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Improvising protocols: Two enterprising Chinese migrant families and the resourceful Nguyen court.

The devolution of Dai Viet into the control of the allied clans of Trinh and Nguyen, and the subsequent split of the two clans, divided the territory into two antagonistic spheres. This political split, along with the continued southern expansion of the Nguyen regime, created in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries two increasingly distinct Vietnamese polities, each following a different trajectory of social, cultural and economic development driven by its own ecological conditions and demographic dynamics. The northern polity was known to the Vietnamese as 'Dang Ngoai' and to foreigners as 'Tonkin' while the southern one, 'Dang Trong', was called 'Cochinchina' by foreigners. (1)

In Dang Trong, the southward expansion (nam tien) of Nguyen territories profited from the arrival of Chinese migrants to various parts of the coastline during different stages of the expansion. Recent studies have cautioned against a narrative of a steadily expanding Vietnam that tends to depict Nguyen control of the south as preordained, thereby oversimplifying a gradual and complex process that should not be reduced to family rivalries. (2) Chinese migrants played a role in shaping the course of this varied and uncertain process of territorial expansion. These enterprising Chinese migrants to Nguyen territories exerted influences that stood in sharp contrast to the continuing Chinese influence in the northern territories of the Trinh lords through the tribute system and Confucian education. There were Chinese migrants in Dang Trong, but their influence as a community seems to have been less pronounced. However, a simple binary differentiation between the Chinese presence in the south from that in the north still does not sufficiently characterise the spectrum of experience of Chinese migrants to the south.

Scholarship has differentiated the groups of Chinese migrants to the 'Water Frontier', or the south. (3) However, as these studies were largely aimed at correcting previous state-centred historiography, few have examined the range of strategies the state employed in its interactions with these migrants. This article illustrates two paradigms of Chinese migrants to the various parts of this frontier exhibited as the Nguyen court extended its political control to the south--a Minh Huong paradigm and a frontier paradigm. Both groups asserted their ethnic origin. Those exhibiting the Minh Huong paradigm furthered their interests by accentuating their cultural capital according to Sinitic standards while working closely with the Vietnamese court. Those demonstrating the frontier paradigm relied more on their military prowess and enterprising spirit in the dynamic borderland, pragmatically changing their political allegiance to the Nguyen court.

Based on two extant genealogies of Chinese migrant families, the Tran ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen), who settled near the Nguyen political base around present-day Hue, and the celebrated Mac ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Mo), who founded their commercial enterprise in Ha Tien ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Hexian) in the Mekong Delta, this article shows that not all Chinese migrants to the south manifested their entrepreneurial spirit in a similar manner. While their geographic proximity to the Nguyen powerbase enabled the Tran family to transform their interests from commerce to political power by leveraging the court's authority, the Mac clan continued to operate as an economic concern and military power as it shifted its political allegiance opportunistically. Both families employed different strategies in their dealings with the court, their naming practices, the role of women, and the ways in which their respective genealogies recorded ancestral achievements. A more nuanced understanding of the Chinese migration to the south should enable us to appreciate not only their resourceful manoeuvres to gain a firm foothold in their new land, but also the flexibility of the Nguyen court in its accommodation of different migrant groups it sought to incorporate into its realm.


When Mac Dang Dung usurped the Le throne in 1527, the Trinh and Nguyen clans formed an alliance and resisted the Mac. Trinh Kiem led the resistance movement and later the Trinh family largely dominated the ruling Le emperors. In order to forestall a political struggle, Nguyen Hoang heeded the advice of Nguyen Binh Khiem, the clairvoyant scholar whom he consulted: 'Hoanh Son nhat dai, van dai dung than ([phrase omitted], The Hoanh Son mountain area would provide refuge for thousands of generations). Through the intercession of his sister who was married to Trinh Kiem, Nguyen Hoang succeeded in securing from the Trinh/Le court an appointment in 1558 to the post of military commander in the distant southern frontier region of Thuan Hoa. (4) Nguyen Hoang proceeded to establish his political and economic base in the territories under his control. He would return to the north and stage an unsuccessful power struggle against Trinh Kiem's son, his own nephew. Defeated, he returned to the south in 1600. (5) Thus began the split of the Nguyen realm in the south from that of the Trinh in the north.

This split became irreparable in 1624 when Nguyen Hoang's son refused to continue the remittance of tax revenues to the Trinh-controlled Le court. Military conflicts between the Trinh and the Nguyen clans ensued, but neither side could sustain their offensives against the other. The two sides came to accept the military stalemate by 1672, after which they virtually ceased all direct contact with each other. Therefore, although the entire realm of Dai Viet was ostensibly under the rule of the Le ruling house which had founded the dynasty in 1428, in reality, the country had split into two parts. In the north, the Trinh lords (chua) governed Dang Ngoai (the Outer Region) in the name of the Le house. Centred on Thang Long, this northern polity stretched from the Chinese border in the north to Song Gianh in the south, running through what is today the northern section of Quahg Binh province. In the south, the Nguyen lords controlled Dang Trong (the Inner Region), which comprised sections of present-day central and southern Vietnam. (6)

After the split, the Nguyen clan expanded its territories in Dang Trong toward the south. In addition, the Nguyen state, which lacked an agricultural base to support its growing population, incorporated the existing trading port network of the Cham. The coastal region extended past the Mekong Delta as a portion of a 'Water Frontier' along which active trading took place. Trade played such an important role in the economy of the south that Li Tana questioned whether the Nguyen state could have existed or Dang Trong society survived in the absence of commerce. (7) Moreover, the area under the Nguyen continued to attract Chinese migrants. Around 1680, Chinese refugees arrived in the area under the Nguyen clan as the Qing court consolidated control over southern China. Some of these Chinese refugees who claimed to be loyalists of the previous dynasty, the Ming, had held out in southern China and Taiwan. As the Qing court managed to dislodge the son of the famed loyalist Zheng Chenggong ([phrase omitted]; Koxinga), followers of the Zheng movement dispersed to Dai Viet and other parts of Southeast Asia.

