French Indochina

French Indochina

Overview
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

 in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese regions, Tonkin
Tonkin
Tonkin , also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region"...

 (North), Annam (Central), and Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

 (South), as well as Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, was formed in 1887.

Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 was added in 1893 and Kouang-Tchéou-Wan in 1900. The capital was moved from Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 (in Cochinchina) to Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 (Tonkin) in 1902. During World War II, the colony was administered by Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 and was under Japanese occupation.
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Encyclopedia
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire
French colonial empire
The French colonial empire was the set of territories outside Europe that were under French rule primarily from the 17th century to the late 1960s. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the colonial empire of France was the second-largest in the world behind the British Empire. The French colonial empire...

 in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese regions, Tonkin
Tonkin
Tonkin , also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region"...

 (North), Annam (Central), and Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

 (South), as well as Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, was formed in 1887.

Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 was added in 1893 and Kouang-Tchéou-Wan in 1900. The capital was moved from Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City , formerly named Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam...

 (in Cochinchina) to Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

 (Tonkin) in 1902. During World War II, the colony was administered by Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 and was under Japanese occupation. Beginning in May 1941, the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

, a communist army led by Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

, began a revolt against French rule known as the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

.

In Saigon, the anti-Communist State of Vietnam
State of Vietnam
The State of Vietnam was a state that claimed authority over all of Vietnam during the First Indochina War, and replaced the Provisional Central Government of Vietnam . The provisional government was a brief transitional administration between colonial Cochinchina and an independent state...

, led by former Emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

, was granted independence in 1949. Following the Geneva Accord of 1954
Geneva Conference (1954)
The Geneva Conference was a conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, whose purpose was to attempt to find a way to unify Korea and discuss the possibility of restoring peace in Indochina...

, the Viet Minh became the government of North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

, although the Bảo Đại government continued to rule in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

.

First French interventions




France-Vietnam relations started as early as the 17th century with the mission of the Jesuit, Father Alexandre de Rhodes. At this time, Vietnam was only just beginning to occupy the Mekong Delta
Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is the region in southwestern Vietnam where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The Mekong delta region encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam of . The size of the area covered by water depends on the season.The...

, former territory of the Indianized kingdom of Champa
Champa
The kingdom of Champa was an Indianized kingdom that controlled what is now southern and central Vietnam from approximately the 7th century through to 1832.The Cham people are remnants...

 they had defeated in 1471. European involvement in Vietnam was confined to trade during the 18th century. In 1787, Pigneau de Béhaine
Pigneau de Behaine
Pierre Joseph Georges Pigneau , commonly known as Pigneau de Béhaine, also Pierre Pigneaux and Bá Đa Lộc , was a French Catholic priest best known for his role in assisting Nguyễn Ánh to establish the Nguyễn Dynasty in Vietnam after the Tây Sơn...

, a French Catholic priest, petitioned the French government and organized French military volunteers to aid Nguyễn Ánh in retaking lands his family lost to the Tây Sơn. Pigneau died in Viet Nam, his troops fought on until 1802 in the French assistance to Nguyễn Ánh
French assistance to Nguyen Anh
French assistance to Nguyễn Ánh, the future Emperor of Vietnam Gia Long, founder of the Nguyễn Dynasty, covered a period from 1777 to 1820. From 1777, Mgr Pigneau de Behaine, of the Paris Foreign Missions Society, had taken to protecting the young Vietnamese prince who was fleeing from the...

.

France was heavily involved in Vietnam in the 19th century; protecting the work of the Paris Foreign Missions Society
Paris Foreign Missions Society
The Society of Foreign Missions of Paris is a Roman Catholic missionary organization. It is not a religious order, but an organization of secular priests and lay persons dedicated to missionary work in foreign lands....

 in the country was often presented as a justification. For its part, the Nguyễn Dynasty increasingly saw Catholic missionaries as a political threat; courtesans, for example, an influential faction in the dynastic system, feared for their status in a society influenced by an insistence on monogamy.

In 1858, the brief period of unification under the Nguyễn Dynasty ended with a successful attack on Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

 by French Admiral Charles Rigault de Genouilly
Charles Rigault de Genouilly
Pierre-Louis-Charles Rigault de Genouilly was a nineteenth-century French admiral...

 under the orders of Napoleon III. Diplomat Charles de Montigny
Charles de Montigny
Louis Charles de Montigny was a French diplomat who was active in Asia during the 19th century.He was the first French consul in Shanghai from January 23, 1848 to June 10, 1853. He founded the Shanghai French Concession in 1849....

