Project: The Colonization
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: March/01/2011
Last updated: August/30/2015
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
Joining the mission of the two elder brothers Polo, Marco spent many years of his life in the Mongolian court. It is said that during the next 17 years (1275-1292), he worked for Kublai Khan rendering him variety of services, one of which was the assessment of the Khan's dependency. At the mean time, evidences show that the Polos had also other missions to accomplish. Even tough the real purpose was not explicitly revealed, the long trip to China was obviously not to satisfy personal pleasure. To start, we should acknowledge that the Polos were westerners and zalous of Christian religious faith. Considering that they had conducted diplomatic connection between the Pope and the Great Khan, the mission was obviously about the expansion of Christianity to the vast empire of China. The mission failed since the Great Khan had made his mind set and it was not Christianity that he was to endorse (Notes: Kublai's Choice). The failure to change the mind of Kublai Khan and to extend Christianity in China might have been the reason why Marco suffered the mistreatment from the Christian community after his return home. Marco Polo went back unglamorous and lost himself in a jail' s cell, accused of telling lies about his trip to Asia. Adding to the accusation, his identification of some biblical elements, including the kingdom of Priester John, of Gog and Magog, of Solomon to be at the east was more a surprise in conjunction to Ezekiel's prophecy of the Bible. As had been so far understood, the battle of Armagaddon had been expected to happen in Middle East. At the contrary, nothing like the work of God had been happening or about to happen at Middle East (Notes: the Attack of Gog and Magog). Marco's account of the fall of Priester John' s kingdom in the hand of the Mongols and the latter' s conquest against China and Angkor was a reality that might shock the Christian community of the time. Instead of fighting against the Mongols, the Roman Catholic Church was making deal with the Great Khan to continue on its own campaign. After the decline of the Mongols, European colonists used Christianity to expand their ventures in the world (Notes: The Age of Discovery). For their own sake, they manipulate Christian teachings to justify their colonization.
The Start-up of Colonialization *
Through the fame of science, history had made its progression according to the newly founded scientific rationality. Using facts and vestiges from archeology to verify historical data, modern history of Europe and many parts of the world had been written. Scientific rationality however fails to compile European prehistory as archeology findings shows disruption between the ancient past and the new Europe of today. With no solution in sight, they postulated theories deeming to extend the European success into the deep past. They claim that Europe was in fact the home of a superior race rooted from the Caucasian stock of people originated at Anatolia. To fit into the Darwinist theory of evolution, they conceded that the Caucasian race was in fact the last of human' s evolution that explains their successful drive not only to survive but also to control the world. Supporting their theory of race supremacy, they further postulated that their civilization was the product of the Aryan culture (Notes: The Aryan root). The claim was done through historical books that were written mostly by western authors and coincidently enough were published during the high of the colonialization. Tailored to justify the European drive for supremacy, the Aryan claim induced the perception that colonialization was a way, if not the only way to civilize the world. Not only that this conception is wrong, it also made the world a dangerous place as it is becoming today. To give the current European history a different perspective look, we shall review back how colonialization had been conceived and became since the trademark of the Western Culture.
THE GOG' S LEGACY
It is a mistake to treat the colonization of Southeast Asia as only the works of European imperialists and exclude the local development that helped the colonists on their drive for controlling Southeast Asian economy. As we shall argue, the colonization of Southeast Asia was closely related to the South China Sea Route establishment. Started by the Great Khan himself, the campaign to control the sea-trade between the East and the West had a strong impact on the fallen Angkorian Empire. Code named as the Cinicization by western scholars, the interference of the Ming Dynasty along with the settlement of the Yueh aristocratic down-south conditioned Southeast Asia into becoming a potential colony for the take over.
The Impact on Cinicization
As we had argued, the first to make the attempts in the control of South China Sea were the Mongols. The Great Khan' s sea venturing campaigns started with the conquest of Champapura and despite the set back, it accomplished its principal mission of succumbing the Angkorian Empire. The fall of Angkor, along with the disappearance of both the Cholan and the Sri Vijayan Empires left the South China Sea Route up for the grab. The Mongols however were too exhausted by their campaigns and failed to capitalize of their military exploits. The failure in generating immediate revenues from the conquest led further to the depletion of their treasury and the final collapse of their empire. By subduing the Mongols, the Ming made itself as the benefactor of all Mongol's enterprise that included the sea route business. To rule China, it is known that the Ming court had adopted many of the Tartaric legacies that became since part of Chinese tradition. It was well known that many Mongolian courtesans and soldiers still served in the Chinese court. As we had seen, China was going to commit the same mistake as the Mongols did in regard to the control of the sea-route. With his own ambition, the Ming Emperor Zhu Di embarked on a worldwide expedition to continue on the failed campaign left by the Mongols. To make China known in the world, the emperor started on an ambitious project that had never been done in the Chinese history. He had commissioned to build an elaborate fleet composed of huge transcontinental ships that the world had not seen before. At the same time he prepared Southern Chinese provinces to take control of the South China Sea. His inexperience and impractical approach had proved to be inadequate that prevented him to hold on to the long lasting control of the venture. With its treasury almost deplete, the Ming court had to face reality and forced itself to scrap its ambitious project. The setback was just a start since the long lasting side effect was yet to come. In Southeast Asia, the Ming' s ventures had already suffered from the western interference. The failure could be first attributed in part to the Muslim expansion that made Java a new Muslim Trade Center of the sea trade. The arrival of the western adventurers to take on the monopoly of the sea trade, added more strain to the Chinese troubling venture. Evidences however show that the Mings failed mostly because of their own doing. From the beginning, the Ming sea-venturing was drifted apart by the emancipation of the Chinese communities breaking out to take profit for their own account. The Ming' s pull off from the venture freed them from paying tribute to China and gave them the opportunities to conduct their own lucrative businesses. By cooperating with the Western colonists, the Chinese communities thrived at the expense of the locals. With westerner supports, they were able to build their own colonized states in cooperation to the colonial interest. In a close look, we could see a similarity of the formation of all Cinicized communities of the South China Sea during the colonial rule, as the ancient foundation of Yueh Satraps along side the Silk Route. From Macao to Singapore, Chinese migrants built their communities alongside European colonists to draw benefit from native Indochinese states. While other communities that were formed on islands could at best declared their independence, Hue and Bangkok were formed on the seacoast of the Indochinese mainland that gave them viable opportunities for extending their frontier in land.
Through the practice of Confucianism, they used colonial drive to successfully conduct their own endeavor, at the expense of ancient Indianized states of the mainland. Instead of making good impression to the western world, the Ming's openness inspired the latter to reach china on their own term. With all the cinicized communities along South China sea eager to join in their ventures, European traders started to explore Southeast Asia more then the had done in the past. The first to come were the Portuguese, who, through their control's base at India, moved to take control of Mallaka. Other European powerhouses that had set up successful ventures in India also followed suit. Facing with hostile takeover, the Mings and later the Manjus had desperately made attempts to protect their own market. Their tough measure was one of the contributing factors of the fall of the Nguyen as they deprived from the latter the benefit of the international sea-trade. During the Tay-son brother's uprising and their victory over the old Nguyen court, the sea trade activity beyond Ha-tien was virtually off limit to western merchants. The Tay-son brothers would soon faced with the same dilemma, as they were restricted to the same Chinese policy of conserving the southern Sea Trade for China' s monopoly. With supports from the French Bishop de Behaine, the old Nguyen settled back their control of Hue. European ventures found their vigor again, at least during the early reign of King Gia-long but soon faded during the reign of the next Emperor Ming-Manh. With a strong anti-European sentiment, the Viet Emperor started on campaigning to dismantle European ventures in Vietnam.
