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Hero of Gia Dinh

Posted by on June 26, 2012

On the corner of the busy intersection of Dinh Tien Hoang and Phan Dang Luu in Binh Thanh district, sits an unassuming park and small pagoda. The one thing that set this one apart from the others was the two sarcophagus placed before the entrance to the pagoda. They were the sarcophagus of General LeVan Duyet who was instrumental in putting down the Tay Son rebellion in 1801.

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This was no mere rebellion, but a complete takeover of Vietnam by a group of rebels, who had originally rebelled against the Nguyen lords because of being dissatisfied with the way they were treated. Ironically, their defeat was brought on partly because of the way they treated the people under their rule. Gen. Duyet was promoted to the position on Viceroy of the southern lower third of Vietnam. He was cionsidered a strict, authoritorian ruler, however the people felt he was also a fair ruler. Under his guidance, he brought about a great deal of prosperity to Gia Dinh (Saigon) and,  also protecting religious minorities at the time. This conflicted with the Emperors own Confucious upbringing and that along with the fact that Duyet often opposed the Emperor in other areas brought disfavor to his position. After Duyet died, the Emperor defiled his tomb by ordering that it be given 30 lashes. This so enraged his adopted son, that he started a rebellion. After the Emperor was overthrown, the new Emperor restored the position of Duyet. His tomb remained a shrine but suffered decline during the first part of the Communist rule because of his support for the French in Vietnam's early years. However, the Communist Government decided to begin restoration of the tomb and it is now open to the public for daily prayers.

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