French Indochina

French Indochina

Infobox Former Country
native_name = Union Indochinoise
conventional_long_name = Indochinese Union Liên bang Đông Dương
common_name = French Indochina|
continent = moved from Category:Asia to Southeast Asia
region = Southeast Asia
country =
era = New Imperialism
status = Colonial protectorate federation
empire = French Empire
government_type =
year_start = 1887
year_end = 1954|
date_start = October
date_end =
event_end = Recognized Independence of Vietnam
event1 = Addition of Laos
date_event1 = 1893
event2 = Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence
date_event2 = September 2 1945
event3 = Independence of Laos
date_event3 = July 19 1949
event4=Independence of Cambodia
date_event4= November 9 1953
event_post = Dissolved
date_post = 1954|
p1 = Colonial Cambodia!Cambodia
flag_p1 = Flag of Cambodia under French protection.svg
p2 = History of Laos to 1945#French Laos!French Laos
flag_p2 = Flag of French Laos.svg
p3 = Cochinchina
flag_p3 = Flag of Colonial Vietnam.svg
p4 = Annam (French colony)!Annam
flag_p4 = Flag of Colonial Vietnam.svg
p5 = Tonkin
flag_p5 = Flag of Colonial Vietnam.svg|
s1 = Cambodia under Sihanouk (1954-1970)
flag_s1 = Flag of Cambodia.svg
s2 = Kingdom of Laos
flag_s2 = Flag of Laos (1952-1975).svg
s3 = State of Vietnam
flag_s3 = Flag of South Vietnam.svg
s4 = North Vietnam
flag_s4 = Flag of North Vietnam 1945-1955.svg


image_map_caption =|
capital = Hanoi
national_motto =
national_anthem =
common_languages = French
religion =
stat_year1 = 1945
stat_area1 = 750000
currency = French Indochinese piastre

French Indochina (French: "Indochine française"; Vietnamese: "Đông Dương thuộc Pháp", /ɗoŋ jɯəŋ tʰʊək˨ fap˦˥/) was the part of the French colonial empire in Indochina in southeast Asia, consisting of a federation of four protectorates (Tonkin, Annam, Cambodia and Laos) and one directly-ruled colony (Cochinchina). The capital of French Indochina was Hanoi.

First French interventions

France-Vietnam relations started as early as the 17th century with the mission of the Jesuit father Alexandre de Rhodes. Various traders would visit Vietnam during the 18th century, until the involvement of French military volunteers under Pigneau de Béhaine to help establish the Nguyễn Dynasty from 1787 to 1802. France was heavily involved in Vietnam in the 19th century under the pretext of protecting the work of Catholic missionaries in the country.

In 1858, Charles Rigault de Genouilly attacked Vietnam under the orders of Napoleon III following the failed mission of diplomat Charles de Montigny. His stated mission was to stop the persecution of Catholic missionaries in the country and assure the unimpeded propagation of the faith.cite book |last=Tucker |first=Spencer C. |title=Vietnam |pages=p. 29
url= | format=Google Book Search
year=1999 |publisher=University Press of Kentucky |isbn=0813109663
] Rigault de Genouilly, with 14 French gunships, 3,000 men and 300 Filipino troops provided by the Spanish, [cite book |last=Chapuis |first=Oscar
title=A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc |year=1995 |publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group
url= | format=Google Book Search
isbn=0313296227 |pages=p. 195
] attacked the port of Danang in 1858, 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 Saigon on 18 February 1859. On 13 April 1862, the Vietnamese government was forced to cede the territories of Biên Hòa, 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. In 1864 all the French territories in southern Vietnam were declared to be the new French colony of Cochinchina. In 1867 the provinces of Châu Đốc, Ha Tien and Vĩnh Long were added to French controlled territory.

