The French Indochina

Project: The French Indochina
Author: Lem Chuck Moth

Started date: August/01/2010
Last updated: January/01/2011
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.

Failing to find Cambodian converts in Cochinchina, the French Missionaries met even with greater setbacks in Cambodia. The bishop Miche reported that the only way to advance Christianity in Cambodia was through the purchase the freedom of slaves (Notes: Christianity in Cambodia). Still the lack of success had not discouraged the French missionaries to be more active in the Buddhist kingdom. Perhaps thinking that converts were easier to come by under the French Colonialist rule, they spent their last effort to make French colonization happening. They did it by incorporating themselves in the Khmer king's circle and acted like long-distance liaison to the French court. The Bishop Miche himself was active in seeking to involve France with the internal politic of Cambodia and was already regular to the Khmer court. In 1853 he had written allegedly on King Ang-Duang' s behalf, a letter addressed to the French Emperor. The letter offered King Ang-Duang' s homage to Napoleon III and informing the latter of the situation that the Nguyen court was taking control of Prey-Nokor. It has no mentioning whatsoever of the Khmer King 's request for protection or something else of that nature. At the contrary, he expressed the hope that France would delegate back the territory of Prey-Nokor and its surrounding to Cambodia. Not only that his wish never been materialized, but the letter appeared to provide the French Colonists more viable supports to make their cause. For many observers, the request was the start a relationship that hook Cambodia to French protectorate. To Mr Montigny, the King of Cambodia's request for help (even not the kind of help that Cambodia received from France) justified the French colony to the court of France. As presented to Napoleon III, the colonists included everything that might help in their quest to make Cochinchina' s colonization happening. When presented, the court of France showed itself little favorable for the project that was apparently had no impact on France's future. It is doubtfully that Napoleon III himself ever saw the letter and knew or cared to know about King Ang-Duang's real intention (Notes: King Ang-Duang' s Intention). Nevertheless he authorized the invasion of the Nguyen court of Hue and, knowing it or not, embarked on an aggressive policy that helped to shape up the formation of the French Indochina in the long run. Indications show however that his court was isolated from its Southeast Asian colony, very much so that most colonial policies were made locally at Prey-Nokor. At the same time, evidences show that the French colonists took all the energies and initiatives on themselves to establish and maintain the colonial enterprise. They did it mostly on their own accounts and rewarded themselves with side benefits, however generated from the colony (Notes: The colonial Initiative).
The Works of the Colonists
By now, the competition for Southeast Asian market had reached a saturation point that forced the European companies to look for opportunities elsewhere. To keep up with their grow rate, companies had to find fresher markets and had relied to their government to provide necessary supports for their messy venture. Both English and French colonists knew that clashes between them were unavoidable if they could not find some ways to release their tension. They saw in China as the potential solution to their dilemma and without hesitation went for it. They soon found out that serious obstacles were awaiting ahead of them. As we had argued, China was just recovering from their bad venturing themselves from the Ming era. In addition, many centuries of protectionism made Chinese market even tougher to crack. To overcome the obstacle, the French knew that they had to have a secured ground to launch their commercial campaign and most importantly a strong military base to break the Chinese resistance. The French first took hold of Cochinchina to launch their first attempt. If they did not fail to make commercial intercourse with China at the first place, the colonization of the rest of Indochina might not be happening. At the contrary, failures drew them deeper and deeper into the unpromising venture. Pressured by Paris to cover up their cost, the French Colonists had to come up with different ideas. Unable to cash-in from the projected lucrative sea-trade with China, they were forced to turn their focus on generating revenues from other means. Following the same fate as the Nguyen court, the French failed to benefit from the sea trade. The natural resources and the agriculture were so far the only source of revenues that they could count on at least in the near future. It was a venture that requires extensive labor for the ground works and the French would need all the helps from the locals as much as they could get. Unfortunately, they could not count on the Cham and Khmer locals to solve their problems and had to rely heavily of the Viet migrants to carry on the task.
Circumstances of which French had chosen Cochinchina as the corner stone of its colonization were undeniably due to the prior works of French missionaries. While the Bishop de Behaine worked for Nguyen Anh to restore the Nguyen court at Prey Nokor, the Bishop Miche helped the Khmer King Ang-Duang to write a letter of petition to Napoleon III to request back Cochinchina from the Vietnamese control. These contradicting maneuvers suggest that the French colonialists used missionaries to play both sides of the conflicting parties. Neither the Cambodian nor the Vietnamese court of Hue was strong enough to stop the French campaign, but playing a supporting role allows the latter to benefit from the colony. By cooperating rather than fighting the colonization, Vietnam became French collaborator and later was made as French beneficiary. In promoting its own agenda, France gave green light to the Viet communities to expand themselves at the expense of Cambodia. At the contrary, by standing against the colonization, Cambodia became prey of both French and Vietnamese aggressive maneuvers.
The Cochin's Legacy
There are still hot debates about the French reference of Prey-Nokor as Cochinchina that became well known to the western communities, during the rest of French Colonization. On the fact that the Cochin' s identification had been used as a reference to the southwestern part of India before the French Colonization even started in Southeast Asia, it was thought that this legacy of South India was brought by the French and implanted in Prey-Nokor. The Cochin of Indochina might present itself to the French and the Western World the same setting as the South Indian Cochin seacoast. Both were seashore's communities where important international trades were taking place. To make the difference between the two regions, they called the western Cochin as Cochin-India and the eastern Cochin as Cochin-China. From Europeans source, we know that the word "Cochin" was not of French origin but was already known to the West since the early sixtieth century, even before Dai-viet colonized Prey-Nokor. Because the European arrival to Southeast Asia only dated after the occupation of Dai-viet over Champapura and Prey Nokor, western sources often made the wrong connection between Cochin to Dai-viet. From the perception that Jin or Tsin meant to be China, Cochin was thought at first as a southern part of China that was Tonkin proper. Needless to says, there were other views as well that tie down the word to a specific Dai-viet's legacy (Notes: Cochin as a Name of the Nguyen's Princess). Nevertheless, clarification was made through the French School of Southeast Asian study that the Cochin was in fact Cambodian by origin (Notes: Cochin as French Colony's Reference). Etymologically, the word "Cochin" is a derivative of the word "Ku-tsin" which is in close connection with the word Chenla (Tsin-la) was referring to the Khmer identity of Prey Nokor. As we had argued, Chenla was a Chinese reference to the Kumeru or Khmer's communities of Lin-yi (The Chenla Empire: Introduction). This was confirmed by the American diplomat in the mission of setting up commercial relationship with the court of Hue. They arrived at Turan's Bay at the beginning of the year 1833 and identified Cochinchina to be at the location of the Turan Vijaya at the south of Hue, and was already in place before the French Colonization. Their mission was to approach Hue, then under the reign of the Nguyen emperor Minh-Mang, for commercial intercourse with the newly formed United States of America. According to their description the inhabitants of the region were mainly the mountainous tribesmen of Khmer-mon stocks called the Mois by the Vietnamese. Their terrace culture was resorted to, in raising upland rice (EEC: Chapter XV: Products). However the Cochin country after the French occupation was actually extending to the Southern part of the Mekong Delta, known as Prey-Nokor and was inhabited mostly by the Khmer communities. Their root could be traced to the Kajin or Jin tribesmen's migration from the Himalayan footstep into the plain of Indochina as early as 2300 BC (Prehistory: The Move toward the plain: The Moi forts and the Kajin migration). The migration, as we have argued, brought the Jin' s legacy from the footstep of Himalaya to spread in Indochina. Since then the reference to the Jin, along with the Kunlun identity, was found in Chinese texts in reference to the Khmer-Mon tribesmen of Southeast Asia. The same way that Chenla was used officially in Chinese records, as a reference to the Khmer country, Cochin became the popular reference of Chinese merchants to the Khmer communities of Prey-Nokor. As we had argued, it was the progenitor to the modern Khmer Empire of Angkor and became since one of its important cardinal states until its decline. As well as it was the seat of Khmer kamboja Krom (the lowland Khmer) Prey-Nokor was still known to China as Tsin-la or Ku-tsin. The last stage of the Nguyen's Vietnamization included Chinese settlers under the leadership of Mac Cuu as subject of the Nguyen's court. Their ancient habit of calling the region as "Cochin" perhaps persuaded the French authority to take it as the official name for their new colony.