's mission having failed, Genouilly's mission was to stop attempts to expel Catholic missionaries. His orders were to stop the persecution of missionaries and assure the unimpeded propagation of the faith.
In September, 14 French gunships, 3,000 men and 300 Filipino troops provided by the Spanish, attacked the port of Tourane (present day Da Nang
Da Nang
Đà Nẵng , occasionally Danang, is a major port city in the South Central Coast of Vietnam, on the coast of the South China Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the commercial and educational center of Central Vietnam; its well-sheltered, easily accessible port and its location on the path of...

), causing significant damages, and occupying the city. After a few months, Rigault had to leave the city due to supply issues and illnesses.

Sailing south, De Genouilly then captured the poorly defended city of Sai Gon (present day Ho Chi Minh City), on 18 February 1859. On 13 April 1862, the Vietnamese government was forced to cede the territories of Biên Hòa
Bien Hoa
Biên Hòa is a city in Dong Nai province, Vietnam, about east of Ho Chi Minh City , to which Bien Hoa is linked by Vietnam Highway 1.- Demographics :In 1989 the estimated population was over 300,000. In 2005, the population wss 541,495...

, Gia Định and Dinh Tuong to France. De Genouilly was criticized for his actions and was replaced by Admiral Page in November 1859, with instructions to obtain a treaty protecting the Catholic faith in Vietnam, but not to try to obtain territorial gains. However, French policy four years later saw a reversal; French territory in Viet Nam continued to accumulate. In 1862, France obtained concessions from Emperor Tự Đức, ceding three treaty ports in Annam and Tonkin
Tonkin
Tonkin , also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region"...

, and all of Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

, the latter being formally declared a French territory in 1864. In 1867 the provinces of Chau Doc
Chau Doc
Châu Đốc is a district and town in An Giang Province, bordering Cambodia, in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. As of 2003 the district had a population of 112,155. The district covers an area of 100 km²....

, Ha Tien
Hà Tiên
Hà Tiên or Ha Tien is a town in Kien Giang Province, Tay Nam Bo of Vietnam. Area: 8,851.5 ha, population : 39,957. The town borders Cambodia to the west....

 and Vĩnh Long were added to French controlled territory.

In 1863, the Cambodian king Norodom
Norodom of Cambodia
Norodom I ruled as king of Cambodia from 1860 to 1904. He was the eldest son of King Ang Duong, who ruled on behalf of Siam, and half-brother of Prince Si Votha as well as the half-brother of King Sisowath. Norodom is cognate with Narottam in Sanskrit which means Best of men . Norodom was...

 had requested the establishment of a French protectorate over his country. In 1867, Siam (modern Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

) renounced suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 over Cambodia and officially recognized the 1863 French protectorate on Cambodia, in exchange for the control of Battambang
Battambang
Battambang is the capital city of Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia.Battambang is the second-largest city in Cambodia with a population of over 250,000. Founded in the 11th century by the Khmer Empire, Battambang is well known for being the leading rice-producing province of the country...

 and Siem Reap
Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and is the gateway to Angkor region.Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market...

 provinces which officially became part of Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 (These provinces would be ceded back to Cambodia by a border treaty between France and Siam in 1906).

Establishment of French Indochina




France obtained control over northern Vietnam following its victory over China in the Sino-French war
Sino-French War
The Sino–French War was a limited conflict fought between August 1884 and April 1885 to decide whether France should replace China in control of Tonkin . As the French achieved their war aims, they are usually considered to have won the war...

 (1884–1885). French Indochina was formed in October 1887 from Annam
Annam (French Colony)
Annam was a French protectorate encompassing the central region of Vietnam. Vietnamese were subsequently referred to as "Annamites." Nationalist writers adopted the word "Vietnam" in the late 1920s. The general public embraced the word "Vietnam" during the revolution of August 1945...

, Tonkin
Tonkin
Tonkin , also spelled Tongkin, Tonquin or Tongking, is the northernmost part of Vietnam, south of China's Yunnan and Guangxi Provinces, east of northern Laos, and west of the Gulf of Tonkin. Locally, it is known as Bắc Kỳ, meaning "Northern Region"...

, Cochinchina
Cochinchina
Cochinchina is a region encompassing the southern third of Vietnam whose principal city is Saigon. It was a French colony from 1862 to 1954. The later state of South Vietnam was created in 1954 by combining Cochinchina with southern Annam. In Vietnamese, the region is called Nam Bộ...