The Nam-Tien or the Vietnamization down South
As we had argued, the Viet colonization of the South started since the formation of Day-Viet itself. Code named as Nam-tian, the Southern Viet movement was a relentless campaign mostly made possible by the interference of foreign powers. During the early stage of Western colonization, the French missionaries were given the opportunities to erect churches all around the country. While the priests close their eyes or were too busy converting new Viet recruits, the Nuyen's court started to implement hash policies in the process of turning the combined Champapura and Cochinchina into a full-blown Viet colony. As a new wave of Vietnamization was taken place, rebellion and uprising were seen all around the country. The rebellious activities, especially of the Tay-son brothers, retarded the plan of both the Nguyen court and the French missionary in of promo0ting the Viet colonization. While the Nguyen court was almost wiped out, the Tay-son brothers used the Nguyen' s name to attack and subdue the North. Just as the future of Vietnam started to look grim, the French missionary stepped in to recover the Nguyen court from extinction. With the support of the French missionary, Pigneau de Behaine, Nguyen Anh could afford to launch campaigns against the Tay-son brothers and in the process, to consolidate the unified Vietnam. The victory however did not secure the Nguyen dynasty of a pacified country. With just a short stay at Cochinchina, the American diplomats of the Peacock mission made a grim remark of the emperor Minh-Mang' s court of Hue' s future rule.
The Cochin-Chinese government are aware that the Tonkinese, on the north, are watching keenly for the first possible chance which offers of freeing themselves from their despotic oppressors; the Cambojans on the south are desirous also of measuring the length of their swords with their hard task-masters, and the lower class of Cochin-Chinese, which comprise nine hundred and ninety-nine of the thousands, are ripe for revolt; being ground to the earth by the higher order. (EEC: Chapter XIX: Cochinchina and Siam)
According to the records, there were noticeable three distinct people of Vietnam. At the north, the Tonkineses were undeniably Viet but at the South, the Khmer or the Cambojans, were still challenging the Viet authority. At the middle that was the seat of Champapura in the past, the mountainous people still were the majority of the people and were hostile as well to Hue. Under these conditions, it was critical for King Minh-Mang to have the support of his own people at the earliest moment as possible. Thanks to the help of the missionary works, more Viet migrants came to form bigger communities and submitted themselves to him. This submission however was far to satisfy Ming-manh who would do anything to promote his own agenda. It is important to note that the French missionaries were themselves operating like colonists and evidence shows that while complying to the king' s demand, they had zealously kept these converts for themselves. For the time being, they needed them to protect their churches and in the near future, to serve for the future French colonization. Nguyen-Anh' son had already see in the long term planning of the churches as an obstacle for their own taking of Cochinchina under their control. In a country that was not his own, Minh-Mang saw in the Viet converts the only compatriots that he could count on to carrie on his work. After helping to unseat the Tay-son uprisings, the French missionaries soon found out the hard way that they were themselves targeted. Under Ming-manh' s orders, all the French missionaries were purged and their works destroyed to free the Vietnamese communities for the final Vietnamization. As much as he disdained the Western culture, he brought the old legacy of Confucianism back to implement in the new Viet colony. Through harsh measures, Ming-Mang was making sure that he alone, was the ruler of the conquered land. While the Viet aristocrats formed their country along the seashore of Champapura and Prey Nokor, other migrants from southern Chinese provinces were seeking the same opportunity at southern seashores of Cambodia and the Malay Peninsular. There they met the European colonists and a special bond took place to provide them with opportunities that they were looking for. While the European used their state-of-the-art armaments to discard obstacles, the Chinese migrants took control of the markets and provided the colonists of what they needed to start colonization. It was a win-win situation that worked best to propel the colonization of Southeast Asia into another level for the sake of their own welfare. Driven by greed, European corporations and colonist alike discovered in Southeast Asia the sea-trade potential that was once lucrative enough to sustain the Khmer Cakravatin Empire. Among the first European who conducted business in Southeast Asia. the Portuguese were probably the first to layout serious take-over' s plan of a full colonization. In the name of Christianity, adventurers came with their guns and canons to launch their business in a territory that had no means to resist their military advance. By then, the spice trades had been all along the top of high profit margin sea-trade that attracted western aggressive mind into looking for wealth. Among the first successful venturers, Alphonse of Albuquerque took another step of propelling the profit margin by establishing his own colony right in Southeast Asia.
Macao and the Formation of Thonburi
The permanent settlement of the Portuguese traders in Macao only started on 1553 when they were able to establish on-shore-trading depots. Despite the Chinese policy of no foreign settlement in Chinese land, Macao was formed and prospered although their colonial attempts to settle on other islands along the southern coast of China had failed. Initially, the Portuguese developed Macao as a trading post for China-Japan trade as a staging port on the long voyage from Lisbon to Nagasaki. When Chinese officials banned direct trade with Japan in 1547, Macao' s role in the south China' s sea route changed drastically. As Macao's traders set up bases of operations there for trade with Chinese southern provinces, the trade with Japan continued on as usual. At the same time, their relationship with southern provinces, especially Guangzhou, took on a dramatic turn. By giving brides to the authorities, they were allowed to erect huts, under the false pretext of drying damaged goods. They managed to build temporary shelters at this place for about twenty years until they were expelled by bad-conduct in 1558. By their old system of bribery, they induced the local officers of Macao to let them erect permanent dwellings. Nevertheless, Lisbon obtained a lease for Macao in return for tribute paid to Beijing in 1557. During that same year, they established a walled village that accommodated more new comers. The population from that time on increased rapidly. A temporary government was established and a great influx of priest followed. In the year 1573, Chinese government erected the wall across the isthmus by their wretched parents in preventing missionaries the kidnapping of Children, as well as the sale of infants. It was well known that the Portuguese missionaries adopted every means, however infamous, to make converts to their religion. It was to prevent the ingress of the Chinese that has been long disregarded by the latter. In 1582 a land lease was signed and an annual rent was paid to Xiangshan County. Under the term, the Portuguese were expected to pay annual lease or rent which varied at different times, but was at the end set to five hundreds taels. Even though the country was under Portuguese administration, China retained sovereignty and Chinese residents were subject to Chinese law. In the deal, the Portuguese and Chinese are both governed by their own laws and administrators, but in case of collision the Chinese was in the position to have the final judgment. During all the time of Portuguese settlement, Macao became the summer residence of the foreign merchants of Canton and was reputed to be one of the most immoral places in the world. The settlement served a relay station to facilitate the intercourse of Portuguese ships with Chinese seaports. For fifty or sixty years, The Portuguese enjoyed the exclusive trade with both China and Japan. In 1586, Macao became a self-governing city. In 1605 Dutch attacks led the Portuguese to build a city wall