Lady Trieu (Ba Trieu), also known as Trieu Thi Trinh and Trieu Au, was born around 225 CE in northern Vietnam. There are many versions of Lady Trieu’s childhood, but they all agree that she was orphaned at a young age and was raised by her brother.
While the young girl was in her brother’s care, China ramped up its campaign of suppression against local Vietnamese leaders in an attempt to assimilate Vietnam into the Kingdom of Wu. By the time Lady Trieu was nineteen (around 244 CE, if her birth date is accurate), she left the home of her brother to raise a sizable army to resist the Chinese.
The disgruntled Vietnamese population proved to be a valuable pool of manpower for Lady Trieu. For the next few years, the young rebel leader campaigned to liberate her homeland from the occupying Chinese forces. She was described as being an inspiring leader who led from the front (on or off an elephant) wearing golden armor and wielding two swords. She likely won around thirty battles before she was twenty-one years old.
By 248 CE, however, Lady Trieu had caused enough disruption to make her a top priority of Eastern Wu. A fresh army of Chinese troops was sent to the region to quash the rebellion and more funds were provided to pay informants and turn traitors in Vietnam. Under the increasing pressure, Lady Trieu could no longer continue her success. She was defeated in battle in 248 CE and died either a warrior’s death or by suicide.
Written by C. Keith Hansley