The Rebel Den of Nung Tri Cao: Loyalty and Identity along the Sino-Vietnamese Frontier

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By James Anderson

The Rebel Den of Nung Tri Cao examines the rebellion of the Tai-speaking chieftain Nung Tri Cao (ca. 1025-1055), whose struggle for independence along Vietnam's mountainous northern frontier proved to be a pivotal event in Sino-Vietnamese relations. Nung Tri Cao's revolt occurred during Vietnam's earliest years of independence from China and was a vital test of the Vietnamese court's ability to confront local political challenges and maintain harmony with its powerful northern neighbor.

James Anderson places Nung Tri Cao in context by exploring the Sino-Vietnamese tributary relationship and the conflicts that engaged both the Song and Vietnamese courts. The Rebel Den of Nung Tri Cao reconstructs the negotiations that took place between border communities and representatives of the imperial courts, examining the ways in which Tai and other ethnic groups deftly navigated the unstable political situation that followed the demise of China's cosmopolitan Tang dynasty.Though his rebellion was ill-fated, Nung Tri Cao is, almost a thousand years later, still worshipped in temples along the Sino-Vietnamese border, and his memory provides a point of unity for people who are separated by modern political boundaries.


James Anderson is an associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Greenboro.


Publication Year: 2007
296 pages, 225mm x 154mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-367-1, Paperback

NUS Press and University of Washington Press