In 1863, the Cambodian king Norodom had requested the establishment of a French protectorate over his country. In 1867, Siam (modern Thailand) renounced suzerainty over Cambodia and officially recognized the 1863 French protectorate on Cambodia, in exchange for the control of Battambang and Siem Reap provinces which officially became part of Thailand (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 (1884-1885). French Indochina was formed in October 1887 from Annam, Tonkin, Cochinchina (which together form modern Vietnam) and the Kingdom of Cambodia following the Sino-French War (1884-1885); Laos was added after the Franco-Siamese War. The federation 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, but in fact gathered all powers in their hands, the local rulers acting only as figureheads.

Vietnamese Rebellions

From 1885 to 1895, Phan Đình Phùng led a rebellion against the colonizing power. Nationalist sentiments intensified in Vietnam, especially during and after World War I, 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. 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. King Chulalongkorn 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 of north-eastern Burma to the British, and cede Laos 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 and around Champasak 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 to French Indochina. Trat became part of Thailand again on March 23, 1906 in exchange for many areas east of the Mekong river like Battambang, Siam Nakhon and Sisophon.

In the 1930s, Siam engaged France in a series of talks concerning the repatriation of Siamese provinces held by the French. By 1938, France had agreed to repatriate Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, 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 Vietnamese soldiers in the French colonial army's Yen Bai garrison. The "Yên Bái mutiny" was sponsored by the Việt Nam Quốc Dân Đảng (VNQDD). The VNQDD was the Vietnamese Nationalist Party. The attack was the largest disturbance against the colonisation of Vietnam since Phan Dinh Phung and the "Can Vuong monarchist 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 in northern Vietnam.

French-Thai War (1940-1941)

During World War II, Thailand took the opportunity of French weaknesses to reclaim previously lost territories, resulting in the French-Thai War 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 naval forces decisively defeated Thai naval forces in the Battle of Koh Chang. The war ended in May at the instigation of the Japanese, with the French agreeing to minor territorial gains for Thailand.

World War II

In September 1940, during World War II, the newly created regime of Vichy France, which was a puppet state of Nazi Germany, 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 against the forces of Chiang Kai-shek, but it was also part of Japan's strategy for dominion over the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Thailand took this opportunity of weakness to reclaim previously lost territories, resulting in the French-Thai War 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. The Japanese launched the Second French Indochina Campaign. 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, a coalition of Communist and Vietnamese nationalists under French-educated dissident Ho Chi Minh. 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. After persuading Emperor Bao Dai 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, French, and Indian soldiers, along with captured Japanese troops, restored French control. Bitter fighting ensued in the First Indochina War. In 1950 Ho again declared an independent Democratic Republic of Vietnam, which was recognized by the fellow Communist governments of China 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.


This led to the partition of Vietnam into the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the North, under Viet Minh control, and the State of Vietnam in the South, which had the support of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. The events of 1954 also marked the end of French involvement in the region, and the beginnings of serious US commitment to South Vietnam which led to the Vietnam War.

The partition was agreed to at the Geneva Conference, where the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France and the People's Republic of China also settled a number of outstanding disputes relating to the Korean War. It was at this conference that France relinquished any claim to territory in the Indochinese peninsula. Laos and Cambodia also became independent in 1954, but were both drawn into the Vietnam War.