The French Invasion
When Napoleon III gave his authorization to invade Vietnam in 1858, the Nguyen court was on the verge to collapse. After winning the control of Vietnam, the Nguyen soon found themselves in the same situation as the defeated Tay-son Brothers. Under strict Chinese court policy, sea-trade beyond Ha-tien was only open to Chinese ships. With no sea trade to carry on their own, the Nguyen court depended totally on the support of China and was acting as nothing more than a Chinese southern guarding post. Their main mission was to guard against piracy and to secure Chinese monopoly by discouraging European ships to pass through to China. The main revenue that the Hue's court could immediately count on was not from the sea-trade, but from the agricultural harvest of Tonkin and Prey-Nokor. That explains the hostility from both the Viet communities of Tonkin and the Khmer peasants of Prey-Nokor from the heavy taxes imposed by Hue. As noted by the American diplomats of the Peacok mission, the Nguyen court was facing with potential uprising everywhere that they laid their hands to. The absence of any initiative for a big scale rebellion as in the time of the Tay-son brothers was thus the only reason that spared the Nguyen court from falling. To make the matter worst, the Vietnamization conducted during the reign of King Minh-Mang deep inside Cambodia had been driven out by Cambodian uprising and later by the coalition force of Bangkok and the Khmer King Ang-Duong (The Kingdom of Cambodia: The last court of Udong: The reign of the King Ang-Duang). From now on, the Hue's court was cut off completely from Cambodia's resources and never again recovered. Inheriting a serious deficiency from his ancestor Minh-Mang, the reign of the next emperor Tu Duc (1847-1883) was destined to be doomed. Under the pressure of its western enemies in joint force, Hue had nothing to fight for. The French attack by all means was conducted at the right time and needless to say was yielding an easy victory. According to the original plan, it was supposed to be at first a punitive campaign of earlier missionary persecution by the late Nguyen emperor Minh-Mang. But the outcome was so compelling that the French colonists would be regretting if not taking the opportunity to go ahead for the full occupation. Started in 1861, the invasion only took one year to complete. In 1862, Hue conceded three southern provinces that were part of Cochinchina to the French control. As we shall see, French invasion did not stop there and their next target was Cambodia. It came at the exact moment that Cambodia was experiencing the worst of its internal crisis. After the death of King Ang-Duong, the Khmer court was once again disintegrating. Between aggressive neighbors that took any slight opportunities to wrest for its land and resources, Cambodia was at the mercy of the French colonists. Many scholars believed that the French invasion saved Cambodia from its unavoidable extinction. We need more study to explicit the French government' s involvement in the colonization, but for sure the French colonists had many objectives in conquering Cambodia. Evidences so far show that saving Cambodia from extinction was not one of them. It was true that the French intervention stopped any further aggression of Siam on Cambodia, but at the same time the French colonists also discouraged or stopped altogether the Khmer' s laying claim to lost territories. At the contrary, the French colonists worked for the benefit of Vietnam as they were active in the Vietnamese initiation of Cambodian land concession. We shall see that their preoccupation was more about their own interest and there were times that the extinction of Cambodia was considered as better suit their interest. After the original plan of using Indochina as a commercial open gate to China failed, the next plan of exploiting Cambodian resources had nothing to do with Cambodia's wellbeing. It was already well known to the colonists that they could not count on the natives for anyhelp to the colonial work of that regard. Like the Laotians, the Cambodians were perceived to be too snobby, if not too lazy, to render benefit to the colonists. Of their rich resources received from God, they were nevertheless happy of their simple life style and left the resources very much unexploited.
The Colonization of Cochinchina
As we had argued, the French Colonization of Cochinchina was further complicated by the ambition of the Nguyen court and the Viet communities as a whole. By now, past experiences would make the Viet becoming expert in handling foreign intervention. From the rise and fall of each Chinese dynasty, Vietnam not only persevered but also thrived. The control of Chinese courts for many centuries developed in Vietnam a codependency syndrome that, in the right time and place, manifested itself in good favor for the new nation. Beside aggressiveness, Vietnam had all the stamina and military mentality to fight for its own account. More to their advantage, they knew all the strength and weakness of the world powers and did not hesitate to manipulate them for their own benefit. As they have done in the past, they were at first the best allies that a foreign country could ever found and count on. However, when opportunities came, they shook themselves quickly of the yolk and after it was done, they always made sure that they were not left empty handed. Starting from the Han Dynasty, Tonkin' s constant fight with Angkor was due to their ambition of expanding themselves to the south. After the fall of Angkor, Dai-viet saw in the rise and fall of the Ming Dynasty another opportunity to realize their dream. After taking of Champapura, the next catalyst that helped move Vietnam to the next stage of their southern expansion was the French colonization. It started by the retaliation of the French government against the last Nguyen emperor Minh-Mang in trying to abolish French missionaries on the territory controlled by the Hue's court. To do that, the French took advantage of the request from the Khmer King Ang-Duang to free Prey-Nokor from the Nguyen family. Instead of handing it back to Cambodia, they hold it under French control and transformed it into a French Colony that served as base for future expansion into the mainland. To make the matter worst, they allowed more settlement of Viet migrants and expanded the southern frontier of Cochinchina deeper into Cambodian territory. They drafted the new land concession as part of over-all French colonization that included later Tonkin and Laos. The second phase of French Colonization, especially what was concerning Cochinchina, had little connection with the Missionary work. Their first assignment of avenging the French missionary, exterminated by Minh-Mang, was already forgotten. To the court of France, the Nguyen Court was politically eliminated and was no longer acting against the missionary. In the background however, their network was in full force. They blended themselves with the Chinese aristocrats who, through cooperation with the French authorities, made themselves richer than they ever could by their own mean. Instead of being punished, they were back to their past vigor in acting as colonial partner. Relatively isolated from their country, the French colonist needed their support in providing them with people resource to carry on their ground works. Both the French authority and their Viet subordinate agreed that the super-active Dai-viet people were needed to replace the Khmer and the Cham natives who were perceived as unproductive and to make the matter worst anti-colonialist (FPCC: The Old Colony-The Countryside). One of their high priorities was the land concession and the re-population of Cochinchina.
