Bao Ðai file photo [597]

Bao Dai

Given NamePhuc Vinh Thuy
HouseNguyen Dynasty
Born22 Oct 1913
Died30 Jul 1997
CountryFrench Indochina


ww2dbasePrince Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy was born in the Palace of Doan-Trang-Vien within the Imperial City in Hue, Annam, French Indochina in 1913 to Emperor Khai Dinh, the twelfth emperor of Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam, which by then a part of French Indochina. He was educated at the Lycée Condorcet an the Paris Institute of Political Studies in Paris, France. In 1926, upon his father's death, he was made Emperor Bao Dai, but returned to France to complete his studies shortly after his coronation. In 1934, he married Marie-Thérèse Nguyen Huu Thi Lan, a commonor from a wealthy Vietnamese family, who was renamed Nam Phuong upon the marriage; they would have five children, including Crown Prince Bao Long in in 1936. In 1940, Japan replaced France as the colonial master, although a French high commissioner was nominally in charge. Japan courted for his support, nominally helping him rebuild a nationalistic Vietnam. In Mar 1945, Empeorer Bao Dai declared Vietnamese independence with Japanese urging. After the war, having worked with the Japanese, he was easily maneuvered out of power by communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Abdicating the throne on 25 Aug 1945, he was made a supreme advisor of Ho's newly declared Democratic Republic of Vietnam. When the French regained power over Vietnam in 1946, he emigrated to Hong Kong and China. Between 1949 and 1955, he served as the Chief of State of Vietnam, situated in the south to counter the growing influence of Ho's forces in the north; he lived in Paris in the latter portion of this period, which made Ngo Dinh Diem's ouster of the former emperor easy. In 1972, he issued a public statement from exile, appealing to the Vietnamese people for national reconciliation, noting that "[t]he time has come to put an end to the fratricidal war and to recover at last peace and accord." He later spoke out against the presence of American troops in Vietnam and called for a government that could set politics aside to benefit the people of Vietnam. He visited the United States in 1982. He passed away in a military hospital in Paris in 1997, and was buried in the Cimetière de Passy.

The New York Times

Bao Dai Timeline

22 Oct 1913 Prince Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy was born in the Palace of Doan-Trang-Vien within the Imperial City in Hue, Annam, French Indochina.
26 Jan 1926 Prince Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy ascended to the throne as Emperor Bao Dai of Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam.
20 Mar 1934 Emperor Bao Dai married Marie-Thérèse Nguyen Huu Thi Lan, a commonor from a wealthy Vietnamese family, in the Imperial City in Hue, Annam, French Indochina. She was renamed Nam Phuong upon the marriage.
4 Jan 1936 Emperor Bao Dai's oldest son, Crown Prince Bao Long, was born in the Palace of Kien-Trung within the Imperial City in Hue, Annam, French Indochina.
14 Aug 1945 In Hue, Annam, French Indochina, Emperor Bao Dai tore up the treaties signed with the French in 1862 and 1874 and reclaimed Cochinchina as Vietnamese sovereign territory.
20 Aug 1945 Emperor Bao Dai of Vietnam sent messages to Allied leaders, urging them to recall the returning French colonial administration. In the message to Charles de Gaulle, he noted "You would understand better if you could see what is happening here, if you could feel this desire for independence which is in everyone's heart.... Even if you come to re-establish a French administration here, it will no longer be obeyed; each village will be a nest of resistance, each former collaborator an enemy, and your officials and colonists will themselves ask to leave this atmosphere which they will be unable to breathe."
23 Aug 1945 In the morning, Viet Minh forces took took control of Hue, Annam, French Indochina. In the afternoon, Viet Minh leadership organized a demonstration to legitimize the takeover; this was participated by minor figures in the royal family. Although the demonstrated refrained from entering the palace, they nevertheless caused Emperor Bao Dai to consider abdication. At the same time, Viet Minh personnel arrested former premier Pham Quynh and former minister Ngo Dinh Khoi and his son.
25 Aug 1945 Emperor Bao Dai abdicated, ending Nguyen Dynasty Vietnam.
13 Jun 1949 Bao Dai was made the Chief of State of Vietnam.
30 Apr 1955 Bao Dai stepped down as the Chief of State of Vietnam.
30 Jul 1997 Bai Dai passed away in a military hospital in Paris, France.


Prince Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy, circa 1920Prince Nguyen Phuc Vinh Thuy in Paris, France, 1922Portrait of Emperor Bao Dai, 1926Emperor Bao Dai with his entourage, Hue, Annam, French Indochina, 1920s or 1930s
See all 8 photographs of Bao Dai

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
12 Oct 2009 11:31:40 AM

Vietnam! Served two tours in that small Southeast Asian Nation. Since 1970, I've been out of the US Army and Vietnam still lives with me, I guess for any Veteran, war and it's experience always will............

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