In 1679, 3,000 people came in 50 warships and presented themselves at Hue demanding asylum. (8) These self-proclaimed 'Ming loyalists' were in reality ruffians and posed a challenge to the stability of Thuan Hoa and upper Quang Nam under the rule of the Nguyen rulers. The Nguyen regime responded to this challenge by capitalising on these Chinese migrants and asylum seekers in the establishment of Gia Dinh as an administrative region in 1698. (9) These Chinese refugees came to be known as Minh Huong (Chinese: Ming xiang) in Dang Trong. (10) Since the mid-seventeenth century, Ming refugees had begun to establish Minh Huong communities in the region with the permission of the Nguyen lords. Originally written with the character that means sacrificial incense ([phrase omitted]; Vietnamese: huong; Chinese: xiang), the designation signified the refugees' intention of perpetuating their Ming pedigree. In the nineteenth century, however, Emperor Minh Mang mandated that a different Chinese character meaning 'village' ([phrase omitted]) be adopted for huong, diminishing its earlier connotations of political allegiance. (11) Although the Chinese migrants freely intermarried with local women, they maintained a distinct sense of community through the establishment of Minh Huong and dialect associations ([phrase omitted]bang). (12)

One of the two genealogies that form the basis of this analysis comes from the Tran ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen) family of Thua Thien ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chengtian), which refers to the administrative area along the banks of the River Huong ([phrase omitted]; Vietnamese: Huong Giang; Chinese: Xiangjiang) some 300 kilometres from the city of Thuan Hoa. (13) The Tran genealogy was edited for publication by Chen Ching-ho (Chen Jinghe) based on a version he had obtained from Tran Nguyen Thuoc ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen Yuanshuo), an eleventh-generation descendant of the founding ancestor of a Minh Huong family. (14) The three prefaces of the family registers indicate that this genealogical enterprise began with a fifth-generation descendant in the mid-eighteenth century. Tran The Xuong ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen Shichang) was said to have compiled a simple record of names of the first four generations, and their dates of birth and death. (15) Then another fifth-generation descendant, Tran Si Ich ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen Shiyi), born in 1748, augmented Tran The Xuong's compilation as he orchestrated an effort to collect information on the works and deeds of his ancestors. The preface Tran Si Ich purportedly authored took pains to emphasise the lineage's roots in Ming China. However, the dating of this preface poses a problem of authorship. Tran Si Ich's preface is dated 1739 (the fourth year of the Qing Emperor Qianlong's reign and the fifth year of the Vinh Huu [phrase omitted] reign of Le Emperor Y Tong), nine years before the birth of the author! (16) This internal contradiction in the dates in the family register brings to question its professed origins.

Then in 1875 the seventh-generation head, Tran Duong Don ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen Yangdun), a celebrated official whose service in the Nguyen court won the lineage tremendous fame, prepared a detailed version and appended it to the earlier genealogy. This was followed by the third edition of 1930, which formed the basis of Chen Ching-ho's publication. (17) The register traced the family's descent through a line of eldest sons as the head of the family through the third generation, but shifted to a branch of a younger son as the head of the fourth generation. This fourth-generation head was the earliest ancestor to have received a posthumous title for the seventh-generation Tran Duong Don's contributions to the Nguyen court. As Chen Ching-ho indicated, this shift in the direction of the family register indicates that the genealogical enterprise evolved around Don as the narrative centre, hence the record of the first seven generations in the last version of the register was to culminate with the achievements of Tran Duong Don. (18)

Further south from the region in which the Tran clan settled and operated in was a vast expanse of territories over which the Nguyen lords had tenuous control, at best. Even some of the Vietnamese people who had moved to this area did not pledge allegiance to the Nguyen lords. These migrants had been attracted to the area precisely because of the lack of state control. Politically unconstrained and distant from the rule of big states, this area attracted Chinese migrants among whom was Mac Cuu ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Mo Jiu) who established around 1700 an autonomous polity in the town of Ha Tien. In their adopted home, the Mac clan had changed their surname to a homophonous Chinese character in order to distinguish themselves from the Mac usurpers of 1527-1592. (19) Ha Tien was in fact Khmer territory. Mac Cuu had fled to Ha Tien from his hometown of Leizhou ([phrase omitted]) in Guangdong. (20) The genealogy of the Mac family was compiled by Vu The Doanh ([phrase omitted], Chinese: Wu Shiying) (courtesy name Than Vi [phrase omitted]; Chinese: Shenwei) in the year 1818. (21)

Given their dissimilar origins and family trajectories, both documents understandably present the respective families in a very different light. Bearing in mind each genealogy's biases, I will contrast the approaches each family employed in establishing itself in its new environment, and the Nguyen court's ingenuity in its dealings with both these Chinese migrant clans.

Moving to the south and dealings with the Nguyen court

Both genealogies depicted their founding ancestors as having to flee from the incoming Qing regime in China. The founding ancestor of the Tran lineage named Tran Dudng Thuan ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Chen Yangchun) was a native of 'Longxi county in the prefecture of Zhangzhou under the jurisdiction of the Fujian province of the state of the Great Ming' ([phrase omitted]). He was a resident in the upper hamlet of Yuzhou in the fourth ward of the 28th sector ([phrase omitted]). He had moved to the south to flee from the turmoil of the late Ming era, but had continued to follow the sartorial customs of the Ming. (22) As for Mac Cuu, the genealogy of the Mac clan maintained that he had fled from the 'barbaric' upheaval during the waning years of the Ming dynasty and escaped by boat to be a guest at Chan Lap ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Zhenla; present-day Cambodia). (23) In contrast with the description of Tran Dudng Thuan's merely retaining the sartorial conventions, Mac Cuu is depicted as actively demonstrating his resistance to the Qing by retaining his hairstyle from the Ming dynasty instead of adopting the half-tonsure and queue mandated by the new regime. (24) The genealogy simply stated that he had come from Leizhou, in the Chinese province of Guangdong. Thus, according to their genealogies, both the Tran and the Mac families had relocated to another political jurisdiction during a period of turmoil to seek security and better economic prospects. Both families presented narratives that underscore the importance of the opportunities and protection Chinese emigrants derived from sovereign boundaries, a common feature in the story of the Chinese diaspora that Philip Kuhn, historian of Chinese emigrants, highlighted. (25)

