Ly Thai To 974-1028

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Ly Thai To 李太祖 974-1028, born Ly Cong Uan 李公安, founder of the Ly Dynasty ruled Vietnam as emperor for 19 years from 1009 to 1028.

He was born at Dan Pagoda, also known Co Phap Pagoda, an ancietn temple dating back to the eight century, located in Dinh Bang commune, Tu Son district, Bac Ninh province. At age 3, his mother brought him back to the pagoda and he became a novice monk under the tuteledge of the abbot Van Hanh.

When he came of age he came to the capital Hoa Lu, became a minor official, and worked his way up to a position of some rank in the Citidel guards. In 1009, Le Ngoạ Trieu, the last king of the Anterior Le Dynasty was killed in a popular rebellion and Dao Cam Moc, an official, and Vạn Hạnh used their power to enthrone Ly Thai To, without debate, displacing the descendant of the Anterior Lê Dynasty.

His capital Hoa Lu was in a small valley area surrounded by karst mountains, a secluded area. Therefore in 1010 he dicided to move the capital to what is now Hanoi on the plain of the Red River. While travelling to the new capital, he saw a vision of an ascending Yellow Dragon so named the new capital Thang Long.

During the reign of Ly Thai To, the Chinese Song Dynasty had problems to the north so were not a major threat. Ly Thai To sent envoys to the Song requesting recognition of his position as Emperor of Dai Viet. The Song Emperor agreed and sent envoys to confer on Ly the title Lord of Giao Chi, and later King of the Annan (Pacified South).

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