In promoting land development in Cochinchina the French followed a traditional Vietnamese policy for the south but on a vastly different scale. At the frontier, the south of Vietnam had received an influx of Vietnamese immigrants, who slowly but effectively dispossessed the Cambodian population of sole use of the land.
Through hash measure, the Nguyen court had been in control of the fertile land of Prey-Nokor but the rural part, especially at the frontier with Cambodia was still off limit to them. Through corruption, they succeeded in inducing the French colonists to complete what they had failed in the past. In their joint venture, they conditioned Cochinchina not as part of Cambodia but instead as part of the new Vietnam.
After the formation of Vietnam, Cambodia was virtually isolated from the commercial activity of the South China Sea. The lost of Prey-Nokor and the Siamese incursion of its southern provinces set Cambodia to be completely disable in the sea-trade activity. Compared to the new Vietnam, Cambodia generated no interests to France as a go between with the Chinese commerce. To make the matter worst, the French achievement in Cochinchina came a little too late. The English-Chinese opium wars already ended in favor for Britain to open wider trade opportunities with China in 1860. In any time soon, England would let France use Cochinchina to get unfair advantage in direct trade that undermined its new treaty with China. The occupation of Cochinchina however allowed the French colonists to look for alternate channel into Chinese market through different route. It was this high expectation, initiated by the presentation of Francis Garnier, that drove France to occupy Cambodia (The Kingdom of Cambodia: The Rediscovery of Angkor: The consequence of exploration).
The Misconceptions
Like the Mongols had shown the way, Yunnan was in a position to allow Kubali Khan to conquer China. To France, Yunnan was the gateway to reach Central China trough already established land routes. The only obstacle to conquer was to find a connecting way between Cochin China and the Chinese continent. The mystic Mekong River appeared to provide them with viable solution. Because of its geographical importance, Cambodia became then the French Target.
The country bestrode the great Mekong River, seen by Frenchmen in the first days of their presence in Cambodia as a route to the riches of China. (FPCC: Cambodia before the storm (1863-1883): P. 177).
After king Norodom signed the Franco-Cambodian treaty in 1863, the exploration over the Mekong River was immediately organized. The trip was conducted under the stewardship of Doudard de Lagree and Francis Garnier in 1866. To the misfortune of French colonist, it ended with disappointed discovery. The Mekong River was not navigable for a direct merchandise transport to China as thought. As the hope of making direct contact with China dashed, the French colonists were pressured to justify their costs of staying in Indochina. Failing to cash-in from their new endeavor, they nevertheless need to find some success stories to justify their missions. Vietnam obviously presented itself as one of the French colonist big achievement that could be favorably presented to Paris. It was by far a favorite topic for exciting French people to support their colonization. The Vietnamese colonization has so far produced a much greater literature on that country than has been the case with Cambodia. The limited success in Cambodia, on the contrary, presented embarrassments. Adding to their problems, the failure to open trade with China through the Mekong River was another blow to their credibility. To prevent further disappointment that undermined their mission in Southeast Asia as a whole, the French colonist did what they could to stop unflattering information to the French audience. French researchers interesting of Cambodian history have had to remain content with the writings of the earlier French scholar-administrators. With all their special bias, they presented Cambodia as having nothing of importance to consider with. As a result, the French interest in Cambodia was very much subsidiary to its more immediate involvement in Cochinchina. Needless to say, any of the general comments made about the unwarranted neglect of the history of Cochinchina in the second half of the nineteenth century applies even with greater reality to Cambodia. To make the matter worst, we shall argue that Cambodia' s background also presented serious challenge to the French occupation. Without proper information, misconceptions were the norm that prevent the French people of good intention to get better view of the real situation, let alone to intervene in changing the course of French Colonization in Cambodia. Stemmed mostly from the lack of western general education about eastern world as a whole, the misconceptions were so deep that Cambodia became victim of its own past. Contact in the fifties from missionary accounts, and the preliminary exploration of the early sixties gave the impression of Cambodia as a run-down kingdom, infested with internal rivalries. Though true according to current situation of Cambodia at medieval era, its long past history was mostly kept close until the last stage of the colonization. To make the matter worst, the fall of Angkor was so complete that to any Westerners, Cambodia was having no civilizations at all. The word "Indochina", by all-means, indicates a geographic locality between India and China, but to westerners, its cultural and political infrastructure was regarded until recently as nothing more than a transition between the two continents. When the French colonist presented their proposal to the French court, they made believe that they would actually bring Cambodia to Civilization. It was in the narrow sense that the Cambodian had to adapt their lives according to the Western World, as did the Vietnamese. To start they needed to honor French treaties and followed French recommendation for change. When that did not happen, reports from Cochinchina to Paris stressed out the Cambodian resistance as the primary cause of the French noble mission' s failure. The refusal of King Norodom to honor the agreements of 1877, in particular, had its special effect in its presentation at Paris. The reaction was enough to shift the blame from the real failure of the colonial initial missions.
The Court of King Norodom
A major misconception in defining the role of the Khmer court as part of the French Colony was about the personal life of King Norodom himself. In Khmer tradition of post-Angkorian era when conservative measure was taking hold, king's personal life-style was off limit for judgment and was wrapped into a complex system of protection. In western culture, especially during the liberal procession of the revolution of the late medieval era, kings and state rulers alike were exposed to the small detail of their personality, education and family's life. It is important to note that France was fresh from its revolution against royalist and its policy in Cambodia was the same. After the elimination of kingship, French population in particular was very critical to the royal court of the rest of the world. When the French colonists took hold of Cambodia, one of their first campaigns was targeting against the Khmer King himself and used him for scapegoating of any of theirs failures. To the general French readers, misconceptions about the Khmer court, king in particular, were at first so deep as presented to them by the majority of the French publicists. It is expected that any accounts of Khmer royal court were to be exposed the worst possible way to fit the interest of the French readers. Added to the secrecy of the Khmer court, wild speculation was freely circulated. Comments from the French Authorities who were regular to the Khmer court, were however fair but were often shunt to the mainstream of the French politic. With more acquaintance of the Khmer court, it is possible that many French insiders of the Khmer court had made serious adjustment to their original opinions.