without China's permission. The first Portuguese Governor was appointed to Macao in 1680, but the Chinese continued to assert their authority, collecting land and customs taxes. Chinese merchants also flocked to Macao because of its direct trade intercourse with India, southern Japan, and Southeast Asia. In 1717, and again in 1732, the Chinese government offered to make Macao the emporium for all foreign trade and to receive all duties on imports. The Portuguese refused and Macao's decline dated from then on. A British detachment arrived and proposed an alliance but was turned down, partly because of pressure from the Chinese court. It was in that situation that Thonpuri was formed along side with other Chinese communities of the South China Sea in 1767. King Taksin became instantly an important person of interest because of Thonpuri 's strategic location in regard to the sea-trade with China. Added to his credit, Tak-sin was benefiting a well established connection with Southern China where he was originated. Both British and French colonists alike found themselves the need to make friend with him if they were serious about trading with China. It explained why King Taksin became instantly powerful and his involvement with the fallen court of the Nguyen, seen next in his agenda, was perhaps a part of a big project to control the whole South China sea-route. After his death however, the project seamed to cool off but Bangkok still received the best treatment from all European countries. This was because Chinese merchants from China continued to find Bangkok hospitable as their second home, good to do business with or even settled down among their peers. Unable to reach China directly, these Chinese merchants were the only contacts that European merchants could hope for, if they wanted to stay in the business of trading with China. The relationship with British India however changed, after the latter won the Opium War and managed to open direct intercourse with China. By then, Thonpuri already secured its control over the whole Siam country and already made interference over Cambodia. When the French took hold of Cambodia in 1863, Bangkok was already strong enough to stand against French invasion. When the British India took hold of Burma in 1886, the Siam country found itself sandwiched between two powerful contenders but managed to stay put until the colonial era was over. Partly due to luck, we shall see that the Siam country' suzerainty was saved by the World War II that limited the European countries to continue on for stronger interference on Southeast Asia.
THE RISE OF EUROPEAN IMPERIALISM
The arrival of the European colonists in Southeast Asia was not a coincidence. It was actually the result of many centuries of progression in Europe that scholars referred later as the renaissance. Circumstances also propelled European nations to excel in the field of science and technology, giving Europe the upper edge over their competitors. Following the footstep of the Polos, travel and exploration brought new frontier closer to home. International trading that was in the past solely in the control of the Arab merchants was now made available to European countries due the progression of the ship industry. Following the footstep of the Mongols, the next European venturist came to Southeast Asia to colonize. In the process, they brought with them the new dilemma of the western civilization that was going to plague Europe in a big way.
The Impact of Science and Technology *
During the early Zoroastrianisation that spread the eastern Phoenician culture to the west, Buddhism also started its debut and expanded its concept worldwide. While its practice was more successfully accepted at the eastern world, its western expansion was however limited. Still evidences show that rationalism had already brought the Western World to a new age. Conforming to the Mahayana teaching, the old schools of Hindu practices had changed their curriculum to add Buddhist rationality into its core. In the new discipline, both Brahma and Indra were supporters of Buddha Gautama and became promoter of Buddhism. During Kanishka reign, Buddhism was well established at Gandhara and was taught at Taxila that was known as the western world cultural center. Even though Buddhism did not thrive as a religion, evidences show that its rational core of concept was much more accepted as a culture in the west. Under the new rationalism, real science emerged out of well-accepted philosophy from Greek high scholarship communities where once reigned Zeus (Indra in eastern folklore) and Roman academic institution where once ruled Mithraism. While many aspects of ancient knowledge were proved or checked through rigorous rules of rationality, many branches of sciences and technology were formed to suit the modern world. Without God' s intervention, the new discipline started to change its course in becoming a free enterprise. While many new concepts were formed and verified to be integrated under the fame of Science, many old disciplines were discredited and discarded. On the same course, the scientific rationality also played an important role of eliminating bad faiths that became very much the trademark of the western civilization. Many religious concepts were replaced successfully by scientific concepts to be part of natural, physical, social and political branches of science. Nevertheless, the success story of scientific evolution also had its own downfall. In setting up the tone for another worldly development, the scientific community started to challenge its core religious believes. It is important to recall back that before the rise of science, Paganism had brought the European Civilization from its hunter-gathering lifestyle into becoming wealthy societies that rivaled Meru' s own achievement in Middle East. Brought up in the heart of Peganist societies, science became a new source of European strength. As Abrahamic religious schools had been fallen under the spell of Zoroastrianism, the rise of the scientific institution started to eclipse the church supremacy. Needless to say, the challenge against ancient Christian schools' s teaching induced defensive reactions from the latter. Facing with threats by the scientific society, Catholism started on a conservative policy that was intentionally tailored to weaken the scientific community (Notes: The Work of Nicolaus Copernicus). Tough measures had been implemented to prevent further alteration of ancient Christianity' s wisdom and the result was dramatic. As long as the churches were in power, Scientists were in fear for prosecution and could not publish openly their new findings. Amid their fighting, both scientific institution and the churches lost their political edge to the new aristocratic societies that started to intrude in the politic of European nations. Formed after the rise of the Knight Templars, the Banking business gave birth to capitalism that became a new mean of producing wealth through corporation. Taking advantage of new scientific discovery and invention they formed companies to capitalize on the new scientific marvels and in the process transformed Europe into a new industrial powerhouse. Beneath their successful maneuvers, they stayed unanimously in control of their ventures by using their wealth to overcome obstacles. To keep the Catholic church for interfering into their business, the divide and conquer strategy was used next to split the traditional union between the religious and scientific societies (Notes: The early Scientists). With no income of their own, both institutions needed financial backup to survive. While donation was made to the churches, financial contribution was made to build up and secure the success of scientific institutions. On the religious front, the Roman Catholic Church lost its supremacy not only to scientific institutions but also to smaller churches of diverse theologies and religious practices. In England, King Henry VIII (1509-1547) rejected the Roman Catholicism and formed the Protestant Christianity to suit his own personal affair. To further restrict the influence of Rome, he made himself head of the new church. His personal demeanor created political conflicts that split European Union into two camps. In supporting the Catholic Church, France and Spain became England's number one enemy. Needless to say, the conflicts did not only took many lives but also induced suffering as Europe became next the battle field between Catholicism and Protestant faction of Christianity.
The Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries) *
The decline of Catholicism created special circumstances that allowed Paganism to come back into a new era, which scholars called the Renaissance. It was actually the revival of Mithraism, not as a religion, but as a cultural progression of humanity outside of the Catholic Church. Contrary to common belief, Paganism was never been wiped out completely under Catholicism. To maintain their military strength, the Roman rulers still hold on to theirs past Mithraist legacies to conduct their military state affairs. While the general population turned to Christianity, the high societies did not change their devotion from the War God Ashura. In response to the conquest of Islam over constantinoble, the Romans used the red energy of the god of eclipse to propel Christianity into an aggressive expansionist religious discipline. Scholars attributed the new European aggressivity to the works of the Knight Templars after their pilgrimage trip to Jerusalem as the Christian crusade against the Muslim. Through new reconnaissance at the site of the old temple, there were speculations about what they found and brought from the temple. As their works were mostly of secret nature, researchers found no other choices than to speculate on the assumed outcome of their actions. Whatever they brought back, the outcome had resulted in a substantial revision of Christian practices that diverted themselves from the original Catholicism. First, we saw the rise of local churches that started to challenge the suzerainty of the Roman Catholic Church and later forced the latter to withdraw itself into the Vatican City. In their own drive, new powerful church' s figures made themselves into becoming state politicians and for the sake of the new Christian discipline, were behind intrigues of all kind. Amid the conflict, Europe experienced a big leap in science and technology un-parallel to any other place of the world. The break-through happened when the church finally lost its control over Rome allowing the scientific institution to free itself from religious old legacies. Using scientific equipment or other means for experimentation, they developed scientific procedures that screen out reality from fallacy. It was through this rationality that physical science had been brought into the open. Through newly found methodology, scientists made discovery upon discovery based on the new methodology. Progress however had its dark side. As science picked up its pace, the church found itself challenged by new scientific discoveries. The knowledge had been applied successfully into many branches of technical arenas that made Europe the forefront of worldly technological providence. New invention had brought Europe into the next age of industrialization. With the Catholic church gradually losing the fight, a modern Europe was formed based on the scientific concept of state and nation. Without any religious guidance, each nation was free to look for its own short-term gain without to pay any due or obligation to humanity as a whole. In the drive, Christianity became just a political tool for the power elite to draw support from its followers. They then secured their power base by enhancing more and more faith in the religion. While God was standing on the sideline, churches were built bigger and bigger to impress worshippers. It tarnished further the conception of God's ability in intervening into human's affair. Supported by their private church, powerful European rulers set sail for their worldly conquest. Extending their control to other countries, religious expansion was from then on done through military conquests. Along with the decline of spirituality, the death of Adam and Eve became a reality. After the Renaissance, European nations took turn to rise up just to succumb later in a short time. Spain was the first to venture out from the western world and through a series of discovery abroad, extended their venture oversea. It did not take long for other European nations to follow suit. The same policy that was used successfully in home is now being used to deal with the whole world. In the drive to control lucrative market, they saw colonialization as the only way to monopolize the world. In foreign policy, they extended theirs course by intruding into each nation' s internal affair. Through the back door policy, they incurred into their governmental decision making in creating business advantage for themselves. At the same time, competition and rivalry were then encouraged between court members and between nations while military industries provided them with solutions to resolve their conflicts. After the world was set in turmoil, colonization then started. Once the conflicts cleared up, the European colonists were already in control of the local markets and to most extend the local resources.
The Age of Discovery
After a set back that was caused by the plague and other natural disasters, Europe was once again unified under a new faith. After Christianity was adopted by the Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337), Catholicism was set to become the sole religion of the European continent. Rome became then the new cultural center of Christianity and through it extended its control through out Europe. At the same time, Islam also was conceived and started to spread themselves beyond Middle Eastrern frontier. As the expanded themselves through military means, wars erupted as the two faiths collided with each other. In Europe, the Crusaders used the Christian flag as a mean to advance their own ambition and the drive to exploit the world. Their campaigns lasted from the eleventh century to the end of the thirteenth century during which, church authority worked closely with warrior nights to extent their faith over the world. At the same time, Islamic elders used Jihad to counter-attack on Christianity in their own global endeavor. With the Arab channel at its disposition, Islam at first took the upper hand of spreading itself globally. Arab merchants spread Islam quickly into the world through ancient trade routes. In Central Asia, the Ottoman Empire already established their link through the Silk Road. The fall of the Mongols moreover gave Islam the opportunity to fill out the gap and to extend its expansion into northern India. The fall of the Ottoman Empire however set a new opportunity for Christianity to go global. By the time, western European countries already emerged as independent entities to fight for theirs own supremacy. As nations, they followed Rome' s policy of worldwide imperialism. Under the progression of science and technology, they were even more competitive and materialism would give them the edge of military success. Unlike the Arab countries, their ventures were first met with setback due to the lack of support channels through out the world. To make up with the deficiency, exploration was encouraged for both the progresses of discovery and economic opportunity. In the name of Christianity, explorers went out to find other parts of the world in an order to convert their people as new subject of the Christian church. While Spain took the mission of exploring the West, Portugal was commissioned to go east. Under the sponsorship of the court of Spain, Christopher Columbus went west and discovered America in 1492. When he returned back, he claimed it as a part of Spain. It became then the European tradition of claiming any part of the world outside of Europe to be of their own, once they step on it. It was in this frame of mind that European colonization started its course around the world. Following the same successful pattern, Fernando Magellan set sail toward Asia in September 1519. His expedition would start the next European maritime venture into Southeast Asia. While the prospect of economic opportunity increased, the spread of Christianity received a rather limited success. Beside Phillipines, other countries were virtually close to their own established religion. That would not stop the European missionary from trying, this time for the sake of colonialization. By now, European rulers were seen distancing themselves more and more from the churches. Foreign conquests became a state affair and free from any religious obligation. European colonists took the opportunity to reject morality and give themselves to greed to make colonialization becoming the lucrative venture to satisfy the new Europeaan flamboyant life-style. Challenged by the emergence of Science and Technology, Christianity lost its grip on morality. A new phase of English history started when King Henry VIII (1509-1547) detached himself from the yolk of Roman Catholic control. The formation of the Protestant Church of England propelled new ideas of self-sustainment and a new breach of aggressiveness. His reign marked the most-bloody conflict in the history of Christianity, leaving his kingdom in deep turmoil under the fighting between Catholic faithful and Protestant' s faction of the new faith. After ridding off her enemies, the Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) stabilized her kingdom and fought for the supremacy of her father' s religion. Through determination, she overcame obstacles and set England to embark on a politic of expansion. In Southeast Asia, the British colonization started after the Dutch king William V fled to England following the invasion of Netherlands by the French emperor Napoleon (SEAPP:The English and Dutch in the East Indies: P. 87). The East India Company was then asked to take on the possession of eastern Dutch possessions both in South Asia. The occupation of Mallaka in 1795 and Java in 1811 started the over all take over of all Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia. While the Dutch still hold claim to its original venture, the English team forced ahead and completed the transition into the British control in 1814. Included in the new development, the foundation of Singapore in 1819 that would serve as the next entry point of British colonization of Southeast Asia
THE BRITISH COLONIAL EMPIRE
In defending Catholicism, Spain declared war with the Queen Elizabeth I of England. In 1588, British navy defeated the Spanish Armada and stopped Spain' s intervention into English politic for good. After the victory, Britain was preparing to follow the Spanish and Portuguese trails into the world. The British India was formed as a trading company under the royal charter of the Queen Elizabeth in 1600. Under the name of " The Governor and Company of merchants of London, Trading into the East Indies", the company was formed to take advantage of the ascending trend of the British Empire.
