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Mạc Cửu, born Mò Jǐu (鄚玖; 1655–1736) was a Chinese adventurer who played a role in relations between Cambodia and the Nguyen court.[1]

He was born in Leizhou, Guangdong. Sometime between 1687 and 1695,[2] the Cambodian king sponsored him to migrate to Banteay Meas, where he at first served as chief of a small Chinese community, with the Khmer title Okna.[3] By 1700, he had established an independent[citation needed] kingdom at Hà Tiên, known variously as Gangkouguo (港口國), Bendiguo, or Hexian Zhen in Chinese, and Cancao, Peam, or Pontomeas by Europeans.[4] However, he later switched allegiance to the Nguyen.[5] He sent a tribute mission to the Nguyen court in 1708, and in return received the title of Tong Binh of Hà Tiên.[6] He died in 1735.[7]

Mạc's son, Mạc Thiên Tứ, was born in 1700 to a lady from Biên Hòa. He also had a daughter, Mac Kim Dinh, who was married to the son of the Chinese general Trần Thượng Xuyên.[8][9] as more Vietnamese invaded the region, the kingdom was annexed by the Nguyễn and merged with Vietnamese territory in 1800s. A genealogy of his clan is Hà Tiên trấn Hiệp trấn Mạc thị gia phả.


  1. Bruce McFarland Lockhart, William J. Duiker Historical dictionary of Vietnam 2006 Page 228 "Mạc Cửu (1655–1736) A Chinese immigrant who established his family in the Hà Tiên area of the Mekong Delta. ... he threw in his lot with the Vietnamese"
  2. Thien Do Vietnamese Supernaturalism: Views from the Southern Region 2012 "Đại Nam Nhât Thông Chí does not record what date Mạc Cửu first came to this Cambodian port to develop it and surrounding areas. He offered Hà Tiên province to the Nguyeễn in 1714. See Đại Nam Nhât Thông Chí, vol. 2
  3. Cooke & Li 2004, p. 43
  4. Cooke & Li 2004, p. 63
  5. Coedes 1966, p. 213
  6. Cooke & Li 2004, pp. 43–44
  7. Cooke & Li 2004, p. 44
  8. Coedes 1966, p. 213
  9. Ooi 2004, p. 806; see also Mạc Thiên Tứ and Trần Thượng Xuyên on the Vietnamese Wikipedia


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