Tu Duc's Stele ~ Hue, Vietnam
Dec 06 2001

Emperor Tu Duc was born at the wrong time. Under increasing pressure from the diplomatically more sophisticated and militarily more muscular French, poor Tu Duc was bullied into signing away his kingdom piece by piece. He was even forced to turn his own subjects into Opium addicts to raise money to pay war reparations to the conquerors - a war the French had started. Thinking of posterity, when Tu Duc planned his grand mausoleum it included this stele telling the story of his life. He composed the obituary himself and was careful to show his humility by mentioning mistakes he had made during his reign - the irony is that he chose to record his humility on the largest stone stele in all of Vietnam. It took four years just to transport it here to his mausoleum.

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nigel & julie snow