faith was a soldier named Francis, in 1640. In the south, the first martyr was the nineteen-year-old catechist Andrew of Phu Yen in 1644. Two years later, also in the south, two more catechists, Ignatius and Vincent, were killed. From the eighteenth century, in addition to Vietnamese Catholics, numerous foreign missionaries, bishops and priests were put to death by both Trinh and Nguyen lords. In the north, the martyrs included Francisco de Federich and Mateo Liciniana (1745) and Vincent Liem and Jacinto Castafieda (1773). In the south, persecution raged from 1698 to 1725 and again from 1750 to 1765. UndertheTay Sonreign, Catholics were also ferociously persecuted, accused of following a false religion and suspected of support for Tay Son's enemy, Nguyen Anh. Two Vietnamese priests were killed in 1798: Nguyen Van Trieu and John Dat.
Nguyen Anh (Gia Long) inaugurated the Nguyen dynasty in 1802, put in place a new administrative system, and built a new imperial capital in Phu Xuan (today Hue), located in the centre of the country. Under his two-decade reign, the church enjoyed freedom and peace. In gratitude to de Behaine, Gia Long revoked all decrees against Christianity, mandated religious tolerance, and forbade the forcible collection of money from Catholics to underwrite the costs of public worship. However, Gia Long remained personally opposed to Christianity, because he found the practice of monogamy burdensome, and because he rejected as blasphemous the Catholic condemnation of ancestor veneration.
Vietnam and France in the nineteenth century Some consideration of the relations between Vietnam and France is necessary to understand the history of Vietnamese Christianity in the nineteenth century. These relations were at first mercantile. The French were not the first to seek trade with Vietnam. Other Europeans had preceded them: the Portuguese in 1535, the Dutch in 1636, the English in 1672. As mentioned above, between 1627 and 1672, the north (the Trinh clan) and the south (the Nguyen clan) were in constant warfare with each other, and the Portuguese and the Dutch could make profits from the arms trade, the former favoured the south (with Faifo as a busy seaport), while the latter favoured the north (with Pho Hien as the commercial centre). France, which had founded its own Compagnie des Indes Orientales in 1664 (the same year as the MEP), opened its first trading office in Pho Hien only in 1680. By that time, however, with peace restored between the north and the south, profits from the arms trade declined substantially.
The commercial interests of the Compagnie des Indes Orientales were assisted by French missionaries, especially by Bishop Francois Pallu, the first
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