We will be wrong to believe (with the great majority of French publicists) that Norodom is a king in the African style, easy to amuse and distracted from his heredity rights with necklaces of glass beads and music boxes. Norodom was born and raised in the court of Siam, where he gained a great sense of Asian politics and a very high appreciation of the nobility of his race. One may say, without deceiving oneself, that he is the first Cambodian of his kingdom, if he was not the only one. (FPCC: Cambodia before the storm (1863-1883): P. 178)
From the intimate acquaintance, their comments were useful to provide us with inside look of the Khmer court's politic in regard to the subordination with both Siam and France. In an interesting comment on the establishment of the protectorate, the appointed French representative Jean Moura observed that King Norodom resented the tribute to Siam (Notes: The Tribute to Siam). It is important also to note that since the reign of King Ang-Eng, there were virtually no military campaigns between Siam and Cambodia. One could argue that the lack of skirmishes was because the Vietnamese influence over the Khmer court lessened. A closer look would prove otherwise. King Ang-Eng was crowned by the Siam King PutyotphaCholalok (Rama I) at Bangkok. Declaring himself as the Khmer King' s foster father, the Siam King took the Khmer court under his care. With internal power-fight between court members and the trouble in the Khmer throne's succession, the Siam King stepped in to solve the problems and awarded himself with Khmer resources. A major military campaign conducted by the Siam general Bodindecho to install King Ang-Duang was conducted in sync with the Khmer uprising to oust the control of Hue. It was so far the only military campaign inside Cambodia that Siam ever exerted itself in Cambodian territory. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the Siamese court took any opportunities possible to gain benefits from their assistance to Cambodia. It was a repeated process all over again that had been done by the Nguyen court to induce the court of Udong into falling in their political trap (Notes: The Loss of Prey-Nokor). By now, the attempts to retrieve back the three long lost provinces had already been forgotten. To no avail, Battambang and Siem-reap were lately manipulated into the control of Siam. On the same setting, the Khmer court was forced to play the same political game as king Jaya Chetha II did between Ayudhya and Hue. As soon as the French took over Vietnam and started to intrude in the Khmer politic, the same joggling game between the Siam Court and the French authority of Cochinchina started. To the Khmer court, it was a bad omen all over again having to play against a new contender, this time much more powerful than the Khmer court had ever played before. It was a clash between the liberal France republic fresh from revolution, and the centuries old conservative Khmer kingdom. As we shall see, the French colonists did everything to obstruct the leadership of King Norodom in an attempt to transform him into a follower, or to the lesser extent a passive supporter of their colonization.
The cultural Clashes
Either by prior planning or by retaliating against past resistance, France started tougher policy in regard to its Cambodian protectorate. The French representant Jean Moura left Cambodia in 1879 and never returned again. In the same year, Le Myre de Vilers arrived to take the civilian appointed position of the Colonial governor of French Cochinchina. His arrival started a complete change of French policy in regard to its protectorat. Ignoring completely the difference between the "new colonized" Vietnam and the "antique splendor" Cambodia, the same colonial procedures that were successfully executed in Vietnam were repeated in Cambodia with no restriction. Taking control of the new colony, De Viler came with the knowledge, perhaps through association with Hue's aristocratic communities, of the last development of Cambodia under the reign of the Nguyen emperor Minh-Mang (The birth of Vietnam: The last court of Udong: The reign of the Queen Ang Mei). During the grim days of the thirties and the forties when the Khmer court was looking for an escape of Siam' s control, the Viet emperor took the opportunities to take the protecting role of the court of Udong. In colonial style, he appointed a Vietnamese general to rule over Phnom Penh. Consistent to the hash policy of the late Nguyen court, the Viet general took the opportunity to propel the Vietnamization' s campaign. As Viet settlements were allowed free in Khmer territory, it took no times for commercial endeavors in Cambodia to fall into Vietnamese monopoly. To De Vilier, it was a success worth considering as a potential political model that proved to be working with the Khmer court. He exerted his own opinion that it is best for the French colonization' s benefit to complete the Vietnamization as soon as possible. If not, he added, we will lose our time in trying to galvanize this race that a fatal law (tradition) seems to have condemned to disappear (FPCC: The Civilizing Missioners: P. 49). In intervening in its administration, we would innumerable difficulties without obtaining any result. De Vilier was right at the first place, as nothing would be simpler to make his jobs easier than to allow the Viet immigration into Cambodia and to take advantage of it as they have done in Cochinchina. The only thing he had ever to do was to leave the frontier wide open. No precise figures exist for the Vietnamese immigration into Cambodia that took place in the Nineteenth century during the establishment of the protectorate and under his rule. However, the continual seepage into the regions about Ha-tien and Chau-Doc had already completed the transformation of those areas into Vietnamese territory. The same could also happen through out Cambodia as de Vilier's policy provided greater encouragement to the immigration of Vietnamese into the country. According to his statistic, he had projected that within fifty years, the Vietnamese would constitute the most important element of Cambodia's population. When that situation had been achieved, he believed that Cambodia and the Cambodians would no longer present a problem. With France's accord, De Vilier went on to enforce his policy and the result was immediate as it failed Cambodia further from the start. Either wrongly informed or simply ignoring the fact that the Vietnamese internal control of Udong was just temporary and soon was facing with uprising, De Vilier campaign was met with the same fate. The French colonists soon found out that they had the same problems as well and despite their up-to-date technology, they could not project better outcome against the Khmer resistance. As we had argued, the decentralized organization worked best to preserve the Khmer identity since the fall of Angkor. As many provincial authorities were still faithful to the Khmer legacies and were willing to fight for the Khmer identity, the central court survived foreign incursion by regrouping back their supports (The birth of Vietnam: The Nam-Tien or the Vietnamization down south: The Vietnamization of Prey-Nokor). It was this decentralized power-distribution that prevented both Hue and Bangkok from inglobing Cambodia whole. Despite some of his short fall, King Norodom knew of what he should do. To start, it was crucial for him to hold the Khmer Kingdom in unity if he wanted to maintain his credential over the provincial governors. To strengthen further his stance, he explored external supports for his cause. French sources show that Norodom was watching events in Tonkin closely and was encouraged by them to resist further French demands for changes. Some other sources even hinted that he had entered secretly into relations with Spain. Despite the agreement negated by Le Myre de Vilers, Norodom still resisted French demands to off load the cost of the Protectorate to his government. His stance however weakened through more French insistence and its change of maneuvers along the way. July 1883 finally brought an agreement that the French administration had worked for a long period of time. It was the first time that the French authority was allowed the take over the collection of taxes over opium and alcohol sold in Cambodia.
