Cham–Vietnamese War (1471)

Cham–Đại Việt War of 1471
ResultĐại Việt victory
ChampaĐại Việt
Commanders and leaders
P'an-Lo T'ou-Ts'iuan POW)[1]Lê Thánh Tông
100,000 including elephant corps300,000
Casualties and losses

The Cham-Đại Việt War of 1471 was a military expedition launched by Emperor Lê Thánh Tông of Đại Việt, and is widely regarded as the event that marked the downfall of Champa. The Đại Việt forces attacked and sacked the kingdom's largest city-state, Vijaya, and defeated the Cham army. When the conflict was resolved, Champa was forced to cede territory to Annam, and was no longer a threat to Annamese territory.


The Cham and the Đại Việt have had a long history of conflict. In the course of their wars, peace often paired with economic exhaustion, recovering their economies just to go to war again.[2] When fighting resumed in 1471, the Champa kingdom found itself weakened and isolated. It has experienced numerous civil wars and, at one point, had five different rulers.[3] For its earlier attack on Angkor, the Khmers ignored the Cham's request for assistance when Đại Việt under Lê Dynasty invaded.[4]

Statue of Emperor Lê Thánh Tông.

The Cham also requested Ming China to intervene by helping bring the Vietnamese back in line by force and demarcate the border between Champa and Vietnam. China, however, only verbally rebuked the Vietnamese for its incursion, which the Vietnamese ignored, proceeding with its attack and plan to destroy its rival.[5]

The Vietnamese then carried out its campaign. On November 28,[6] 1470, Le Thanh Tong formally launched his attack as a 100,000-strong Vietnamese naval expedition set out that day, followed by another Vietnamese army consisting of 150,000 men on December 8.[7]

The Vietnamese army was reorganized to copy the Chinese army, armed with gunpowder weapons. Le Thanh Tong raised a total of 300,000-strong army in the battlefield and, significantly outnumbering the 100,000-strong Cham army. This came at a massive financial cost since it drained the Vietnamese treasury of 1,000 gold liang each day.[8] However, it decisively won the war.