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You’ll Overcome Any Obstacles.  A warrior woman rises up to fight against oppression and injustice.


Right away I felt her power and determination. The woman whose image was captured on a vintage postcard was identified as being in Tonkin which I’ve since learned was the name for the northern part of Vietnam under French colonization. It’s an area that has strong roots in a matriarchal culture as well as an interesting history of women leaders, and ongoing fights for women’s equality and justice.  An old adage said “When an enemy is at the gate, the woman goes out fighting”


The history of Vietnam is rich with the stories of warrior women. In 39-43AD, two sisters, Trưng Trắc and TrưngNhị led the first resistance campaign against 247 years of Chinese occupation. They raised an army of 80,000 and successfully expelled the Chinese from their lands. Trưng Trắc went on to become Queen for three years although she was unable to unify the country afterwards.  Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị were known for their leadership, military skills, and courageous spirit.  Today, they continued to be revered as symbols of Vietnamese liberation and freedom. They are often portrayed riding two giant war elephants and have many shrines dedicated to them. 


Triệu Thị Trinh, known as Lady Triệu, is another legendary Vietnamese warrior woman who joined her brother in rebellion against Chinese rule in 248 AD. She became a leader in the military fight at age 20. When her brother tried to dissuade her from joining, it is said she replied, "I'd like to ride storms, kill orcas in the open sea, drive out the aggressors, reconquer the country, undo the ties of serfdom, and never bend my back to be the concubine of whatever man." Historically, women continued to play important roles in the Vietnam’s fight for independence which lasted 1945-1975 including serving as nurses, guides, couriers, and propagandists and fighting in guerilla and militia units.



Gilbert, Marc Jason (June 25, 2007). "When Heroism is Not Enough: Three Women Warriors of Vietnam, Their Historians and World History". World History Connected. 4 (3)



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