The colonization of Cochinchina allowed France to set up a solid base in further progressing their next move. For the Nguyen court, losing Cochinchina was all it took to fail the rest of Vietnam in the battle against French. The invasion of Tonkin in 1873 concluded the French initial stage of their quest for commercial intercourse with China. The population, instead of running away from the French invaders, greeted them as liberators. While his lieutenants secured the control of the Delta, Garnier went on to take control of Tokin administration. Taking control of Vietnam was easy, forcing the trade with China was another matter. With the French military fleet stationing at its front door, China was still not deterred to open its port to France. With Hong-kong under the English control, China had nothing else to offer.
The Heyday of Collaboration
To make up with the loss of Chinese market, the French colonist found in the conquest of Tonkin another important resources needed for their next alternate revenue. Following the footstep of the Nguyen court, the agriculture was what they could count on in the near future. It was a venture that requires extensive labor for the ground works and the French would need all the helps from the locals as much as they could get. The establishment of the Red River Delta Tax Collection system was a matter of setting-up colonial offices. Since the lands were already been exploited to the maximux of its productivity by the land owners, there were no incentive needs to push for more production. In the South, the situation was much more different. In the early rule, the Nguyen court operated as tax collection office for the Trihn. In Champapura, taxes were collected on mountainous tribes by using the same feudal sytem of the old Cham courts. In Prey-Nokor, the Nguyen's success story was due primary to the effort of the French missionary. The first Vietnamese who were prominent in the colonial society by the turn of the century were largely Catholic. They were modern Vietnamese formed by French Missionary out of the very first migrants under French control (Notes: Early Collaborators). Most of the early collaborators died before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. In some cases, their descendants gained wealth and status by remaining firm supporters of the French colonization in Cochinchina. One of their major contributors was obviously the introduction of the roman scripture of the Cok-Ngu in the mainstream of modern education. In replacing the ancient Chinese scripture, it symbolizes a big leap of civilization that is interpreted as a western way of life. To support their cause, the French colonists were looking for men of freewill who were willing to accept colonization as a way to civilization. Fidelity counts more than capacity as they used them to suit their colonization. More often they were employed as colonial official, despise of their modest qualification (FPCC: Establishment of a Framework (1859-1879), P.71).
Through instruction and education, they were in general, infinitely inferior to the old [mandarins], not in the least scholars nor imbued with Confucian doctrine. None of them possessed the traditional training in administration essential for an understanding of the system of the government, the Confucius way.
Conscious of their own position, the new elite intermarried and ensured that their children would benefit from their association with the French by maintaining their own links with senior members of the French administration (Notes: The new Viet Elite). In general, they were not the Vietnamese who rose to financial prominence. They were nonetheless more successful in fitting into French higher society and institution. They were city dweller who conducted their lives the French way and made their living as Colonial functionary. Their societies contributed later to the core of the new Viet Urban resident of South Vietnam, highly noticeable of their western affinity. By linking their lives with the French administration, they became men of power to be promoted for higher office. It is only to recognize their sincere belief in the value of French colonialism and the value of their loyalty to it, that France and later America put forth such high hope on their Vietnamese venturing' s success. Due to their close connection with France, they had never been favorable for the new Vietnamese nationalism of today. But true to themselves, they were as ardent Viet nationalist as their enemies, the Viet-cong. Serving French through clever subordination, their continuos influence obviously helped create the South-Vietnam to stand against both the monarchy and the communist North-Vietnam (Notes: the reverse Influence of the collaborators). At the mean time, they were no less restless than their own mandarin compatriots were when its come to the Vietnamese drive. Even though educated by western standard, they were still as fanatic as members of the Nguyen court who were afraid of nothing to fight for theirs own account. In the current situation, the French colonization would look in the old Nguyen court and its old mandarin communities for backup support. To say the least, the Nguyen court found in the French control better bargain that they ever found as vassal of the Chinese court. On the flip side, the French colonists found in the Viet aristocrats' s cooperation, a sure way to get rich quick through land Concessions of the south.
The Viet Re-population
Under the French controls, the last of the Khmer territory in Cochinchina was made available to new Viet immigrants. In a close connection with the court of Hue, the lucrative land concessions started. Those who turned towards the promise of land in the west were mostly part of the proletariat, eager to leave the mission and their new faith for a piece of land that they could own. So long as they heard of any fresh available land, they would move on and left the church behind. The problem was well noticeable by French observers as early as the eighties and their finding had already been reported to Paris by the colonial administration as early as 1881. To safeguard the missionary work, the Catholic Church had made serious objection as the appeal to the western lands attracted Viet migrants away from the church. In their own report, the missionaries blamed the nomadic tendencies of the Viet people for their failure to find converts.
The home authorities saw it as an inevitable table consequence of the development of civilization. One reason for the increase of this migratory rural proletariat was the French decision that altered the structure and character of the Vietnamese commune.
The French colonists however could not care less about the missionary works and concentrated on increasing benefit from the abundant of fertile lands. Citing their noble mission of civilizing the locals, they were more focusing of making themselves rich. As far as the French people at home were concerned, they were easily persuaded that it was in France's benefit to change land ownership from the natives to the new migrants.
Testimony to the effectiveness of this perennial migration was the hope expressed by French officials in Cambodia that the seepage of immigrants into the country would lead to the eventual "Vietnamization" of the Kingdom. The decay of the Vietnamese commune in Cochinchina, eroded by a variety of French administrative decisions, probably strengthened the Vietnamese urge to move onwards.
Either by design or by circumstances, the land-concession business was by far the only successful venture of early French Colonization of Cochinchina. It was not clear how much France benefited from it, but the free land concession was clearly made the local French colonists very riche. It was the fruit of their hard labors that motivated them all along through out the fight with the natives. The Delta region of the Mekong River was still had plenty of vierge land that the colonists had in their disposition. As they were the first to get hold of the confiscated land, they sold them for their own benefits. The next most benefactors were the mandarin landowners who moved to buy disposed lands from the French speculator. As the price of the lands increased along with high demands, mass mobilization of landowners was the next theme of colonization. Unlike the Nguyen court, French had all its facilities to carry on a big scale migration that the Nguyen court could never have. After they took hold of Tonkin, Viet southern migration was on the top of their agenda. With the colonial development under progression, mass migration was possible as they could move them either by land or by sea. In no time, the Cham and Khmer people of Cochinchina found themselves becoming minority in theirs own land. Ignoring their pleas, the French went further to place Vietnamese officials to control the unruly people. In the land concession deal as well as other arrangement, the French' s temperament of looking for quick revenue overshadowed the impact on local welfare and benefited the most Viet collaborators and mandarins alike. By doing so, the French completed the Vietnamization of Cochinchina for the Nguyen court to take hold after they left.