The Tran genealogy took pains to provide specific information on the founding ancestor's place of origin, but it did not provide many details on his life in his adopted home in Dang Trong. Moreover, the genealogy stressed the Tran clan's continuous ties with their ancestral home in China. The third generation ancestor of the Tran clan was said to have returned to the clan's ancestral hometown in China after he had secured a progeny for the lineage with the birth of his eldest son. He united with his relatives and lived with them for two years before going back to Dang Trong to care for his ageing parents. (26) As they demonstrated, according to their genealogy, such culturally prized values as filial piety across geographic boundaries, the Tran family's experiences echo Kuhn's claim that Chinese emigrants leveraged their marginal positions in their native lands as well as in their receiving communities. (27)

In contrast, the Mac genealogy was short on details on Mac Cuu's origins but rich on his experiences after he left China. The text portrays Mac Cuu winning the king's favour in Cambodia at the age of 17 in 1671, and being entrusted with all matters of trade and commerce. Nonetheless, Mac Cuu thought,
I travelled all alone for thousands of miles and the wild waves carried
me to the land of the barbarians. I could rely on the generosity of
others and hope for a lifetime of wealth and fortune, but if I ever
fall from grace due to slanderous attacks, disasters would befall me
and it would be too late for regrets. I should better plan to protect

According to the genealogy, he then bribed the courtesans and ministers who enjoyed the favour of the Khmer king to intervene on his behalf. The king dispatched him to the Khmer territory of Peam where he built a prosperous port for trade and travel. This port enriched the royal treasury. People from Dang Trong, China, and various faraway lands all came to this port where Mac Cuu's enterprise flourished. (28) However, the fortunes of Mac Cuu did not grow uninterrupted. After the Siamese incursion into Cambodia, Mac Cuu 'had no choice but to go north to Siam' where upon meeting Mac Cuu in person, the Siamese king took a liking to him and retained him. Thereafter, just when a crisis developed in Siam, Mac Cuu escaped back to Peam in 1688. (29) As such, Mac Cuu straddled the powers of Cambodia, the Nguyen court, and Siam as he furthered his commercial interests. Chen Ching-ho believes that Mac Cuu's commercial interests included gambling houses and silver mines even though these operations were not mentioned in the genealogy. (30)

Mac Cuu ran Ha Tien like his own fiefdom and competed with Ayutthaya for Southeast Asian trade. In 1708, according to the genealogy, one of Mac Cuu's followers advised him that the Khmer were deceitful and would not provide as good protection as the Nguyen lord in the event of a military conflict. Therefore, Mac Cuu proceeded north to pay homage to the Nguyen court, which made him a tributary vassal and conferred upon his port the name of Ha Tien. Enfeoffed as a general, Mac Cuu returned to Ha Tien, which he built up into a profitable entrepot. (31) He controlled the port of Ha Tien for over forty years and died in 1735 at the ripe old age of 81, at which time his son inherited his title of general. (32) Not until the death of the third-generation ruler Mac Tu Thiem did Emperor Gia Long find the opportunity to end the Mac's rule over Ha Tien. (33) For three generations, the Mac clan had ruled over Ha Tien and were essentially autonomous of the Nguyen court.

The Nguyen lords' fragile control over Mac Cuu and his descendants reflected the borderless, fluid conditions of this expanding southern region, which was undergoing a gradual shift from Khmer to Vietnamese control. This region marched to a very different drumbeat compared with the more established rhythm of not just Dang Ngoai in the north under the control of the Trinh lords, but also the area of Dang Trong near the powerbase of the Nguyen court in which the Tran clan operated.

Despite their similar narratives of leaving China for their respective adopted homes in the south, the two clans as depicted by their genealogies also sharply contrasted in their records of their Chinese roots and their establishment in the new environment. The Tran celebrated their heritage by tracing their Chinese ancestry to a specific place of origin. Without providing details on the travails of the early generations of Tran migrants in Dang Trong, the Tran genealogy gave the impression of their ready assimilation into the new environment and of establishing themselves near the Nguyen powerbase. The Tran clan followed a strategy that underscores the Minh Huong paradigm. The Mac genealogy, on the other hand, showcases the frontier paradigm. While constructing a narrative that culminated in the clan's submission to the Nguyen court, the Mac genealogy did not shy away from describing Mac Cuu's shifting allegiances as he sought to develop a foothold around the volatile crossroads of Ha Tien, which promised tremendous profits for those who played their political cards astutely.

Notably, the Nguyen court bound both families to its expanding sphere of political influence in Dang Trong with trappings of titles and symbols of royal patronage. However, the court modified these titles and insignias to suit the specific situation. Royal graces towards the Tran family took the form of formulaic bureaucratic honours. (34) The most illustrious member of the Tran clan was undoubtedly the seventh-generation Tien Thanh, who passed the tien si ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: jinshi) examination in 1838 and received advanced placement by an imperial decree to be the Grand Master, Bulwark of Government and the Grand Secretary of the Van Minh Palace (Dac Tien Vinh Loc Dai Phu [phrase omitted]; Phu Chinh Dai Than [phrase omitted]; Van Minh Dien Dai Hoc Si [phrase omitted]). His contribution to the Nguyen court brought not only his principal wife the title of Dame-consort of Rank 1A but also honour to the previous three generations as well, according to standard imperial procedures. His father, the sixth-generation ancestor, received the honourific tide of President of the Board of Rites and his mother the title of the Kind, Gentle and Refined Dame-consort of Rank 2A ([phrase omitted]). His grandfather, the fifth-generation ancestor, received the title of the honourable adviser and his grandmother the designation of the Chaste, Devoted and Gentle Dame-consort of Rank 3A ([phrase omitted]). The honour Tien Thanh brought to the lineage extended to his great-grandfather, the fourth-generation ancestor, who was named posthumously a Hanlin (Han Lam) Academician and his great-grandmother the Chaste, Agreeable and Respected Dame-consort of Rank 4A ([phrase omitted]). (35) Subsequent generations would have some success in officialdom and earn posthumous titles for the Tran ancestors, but none would surpass the seventh-generation Tien Thanh's achievements.

