Nguyễn Trường Tộ (1830–1871) was a Roman Catholic scholar and reformer during the reign of Tự Đức of the Nguyễn Dynasty, the last sovereign Emperor of Vietnam under which the French colonial forces colonized the country. Nguyễn Trường Tộ was best known for his advocacy of his modernisation of Vietnam, criticising the rigid Confucianism of the Huế court.
Nguyễn Trường Tộ was born into a Roman Catholic family in Nghe An Province in central Vietnam, approximately in the year 1830. His native village of Bui Chu is part of present day Hung Trung village in Hung Nguyen district of Nghe An province. In his youth, Nguyễn Trường Tộ studied with lower-level degree holders and retired officials, earning a reputation in his region as an excellent Confucian scholar. However, he was not permitted to sit for the imperial civil-service examinations from which governmental officials were selected because of his Catholicism, which he never renounced. With the officially sanctioned road to prominence closed to him, Nguyễn Trường Tộ earned his living by teaching Chinese, first at home, and from 1848 onwards, at Nha Chung Xa Doai, a local Roman Catholic seminary.