The wealth Distribution
The wealthy party during the early occupation of the French were obviously not the French collaborators but the mandarins of ancient noble families. Knowing that their time was over, they concentrated on what they did best which was the collecting of wealth. In fact, the Nguyen court had no country to care about and had nothing to lose. Like the French colonists, they ruled over a foreign country and their primary fights were mostly about wealth. Following the French occupation, they were basically anonymous. Nevertheless, they were still allowed to reign even though in symbolic form only. To no avail, they were in secured land and the opportunities to become rich. What they received from the French Colonist in return for their cooperation was much more than theirs ancestors King Gia-long and his son Minh-Mang had ever have on their own. They took the advantage of liberal land concessions to buy up unused lands by French speculators, and became absentee landlords. They then sold it to the higher bid and used their wealth to buy French influence. Venturing with the Viet mandarins, the French authority could not care less about their own missions, let alone the fate of the missionary works. The lost of converts, as they asserted it, was just a small setback of Civilization. With that new direction in mind, they brought Vietnam into a modern society. The mandarins sent their children to imminent schools that only their wealth could accommodate. In cooperation to the French colonists, they secured their social status as both wealthy and educated. In the practical sense, the Nguyen court sustained the aristocratic ways of life by blending themselves into the new societies of westernized aristocratic societies. This time it was not in a foreign country, but in the true Viet environment as they always wanted. As their relationship with the Chinese court ended, Confusianism was by far outdated and useless. In fitting with the westerners, the new mandarins went to the extra length to adopt Christianity. In a perfect consort with the colonization, they brought themselves up in the new society where influence could be bought through back door policies. Even though staying mostly in the background, the Nguyen court was nevertheless sustaining itself very well to last until the fall of the French regime in 1956. It appeared that in the well arrangement with the French authority, everyone got what they wanted and were happy. It was a win-win policy that, at least according to history's books ever written by both western and Vietnamese authors, agglomeration to colonialization was justified as it was very much beneficial to both the Indochinese aristocracy and France. What missing in their statement was the heavy lost of the Cham and Khmer peasants who were ignored during the whole process. In a situation that their homeland was converted into the French Cochinchina, they were left behind to their own destiny. By now they were the minority of theirs own land and were subject to harassment by both the French authority and their Viet collaborators. They needed to work harder to meet the colonial tax requirement imposed on them. Thanks to their feudal system, their identity was still left intact through their strong tradition of preservation. To hold on to their heritage, they were forced to build their close knitted communities and to keep their land they had to go through constant fighting. Villages were moved closer together for mutual protection and the unprotected land were immediately grasped by the settlers. Protected by colonial functionaries mostly of Viet background, the influx of Viet settlers became the next tall tales of the Khmer Kambuja Krom' s suffering. Under the watchful eye of the French authority, Vietnamese settlers fought to own their land at the expense of the native communities. Little that they knew, they became next the subject of exploitation by the colonists themselves. They soon found out that their right to own the wrested land was only in their own imagination and was nowhere found in the French legislation. Their lands were later confiscated back by the French authorities, and as have been done before, were soon put up for sale for the high bid. With no other means of living, most settlers stayed to work as paid laborers and lived in boats. They constituted the majority of population of the French Cochinchina that became South Vietnam of today.
After all previous proposals failed to meet their objectives, the only card left for the French Colonists to play was to make Indochina profitable as it is. For the blame of not being beneficial enough to the French financial demand, a tougher measure for Cambodia had to be implemented. It was the only justification that could draw supports from the French court and to stay in the business. When Charles Thomson became the second civil governor in Cochinchina in 1883, French involvement in Indochina was reaching a critical point. In his position as the French official with authority over Cambodia, he was assigned to carry on the next phase of the French policy.
The Siamese Connection
Under the pretext of King Norodom's failure to control the cost, Charles Thomson set his priority to force the king into allowing French direct handling of the Kingdom's finances. So far, the measure had very little success and the new French governor had to come out with a better game's plan. The next phase of French protectorate was involving the taking down of King Norodom' s resistance. Since the start, King Norodom had been resisting the French initiative of benefiting from its Cambodian protectorate. From the palace's administration to the whole country governmental system, the French colonists were facing with the palace's induced setback. For Charles Thomson, the insubordination of the Khmer King Norodom should be blamed to the Siamese intervention and to the greater extend its English alliance. Since the reign of King Ang Eng, the crowning of the Khmer King had been carried on under the tutelage of Bangkok. Raised by Siamese courts, Khmer Kings were often installed on the Khmer throne by warding off rivalry with the support of Siamese army. Under the tutelage of Bangkok, the Khmer king was crowned after pledging allegiance to the Siam King. Once ruling, the Khmer King was put under strict Siamese control through the incorporation of Siamese delegation in the Khmer court. To counter balance of Siamese influence over King Norodom, the French Governor made the attempt to lessen the king personal authority. The French authority seeks to promote his half brother, the prince Sisowath, to take on more responsibility of the kingdom. Currently held by King Norodom, all the powers would then be shared with the prince. Virtually free from Bangkok, the delegation of power to the prince would undermine the authority of king Norodom and as a result of Bangkok. The holding of the ancient position of Obraja, in particular, empowered the prince with military authority that according to tradition was a ticket to the throne itself. In case of his brother' s death, the prince could immediately move to take the Khmer throne and become the next king under the khmer ancient constitution. To secure further the position of the prince as Obraja, the French authority made his job easier. His responsibility to deal with Siam was taken totally by the French authority. A Franco-Siamese convention was negotiated during 1865 and signed in 1867 to resolve potential conflict between the two nations. Under the agreement, France allowed the two western provinces of Battambang and Siemreap to be in the control of Siam in exchange for Siam's giving up any other claims over Cambodia. It was like giving formal recognition to the de facto control that Bangkok had exercised over the regions since the end of the eighteenth century. It was later recounted that the agreement was according to the French misunderstanding of the last accord done between the Khmer King Norodom and the Siam court before his coronation. It turned out that it was just a wrong interpretation of the accord by the French Colonists and was later corrected after king Norodom expressed his resentment. In a written protest, he noted that he reserved the right, and those of his heirs over the ceded provinces to Siam by France (FPCC: Cambodia before the Storm (1863-1883). The protest enabled France to see that King Norodom' s action was more on his own initiative and not of Bangkok' s pressure. Moreover, they knew then that the king decision was actually the will of his people and that the plans, put on hold until the King' death out of the concerns of his resistane, could never been put in place until they succeeded to change the Khmer Cultural setting (The End of the Meru Culture: The Impact of the Colonization: The Colonial Governmental System). At the mean time, a quick fix needed to be found. Their next action of which the diplomacy of the government of Napoleon III had readily closed their eye, was the expansion of the French colony's frontier to the west at the expense of Bangkok. The Key person was no other than August Parvie who, as a veteran of seventeen year spent on Cochinchina and Cambodia, has proved himself well qualified for the mission (HLAO:French Laos: P.21-23). His determination received the support from the powerful "Party Colonial" of the French Parliament, which wanted to see the frontiers of Indochina extended to the Mekong and beyond. Under the new Governor Jean de Lanesssan, Parvie was appointed as the French consult to Bangkok in 1892 and his primary task was to negotiate Bangkok out of Laos.
