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The Trung Sisters: The Story of Two Vietnamese Warriors

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 3

The Trung Sisters  Image via Wiki Media CC
The Trung sisters, this is the story of two Vietnamese sisters who liberated a nation. The Trung sisters where born in northern Vietnam in a rural village. Their original family name was Lac. They were the daughters of General Lac, a prefect of Me Linh from Phong Chau, and Lady Man Thien. They grew up in a military family and were practiced in the art of warfare, weaponry, and the martial arts. The elder sister was known as Trung Trac and her younger sisters name was Trung Nhi. They lived in a time when women had power and could inherit land through their mother lineage. They could be political figures and warriors, whereas the Chinese women had lost privilege and where forced into subservience under Confucius teachings.

The Chinese had ruled Vietnam for the past 1000 years and they had treated the people harshly. Over the years they had taken land from the people and made them pay high tributary payments. They also hoarded the production of iron and salt and oppressed the people of Vietnam by forcing their culture upon them. The Trung family hated the cruel treatment of the Chinese Han Dynasty. They practiced their warfare and it is said that they showed their bravery by killing a man-eating tiger. They used the skin to write a proclamation on for the people to rebel against the Rulers.

When Trung Trac grew up she met and fell in love with and married another powerful Lord Thi Sach from Chu Dien. His father was a military chief of Chu Dien and taught his son well in the art of warfare. Thi Sach vowed one day to rise up against the Chinese that had oppressed his people, and when he did a Chinese commander raped Trung Trac and executed Thi Sach under the order of the governor To Dinh. This enraged Trung Trac and so she and her sister rallied an army of 30,000 soldiers in 40A.D. at the Hat estuary. Riding into battle on elephants and yielding swords, within a short time they had defeated To Dinh at Luy Lau and regained sixty-five fortresses. Their army had grown to 80,000. Their generals consisted of 36 women, one of which was their mother. Another general was known as Phing Thi Chinh. Legend has it that she was pregnant and gave birth on the front line. After giving birth she continued in battle with her newborn strapped to her back. They drove the Chinese out of Vietnam and Trung Trac became the leader. She was renamed "Trung Vuong" or " She-King Trung" and ruled the nation for two more years.

She sat up her royal court in Me Linh on the Hong River Plain. While she was Queen she reversed the tributary taxation and restored Vietnam to a simplier time with less government. She returned her country to its original cultures and traditions. The battle was constant and it was not until 43A.D. did defeat come to the outnumbered army. It is said that under the command of Ma Yuan the Chinese soldiers went into battle naked. This so shamed the women that they retreated. Rather than defecting, the Trung sisters along with their general Phing Thi Chinh and her newborn committed suicide by drowning themselves in the Hat River.

There are many statues, painting , temples, and pagodas built in honor of the Trung sisters. The Hai Ba Trung district in Hanoi is named after the Trung Sisters. The story of two Vietnamese warriors who helped to liberate the country inspired many tributaries in their honor. There are also numerous streets and schools named after them in Vietnam. Every Febuary, the sixth tribute is paid to them as the government has proclaimed them as national heros.



Sep 2, 2010 10:48pm
Thank you for writing about something I don't know anything about. I wonder how did you found about the Trung Sisters from Vietnam.
Dec 5, 2010 1:09pm
Sorry, I know this comment is older, however, to answer your question, I run across this looking up female warriors.
Mar 7, 2011 1:38am
The Trung Sisters rocked! I teach english in Vietnam. Here's a little military cadence/ESL chant I wrote in honor of them:

Hai Ba Trung

When the sisters came to town
They saw invaders all around
On their face they wore a frown


Hai-i-i-ah-iii Ba
Hai Ba Trung, Trung Ba Hai!

A pair of elephants they rode
Down and long and troubled road
The seeds of victory they sowed
Soon the people gathered 18round
These two sisters they had found
Then a big battle went down
When the smoke had finally cleared
The invaders that were feared
Were driven back, so people cheered!


Throughout the course of history
You will very rarely see
Two souls as brave as these
Thanks so much, thanks so much
Hai Ba Trung, Trung Ba Hai!
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