 (which together form modern Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

) and the Kingdom of Cambodia; Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 was added after the Franco-Siamese War.

The federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 lasted until 1954. In the four protectorates, the French formally left the local rulers in power, who were the Emperors of Vietnam, Kings of Cambodia, and Kings of Luang Prabang
Kings of Luang Prabang
Lan Xang was the name of Laos Kingdom during its early years and was ruled by the first king, Fa Ngum. Until the reign of King Sai Setthathirat, the Lan Xang kingdom's royal seat was based in Luang Phrabang, after which the royal seat moved to Vientiane. With the rule of Sourigna Vongsa for more...

, but in fact gathered all powers in their hands, the local rulers acting only as figureheads.

Vietnamese rebellions


French troops landed in Vietnam in 1858 and by the mid 1880s they had established a firm grip over the northern region. From 1885 to 1895, Phan Đình Phùng
Phan Dinh Phung
Phan Đình Phùng was a Vietnamese revolutionary who led rebel armies against French colonial forces in Vietnam. He was the most prominent of the Confucian court scholars involved in anti-French military campaigns in the 19th century and was cited after his death by 20th-century nationalists as a...

 led a rebellion against the colonizing power. Nationalist sentiments intensified in Vietnam, especially during and after World War I
Vietnam during World War I
At the outbreak of the Great War, or World War I, Vietnam was part of French Indochina. While seeking to maximize the use of Indochina's natural resources and manpower to fight the First World War, France cracked down on all patriotic mass movements in Vietnam...

, but all the uprisings and tentative efforts failed to obtain any concessions from the French overseers.

Franco-Siamese war (1893)




Territorial conflict in the Indochinese peninsula for the expansion of French Indochina led to the Franco-Siamese War of 1893
Franco-Siamese War of 1893
The Franco-Siamese War of 1893 was a conflict between the French Third Republic and the Kingdom of Siam. Auguste Pavie, French vice consul in Luang Prabang in 1886, was the chief agent in furthering French interests in Laos...

. In 1893 the French authorities in Indochina used border disputes, followed by the Paknam naval incident, to provoke a crisis. French gunboats appeared at Bangkok, and demanded the cession of Lao territories east of the Mekong
Mekong
The Mekong is a river that runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discharging of water annually....

. King Chulalongkorn
Chulalongkorn
Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chulalongkorn Phra Chunla Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua , or Rama V was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri. He was known to the Siamese of his time as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang . He is considered one of the greatest kings of Siam...

 appealed to the British, but the British minister told the King to settle on whatever terms he could get, and he had no choice but to comply. Britain's only gesture was an agreement with France guaranteeing the integrity of the rest of Siam. In exchange, Siam had to give up its claim to the Tai-speaking Shan region
Shan State
Shan State is a state of Burma . Shan State borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south, and five administrative divisions of Burma in the west. Largest of the 14 administrative divisions by land area, Shan State covers 155,800 km², almost a quarter of the total...

 of north-eastern Burma to the British, and cede Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 to France.

Further encroachments on Siam (1904–1907)



The French, however, continued to pressure Siam, and in 1906–1907 they manufactured another crisis. This time Siam had to concede French control of territory on the west bank of the Mekong opposite Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang, or Louangphrabang , is a city located in north central Laos, where the Nam Khan river meets the Mekong River about north of Vientiane. It is the capital of Luang Prabang Province...

 and around Champasak
Champasak (town)
Champasak is a small town in southern Laos, on the west bank of the Mekong River about 40 km south of Pakxe, the capital of Champasak Province....

 in southern Laos, as well as western Cambodia. France also occupied the western part of Chantaburi. In 1904, in order to get back Chantaburi Siam had to give Trat
Trat
Trat is a town in Thailand, capital of Trat Province and the Mueang Trat district. The town is located in the east of Thailand, at the mouth of the Trat River, near the border with Cambodia.-Travel and Accommodation:...

 to French Indochina. Trat became part of Thailand again on March 23, 1906 in exchange for many areas east of the Mekong
Mekong
The Mekong is a river that runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discharging of water annually....

 river like Battambang
Battambang Province
Battambang is a province in northwestern Cambodia. It is bordered to the North with Banteay Meanchey, to the West with Thailand, and to the East and South with Pursat. The capital of the province is the city of Battambang. The name, meaning 'lost staff', refers to the legend of Preah Bat Dambang...