The British India
In their early venture in South Asia, English traders frequently engaged in hostilities with their Dutch and Portuguese counterparts in the Indian Ocean. It was not the same when the British India came with its own military defense system.
Initially, the company struggled in the spice trade because of the competition from the already well-established Dutch East India Company. After achieving a major victory over the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally in 1612, the company decided to explore the feasibility of gaining a territorial foothold in mainland India, As a western colonial policy, the first task was to approach the contemporary local authority for a special accommodation (Notes: British India and the Moghal Emperor).
During this time ships belonging to the company arriving in India docked at Surat, which was established as a trade transit point in 1608. In the next two years, the company built its first factory in south India in the town of Machilipatnam on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. The high profits reported by the company after landing in India initially prompted King James I to grant subsidiary licenses to other trading companies in England. But in 1609 he renewed the charter given to the company for an indefinite period, including a clause, which specified that the charter would cease to be in force if the trade turned unprofitable for three consecutive years. The company eventually came to rule large areas of India with its own private armies, exercising military power and assuming administrative functions. The company rule in India effectively started in 1757 after the Battle of Plassey and lasted until 1858 when, following the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the Government of India Act 1858 led to the British Crown assuming direct control of India in the form of the new British Raj.
Unlike the Dutch that concentrated their business objective based on trade with China and Japan, the British India' s main interest in China went beyond normal trading. When the Chinese court made itself known to welcome other European ventures, the British India was among the first to answer the call. To build the bridge for the Chinese trade route, the British India took Malaysia under its control.
Contending against the Portuguese, they tried at first to wrest Macao from its control. They soon abandoned the attempt as other events happening in Europe appeared to facilitate their endeavors without having to fight openly with the Frank colonists. With Lisbon in decline, the Portuguese colonial establishment was disintegrating. On the other hand, the English colonists had developed better ways to acquire Chinese cooperation. Through corruption by bribery, Chinese resistance soon melted away. Opium was the next efficient mean of persuasion forcing the Chinese addicted officials into joining in their lucrative endeavor. If all those measures did not work, the British navy was always well equipped and ready to strike any time the deal went sour.
The Opium War *
One of the English lucrative commodity items for the Chinese market was not a product of England. Growing in Northwestern India, opium became a high priced merchandise for Chinese aristocratic market. The East India Company took the monopoly to ship opium into Canton which it traded for Chinese manufactured goods. Needless to say, the trade was an instant success. Filled with drug addicts, Southern China became an important market place for the colonists. Opium parlors proliferated all throughout China in the early part of the nineteenth century. By the 1830's, the English India had become the major drug kingpin of the Far East. Nevertheless, it was soon subjected to be curbed by the Chinese government. The measure had put a strain on the British-Chinese trade to a halt. In an effort to stem out the addiction, the Chinese government made opium illegal in 1836 and began to aggressively close down the opium dens. The Chinese commissioner, Lin Tse-hsü who was a brilliant and highly moral official, took immediate action against the British opium trade. His effort made him as the emerging hero in the Opium War to come. Deeply concerned about the opium high addiction among Chinese consumers, he carefully prepared a plan to tackle the problem. His express purpose was to cut off the opium trade at its source by rooting out corrupt officials and cracking down on British trade in the drug. In 1839, he had taken action against Chinese merchants and Western traders to shut down all the traffic in opium. He destroyed all the existing stores and sent a letter to Queen Victoria of England requesting the cease all opium trade by the British colonists. Trade, he expressed, should only be in beneficial objects. The British traders, however, had no mood for rationalization. Having been nurturing several grievances against China, Lin's tough enforcement of Chinese laws to stop the opium trade outraged them more. Because the British refused to submit to the emperor, there were no formal trading treaty between the two countries. It was generally blamed to the overall Chinese policy to curb foreign trading in Chinese controlled territory that stood against them. Despite Lin's eloquent letter, the British government refused to back down. It was not that Lin's letter failed to make its point but because that China failed to defend Lin's view point. In response, Lin threatened to cut off all trade with England and expel all English traders from China. The war broke out when Chinese junks attempted to turn back English merchant vessels in November of 1839. In retaliation, the English India sent warships in June of 1840 to range down the Chinese coast, shooting at forts and fighting on land. They knew all along that their warships were superior to all the Chinese fleets and the whole coastal army combined. The Chinese were unprepared for the technological superiority of the British armament and suffered continual defeats. In 1842, the Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking that was weighted entirely to the British side. Its first decree was that all British citizens would be subjected to British, not Chinese, law if they committed any crime on Chinese soil. The decree accomplished little as the British was, on principle, refusing to hand over British merchants who broke the Chinese law. They knew quite well that their most lucrative business, the opium trade in particular, required breaking not only the Chinese law, but all the laws of the world including theirs own. Nevertheless, the Opium War would give China a good lesson of making interference with the British India' s trading policy. The British would no longer have to pay tribute to the imperial administration in order to trade with China and no restrictions were placed on British trade. In addition, five ports that were Canton, Shanghai, Foochow, Ningpo, and Amoy were open for their accommodation. The treaty also established England as the most favored nation in trading with China, which granted to British India the same trading rights that were granted to other countries. Needless to say, others will follow the British success' s story and capitalized on Chinese change of mind to make meaningful solution of the situation. Two years later, China had to sign similar treaties with France and the United States. As to the hero of the Opium War, Lin Tse-hsü, would find in his superiors a complete change of heart that undermined all his past achievement. The lost of the war to the British India would weight heavily on him. Once praised as a heroic effort, he was officially disgraced for his actions in Canton, and was forced to spend the rest of his life in the darkness of the new Chinese society. With no immediate prospectus insighted for the Chinese market in a short run, the company started on expanding the business close to its headquarters. Capitalizing on the decline of the Mughal's Empire, the British India established its own sovereignty over the lands and people wrested from the Mughal in India. With total backup from the court of England, they Justified their conquest as to change the many centuries old Indian customs. The English colonists infiltrated themselves deep into Indian societies. One by one, local royal houses were taken under British control and received back gratification of being good in playing along with the English initiative. Until 1857 when a general rebellion broke out, the British India had already established a solid ground to face the rebellion. After the rebels were crushed, the company went on expanding itself to transform India as a British colony. of their lucrative venture, there were no reasons for them to stop looking for more opportunity beyond India. In their insatiable drive, they extended their venture deeper in farther East Asia. Back at its base, the British India restrenghtened their position after subduing the Indian rebellion and went on a conquest free of its neighboring states: Aden in 1858, Lower Burma in 1858, Singapore in 1858 and Upper Burma in 1886. At the mean time, the company never lost sight of the Chinese opportunity.
