Le Chan was A Woman General who supported to Hai Ba Trung to fight against Invader China Troops during 40-42 AD. Haiphong People consider Her as the Tutelary Spirit who Founded An Bien Village (Haiphong City Now). Le Chan Statue is made by Haiphong Factory of Bronze Casting.
In 111BC, Han Chinese troops invaded northern Vietnam and
annexed the whole of the Red River Delta region, renaming it the Jiaozhi
commandary. They made demands to the Viet people in the form of high tributary
payments. They monopolized the production of salt and iron for their personal
gains. They also forced assimilation of their culture throughout the population.
Confucianism was introduced, along with a rigid, feudalistic hierarchy
dominated by a mandarin class. Han Chinese held the top administrative posts
and their rule became intolerably exacting. Inevitably feelings of resentment
began to fester among the oppressed populace. Struggles were often led by
members of the Vietnamese aristocracy. Skirmishes between the Chinese authority
and Vietnamese people occurred mainly in the outer Tonking provinces.
The Trung Sisters
Trung Trac and Trung Nhi were born in Me Linh, a rural
Vietnamese village. Their father was the village prefect and head of a military
family, which meant the sisters grew up well-versed in the martial arts. They
spent much time studying the art of warfare, weaponry and fighting skills. They
also witnessed the cruel treatment of the Viets by their Chinese overlords.
When the prefect of neighbouring Chu Dien came to visit Me Linh, he brought
with him his son, Thi Sach. Although youthful, Thi Sach was permitted to attend
the military planning meetings with the Me Linh chief and other leaders from
the neighbouring areas. He aspired to avenge his country using his acquired
war-waging skills. He recruited other young men and women patriots to join his
insurrection against the Chinese.
During one of his visits with his father to the headquarters
of the Me Linh military chief, Thi Sach met the Trung sisters. Shortly
thereafter, he befriended Trung Trac. As time passed, romantic feelings
developed between Thi Sach and Trung Trac, which resulted in a marriage. The
united couple from two military families gave hope to the villagers.
The exploitation and forced assimilation of Vietnamese
people by the Hans became ever more ruthless. Thi Sach and his wife, Trung
Trac, violently opposed and protested against these Chinese practices. Their
resistance so infuriated the Chinese that they eventually ordered the execution
of Thi Sach as a warning to other Vietnamese rebels. Rather than intimidate the
Vietnamese people, this cruel act merely provoked them further. The local
population and military leaders jointly declared war on the Hans.
Trung Trac took up the cause of her late husband and the
flames of insurrection spread. In 39AD, the Trung Sisters successfully repelled
a small Chinese unit from their village and set about assembling a large army,
which consisted mostly of women. Together, Trung Trac and her sister, Trung
Nhi, rallied their troops to fight against the Chinese. By 40AD, Trung Trac was
able to stand in full military regalia to address the 30,000 soldiers gathered
at the Hat estuary. The Trung Sisters led their troops to fight against the
Chinese and within months, armed with military skills and a passion for
independence, had regained control of sixty-five citadels.
Le Chan was also born in An Bien village, under Dong Trieu
district, Quang Ninh province. Her father was Le Dao, a teacher, and a medicine
person; her mother was Tran Thi Chau. Le Chan's beauty and good character
attracted the Chinese Governor, To Dinh, who wanted to take her as a wife in
his harem. Her family was protested and she had to hide herself in the coastal
village of An Duong, Kinh Mon. Unable to marry her, To Dinh put her family to
death. Le Chan determined to avenge them and, along with other families, set up
Ven hamlet - afterwards renamed An Bien hamlet - where the Tam Bac River met
the Cam River. Her new home became a revolutionary base where for ten years she
collected volunteer soldiers and trained hard.
When the Trung Sisters rebelled, Le Chan and her volunteer
soldiers joined the insurrection. Within months they had helped to take back
the sixty-five citadels from the Chinese, and had liberated the region. The
Trung Sisters became queens of the country, and Le Chan was nominated for the
position of 'Chuong quan binh quyen noi bo' with responsibility of defending
Hai Tan region.
In 42AD, Ma Vien, a Dong Han general led a great navy and
land army along northeast lines to put down the insurrection. Despite facing
overwhelming odds, the army of women took to the battlefields once more. Legend
tells of Phung Thi Chinh, a pregnant noble lady who was the captain of a group
of soldiers that were to protect the central flank. She gave birth on the
frontline, and with her baby in one arm, and a sword in the other, continued to
fight the battle. Le Chan also directly led her troops to fight against the
Chinese forces, causing them to suffer great losses, but the overall situation
was unfavourable. She had to withdraw the troops to Me Linh base.
Despite their many heroic efforts, the Trung Sisters
realised that they had been defeated and that to fight further would mean
certain death at the hands of the Chinese. Therefore, to protect their honour
and to elude ridicule, the two queens committed suicide by drowning themselves
in the Hat River (AD 43). Some of their loyal soldiers continued to fight to
the death whilst others committed suicide, including Phung Thi Chinh, who also
took her newborn baby's life. Le Chan and her troops still continued to resist
violently. Inevitably, however, a disadvantageous situation become a hopeless
one. Having become exhausted, Le Chan drowned herself in the King Thay river,
thereby preserving her virginity in death.
After her death, a temple - known today as Nghe Temple - was
built to honour her in Ma region by the people of An Bien. For a long time it
remained a small temple with a thatched roof, but in 1919 it was spaciously
rebuilt and has now become one of the most famous places of historical interest
in the locality.
Legend has it that Le Chan was wise in life and supernatural
in death. When she threw herself into the river, she turned into a stone that
miraculously floated on the river surface from Dong Trieu area to her old
homeland to Ben Binh. An Bien villagers, who believed that Le Chan had become a
genie, brought rods and robes to pick up the sacred stone and carry it back to
the village. Suddenly a storm began to rage and the robes broke. Then the place
where the stone dropped was chosen to build the temple for worshipping Le Chan.
The temple has two main halls: the front worshiping hall and
the sanctuary. On the roof of the front worshiping hall there is the
inscription: 'An Bien co mieu' (An Bien Ancient Shrine). A statue of Le Chan
was placed in the sanctuary, with altars for worshipping her parents on either
The statue of Le Chan in Hai Phong
In Hai Phong, her statue is located in front of the City
Exhibition House, at the western end of the city centre parks. The statue is
made of bronze and stands 7.49m high. With its pedestal, it measures 10.09m and
weighs 19 tons. On top of her head, the feather alone stands 0.7m high. In all,
the statue is the second biggest in Vietnam, after Hung Dao Vuong Statue in Nam
Dinh. It has been built to withstand earthquakes measuring 8.5 on the Richter
The statue was designed by two artists, Nguyen Phuc Cuong
and Nguyen Manh Cuong. Their design, presenting Le Chan with her hand leaning
on a sword, expressing the bravery of a new regional founder, was selected from
more than forty works that were judged in a national contest between 1996 and
2000. The casting was undertaken by the Hai Phong Brass Casting Company, and
was paid for using money donated by local citizens and overseas Vietnamese. It
took only one night to set the statue up; it was inaugurated on 31st December
2000, ushering in the first day of 21st century.
Photos of Traditional festival of General Le Chan 23/03/2018: