Bảo Đại

Emperor of Vietnam from 1926 to 1945

Bảo Đại (22 October 1913 – 30 July 1997) was the last king of Vietnam. He was the 13th and last king of the Nguyễn Dynasty. He was the leader of the country during World War II.

Bảo Đại ruled as the King of Annam from 1926 to 1945. Japan briefly took control of Vietnam in 1945, and Bảo Đại was made Emperor of Vietnam but with little real power. France took back control of Vietnam in 1949 as the State of Vietnam. Bảo Đại served as Chief of State from then to 1955, but the French had the real power.

Early Life


Bảo Đại was born on 22 October 1913 and given the name of Prince Nguyễn Phúc Vĩnh Thụy in the Palace of Doan-Trang-Vien. He was sent to France to be educated. On 8 January 1926, he was made the emperor after his father's death and took the name Bảo Đại (Protector of Grandeur).[1]

Independence and abdication


In 1940, during the WW2, Imperial Japan took over French Indochina. In 1945, the Japanese made Bảo Đại into declaring Vietnamese independence from France as a member of Japan's sphere of influence; the country then became the Empire of Vietnam. The Japanese surrendered to the Allies in August 1945, the Viet Minh aimed to take power in Vietnam. Due to Hồ Chí Minh's popular political stand against the French and the 1945 famine, he was able to persuade Bảo Đại to abdicate and hand over power to the communists.

Return to Power


Bảo Đại was a advisor during the First Indochina War. During the war, he signed many treaties which made him very unpopular.[2]

After the First Indochina War, a peace deal was made to split Vietnam into two, with State of Vietnam receiving the South. Bảo Đại remained "Head of State" of South Vietnam, but moved to Paris and appointed Ngô Đình Diệm as his prime minister.[2]

Second Removal From Power


A rigged referendum made Ngô Đình Diệm the president of the new Republic of Vietnam, so Bảo Đại was removed from power.


  1. Jessica, Chapman (2005-12-20). Staging Democracy: South Vietnam's 1955 Referendum to Depose Bao Dai. eScholarship, University of California. OCLC 1025354340.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Defense., United States. Department of (1972). The Pentagon papers : the Defense Department history of United States decisionmaking on Vietnam. Beacon Pr. ISBN 0-8070-0527-4. OCLC 163241452.