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Nguyen Dynasty (1792 AD - 1883 AD)

In 1792, Nguyen Hue suddenly died. His son, Quang Toan, succeeded the throne at the age of 11. Being a child, he was unable to rule the court properly. Neither could he curb the rising threat by Nguyen Anh. Nguyen Anh resisted against the Tay Son brothers and extended control over the country with the aid of a French missionary, Monsignor Pigneau de Behaine, Bishop of Adran.

In 1792, Nguyen Hue suddenly died. His son, Quang Toan, succeeded the throne at the age of 11. Being a child, he was unable to rule the court properly. Neither could he curb the rising threat by Nguyen Anh. Nguyen Anh resisted against the Tay Son brothers and extended control over the country with the aid of a French missionary, Monsignor Pigneau de Behaine, Bishop of Adran.

Anh ascended the throne in 1802 with the title Gia Long. In the same year, he sent an envoy to China. It was to ask for approval from the Manchou Dynasty for his throne and the country name of Nam Viet. But the Manchou changed it to Viet Nam. A power struggle between the French and Chinese factions began within the court. Although Nguyen Anh owed his victory to the French training and weapons his troops acquired, he was suspicious of their designs on his country. He came to rely more on his Confucian mandarins than the Catholic missionaries in the consolidation of his empire.

The reunified Viet Nam extended from the Camau Peninsula in the south to the Chinese frontier. Laos and Cambodia were incorporated into the empire as new vassal states. Serious efforts were made to codify the law and develop the national administration along Confucian principles. Hue became the country's new administrative capital.

Fearing that the opening of the kingdom and expansion of trade links would undermine the structure of monarchy, they isolated themselves from the world. They did not bother about acquiring new skills such as mathematics, science, physics and modern warfare, concentrating only on Confucian ideas. The scholars spent their time composing poems instead of spearheading scientific discoveries. Meanwhile, Prince Canh, Nguyen Anh's eldest son accompanied the Bishop of Adran to France. The Prince was educated at a missionary school in Malacca and converted to Catholicism. This made Canh the first Viet prince to be educated under Western ideas and teachers.

Soon after Gia Long's death, a successor was sought. The French faction preferred Canh as he would bring modernisation to the country. However, the Chinese faction backed Canh's younger brother, Prince Mien Tong. Canh reportedly died of measles at the age of 21. The Chinese faction won and with the crowning of Mien Tong, the French-Chinese divide ended. Most of Prince's Canh's followers were either executed or demoted.

In 1858, France started their plans of invading Vietnam. With the poor economy and a outdated army, the Nguyen Dynasty could not resist against the French military force and had to make a number of concessions one after another. In 1861, the French took Saigon. Six years later, the entire southern part of the country was renamed Cochin China, annexed as a French colony. The French extended their influence to the north in 1883. The centre of Viet Nam was renamed Annam and the north or Tokin, became French protectorates.
 
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