, Siam Nakhon
Siam Nakhon Province
Siam Nakhon is the name of a former Thai province. It was a changwat of Thailand, but was ceded to French Indochina in 1906. The name of Siam Nakhon was later changed to Siem Reap in Cambodian....

 and Sisophon.


In the 1930s, Siam
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 engaged France in a series of talks concerning the repatriation of Siamese provinces held by the French. In 1938, under the Front Populaire
Popular Front (France)
The Popular Front was an alliance of left-wing movements, including the French Communist Party , the French Section of the Workers' International and the Radical and Socialist Party, during the interwar period...

 administration in Paris, France had agreed to repatriate Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu,...

, Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom , located in present day Cambodia, was the last and most enduring capital city of the Khmer empire. It was established in the late twelfth century by king Jayavarman VII. It covers an area of 9 km², within which are located several monuments from earlier eras as well as those...

, Siam Reap, Siam Pang and the associated provinces (approximately 13) to Siam. Meanwhile, Siam took over control of those areas, in anticipation of the upcoming treaty. Signatories from each country were dispatched to Tokyo to sign the treaty repatriating the lost provinces.

Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang


On February 10, 1930, there was an uprising by Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese soldiers in the French colonial army's Yen Bai
Yen Bai
Yên Bái is a city and urban district in Vietnam. It is the capital of the Yen Bai province, in northeastern Vietnam. As of 2003 the district had a population of 78,016. The district covers an area of 58 km²....

 garrison. The Yên Bái mutiny
Yen Bai mutiny
The Yên Bái mutiny was an uprising of Vietnamese soldiers in the French colonial army on 10 February 1930 in collaboration with civilian supporters who were members of the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang ....

 was sponsored by the Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng (VNQDD). The VNQDD was the Vietnamese Nationalist Party. The attack was the largest disturbance brewed up by the Can Vuong
Can Vuong
The Cần Vương movement was a large-scale Vietnamese insurgency between 1885 and 1889 against French colonial rule. Its objective was to expel the French and install the boy emperor Hàm Nghi as the leader of an independent Vietnam...

 monarchist restoration movement of the late 19th century. The aim of the revolt was to inspire a wider uprising among the general populace in an attempt to overthrow the colonial authority. The VNQDD had previously attempted to engage in clandestine activities to undermine French rule, but increasing French scrutiny on their activities led to their leadership group taking the risk of staging a large scale military attack in the Red River Delta
Red River Delta
The Red River Delta is the flat plain formed by the Red River and its distributaries joining in the Thai Binh River in northern Vietnam. The delta measuring some 15,000 square km is well protected by a network of dikes. It is an agriculturally rich area and densely populated...

 in northern Vietnam.

French-Thai War (1940–1941)



During World War II, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 took the opportunity of French weaknesses to reclaim previously lost territories, resulting in the French-Thai War
French-Thai War
The Franco-Thai War was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over certain areas of French Indochina that had once belonged to Thailand....

 between October 1940 and 9 May 1941. The Thai forces generally did well on the ground, but Thai objectives in the war were limited. In January, Vichy French
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 naval forces decisively defeated Thai naval forces in the Battle of Koh Chang
Battle of Koh Chang
The Battle of Koh Chang took place on 17 January 1941 during the French-Thai War and resulted in a decisive victory by the French over the Royal Thai Navy. During the battle, a flotilla of French warships attacked a smaller force of Thai vessels, including a coastal battleship.In the end, Thailand...

. The war ended in May at the instigation of the Japanese, with the French forced to concede territorial gains for Thailand.

World War II



In September 1940, during World War II
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

, the newly created regime of Vichy France
Vichy France
Vichy France, Vichy Regime, or Vichy Government, are common terms used to describe the government of France that collaborated with the Axis powers from July 1940 to August 1944. This government succeeded the Third Republic and preceded the Provisional Government of the French Republic...

 granted Japan's demands for military access to Tonkin with the invasion of French Indochina (or Vietnam Expedition). This allowed Japan better access to China in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 against the forces of Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

, but it was also part of Japan's strategy for dominion over the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

.

Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

 took this opportunity of weakness to reclaim previously lost territories, resulting in the French-Thai War
French-Thai War
The Franco-Thai War was fought between Thailand and Vichy France over certain areas of French Indochina that had once belonged to Thailand....

 between October 1940 and 9 May 1941.

On 9 March 1945, with France liberated, Germany in retreat, and the United States ascendant in the Pacific, Japan decided to take complete control of Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

. The Japanese launched the Second French Indochina Campaign
Second French Indochina Campaign
The Second French Indochina Campaign, also known as the Japanese coup of March 1945, was a Japanese military operation in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, then a French colony and known as French Indochina, during the final months of the Second World War. Vietnam was not a real colony at this time. The...

