(1802–1945) Last Vietnamese dynasty. During the 16th century, while the emperors of the Later Le dynasty were nominally in control, the Nguyen family came to rule southern Vietnam in an essentially independent fashion. Emperor Gia Long (1762–1820), founder of the dynasty, conquered all of Vietnam in 1802; his successors modeled their administration on the Chinese Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12). The French invaded in 1858 and eventually took control of the entire country. They retained the Nguyen emperors as rulers of Annam (central Vietnam) and Tonkin (northern Vietnam) but not of southern Vietnam (Cochinchina). Bao Dai, the last emperor, abdicated following the Vietnamese nationalists' proclamation of independence in 1945.
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