The Lease of Hong-kong *
The Portuguese exercised sovereign authority over Macao till 1802, until challenged by other contenders. In 1808, the British India obtained possession of three forts by the connivance of the Macao government. The Opium War also called the Anglo-Chinese War, forced the high earning generated British product back into the Chinese market. It was an iconic event in the history of relationship between China and England. When the war erupted in 1840, Peking demanded all trade with the English India stopped. All shipments were confistigated and were destroyed. The English India however retaliated and won the war. As a consequence, the opium trade sprung up more than double in the three decades following the treaty. The English colonists also were in a position to exert their ill-will intention on the Chinese authority. To start, they needed a place that suited their colonial business better than Macao. Under the Portuguese ownership still in place, the island presented no longer a lucrative business opportunity to the new English enterprise as much as they had in mind. It won't takle long for them to find Hong-kong, then still under developed, perfectly positioned to allow them in making direct intercourse with China. Through the convention of Chuen Bi, the British Charles Elliott declared Hong Kong a Crown Colony and assumed leadership over the island in 1841. In its early foundation, Elliot made himself wealthy in a corruption scheme of selling land to settlers. After much prodding by China, the British authority replaced Elliot with the next British commissioner, Sir Henry Pottinger. More energetic that his predecessor, Pottinger extended British occupation of Amoy, Ningpo, and Shanghai. Being a grand colonial extortionist, Pottinger prepared his next campaign to domineer Nanking. Pottinger's aggressiveness forced China to bend to English demand as the Treaty of Nanking officially ended the Opium War in 1842 and allowed the British India to have the control of Amoy, Ningpo, Foochow and Shanghai. As a part of the treaty, Hong Kong was given to England and Pottinger became its first governor in 1843. The development of Hong Kong by the British and the opening of treaty ports along the China coast further overshadowed the commercial importance of Macao. After China ceded Hong Kong to the British in 1842, Macao's position as a major regional trading center declined further still because larger ships were drawn to the deep water port of Victoria Harbor. Until April 20, 1844, Macao was under the jurisdiction of Portugal's Indian colonies, the so-called Estado portugues da India (Portuguese State of India), but after this date, it, along with East Timor, was accorded recognition by Lisbon as an overseas province of Portugal. In 1845 Portugal declared Macao a free port, expelled Chinese officials and soldiers, and thereafter levied taxes on Chinese residents. The Chinese retaliation and the assassination of Gov. Ferreira do Amaral reversed the claim of the Portuguese government. Portugal continued to pay rent to China until 1849 when another opportunity gave the Portugese venturers more control of the island. After abolishing the Chinese customs house, they finally declared Macao' s independence of the Chinese control. Chinese resistance however was far to be subdued. During the next decade, China tried to exert its control again over its southern sea territory. In 1856, Chinese commissioners detained British sailing vessel Arrow, under the suspicion of carrying opium. British India retaliated by declaring war against the Peking government for detaining opium smugglers who sailed under the Union Jack. Under severe extortion and bullying from Britain, China gave in as the Second Opium War ended with English India as the winner again. With the Convention of Tianjin, signed 13 August 1862, English weasels were out of it political clout in Peking. The Treaty also recognized Macao as a Portuguese colony. Macao and East Timor were again combined as an over-sea province of Portugal under control of Goa in 1883. The decline of Lisbon's world trade system in the mid-17th century finally ended Macao's role as a major trade entrepot giving the British India larger share of the trading Business with China. After more skirmishes and more fighting, the Convention of Peking ended up giving the British India more controlled land, extending to what is now known as Kowloon and some other small islands. To secure its long-term investment, England started to develop Hongkong as its own colony. In 1871, Telegraph communications were established between Europe and Hong Kong via underwater cable. In 1888-1910, a tramway system for the island begins construction, and a railway line into Canton (GuangZhou) begins construction. The British colonists however were smart enough to foresee that, as the end of the nineteenth century was drawn to a close the worldly events would not turn in their favor anymore. The new deal with China was particularly tailored for the mutual interest of both countries. In 1898, the Treaty of Peking established a 99 years lease with which England acquired what is known as The New Territories, and 236 associated islands.
THE FRENCH COLONIAL RULE
The French colonization began in Southeast Asia with the same open goal and similar strategic planning of other European colonialists: God, Gold and Glory. Its hidden agenda however was much more sinister than what had been released in the presentation to the public. As early as 1880, the explorer Jules Harmand noted in his memoir the abundance of resources along the Mekong river that could be exploited by the colonial work (Notes: Jules Harmand' s Note). However, his outlook was not of the early French colonists had in mind. At the time, their real ambition lied on a much bigger economic opportunities as presented by the Chinese continent to the European world.
The Missionary Work *
The French's colonization in Southeast Asia is well understood as part of European foreign policy in regard to the rest of the world. By the time that Napoleon Bonapark of France started to take control of Europe, both Middle East and Southeast Asia were deep in political turmoil and were split into many antagonist nations. Needless to say, they were among the first to be colonized by France. As had always been practiced in the modern world, the colonization came with hidden agendas that constituted the real rationale behind their colonial drive. Beneath all the propaganda that was well publicized in the big press of the time, capitalism was the real culprit of European venture. Facing with heavy competition at home, Napoleon III could nevertheless use the heyday of colonization to promote his own popularity (Notes: Napoleon III in regard to the French Colony). At the mean time, he also wished for a lucrative return that was very much needed to solve France's problem. In a lucrative venture, the risk was also high, but the French colonists had many options at their disposition to secure a success story. Among them, the missionary work was seen as a good way to start the business without showing the true color of colonization. By the time that Napoleon III signed off the proposal, the French Missionary work had already been active in Indochina.
The French entry upon the Far Eastern stage was part of a widespread European imperial expansion in the nineteenth century. Possibly the most distinctive feature of the growth of the French influence was the extremely active role played by missionaries and by their supporters in France. (FPCC: The Setting: P. 27)
Unlike the British India whose economic reward was the major drive of their venture, the French colonists had no specific economic reality insight to justify their venture. To keep their interest afloat, they recoursed to a stronger argument to convince the French people of their noble mission. Done in the name of God, it was carried through by missionary works to launch a campaign of Southeast Asian conversion to Christianity. The conviction was so great that even setbacks and obstacles could not deter them from their sacred mission.
Whatever the gaps in their knowledge of the region, the early French administration in Cochinchina and Cambodia carried with them the great, sustaining conviction that their presence was both right and necessary. At the time when imperial action was closely linked with the evangelical ambitions of the French Catholic mission, many felt that France's colonial efforts were God-ordained. (FPCC: The Civilizing Missionaries: P. 33)
The first phase was to build as many nests as possible where they can lay eggs that hatched into becoming young colonies. They built churches and lured the locals to joint in forming support groups for the new faith. They soon found out that the majority of the people already had their own devotion and were not ready to be converted to any other one soon. Both the mainland Indochina and the Malay Archipelago were virtually off limit to Christianity. From the beginning, their missionary works were not successful and their missions were met mostly with resistance (Notes: Early Missionary Works). Unable to penetrate the hard core of the Cham Banis who were already converted to Muslim and the Khmer-mon people who were fervent Buddhist, they turned to the animistic mountainous people who were relatively more disposed to receive the new faith. At the same time, they found in the migrant Viet Communities of Cochinchina successes that they could not find everywhere else. Formed mostly by vagabonds with no or little religious background, these scattered Viet migrants found in the churches, immediate supports to their current living that they could not find with the locals. Looking for opportunity in the new hostile land, they had to face rejections and all kinds of harassment. Under the protection of the church, they could at least rest assured that the local people would let them alone. Under the same faith, the local converts had to abandon the idea of harming the new guests of the church. They were even encouraged to make friend with them through Christianity. Though with relatively limited success in the number of converts, the French missionary activities nonetheless played a big role in the next French political and military intervention. In the name of God, the French missionary was making progress in the building Cochinchina as a colony of France. However, their efforts also produced another adverse effect. Before the French officials had even set their hand in their new venture, we had seen that the Nguyen court had already started their own colonization and thank to the French Missinary they were able to build up strongher Viet settlement in the south (The birth of Vietnam: The Nguyen Dynasty: The intervention of the French missionary).