On the other hand, the Nguyen bestowed honourific designations and tokens of investiture upon the Mac family to emphasise their martial spirit as frontier dwellers and in order to ensure their political allegiance. In return for the Mac clan's submission, the Nguyen court made Mac Cun the Garrison Founder, Pillar of the State and General-in-chief ([phrase omitted]) and Mac Thien Tu the Commander-in-chief ([phrase omitted]), and bestowed upon them embroidered red robes ([phrase omitted]) as well as other insignias of power. In addition, the Mac family's pledge to provide the court with military assistance earned the second-generation offspring feudatory titles equivalent in rank to the Three Dukes. (36) In essence, the court also made these appointments hereditary. The third-generation Mac Tu Thiem head was made the commander of the garrison of Ha Tien, a title the fourth generation Mac Cong Du ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Mo Congyu) inherited. The fifth-generation male descendants also received the royal favour of hereditary tides. (37) These hereditary titles celebrating the valour of the Mac family suggest the enduring military power of the clan and its administrative control of the area, both of paramount importance to the court in its defence of the frontier region and its attempts to consolidate its influence there.

The value of the Mac clan to the court extended beyond their military service. After Emperor Gia Long unified Vietnamese territory in 1802 (subsequently renamed 'Dai Nam', 'Great South'), he needed to substantiate his claims over the vast territories of the south that had come under Vietnamese control through the southward expansion of his family's polity. It should come as no surprise that the imperial court intervened in the compilation of the genealogy of the Mac family as it sought to appropriate legitimacy over the newly incorporated territories by virtue of the Mac family's allegiance to the Nguyen court. Vu The Doanh had written the genealogy at the request of Mac Cong Du, the fourth-generation head of the Mac clan in Ha Tien. Mac Cong Du himself was in turn commissioned to compile the genealogy by Gia Long after he had unified the empire. Presented as a record to exhalt the martial achievements of the Mac clan, the genealogy also served to bolster Emperor Gia Long's claim to long-standing jurisdictional rights over the territories despite their recent formal integration into the Nguyen Empire which he had founded just 16 years ago. Instead of emphasising the Mac fiefdom's long years of autonomy, official court documents explained the commissioning of this genealogy as an effort to recover lost records of Nguyen imperial command over the area that the court had entrusted to the Mac family:
[The court hereby] orders Mac Cong Du to gather information on Ha Tien.
The edict says, 'The area of Ha Tien represents new territories our
sagely ancestors had opened up. It was also the former region where
your ancestors Mac Cuu and Mac Thien Tu had been enfeoffed. This fact
had been documented in the previous reigns and has only been rendered
untraceable by the dispersal of records during the turmoil of the
illegitimate Tay Son rebels.' ([phrase omitted]) (38)

Emperor Gia Long had just recovered the Nguyen territories lost to the Tay Son forces, ending the 24-year 'illegitimate' rule under 'the Tay Son rebels'. The allegiance of the author to the Mac family and the direct involvement of the family in the compilation of the genealogy ensured that the end product did not serve merely the needs of Gia Long's court but presented a record of the family since Mac Cuu's arrival on the frontier and the founding of Ha Tien. However, the compilation of this genealogy evidently served the interests of multiple parties.

In contrast, although the Tran family provided critical assistance to the bureaucracy which was indispensable to the machinery of the Nguyen court, the family was but one of several contending powers among the literati in Dang Trong. (39) Compared with the Tran clan's service to the Nguyen court, the Mac family's entrenched military power in the politically volatile Nam Bo (southern region) left them in a stronger position vis-a-vis a court striving to extend its reach in the area. This difference between the two families reveals itself in their genealogies' divergent narrative styles in describing dealings with the court.

Naming practices

Names convey the aspirations of the name-giver for those named. Name patterns across generations, like the ones in the genealogies of the Tran and Mac clans, express not merely hopes for individual members of the families but also the desire of the collective enterprise of the lineage. The Tran clan's family register did not explicitly specify a naming requirement, but as Chen Ching-ho observed, the family followed a recurring generational naming pattern, including the use of names of lineal ancestors (taboo names). Taking a character each from the taboo name ([phrase omitted] huy; Chinese hui) of the founding ancestor (for whom the genealogy did not register a courtesy name), the courtesy names ([phrase omitted] tu; Chinese zi) of the next three generations, and the taboo names of the fifth and sixth generations, the clan formulated a six-character sequence:
dudng ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: yang; meaning to foster or to

hoai ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: huai; meaning to bear in mind)

nghinh ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: ying; meaning to welcome or to

nguyen ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: yuan; meaning original or

si ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: shi; meaning erudition), and

trieu ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: chao; meaning the court, or to face),

This series of six characters was repeated in the taboo name beginning with the seventh generation. (40) There is no indication that the use of these six characters was pre-determined by the founding ancestor. In general, the six characters suggest an aspiration for cultural preservation and conveyed neither an overt political stance toward the Ming dynasty to which they traced their roots nor the Nguyen lords under whom their lineage began a new chapter.

While it was not surprising that the Tran clan adopted the common Chinese practice of naming descendants according to a series of the characters usually taken from a poem or a phrase from the classics, their repetition of the same series of characters every six generations conflicted with the Chinese proscription against naming descendants after lineal ancestors. The Tran clan appeared to have disregarded this Chinese restriction as they adopted a character from the courtesy names of certain ancestors and a character from the other generations' taboo names, whereas normally no such repetition would be allowed. Chen Ching-ho could not ascertain whether this practice represented a tradition among Minh Huong communities or a custom unique to the Tran lineage. (41)

In addition, after the imperial bestowal of the name Tien Thanh ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Jiancheng; meaning to practice sincerity) to the celebrated lineage head of the seventh generation, not only did the male descendants repeat the naming sequence of their ancestors, but they also adopted the first character of the imperially granted name as the first character of their courtesy names. In addition, for the second character of their courtesy names, the Tran lineage initiated the practice of using Chinese characters with the Ngon ([phrase omitted];yan) radical. Chen Ching-ho called this Vietnamese practice the custom of a branch name (chu dem; Chinese: palming [phrase omitted]). (42) Notably, the repetition of the naming sequence also coincided with the imperial bestowal of Tien Thanh's name in the seventh generation. The combination of incorporating the imperially granted name and following the sequence of characters according to Chinese custom demonstrated not only their observation of the beginning of their lineage as Ming refugees, but also their esteem of the seventh-generation ancestor. The success of this seventh-generation ancestor in establishing the family firmly in their adopted state of the Nguyen lords culminated in the imperial conferral of the name Tien Thanh, which the lineage henceforth appropriated as their naming tradition. Thus, the naming practice of the Tran lineage evolved to fulfil the delicate task of balancing the elite family's aspiration to preserve the memory of its Chinese cultural roots, while incorporating and highlighting imperial prestige granted by the Nguyen court to further the clan's interests in Dang Trong.

