all the States in the land. He established a big empire called the Qin Dynasty
(秦朝 221BC to 207BC) and he proclaimed himself the First Emperor of Qin
(秦始皇帝). He divided his empire into 41 Prefectures (郡). There would
be no more feudal States like the preceding Dynasties. He centralized his
empire and he alone controlled all the administrations in the empire.
At that time the population in the southeast coast and Ning Nan (嶺南) were
the people of Yue Ren (越人). As there were so many different tribes among
the Yue Ren they were being called Bai Yue Ren (百越人). They lived in the
Prefectures of Nan Hai (南海郡 present day Guangzhou 廣州), Xiang Jun (象
郡 present day Vietnam Hanoi 越南河內), Gui Lin (桂林郡 present day Guangxi
province in Gui Lin county 廣西桂林縣) and Min Zhong (閩中郡 present day
Fuzhou in Fujian province 福建福州).
In order to consolidate his empire, in 214BC, the First Emperor dispatched
an army of 500,000 men, under the command of Tu Sui (屠睢), to the south.
The troops were divided into five army corps of 100,000 each:
(1) One army was sent to Fan Yu (番禺 in present day south of Guangzhou
city 廣州市 Guangdong province 廣東省),
(2) one to Tan Cheng (鐔城 in present near Gui Lin city 桂林市 in Guangxi
(3) one to the present day northern part of Vietnam, which was then called
Xiang Prefecture (象郡),
(4) one to the present day Nan Chang city in Jiangxi province (南昌市, 江
(5) and one to Yu Gan (餘干) near the Po Yang Hu (鄱陽湖) in the north of
Before he died in 210BC, the First Emperor banished convicts, army deserters,
and corrupt officials to the present day provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi
to live with the Bai Yue people. The First Emperor also encouraged spinsters,
newly married couples and businessmen to settle in the south. The offspring
of many of these newcomers were what we now call Qin Ren (秦人).
Ying Huhai (嬴胡亥), the son of the First Emperor of Qin (秦始皇帝 221BC
to 210BC, became the Second Emperor of Qin (秦二皇帝 209BC to 207BC). In
208BC, during the reign of the Second Emperor of Qin, the governor of Nan
Hai Prefecture (南海郡 in present day Guangzhou 廣州 city in Guangdong province
廣東省), Ren Xiao (任囂), died of illness. Zhao Tuo (趙佗), the officer
in charge of Long Chuan (龍川 in Guangdong province), succeeded Ren Xiao
as the new governor of Nan Hai Prefecture.
The Qin Empire collapsed in 207BC. A civil war broke out between Liu Bang
(劉邦) and Xinag Yu (項羽). During the period of the civil war between Xiang
Yu and Liu Bang, Zhao Tuo invaded and absorbed the Prefectures of Gui Lin
(桂林郡 in present day Gui Lin county in Guangxi province 廣西省) and Xiang
(象郡 present day Honai city 河內市 in Vietnam). Zhao Tuo unilaterally proclaimed
the formation of the Nan Yue Kingdom (南越國 183BC to 179BC). He declared
himself the King of Nan Yue Kingdom (南越國王). (NOTE: in1998 the Chinese
archaeologists excavated his palace in Guangzhou city in Guangdong province).
Zhao Tuo was from Zhen Ding in Hebei province (河北真定人).
Emperor of the Han Dynasty (206BC to 220AD) sent an official called Lu Gu
(陸賈) as the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Nan Yue. Since Zhao Tuo did not
want to antagonize such a mighty Empire as the Han Empire, he accepted Lu
Gu gracefully as the representative of Liu Bang. In order to gain the friendship
from Zhao Tuo Liu Bang bestowed upon him the title of King of the Nan Yue
In return Zhao Tuo agreed to accept allegiance to the Han Dynasty. Liu Bang
died in April 195BC and was succeeded by his son Liu Ying (劉盈).
After the death of Liu Bang, his wife Empress Gao (高后) advised the Han
Court to stop selling iron to Zhao Tuo. When the Han Court complied with
her idea Zhao Tuo was furious. Zhao Tuo suspected that the plan for not
selling him the iron was devised by the Prince of Chang Sha (長沙王 Changsha
is the present day capital of Hunan province 湖南省).
In 183BC, Zhao Tuo declared that he was Emperor Wu Di of Nan Yue (南越武
皇帝) and he sent troops to attack Changsha. The Han Court dispatched an
army under the command of General Lu Lu Hou (陸盧侯) to counter Zhao Tuo,
but the Han troops failed to stop Zhao Tuo, who then occupied a large portion
of the Han territory. However, when Empress Gao died in 180BC, Zhao Tu abolished
his title of the Emperor of Nan Yue Kingdom and reverted to his original
title of King of Nan Yue Kingdom.
After Zhao Tuo’s death he was succeeded by his grandson Zhao Hu (趙胡).
In 112BC, Zhao Xing (趙興), the son of Zhao Hu, was the King of Nan Yue
and was requested by the Han Court Ambassador, An Guo Shao Ji (安國少季),
to visit the Han Emperor Wu Di (漢武皇帝) who then agreed to lift the ban
of on selling iron to Nan Yue Kingdom. However, Lu Jia (呂嘉), the Prime
Minister of Nan Yue sabotaged the plan by creating a riot by the soldiers.
The Han Emperor, Wu Di was angry and he dispatched a large punitive force
of 100,000 men, under the command of Lu Bode (路博德 and Yang Po (楊僕)
to attack the Kingdom of Nan Yue. The 100,000 troops marched into the present
day provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and North Vietnam by five different
routes. Within a year the Kingdom of Nan Yue was crushed by the Han forces.
The three Prefectures of Nan Hai, Xiang and Gui Lin were subdivided into
nine Prefectures which were Dan Er (儋耳), Zhu Ya (珠崖), Nan Hai (南海),
Cang Wu (蒼梧), Yu Lin (郁林), He Pu (合浦) Jiao Zhi (交趾), Jiu Zhen (九
真) and Ri Nan (日南).
The soldiers of this large punitive force did not return to their homelands
in the north. Instead they sent for their families from the north. Knowing
that the land in the south was fertile many northerners emigrated to the
south. Thus, new seeds were added to the south from these soldiers and
the new settlers began to call themselves Han Ren (漢人).
CHUNG Yoon-Ngan (鄭永元)
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