The Chinese Venture *
Despite the long history of Missionary involvement in Southeast Asia, the French venture was not particularly successful. After their first expedition that started in 1601 and the start-up of an East India Company that was formed in Paris two years later, the French venturists found out that their commercial activities were very much restricted by other European competition. Its trading activities in the South China Sea were not particularly lucrative due to Dutch's intervention in Indonesian water. Challenged by both England and Siam, its venture on the mainland was rather restricted. The costly enterprise to the far-reached territory already received bad publicity among opponents of the French court. If there was not a new breach of support, the venture was already retracted and perhaps scraped. It was the Minister of the Marine de Chasseloup-Laubat who managed to rally the Admiral governors of Cochinchina and a group of other French Colonists to stand ground in convincing the French court, to keep the unprofitable venture on going. Due mostly to the political impact, their persistence however paid off. Presented by a handful of court lobbyists, the colonization package made itself appealing to both the court and the general audience. Emphasizing the Christian's expansion into the third world as a mean of civilizing the underdeveloped countries, the presented motive was enough to draw a good support from the crowd. Realizing of the great potential from overwhelmed demand of European countries to get into a commercial intercourse with China, the French colonists knew that the reward would be worth the effort (Notes: The Chinese Incedent). From the start, they knew that China was not interested in France nor any other European country's partnership. At the contrary, China wanted to be in sole control of the sea-trade and had been implementing a strong policy of self-isolation since the Ming' s era. After the fall of Angkor, the Ming Dynasty had launched a big campaing to establish its own sea-trade venture with the West. Its failure however forced China to close down all contact with foreigners. Since then, the Chinese court adopted a conservative approach by conducting its southern venturing sea-trade solely by themselves. The measure obviously created strains on the European venturists to hope for a better future. Most were considering abandoning their ambitious dreams. On the other hand, the French colonist did not lose their ambition and still perceived themselves as capable of forging a relationship with China. Like their European peers who came before them, the French colonists designed their game' s plan to make themselves as the sole winner. To play down their competitors in the fight for the Chinese market, they needed to establish a solid base to launch the colonial works. They saw the colonization of Cochinchina as a must to win the Monopoly Game. They got ahead of theirs rivals through prior contacts with Bangkok and the court of Hue. Evidences suggest that the Nguyen Court, had approached the court of Louis XV (1710-74) for an alliance through the intermediary of a French adventurer, Pierre Poivre (Notes: Letter of Vo-Vuong to Louis XV). Weaken by the Tay-son uprising, Hue was looking for a rising power to rely on. By then, France was itself facing with its own dilemma, which limited its scope of foreign expansion. The French missionaries however took their own initiative to expand Christianity in Cochinchina. A century later, when France emerged as a new European powerhouse under the republican flag of Napoleon Bonaparte and set sail for its worldwide expansion, It is not surprising that Cochinchina was chosen to be the corner stone of its colonization at Southeast Asia. With more or less collaboration of Hue, France transformed Cochinchina into a full-blown colony. They transformed it as a strategic location suitable for conducting commercial activities and launching military missions when needed, to captivate Chinese market. By now, they had extensive connection inside Cochinchina through prior missionary works and were disposed to use them for their advantages. Thank to the Bishop de Behaine' s efforts, the French influence circle broke through into Cochinchina through the court of Hue (Notes: The Initiative of de Behaine). The Minh-Mang' s incidence against the missionary moreover gave them reasonable excuses to invade Cochinchina and transformed it as a colonial base to deal with China (Notes: France's imperial Ambition). The conquest itself was proved to be easy, but the establishment of the Chinese contact remained elusive. The next history of the French Indochina was very much concerning a handful of French colonists who established their colonial rule over the native through the collaboration of Vietnamese workforce.
The Vitnamese Factor *
When the prospectus to make direct intercourse with China failed, the only option left was to exploit Indochinese natural resources. Pressured to tap in a supposedly lucrative Indochinese resources, the French colonists were unprepared and uninformed of the situation. Acquired by earlier explorers who themselves, received from Chinese trading communities along the coast, their knowledge base about the local politics was limited. Among their sources were records of the court of Hue whose had been through many centuries, conducted the same aggressive policy against Champapura and Cambodia. The information that they received from the Ming-manh' s court were particularly inspiring since they were compiled by the Viet colonists, trying to make themselves worthwhile in the eye of their emperor. From the exploration of the Mekong River, they concluded that natural resources were promising and could be profitable enough for the colonialization. Unfortunately, the productivity of the native was not. In 1880, Jules Harmand wrote (HLAO: French Laos: P 47):
We can count on the Annamites, when they will be our subjects, to colonize to our profit a large part of the valley of the great Indo-Chinese (Mekong) River where they will rapidly supplant the debris of decrepit races which inhabited it. By ourselves, we cannot attempt any enterprise in this country, so rich but so unproductive due to the fault of the actual possessors. It is necessary first that the Laotians be eliminated, not by violent means, but by the natural effect of competition and the supremacy of the most fit.
The article was written specifically concerning Laos, but could be applied in a larger scale to the French Indochina as a whole. It conveys the unfitness of the natives, as compared to the Vietnamese, in regard to their possession of natural resssource. In Cochinchina where substance of a great number of Vietnamese migrants could be introduced, violent means through the natural effect of competition was actually applied. In Laos, the same development might have been happening if the mobilization of Viet migrants could be done with less geographical obstacles. Evidences show that the discrepancy had played a big role in the shaping up the French policy toward both native countries during the colonial rule. On the other hand, Cambodia presented another challenge. Its feudatory establishment was strong enough to prevent the French colonist from attempting to take Cambodia as a full-blown colony. In Kambuja Krom (the low land Cambodia) where many centuries of Hue interference had resulted in the loose control of the Khmer royal court, the option of making it a colony was much more viable. Still they could not count on local Khmer administration to perform all the colonial work for them. At the contrary, the French colonists found the Viet migrants to be willing to accept their patronage than the natives. From straight labor to colonial advisors, Viet migrants were chosen over the natives mainly due to their cooperation. It was in this situation that Cochinchina was formed and later united with Tonkin to form the French Indochina. By being the good elements of the colonial system, the Vietnamese societies were able to benefit from the colonial rule the most.