Unlike the Tran lineage, the Mac family did not evince any Confucian influence in its descendants' names. Mac Thien Tu, the second-generation Mac ruler of Ha Tien, would initiate in the first year of his administration a literary project that focused on scenic sites in Ha Tien. As Claudine Ang shows in her study of this literary project, Mac Thien Tu leveraged this cultural undertaking to showcase the transformation of the area under his auspices and his father's. (43) However, the family's naming pattern, predating Mac Thien Tu's literary project, articulated not Confucian virtues but feudatory titles. The specific naming pattern the descendants of Mac Cuu followed came from a royal conferral. The Nguyen court had granted the family the use in their names of seven characters alluding to noble ranks:
thien ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: tian; meaning Heaven)

tu ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: zi; which together with the character
used in the previous generation

formed the compound thien tu / tianzi, meaning Son of Heaven)

cong ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: gong; Duke)

hau ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: hou; Marquess)

bd ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: bo; Earl)

tu ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: zi; Viscount)

nam ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: nan; Baron).

This series implies hereditary titles of decreasing royal ranks which were designed to continue for seven generations of Mac Cuu's descendants. (44) The characters of the first two generations were extraordinary for they implied a rank equivalent to the lord of the realm. Taken literally, these characters would have put Mac Cuu's sons and grandsons on an equal footing with the Nguyen kings. Note that the character 'tu appeared twice in the generational naming system. Its first appearance followed the 'thien' generation, splitting the thien-tu (Chinese tianzi) compound, a move probably designed to avoid any appearance of equality with the ruler. Also, instead of allowing outright the use of such royal titles, the Nguyen court deftly turned these rank designations into characters embedded in the names of Mac Cuu's descendants, thereby depriving the Mac family of the possibility of ever challenging the Nguyen court on the basis of possessing such 'ranks' in their names.

These naming practices reveal another form of power negotiation between the Nguyen court and each lineage. While the generation names of the Mac reveal a more overt feudal relationship to the court, the Tran's naming system also betrays a subtle calculation of respectful obeisance. Partly due to its own erudition, the Tran lineage was able to employ various naming strategies, including the use of courtesy names and ambiguous connotations of characters to preserve their Chinese cultural heritage outside the court's purview. The family integrated into its naming practice the conferred name of its seventh-generation ancestor to mark its attainment of prestige in the adopted home. At the same time, the court granted the name Tien Thanh ('practising sincerity') to reinforce its expectations of the Tran family's loyalty. Thus, the symbiotic relationship between the Tran clan and the court was complete: the Tran descendants could appropriate imperial prestige to demonstrate having established themselves in Dang Trong and proceed to promote their social and economic interests while the court could continue to demand from the clan their enduring devotion and faithful service.

This symbiotic relationship is nowhere more evident than in the Tran genealogy, which is studded with imperial pronouncements extolling the clan's loyalty and contribution to the Nguyen court. As for the Mac lineage, the court bestowed upon the family a gesture towards grander tides yet withheld from them the assertion of titular rights. The Mac descendants were to be reminded in their names of the royal graces of enfeoffment and the responsibilities expected of them as hereditary vassals. Embedded in the naming practice of the Mac clan was an understanding between their clan and the Nguyen court, that theirs was a feudal relationship between suzerain and vassal.

Role of women

While the genealogies focused primarily on recording information on the male ancestors, they also provide records of a few female members of the clans through which we can glean the different gender roles in the two families and their dissimilar cultural aspirations as expressed in marriages. In the Tran clan, there was the unwritten rule of generational elders marrying Chinese women. Along their descent line, generational elders through the ninth generation married Chinese immigrant women or locally-born women of Chinese descent. The principal wife of the founding ancestor was evidently Chinese. He had married her in China and as she remained in China after his migration to Dai Viet, she had never set foot in Dai Viet. (45) The second-generation ancestor married the daughter of someone who had fled to the south and lived in the same hamlet as the founding ancestor. (46) The third-generation ancestor took as his principal wife a woman, nee Du ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: You), whom Chen Ching-ho deduced to be of Chinese origin based on her maiden name. (47) The fourth-generation ancestor had married a Gia Dinh native, nee Nguyen (and thus most likely an ethnic Vietnamese), while he pursued business opportunities in the area. However, he would take a Chinese woman to be his secondary wife. (48) His eldest brother, who was to yield to him the principal position in this genealogy, married Hoang/Huang, the daughter of an official in the Academy of Imperial Medicine. (49) The fifth-generation ancestor married as his principal wife a Chinese woman from a Fuzhou family. Because she died early, he married another Fuzhou woman. (50) The principal wife of the sixth-generation ancestor was the daughter of a Confucian scholar. (51) Both the principal and the secondary wives of the seventh-generation ancestor were Chinese. His principal wife was the eldest daughter of the President of the Board of Rites, a man of Chinese descent, while his secondary wife came from a Minh Huong family in Ha Noi. (52) The eighth-generation ancestor married a woman whose family had come from Guangdong. (53) So did the ninth-generation ancestor. (54) Chen Ching-ho observed that it was almost an unwritten rule in the Tran clan that the head of each generation had to take his principal wife of Chinese descent. (55) In their capacity as principal wives, these Chinese women were the recipients of the aforementioned titles the court conferred which were chosen to exalt Confucian female virtues of kindness, gentleness, refinement, chastity and devotion.

