Nguyen Ngoc Thang (? - 1866)

Nguyen Ngoc Thang

(? - 1866)

Nguyen Ngoc Thang was born into a farmer family in Giong Keo Hamlet, My Thanh Village, Tan An District, now is My Thanh Commune, Giong Trom District, Ben Tre Province. He was the eldest son of four children of Mr Nguyen Cong and Mrs Tran Thi Kiem, born before the French came.

In 1848, Thang joined the Royal Army and was promoted to the position of Millitary Commander.

When the French colonialists occupied the 6 Provinces of the Cochinchine, especially the attack of the most important province Gia Dinh, Commander Thang brought his troops to assist, but it was too late, Gia Dinh fell (on 17 February, 1859) before he and his men could arrive. Admiral Vo Duy Ninh had to take his own life for failing to defend the fort city. After that, Thang was ordered to take command of the Cay Mai (Apricot) military post, re-organizing defence and thwarting many attacks of the enemy. However, he also could not maintain the military post for long and had to retreat to Go Cong district (also belonged to Gia Dinh province). Here he continued to be a commander under Truong Dinh leadership to fight the French colonialists. After the death of Truong Dinh on August 20, 1864, Thang took over the leadership to comtinue the fight. He together with Truong Quyen, son of Truong Dinh, and Thien Ho Duong formed three French-resisting bases in the Three Eastern Provinces.

On June 27, 1866, he was fatally wounded and died while leading a military clash with the French army. His body was stealthily taken back to bury in his home village in Giong Keo Hamlet, My Thanh Village, Giong Trom District. There is now a temple to commemorate him in My Thanh Commune, Giong Trom District. In Ho Chi Minh City there is a street and a market place in District 11 named after him. There are two Communal Houses in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, and My Thanh Commune, Ben Tre Province worshiping him as a God of the people. Every year, there are festivals in these two sites to remember him as one of the first resisting worriors of the country against the French colonialist invasion.

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