The struggle launched by peasants, serfs and slaves in the later half of the 14th
century weakened the Tran. Ho Quy Ly was descendant of a high-ranking
mandarin of the Le family. He was talented and, as his two aunts married
the king, he soon became one of the high-ranking mandarins of the
Court. Using clever tactics Ho Quy Ly quickly climbed to the highest
position in the Court.
Quy Ly reorganised the rank of military officials and grasped all
political and military power in his hands. Having founded a firm
position, he decided on a number of reforms to rescue the shaky State.
1396, he had paper money issued and the circulation of bronze coins
banned. In 1397, he had the policy on land limits promulgated,
stipulating the area of land to be owned by aristocrats, mandarins and
landlords. The land in excess would be given to the State.
the next year, he ordered the measurement of land in localities and, at
the same time, reorganised the court examination system, developed
education, and reduced the number of monks.
1400, Ho Quy Ly dethroned the King Tran and declared himself king. Thus
the Ho was founded. In subsequent years, he promulgated policies on the
limit of serfs (providing the number of serfs to be owned by certain
people in society) and new taxation methods, etc.
Quy Ly also had a new population census conducted to serve as a basis
for troop recruitment and labour mobilisation to build projects for
national defence. The Ho Court was resolute in opposing acts of aggression of the Ming invaders.
Quy Ly’s reforms had far-reaching impacts on most social circles and
activities politically, militarily, culturally and educationally. These
reforms, more or less, limited the concentration of land in the hands of
the aristocrats and landlords, and weakened the power of the Tran
family. The incomes of the central government increased considerably.
these reforms did not resolve the imperative demand of the people’s
lives and freedom. Serfs and slaves who had been privately owned now
belonged to the State. Peasants had to contribute more than before while
money did not bring about desired convenience for trade. The new tax
policy made the people’s contributions more complicated. In addition, Ho
Quy Ly’s usurpation of the throne sowed alarm and discontent among
scholars and mandarins. The aristocrats of the Tran took advantage of
this to oppose Ho Quy Ly.