This unwritten rule applied only to those descended through a line of eldest sons through the ninth generation. From the tenth generation onwards, the practice shifted. The head of the tenth generation married a Vietnamese; however, she was not only the daughter of a high-ranking official but also a relative of the reigning Nguyen emperor. (56) Besides, branches of the family outside of the direct line of descent of generational elders did not follow the policy of marrying only women of Chinese descent and married instead local women. Some of these marriages or remarriages with local women could have been arranged partially to establish trade ties. Such practices represented a long-standing tradition of Chinese traders in Southeast Asian ports marrying local women for the sake of trade. Shi Dashan ([phrase omitted]; Vietnamese: Thich Dai San), a Chinese monk who travelled through Dang Trong in the seventeenth century, had observed that in Hoi An, which was heavily populated by Fujianese, 'the buyers and sellers are all female; there is no rigid distinction between the inner and outer quarters' ([phrase omitted]), and that all visitors married local women to facilitate trade ([phrase omitted]). (57) In particular, the founding ancestor and the fourth-generation ancestor most likely married local women as they established themselves in their new trading environments. (58)

The Mac family, on the other hand, observed no such rigid guidelines but adapted pragmatically to their very different conditions. The family register indicates that Mac Cuu's mother was of Chinese descent. She moved from Mac Cuu's hometown in Leizhou to join Mac Cuu only after he had established himself in Ha Tien. (59) Mac Cuu's wife, nee Bui ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Pei), was ethnically Vietnamese. (60) The genealogy provides no further clues on the ethnicity of the wives of the various descendants. We know of the wife of Mac Thien Tu', nee Nguyen, who received royal titles along with her husband for offering him assistance in his defeat of the Khmer. (61) We also know of a certain woman nee Hua ([phrase omitted]; Chinese: Xu) married to a descendant in the generation with the name Tu. (62) That marital records did not feature prominently in the Mac genealogy indicates that the Mac family did not regard as important the Chinese practices of propriety in one's choice of marital partners. Unlike the Tran lineage which strove to preserve the purity of its Chinese bloodline through the line of direct descent, the Mac clan was preoccupied with more immediate needs of the volatile environment in Nam Bo, a region of 'openness, vulnerability, possibility'. (63) In not emphasising the choice of wives from scholarly families of Chinese descent with ties to the royal court like the Tran, the Mac echoed Keith Taylor's observation that 'Functional relationship, personal loyalty, and expectations of the future counted for more than ancestry or appeals to the past' in Nam Bo. (64) That the Mac approach to the selection of marriage partners differed from the Tran reflects the concern of Mac operations in Ha Tien with money through trade and business, their role as militarists and conquerors which did not call for strict conformance to Chinese customs, and their more ready assimilation into the ethnically mixed and less Confucian culture of the south, where the gender roles for women were less formal. In any case, however, the Nguyen court accommodated the different paragons of female virtues upheld by the two families and conferred honour on the women deemed praiseworthy based on the very different standards embraced by each family.

The two families had differing ideas of female virtues, as seen not just in their choice of principal wives but also in their selection of marriage partners for daughters. The Mac clan had married a daughter in the second generation to a general in Dang Trong to forge a military alliance. (65) This singular reference to the choice of marriage partner for a female offspring in the Mac genealogy underscores the importance of natal relations in the battlefield. On the other hand, many of the female offspring of the Tran clan married men Chen Ching-ho inferred to be of Chinese descent. The seventh daughter of the third-generation ancestor, the second daughter of the fourth-generation ancestor, and the eldest daughter of the fifth-generation ancestor all married men assumed to be of Chinese descent. (66) The second daughter of the fifth-generation ancestor married a man from Guangdong. (67)

Furthermore, while ethnic origin certainly figured prominently in the choice of spouse for the Tran family, they were also mindful of the political and economic importance of marital alliances. Three daughters of the fourth-generation ancestors married officials, as did two daughters of the seventh-generation ancestor and one daughter each of the fifth- and eighth-generation ancestors. (68) In addition, the second daughter of the fifth-generation ancestor was paired up with an official for her marriage. (69) Two of the female descendants of the Tran lineage were summoned to court at the age of fourteen but both were excused: the thirteenth daughter of the seventh-generation ancestor married the head of a Cantonese congregation (bang) while the seventh daughter of the eighth-generation ancestor married a Hainanese in the early twentieth century. (70) In sum, whereas the Mac clan emphasised the utility of family relations in the forging of military alliances, the Tran clan chose their marriage partners based on ethnic considerations, political motivations and economic aspirations.


Both the Tran and the Mac clans had to contend with the challenges of their adopted homes. Ostensibly, both families lived under the jurisdiction of the Nguyen court in Dang Trong but in reality, the constraints imposed by the Nguyen regime and the opportunities presented by the political powers differed drastically for the Tran living near the Nguyen powerbase and the Mac striving to hold onto the trading emporium they had created along the frontier in Ha Tien. While the relative stability the Tran enjoyed within the bureaucracy called for a strategy to leverage the political authority of the Nguyen court in order to enhance the family's status, the unrelenting military struggles around Ha Tien resulted in the Mac family opportunistically shifting political allegiance, and finally throwing in their lot with the Nguyen court.

The Tran family sustained their leverage through marital alliances, continued ties with their ancestral home in China and their communion with fellow-Chinese migrants. Their symbiotic relationship with the Nguyen state, therefore, depended on preserving their distinct ethnic background. On the other hand, the Mac clan's initial claim to fame lay outside the sway of the Nguyen state. The family's enterprise in Ha Tien was but the landed equivalent of the entrepreneurial South China pirates Dian Murray depicted. (71) The Mac genealogy employed standard Confucian tropes of loyalty, kindness, righteousness, and courage ([phrase omitted]) in its tribute to the Mac ancestors. It claimed that Mac Thien Tu's erudition encompassed not only Confucian scholarship but also an understanding of the various classics ([phrase omitted]). However, the commercial environment of the region was also apparent in the genealogy's emphasis on Mac Thien Tu's financial generosity in the attraction of virtuous talent ([phrase omitted]). His success in the bellicose environment of the frontier stemmed not from his scholarly accomplishments but his martial skills and his 'mastery of the art of war' ([phrase omitted]), so that not only did the learned flock to the region under his command, but 'rival powers also bowed to his military might' ([phrase omitted]), resulting in a peaceful atmosphere in which culture and commerce could flourish. (72) The contribution of the Mac clan to the Nguyen state lay precisely in their military might and their control over the southern territories over which the newly founded Nguyen dynasty desired to lay legitimate claim.