*cite book |last=Chandler |first=David |title=A History of Cambodia |editions=4th ed. |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2007 |publisher=Westview Press |location=Boulder, CO: |isbn=0813343631
*cite book |last=Duiker |first=William |title=The Rise of Nationalism in Vietnam, 1900-1941 |authorlink=William J. Duiker |coauthors= |year=1976 |publisher=Cornell University Press |location=Ithaca, NY |isbn=0801409519
*cite book |last=Edwards |first=Penny |title=Cambodge: The Cultivation of a Nation, 1860–1945 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2007 |publisher=University of Hawaii Press |location=Honolulu |isbn=0824829239
*cite book |last=Evans |first=Grant |title=A Short History of Laos |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2002 |publisher=Allen and Unwin |location=Crow's Nest, Australia |isbn= |id=ASIN|B000MBU21O
*cite book |last=Marr |first=David |title=Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 1885–1925 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1971 |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |isbn=0520018133
*cite book |last=Marr |first=David |title=Vietnamese Tradition on Trial, 1920–1945 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1982 |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |isbn=0520041801
*cite book |last=Marr |first=David |title=Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1995 |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |isbn=0520078330 |pages=
*cite book |last=McLeod |first=Mark |title=The Vietnamese Response to French Intervention, 1862–1874 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1991 |publisher=Praeger |location=New York |isbn=0275935620 |pages=
*cite book |last=Murray |first=Martin J. |title=The Development of Capitalism in Colonial Indochina (1870–1940) |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1980 |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |isbn=0520040007 |pages=
*cite book |last=Osborne |first=Milton |title=The French Presence in Cochinchina and Cambodia: Rule and Response (1859–1905) |authorlink=Milton Osborne |coauthors= |year=1969 |publisher=Cornell University Press |location=Ithaca, NY |isbn= |pages= |id=ASIN|B000K13QGO
*cite book |last=Stuart-Fox |first=Martin |title=A History of Laos |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1997 |publisher=Cambridge University Press |location=Cambridge, U.K. |isbn=0521592356 |pages=
*cite book |last=Tarling |first=Nicholas |title=Imperialism in Southeast Asia: "A Fleeting, Passing Phase" |authorlink=Nicholas Tarling |coauthors= |year=2001 |publisher=Routledge |location=London and New York |isbn=0415232899 |pages=
*cite book |last=Tully |first=John |title=France on the Mekong: A History of the Protectorate in Cambodia, 1863–1953 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2003 |publisher=University Press of America |location=Lanham, MD |isbn=0761824316 |pages=
*cite book |last=Woodside |first=Alexander |title=Community and Revolution in Modern Vietnam |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1976 |publisher=Houghton Mifflin |location=Boston |isbn=0395203678 |pages=
*cite book |last=Zinoman |first=Peter |title=The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862–1940 |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=2001 |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |isbn=0520224124 |pages=

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • French Indochina — Indochina when it was under French control …   English World dictionary

  • French Indochina — French′ Indochi′na n. geg an area in SE Asia, formerly a French colonial federation: now comprising the three independent states of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos …   From formal English to slang

  • French Indochina — an area in SE Asia, formerly a French colonial federation including Cochin China, the protectorates of Annam, Cambodia, Tonkin, and Laos, and the leased territory of Kwangchowan: now comprising the three independent states of Vietnam, Cambodia,… …   Universalium

  • French Indochina — noun the French colonies of the territory now occupied by Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam • Instance Hypernyms: ↑geographical area, ↑geographic area, ↑geographical region, ↑geographic region • Part Holonyms: ↑Indochina, ↑Indochinese peninsula …   Useful english dictionary

  • French Indochina — /frɛntʃ ɪndoʊˈtʃaɪnə/ (say french indoh chuynuh) noun the former French colonial federation of Cochin China, the protectorates of Annam, Cambodia, Tonkin, and Laos, and the leased territory of Kwangchowan. Ultimately it consisted of the three… …   Australian English dictionary

  • French Indochina — noun A former part of the French colonial empire in Indochina in southeast Asia, consisting of the current territories of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia …   Wiktionary

  • French Indochina — geographical name see Indochina 2 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • French Indochina —    See …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Invasion of French Indochina — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Invasion of French Indochina partof= the Second Sino Japanese War caption= date=September 1940 place=French Indochina casus= territory= result= Japanese victory combatant1=flagicon|Japan|alt Empire of Japan… …   Wikipedia

  • Second French Indochina Campaign — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Second Campaign of French Indochina partof= the South East Asian theatre of World War II caption= date=March 9 – May 2 1945 place=French Indochina casus=Japanese coup d état territory= result= Japanese victory… …   Wikipedia

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