Tan Co

Loi Nguyen Cau Nua Dem

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Vietnamese History: Defeat

Their revolution was short lived however, as the Chinese gathered a huge expeditionary army to crush the native fighters. Legend has it that the Chinese army did this by going into battle unclothed. The enemy’s brazenness so shamed the Vietnamese female warriors that they fled the battle scene, leaving the weakened forces easily defeated by the Chinese. Phung Thi Chinh, a pregnant noble lady was the captain of a group of soldiers who were to protect the central flank of Nam Việt. She gave birth on the front line, and with her baby in one arm, and a sword in the other, continued to fight the battle.

Despite the many heroic efforts, the Trưng sisters realised that they had been defeated and that to fight further would mean death at the hands of the Chinese. Therefore to protect their honour, and to elude ridicule, the two queens committed suicide by drowning themselves in the Hát River (AD 43). Some of their loyal soldiers continued to fight to the death, whilst others committed suicide (including Phung Thi Chinh, who also took her newborn baby’s life). There is a story of one woman who would randomly charge through Chinese camps, screaming and slaying random men. Finally, after killing many more, she committed suicide in the hope of returning to her respected commanders.