This examination of the genealogies of two Chinese migrant clans reveals not merely the different strategies employed by each family in response to their specific needs, but also the Nguyen court's flexibility in adjusting its policies to accommodate the unique requirements of the two clans as the state sought to advance its territorial and economic control. Along the expanding frontier, the entrepreneurial Nguyen court met the enterprising Tran and Mac clans which had arrived from China in search of a more favourable political climate. This study of the Tran and Mac clans parallels Charles Wheeler's effort to understand Dang Trong by underscoring the contribution of the Chinese migrants in the midst of Cham and Dai Viet natives. (73) It also takes a step further Taylor's suggestion of appreciating the experience of the different groups by dispersing the coherencies of the national or regional histories of Vietnam. (74) We see in the experience of the Tran and Mac clans how fellow-Chinese migrants to Dang Trong conducted themselves in radically different fashions. We see in the Nguyen court how the same court machinery devised different mechanisms to work with both groups of Chinese migrants. The capricious climate along the southern frontier called for agility and swift adjustments; the enterprising clans of the Tran and the Mac, as well as the resourceful Nguyen court, rose to the occasion.

John D. Wong is Assistant Professor at The University of Hong Kong. Correspondence in connection with this article should be addressed to: The author would like to thank Hue-Tarn Ho Tai, Professor Emerita at Harvard University, and Bruce Lockhart, National University of Singapore, for their insightful comments. All translations from the Vietnamese and Chinese are the author's.


(1) Keith Taylor, 'Nguyen Hoang and the beginning of Vietnam's southward expansion', in Southeast Asia in the early modern era: Trade, power, and belief, ed. Anthony Reid (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), pp. 42-65; Charles Wheeler, 'One region, two histories: Cham precedents in the history of the Hoi An region', in Vietnam: Borderless histories, ed. Tran Tuyet Nhung and Anthony Reid (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006), pp. 163-93; and in particular, Li Tana, Nguyin Cochinchina: Southern Vietnam in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program [SEAP], Cornell University, 1998).

(2) Brian Zottoli maintains that this narrative was promoted by the Nguyen Dynasty Historical Office ('Reconceptualizing Southern Vietnamese history from the 15th to 18th centuries: Competition along the coasts from Guangdong to Cambodia' (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2011). Taking regionalism as an interpretive framework, Claudine Ang examines the underlying coherence among scholarly representations of Nam Tien in works published in the Republic of Vietnam between 1954 and 1975; see C. Ang, 'Regionalism in Southern narratives of Vietnamese history: The case of the 'Southern Advance' [Nam Tien]', Journal of Vietnamese Studies 8, 3 (2013): 1-26. For a critical view of the Nam Tien paradigm, see Keith Taylor, 'Surface orientations in Vietnam: Beyond histories of nation and region', Journal of Asian Studies 57, 4 (1998): 951.

(3) See, for example, Li Tana, 'The Water Frontier', in Water Frontier: Commerce and the Chinese in the Lower Mekong Region, 1750-1880, ed. Li Tana and Nola Cooke (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), pp. 5-6.

(4) Li, Nguyen Cochinchina, p. 11; Taylor, 'Nguyen Hoang and Vietnam's southward expansion', p. 46.

(5) Taylor, 'Nguyen Hoang and the beginning of Vietnam's southward expansion', pp. 47-61.

(6) On the terms Dang Ngoai and Dang Trong, see Taylor, 'Surface orientations', pp. 958-61. Also George Dutton, The Tay Son uprising: Society and rebellion in eighteenth-century Vietnam (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2006), pp. 18-19. Zottoli suggests that the story of Nguyen Hoang wanting to escape from Trinh Kiem could have been fabricated to justify the split from the Le-Trinh regime ('Reconceptualizing Southern Vietnamese history').

(7) Li, Nguyen Cochinchina, pp. 59, 77.

(8) In his study of the pirate-refugee Yang Yandi (Duong Ngan Dich), Robert Antony notes that Vietnamese sources date the arrival of the first Minh Huong to 1679 while the official records of the Qing dynasty provide a later date of 1682 ('"Righteous Yang": Pirate, rebel, and hero on the SinoVietnamese water frontier, 1644-1684', Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 11 [2014]: 6). Chen Ching-ho had dated Yang's arrival between December 1682 and May 1683 (Qingchu Zheng Chenggong canbu zhi yizhinanqi (shang) [phrase omitted]' [The migration of the Zheng partisans to southern Vietnam (Part 1)], Xinya xue bao [phrase omitted] [New Asia Journal] 5, 1 (1960): 454.

(9) Li, Nguyen Cochinchina, p. 16.

(10) Originally applied to migrants from the fall of the Ming dynasty in China, Minh Huong later came to stand for the offspring of intermarriages between these Chinese migrants and locals (Li, 'The Water Frontier', p. 6). In 1805, there were 20,241 Minh Huong in Quang Nam province alone (Li, Nguyen Cochinchina, p. 34).

(11) Li Qingxin [phrase omitted], 'Yuenan Mingxiang yu Mingxiangshe [phrase omitted], Zhongguo shehui lishi pinglun [phrase omitted] [Chinese Social History Review] 10 (2009): 205-23; Choi Byung Wook, Southern Vietnam under the reign of Minh Mang (1820-1841): Central policies and local response (Ithaca: SEAP Cornell, 2004), pp. 19-44. On the evolution of Minh Huong identity, see Charles Wheeler, 'Interests, institutions, and identity: Strategic adaptation and the ethno-evolution of Minh Huong (Central Vietnam), 16th-19th centuries', Itinerario 39, 1 (2015): 141-66.

(12) Li, The Water Frontier, pp. 85, 93.

(13) Chen Jinghe (Chen Ching-ho) [phrase omitted], Chengtian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu [phrase omitted] [A brief study of the family register of the Trans, a Ming refugee family in Minh-Huong-Xa, Thua-Thien (Central Vietnam)] (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1964), p. 6.

(14) Ibid., p. 8.

(15) Ibid., p. 35.

(16) Ibid., pp. 41, 61.

(17) Ibid., pp. 35-41.

(18) Ibid., p. 13.

