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Dinh Bo Lin (Đinh Bộ Lĩnh, 丁部領)

Vietnamese-Chinese. Name of the first independent Vietnamese emperor following the liberation of the country from the rule of Imperial China in the late 10th century AD. He was born in 924 AD. He was formerly known as Dinh Hoan (Đinh Hoàn) and became a warlord at a young age. Following the initial defeat of the Southern Han forces by the warlord Ngo Quyen (Ngô Quyền) in the 938 AD Battle of Bach Dang (fig.), the latter proofed himself too weak and unable to effectively unify Vietnam. Upon the death of Ngo Quyen's successor, Dinh Bo Lin in 965 seized power, in order to outmaneuver 12 independent feudal warlords that competed for control, as well as the external threat from China's Southern Han Dynasty, that considered itself as the heir to the ancient kingdom of Nan Yue, which besides parts of southern China had also encompassed some regions of northern Vietnam. He founded his capital in his home district of Hoa Lu, which remained the capital of Vietnam until the 11th century. In 968, Dinh Bo Lin assumed the title of Emperor, i.e. Hoang De (Hoàng Đế), reminiscent of Huang Di, and thereby unquestionably declared his independence from the Chinese. He founded the Dinh Dynasty and called his kingdom Dai Co Viet (Đại Cồ Việt). He ruled until his death in 979 AD and —akin to primarily Chinese tradition— he was after his death deified. He is posthumously referred to as Dinh Tien Hoang, the name also given to a temple in Hua Lu, near Truong Yen Thuong village in Ninh Binh, dedicated to this emperor (fig.). Dinh Bo Lin was succeeded by Dinh Toan (Đinh Toàn), after whom the Dinh Dynasty ended and was followed in 980 AD by the Le Dynasty, with Emperor Le Hoan (fig.). The city of Ninh Binh also has a large bronze statue of this emperor (fig.).