. The Japanese kept power in Indochina until the news of their government's surrender came through in August.

First Indochina War



After the war, France petitioned for the nullification of the 1938 Franco-Siamese Treaty and attempted to reassert itself in the region, but came into conflict with the Viet Minh
Viet Minh
Việt Minh was a national independence coalition formed at Pac Bo on May 19, 1941. The Việt Minh initially formed to seek independence for Vietnam from the French Empire. When the Japanese occupation began, the Việt Minh opposed Japan with support from the United States and the Republic of China...

, a coalition of Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and Vietnamese nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

s under French-educated dissident Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
Hồ Chí Minh , born Nguyễn Sinh Cung and also known as Nguyễn Ái Quốc, was a Vietnamese Marxist-Leninist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam...

. During World War II, the United States had supported the Viet Minh in resistance against the Japanese; the group had been in control of the countryside since the French gave way in March 1945.

American President Roosevelt and General Stilwell, privately made it adamantly clear that the French were not to reacquire French Indochina, (modern day Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) after the war was over. Roosevelt offered Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

 the entire Indochina to be put under Chinese rule. It was said that Chiang Kai-shek replied: "Under no circumstances!".

After the war, 200,000 Chinese troops under General Lu Han
Lu Han
Lu Han was a KMT general of Yi ethnicity.-Life:His alma matter was Yunnan military academy. He was commander of the First Group Army in the Second Sino-Japanese War....

 were sent by Chiang Kai-shek invaded northern Indochina north of the 16th parallel to accept the surrender of Japanese occupying forces, and remained there until 1946. The Chinese used the VNQDD, the Vietnamese branch of the Chinese Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

, to increase their influence in Indochina and put pressure on their opponents. Chiang Kai-shek threatened the French with war in response to manoeuvering by the French and Ho Chi Minh against each other, forcing them to come to a peace agreement, and in February 1946 he also forced the French to surrender all of their concessions in China and renounce their extraterritorial privileges in exchange for withdrawing from northern Indochina and allowing French troops to reoccupy the region starting in March 1946.

After persuading Emperor Bảo Đại
Bảo Đài
Bảo Đài is a commune and village in Lục Nam District, Bac Giang Province, in northeastern Vietnam.-References:...

 to abdicate in his favour, on September 2, 1945 President Ho declared independence for the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. But before September's end, a force of British and French
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 soldiers, along with captured Japanese troops, restored French control. Bitter fighting ensued in the First Indochina War
First Indochina War
The First Indochina War was fought in French Indochina from December 19, 1946, until August 1, 1954, between the French Union's French Far East...

. In 1950 Ho again declared an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which was recognized by the fellow Communist governments of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 and the Soviet Union. Fighting lasted until March 1954, when the Viet Minh won the decisive victory against French forces at the gruelling Battle of Dien Bien Phu
Battle of Dien Bien Phu
The Battle of Dien Bien Phu was the climactic confrontation of the First Indochina War between the French Union's French Far East Expeditionary Corps and Viet Minh communist revolutionaries. The battle occurred between March and May 1954 and culminated in a comprehensive French defeat that...

.

Geneva Agreements


On April 27, 1954, the Geneva Conference produced the Geneva Agreements; supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Indochina, granting it independence from France, declaring the cessation of hostilities and foreign involvement in internal Indochina affairs, delineating northern and southern zones into which opposing troops were to withdraw, they mandated unification on the basis of internationally supervised free elections to be held in July 1956. It also settled a number of outstanding disputes relating to the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. It was at this conference that France relinquished any claim to territory in the Indochinese peninsula. Neither the U.S. nor South Vietnam signed the Geneva Accords. South Vietnamese leader Diem rejected the idea of nationwide election as proposed in the agreement, saying that a free election was impossible in the communist North and that his government was not bound by the Geneva Accords.

The events of 1954 marked the beginnings of serious involvement in Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 by the United States which led to the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. Laos and Cambodia also became independent in 1954, but were both drawn into the Vietnam War.

See also


  • List of colonial heads of French Indochina
  • Political administration of French Indochina
  • French colonial administration of Laos
    French colonial administration of Laos
    The French approach to the colonial administration of Laos might be viewed as one of 'benign neglect', as compared to the contributions of other colonial rulers to their Southeast Asian colonies.-French Territorial Administration:...

  • List of French possessions and colonies