(19) Chen Jinghe, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi [The genealogy of the Mac family in Hiep village in Ha Tien, with annotations], Wenshi zhexue bao [phrase omitted] [Journal of history and philosophy], 7 (Apr. 1956): 83n2; Vu The Doanh [phrase omitted] [Wu Shiying], Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha [phrase omitted] [The genealogy of the Mac family in Hiep village in Ha Tien], in Lingnan zhiguai deng shiliao sanzhong [phrase omitted], ed. Dai Kelai [phrase omitted] et. al. (Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou guji chubanshe, 1991), pp. 231nl, 250. Niu Junkai's ([phrase omitted]) recent study of the Mac dynasty highlights pragmatism as the underlying principle in Sino-Vietnamese relations in the late Ming and early Qing periods (Wangshi houyi yu panluan zhe--Yuenan Moshi jiazu yu Zhongguo guanxi yanjiu [phrase omitted]--[phrase omitted] [Royal descent and rebels: The relationship between the Vietnamese Mac family and China] [Guangzhou: Shijie tushu chuban gongsi, 2012]). Zottoli suggests that the Mac of Ha Tien might be related to the usurping Mac although he acknowledges that the relationship between the two Mac families remains unresolved ('Reconceptualizing Southern Vietnamese history', pp. 348-9).

(20) Vu The Dinh, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 231.

(21) Chen Jinghe, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 80.

(22) Chen Jinghe, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, p. 41.

(23) Vu The Dinh, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 231.

(24) Chen Jinghe, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 84n3.

(25) Philip A. Kuhn, Chinese among Others: Emigration in modern times (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).

(26) Chen Jinghe, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, p. 46.

(27) Kuhn, Chinese among Others, p. 10.

(28) Vu The Dinh, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, pp. 231-2.

(29) Ibid., p. 231; Chen Jinghe, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 86n5.

(30) Chen Jinghe, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 85n4.

(31) Chen points out the consistency among various historical records of the year in which the Mac clan pledged allegiance to the Nguyen court and concludes that 1708 should be the most accurate ('Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 89n8).

(32) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, pp. 231-2.

(33) Vu Due Liem, "Vietnamese politics at the Khmer frontier, 1802-1847', Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 20 (Sept. 2016): 75-101.

(34) The honours and names of offices the two families received paralleled official titles in China, especially those in the Ming dynasty. For instance, the attachment of Grand Secretary to a Hall in the palace (Van Minh Dien Dai Hoc Si [phrase omitted]) and the designation of military command (Dai Do Doc [phrase omitted]) followed similar naming patterns in the Ming court. See Charles O. Hucker, A dictionary of official titles in imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985), pp. 467, 474.

(35) Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, pp. 51, 53, 61, 63, 71, 75, 83, 97.

(36) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, pp. 232-3. Tarn Cong ([phrase omitted]; the Three Dukes) was a collective reference to the most esteemed members of officialdom who sat nominally at the top of the civil service hierarchy: the Grand Preceptor, the Grand Mentor and the Grand Guardian (Hucker, A dictionary of official titles, p. 399).

(37) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 248.

(38) Chen, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 81, quoting Dai Nam Thuc Luc ([phrase omitted]) [The Veritable Record of the Great South]), ji 1, juan 58. 'Tay Son' refers to the rebellions under the nominal rule of the Le dynasty that concluded only with the establishment of the Nguyen dynasty in 1802. For details, see Dutton, The Tay San Uprising.

(39) Tran Tien Thanh, the leading figure in the seventh generation, perished in a power struggle at court when he served as one of three regents (alongside Nguyen Van Tuong and Ton That Thuyet) during the short reign of Duc Duc in 1883 (Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, pp. 89-90).

(40) Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, p. 29.

(41) Ibid., p. 30.

(42) Ibid.

(43) Claudine Ang, 'Writing landscapes into civilization: Ming loyalist ambitions on the Mekong Delta', unpublished MS. See also Li Qingxin [phrase omitted], Binhai zhi di: Nanhai maoyi yu Zhongwai guanxi shi yan-jiu [phrase omitted] [The seaside world: Studies of the history of trade in the South China Seas and Sino-foreign relations] (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2010), pp. 343-8.

(44) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, pp. 232-3, 251-2. There is no clear record on when exactly the Nguyen court granted the Mac clan this naming pattern. That Mac Thien Tu changed his name to conform to this pattern indicates that the court granted the family this honour during his lifetime (1700-1780).

(45) Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, p. 42.

(46) Ibid., p. 43.

(47) Ibid., pp. 27, 47.

(48) Ibid., pp. 53, 54.

(49) Ibid., p. 58.

(50) Ibid., pp. 63-4.

(51) Ibid., p. 75.

(52) Ibid., pp. 97, 99.

(53) Ibid. p. 107.

(54) Ibid., p. 120.

(55) Ibid., p. 28.

(56) Ibid., p. 131.

(57) Shi Dashan [phrase omitted], Haiwai jishi [phrase omitted] [Chronicles of events overseas], in Shiqi Shiji Guangnan zhi xin shiliao [phrase omitted] [New historical materials on seventeenth-century Quang Nam], ed. Chen Jinghe (Chen Ching-ho) [phrase omitted] (Taibei: Zhonghua congshu weiyuanhui), juan 3, 3b, 16a; juan 4, 9b. Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, p. 27. See also Charles Wheeler, 'Cross-cultural trade and trans-regional networks in the Port of Hoi An: Maritime Vietnam in the early modern era' (PhD diss., Yale University, 2001), pp. 142-9.

(58) Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, pp. 42, 53-4.

(59) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 232.

(60) Chen, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 87n6.

(61) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 232; Chen, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 96.

(62) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, pp. 232-3. Hua's maiden name suggests that she was almost certainly Chinese.

(63) Taylor, 'Surface orientations in Vietnam', p. 966.

(64) Ibid., p. 966.

(65) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 235; Chen, 'Hexianzhen Yezhen Moshi jiapu zhushi', p. 104n22.

(66) Chen, Chentian mingxiangshe Chenshi zhengpu, pp. 28, 29, 60, 69, 81.

(67) Ibid., p. 81.

(68) Ibid., pp. 69-70, 82, 114-15, 125.

(69) Ibid., p. 81.

(70) Ibid., pp. 114, 126.

(71) Dian H. Murray, Pirates of the South China coast, 1790-1810 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987).

(72) Vu, Ha Tien tran Hiep tran Mac thi Gia pha, p. 233.

(73) Wheeler, 'One region, two histories'.

(74) Taylor, 'Surface orientations in Vietnam'.

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Author:Wong, John D.
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Date:May 1, 2019
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