On one side, support groups that were nicknamed as the collaborators helped building the colonization and were rewarded with opportunities to be promoted into the Colonial offices. In the name of progress, they cherished the western ways of life so they themselves and their descendants could enjoy the privilege of becoming new elite of the colony.
On the other side, other Vietnamese groups adapted their lifestyle to the western world while keeping their ancient tradition intact. They were the mandarins or ancient aristocrats who, by aligning their priority to the Western Colonization, benefited the most from both worlds. The non-Vietnamese people, on the other hand, were exploited and deprived the worst possible way of their environment. By resisting the colonization, they were moreover portrayed as uncivilized and incapable to take care of their own countries. While Champa and Prey-Nokor were lost into the French rule, the French authorities then went on to add Cambodia and Laos into the French Indochina. Having not much to play for their own account, the two countries induced into the colonial rule because of their abundance of land and resources. At the same time, France made Vietnam as the second winner of the colonial game.
- HSEA: A history of Southeast Asia, by D.G.E. Hall
- SEAPP: Southeast Asia Past & Present, by D.R. Sardesai
- FPCC: The French Presence in Cochinchina and Cambodia, By Miltone E. Osborne
- EEC:Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam and Muscat in the U.S. Sloop-of-War Peacock, David Geisinger, Commander, By Edmund Roberts
- IH: India A History, by John Keay
- HLAO: A History of Laos, by Martin Stuart-Fox
- BI: The British India, Vikipedia.
1509-1547: The reign of King Henry VIII in England and the formation of Protestant Christianity; 1511: Malaka fell to the Frans; 1558-1603: The reign of the queen Elizabeth in England; 1588: England defeated the Spanish Armada; 1600: The East India Company was formed; 1717: Chinese government tried to make Macao as an emporium for foreign trade; 1839-1842: The first Opium War; 1845: Portugal declares Macao independent from China; 1856-1860: The second Opium War; 1863: King Norodom signed the Franco-Cambodian treaty; 1886: Burma fell into British colony;
- Kublai' s Choice
In his record, Marco' s accounts reflect in general his interest in the world's civilization. In describing each country, Marco never omit to investigate about its particular custom and most of all its religious practice. One important mentioning about the particular custom of both Cathay and Manchi was the cremation being used in many parts of both countries. It is an indication that the practice of Buddhism was widespread throughout China at the time that explains why the Great Khan later changed his religion to Buddhism.
As of the Mongolian leaders, it is customary that they adopted the same religion of their submitted subjects and used it to their advantage.
- the Attack of Gog and Magog
From the interpretation of the Biblical book of revelation, it was usually believed and still is that the attack of Gog and Magog against the Kingdom of Israel should happen at Middle East following the building of the third Temple at Jerusalem. The reference of Israel (Ista-el) by then was referring to the Goddess Ishta, the consort of the Moon God Tsin. It was by no mean a reference to Israel of today.
- The Aryan Root
The association of the Aryan race to the White Folk had been postulated mostly by researchers of European backgrounds. The association of physical appearance had been emphasized as a perquisite to the higher level of cultural development had been later rejected by scholars of more diverse academic schools.
- Religious scriptures
Both the Bible and the Koran provided valuable information about contemporary events during the time that Christianity and Muslim were conceived. However, the complete study should include also the Torah, the Hindu manuscripts and the Sumerian clay tablets, to get more insight of the deep past.
- The Work of Nicolaus Copernicus
It was about the work of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543) on the model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. He introduced this model in his book "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium" (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) in 1543 before his death.
- The early scientists
In ancient time, the scientific discovery was done through the context of religious works. Of less social responsibility, religious laymen spent their free time to conduct experiment to satisfy their own interest. Their works and findings were part of religious contribution to nation overall development and to the whole humanity as well.
- British India and the Moghal Emperor
In 1612, James I instructed Sir Thomas Roe to visit the Mughal Emperor Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605-1627) to arrange for a commercial treaty that would give the company exclusive rights to reside and build factories in Surat and other areas. In return, the company offered to provide the Emperor with goods and rarities from the European market.
- Jules Harmand' s Note
The perception of the European communities in regard to Indochina could be resumed by the Jules Harmand's notice:
We can count on the Annamites, when they will be our subjects, to colonize to our profit a large part of the valley of the great Indo-chinese River [Mekong] where they will rapidly supplant the debris of decrepit races which inhabit it. By ourselves, we can not attempt any enterprise in this country so rich but so unproductive due to the fault of its actual possessions. It is necessary first that the Laotians be eliminated not by violent means, but by the natural effect of competition and the supremacy of the most fit. (HLAO: French Laos: The Dilemma of Development: P.47)
The comment was specific to Lao colonization, nevertheless it reflected the Cambodian situation as well. The opinion was found later widely shared to become the base of the French colonial rule in Indochina.
- Napoleon III in regard to the French Colony
Napoleon III said in his speech in November 1863.
Our establishment in Cochinchina was not the execution of a premiditated plan, but was brought by the force of events. (IHIF: Deuxieme partie: L'intervention Officielle: I- Cochinchina)
- Early Missionary Works
Catholic missionary effort in the Cochinchinese region however, was never particularly successful. This was not merely a result of the persecutions under Minh-Mang, for the rate of conversions remained extremely slow after the French control of Cochinchina was complete and virtually unchallenged.
Still, there were probably no more than twenty thousands Vietnamese Christian in Cochinchina in the period just before the French arrival, out of a total population of 2 millions. (FPCC: The Setting: P. 26)
- Letter of Vo-Vuong to Louis XV
During his visit at Hue in 1750, the French adventurer, Pierre Poivre, brought back a letter from the emperor Vo-Voung addressing to Louis XV.
I write this letter to you, to give you the assurances of my respect. I would be well dispose to form between your kingdom and mine, a tight union that would make them as one. (COCHIN: Chapter Premier: Relations entre la France et la Cochinchine du XVII au XIX siecle: P. 8)
- The Chinese Incidence
The same as their competitors, the French colonists watched closely China in regard to its strategy with the outside world. They saw the Portuguese failure in Chinese politic as an opportunity to launch their own campaign. After many bad incidences, China decided to stop the Portuguese monopoly in accessing to Chinese markets. While Macao was evacuated, only Chinese ships carried all commercial activities with the South China sea.
- The Initiative of de Behaine
The idea of founding an establishment at Cochinchina was not new and many projects of the same nature had been presented at XVIII century by Poivre, Saint-Phalle, Protais-Leroux, de Rothe and Chevalier, but no one was retained. It was due to the tenacity of the eveque d' Adran to win his ideas, across to Louis XVI personal's audience, in front of Montmorin, minister of the foreign affair, and de castries, minister of the Marine. (IHIF: Les Precursors: III- La Premire Collaboration Franco-Annamite: P. 23)
- France's imperial Ambition
The evangelistic favor alone did not stir the French government, not even that of Napoleon III, whose wife, Eugenie, was one of strongest supporters of the missionary lobby. It took the additional elements of imperial ambition and commercial opportunity to convince the French authority in Paris that an expedition should be mounted against Viet-Nam. (FPCC: The Setting: P. 27)