Untold Stories: Lady Trieu

Lady Trieu was a legendary warrior in Vietnam in the 3rd century. She led one of the most successful resistances against the Chinese state of Eastern Wu’s occupation of Vietnam.

She was orphaned at an early age and raised by her brother and his wife. Her early life was unhappy and at 19, she fled to the mountains and began to train as a warrior.

Word spread of this woman performing amazing feats of strength and skill in the mountains, and she soon amassed thousands of followers. When her brother found out about this, he tried to persuade her to come home, to which she famously responded:

“I only want to ride the wind and walk the waves, slay the big whales of the Eastern sea, clean up frontiers, and save the people from drowning. Why should I imitate others, bow my head, stoop over and be a slave?

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That’s right, why should she? Her brother reacted to this statement by joining her.

In the spring of 248 AD, the Chinese occupation forces were shocked when Lady Trieu, riding on top of a stampeding war elephant, launched a surprise attack, leading an army of followers who had been training with her in the mountains.

She fought 30 battles over the next six months, her fame rising and inspiring the people of Vietnam. She fought guerrilla battles but also led large scale attacks against walled cities — something few Vietnamese revolutionaries had managed to do when fighting the Chinese.

Eventually, Lady Trieu was defeated but not before attaining a near Goddess like status among her people. Some people say she still appears in the dreams of revolutionary Vietnamese heroes and heroines, giving them advice and strength.


We’re telling the stories of the heroines who have come before us so that you can take control of your life, just like they did.

Let’s build a culture of women building strength and power together.

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