The French Laos
The Franco-Siamese treaty appeared at first to be concerning about Cambodian security by preventing Siam's further attack in the short run, but in the long run it was more on safeguarding French interest in the mainland Indochina. It was involving the third party of the Southeast Asia powerhouse England and its new endeavor toward the same colonization's interest. By now, the two rivals were in collision course and the French colonists had to yield to Bangkok while working on strengthening their position in Cambodia. France later retracted the Siam-French treaty after England broke the English-French treaty in 1884 that undermined the security of the French control over Vietnam (Notes: The Luang-Prah Bang' s Affair). In July 1884, after taking control of Upper Burma, English authorities signed with their compatriot French Colonists of Cochinchina a treaty recognizing the latter' s right over the Basin of the Mekong River. Both parties agreed to leave the Shan countries alone as buffer zone with neither French nor English influence. Not long after, the English colonists broke the treaty by laying their hand into the Shan states and at the same time encouraged the Siam court to challenge the French authority of Cochinchina. In the year 1885, the Siam King sent his troops to Luang-Prabang in the pretext of driving out the Hos from the country. It is important to note that since the reign of King Anu, Luang-Prabang had tried to free itself from Bangkok's control and in the process became prey of both Vietnamese and Chinese interference. After taking control of the Hue's court, the French colonists thus regarded Luang-Prabang as under their protection. The Siamese expedition into Luang-Prabang in 1885 set the urgency of the French authorities in Hanoi to make their move into Laos. Under the pretext of safeguarding the French Cochinchina from further Siam-England attack, they started their own campaign to wrest Laos from the Siamese domination. To counter the Siam advance, they first requested the Siam court to allow French consular to be established and to allow French personal to settle in Luang-Prabang. The same accord allowed French national to own land and to pay taxes of the same privilege reserved for Siamese residents in Luang-Prabang. With the agreement from the Lao King, the French went ahead to further amending the Luang-Prabang convention into giving them more position to detach Laos completely from the control of Bangkok. The Siam court retaliated by sending troops deep into French occupied territory to carry on their own control. The situation degenerated until the French Congress voted to authorize the French authorities in launching their own campaigns that included many raid to drive back Siam troops from French controlled territory. The direct attack on Bangkok by French gunboats gave French the final victory. An ultimatum was prepared and sent to the Siam court to comply (Notes: The French Ultimatum to Siam). Its main demand was the reconnaissance of France's rights on the entire left shore of Mekong River and to eliminate all Siam's claim in the region. It also included the amendment, added according to the last minute request of the Khmer court of King Norodom, about the return of the two provinces of Battambang and Siemreap back to Cambodia. In October 1893, a treaty signed at Bangkok by Mr. Le Myre de Viliers, deputy of Cochinchina representing of the French republic and by the court of Siam gave France what they have requested in their ultimatum. The French stood their ground at Chanpuri to take control the Golf of Thailand until The Franco-siam treaty preliminary steps were fully complied. It included the pull of Siam troops from the claimed territory and the return of the native back to their homeland. France then took Laos officially under French Protectorate to form the French Indochina. It took however more reminders from the Khmer court of King Sisovath (1904-1927) for the French governor to take Angkor (Siemreap) and Battambang back from Siam and place them into Cambodia's control in 1907 (The Kingdom of Cambodia: The Khmer resistance: The reign of King Sisowath).
The Opium Trade
The successful venture through Vietnam collaboration allowed the French authority to present rosy picture of French Colonization to the French court which in turn provided more support to the colony. The French court' s blessing was crucial for the next drive toward the full-blown colonization of Indochina. With August Parvie becoming the first Commissioner-general, the control of Laos moreover added successful story for the French authorities to present to the court of France. With the agreement of King Sivavangvong, Luang Prah Bang was treated as a French Protectorate but the king never been accepted as the figurehead of the new unified Laos. In 1895, the country was divided into two regions until four years later when it was unified under a single residence Superior at its first office at Suvannakhet and one year later to Vieng-chan. Unlike Cambodia, Laos presented little resistance to the colonial measures in controlling the country's finance. Since the king did not held the whole of Laos's figurehead status, he was kept mostly in silence during the next colonial development. At first, tax collections were immediately implemented after the take over from Siam. While Laos was made as another favorite of the French Colonists, Cambodia fell further into the colonial pressure and King Norodom was on the verge of giving up his stance. By taking down rebel leaders, the Khmer King fell deeper into the French trap. The French governor then wasted no time in exerting more pressure on him to give up his country' s finance into the colonial care. Of the tax collected, the French seemed to care the most about the tax from the sale of opium and alcohol. The opium was perhaps one of the driving forces that drew Laos into the spell of the French Colony. Unlike Cambodia, Laos was deprived of fertile land, thus the rice field was not one of French great expectation for tax revenue. Added to the dilemma, Bangkok had done all its best to move Lao people from the French controlled area to the Khorat Plateau in an effort to deprive the French colonist of any possible agriculture tax revenues. Left in their high mountainous habitats, indigenous tribesmen were often of rebellious mood. With the removal of the Lao people, the Miao-Yao tribesmen were now able to migrate south in mass numbers. In the past, they were already been involved with Opium production and trafficking for the supply to South Chinese aristocratic communities. In a high-risk deal, the opium trade became lucrative. Under the French government, they were allowed to produce the opium for their own consumption and sold the excess to the French government who in turn sold it to the general Indochinese consumption. Opium shafts were open to the public by the French Colonists who took the sole monopoly in controlling the colonial market. They then set up a system that reserved the sole right for themselves to produce, transport, sale and distribute the merchandise. They fixed the buying and distributing prices and distributed to the local opium parlors. Opened under the government licensing, their revenues were taxed into the colonial treasury. Needless to say, their customers were no other than the local aristocrats of their colony. Evidence show that the Khmer King Norodom and his successor Sisowath were two among the consumers. For the rest of aristocracy, opium became one among the high priced commodities in vogue as their life-style was set by the colonial rule. They could afford to pay for the merchandise, because they had means to source their wealth. With the loose-end regulation, the French created business opportunities for them to grow rich through exploitation and provided them with legal supports. At the mean time they supplied them with European luxury goods that only western high societies could afford. At the exception of the opium that was produced locally and was added to the high commodity list, other luxury goods had to be imported. Alcohol, in particular, constituted one among other high revenues, generated for the colonial government. Nevertheless, the local production of opium was not much a source of income for the French-run monopoly of the opium market, the Regie d' Opium. Of poor quality, the locally produced opium was less pricy as compared to the opium imported from China. To accommodate their clients, the French colonists made their move to take control of opium trafficking. It was the role of the Regie d' Opium to take over the smuggling channel ran by the local Chinese (Ho Chinese) to included as part of their core business. The regulation that led to the clash between French authority and Chinese traffickers in 1914, became later one of the contributing causes to the fall of French protectorate over Laos.

