Korea was prepared for the Mongols coming invasion. News of Mongols’ countless military endeavors swept across the entire continent, and Korea was next on the list.
To be continued…