  1. HSEA: A history of Southeast Asia, by D.G.E. Hall
  2. COCHIN: Histoire de la Cochinchine Des Origins a 1883, By Miltone E. Osborne, By P. Cultru
  3. FPCC: The French Presence in Cochinchina and Cambodia, By Miltone E. Osborne
  4. FINCH: French Indochina, by Verginia Thompson
  5. IHIF: Iconographie Historique de L' Indochine Francaise, Documents sur l' histoire de l'intervention Francaise en Indochine, By Paul Boudet et Andre Masson
  6. IHIF: Iconographie Historique de L' Indochine Francaise, Documents sur l' histoire de l'intervention Francaise en Indochine, By Paul Boudet et Andre Masson
  7. VTTA: Vietnam Trials and Tribulations of a Nation, By D.R.SarDesai
  8. HLAO: A History of Laos, by Martin Stuart-Fox
  9. LAOS: Le Laos Francaise, by Eugene Picanon
  10. EEC: Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochinchina, Siam and Muscat in the U.S. Sloop-of-War Peacock, David Geisinger, Commander, By Edmund Roberts
  11. KK: Kamboja Krom: The Power without the Khmer Krom's people, By Trang Chat But.
  1. Chronology
    1750: The French adventurer, Pierre Poivre visited Hue; 1789: The fall of the Bastille; 1793: Louis XVI was guillotined; 1840: Eglish India won the first Opium war; 1842: China ceded Hongkong to British India; 1860: Eglish India won the first Opium war; 1862: Napoleon III gave French colonist authorization to invade Vietnam; 1860-1904: The reign of King Norodom; 1863: King Norodom signed the Franco-Cambodian treaty; 1864: King Norodom was crowned under the French rule; 1866: The expedition of the Lagree and Garnier over the Mekong River; 1887: formation of French Cochinchina; 1893: Formation of French Indochina with the inclusion of Laos into the French protectorate; 1904-1927: The reign of King Sisowath;
  2. Christianity in Cambodia
    It was concerning buying off slaves and converted them to christianity. With limited suceess, the program was met with further setback. Buddhist faith had no prejudice against other religion. Its openess moreover had made it easier for other religious believers to join in than the other way around. On their own conviction, Chinese migrants often go to Buddhist temple to practice Buddhism and still keep their confucianism at home. On the other hand, Christians and Muslims need to stay close inside their communities to practice their faiths. As a result, the new Christian converts needed to live closeby churches that were mostly found in city.
  3. King Ang-Duang' s Intention
    The details of Montigny's sojourn in Kampot, with the efforts by the French countered by the Siamese official's concern to assert their ruler's rights over Cambodia, provide a facial tableau. It is sufficient to note that King Ang-Duang did not make any clear call for protection. A letter that he sent to Napoleon, following Montigny's visit, expressed the hope that France might arrange for the return of Cambodian territories held by the Vietnamese. It did not offer to submit to French control in return. (FPCC: The Setting: P. 27)
  4. The colonial Initiative
    Our establishment at Cochinchina was precarious and the government of Napoleon III, little favorable. It was due all to the diplomacy and organized energy of the admiraux, Charner, Bonard, Page, La Grandiere, encouraged and supported by the minister of the Marine, marquis de Chassloup-Laubat, to maintain and rendred durable our installation (IHIF: Preface: la France en Indochine: P. 8).
  5. Cochin as French Colony's Reference
    The name of Cochinchina, that designate today our colony Annamite of the eastern Indochina, appeared in European geographic at an anterior date when the Annamite haven't passed at the South the region of Qui-nhom and that the Delta of the Mekong river was entirely Cambodian. Maps and texts show that that name was applied to different territories at different time. (BFEO XXIV,1929: Sur le nom de Cochinchine: P. 1: Introduction, Leonard Eugene Aurousseau)
  6. Cochin as name of the Nguyen's Princess
    Many Khmer scholars, for instance, assert that "Cochin" was the name of the Vietnamese princess who was made consort to the Khmer King Chetha II and was blamed for the lost of Prey-Nokor to the court of Hue. According to a Vietnamese source, her name was Lady Ngoc Van, and to the Khmer source, her name was Prah Ang Chau. Due to the temporary grant Chetha II as asylum of Hue's army under her inititive, she received " Cochin" as her nickname. She was then known to the Vietnamese people as "the Queen of Cochin".
  7. Early Collaborators
    Truong-Vinh-Ky was knowledgeable about his country and its history, but his comments on administration are extremely general in character. Tran-Ba-Loc was frequently consulted on major policies issues, but his observation, too, consist chiefly of general criticism of mal-practices at the village level under the ancient regime. (FPCC: Establishment of a Framework (1859-1879), P.69)
  8. The new Viet Elite
    Truong-Vinh-Ky Tran-Ba-Loc, and Do-Huu-Phuong more than any other Vietnamese of their period, moved with ease and confidence through a life that was half Vietnamese and half French. (FPCC:The Old Colony-The Heyday of Collaboration).
  9. The new elite land ownership
    Tran-Ba-Loc, Do-pHuu-Phuong, and Le-Phat-Dac were exceptions. Their land interests assured their families financial prosperity in subsequent years. But this was not the case for either Truong-Vinh-Ky or Truong-Minh-Ky.
  10. The reverse influence of the collaborators
    Tran-Ba-Loe wrote of his relation with the French. If I have served France to this day, it has been so as to able to cover the object of my affections with the shadow of my influence (from P. Doumer, L'Indo-chine francaise: Souvenirs, Paris,1905) (FPCC: Establishment of a Framework (1859-1879), P.70)
  11. The Loss of Prey-Nokor
    In return to the favor that Nguyen Phuc Tan sent his own daughter to be his consort, the Khmer King Jaya Chetha II allowed the Nguyen to take Khmer territory of Prey-Nokor as their southern escape and training ground that led to the lost of Prey-Nokor until today(The birth of Vietnam: The Nam-tien or the Vietnamization down south: The Vietnamization of Prey-Nokor).
  12. The new Treaty with Siam
    In this new treaty, concluded and ratified without French knowledge, the king of Cambodia was referred as nothing more than a "governor", nothing more than a senior official within the Siamese administrative hierarchy. What is more, under this new secret convention, King Norodom was forced to renounce his claims over the province of Battambang and Siemreap. (FPCC: Cambodia before the storm (1863-1883): P. 185)
  13. Vietnamese Concubine
    In a colony in which Frenchwomen were few in number, concubinage was a common arrangement for the inspectors, particularly those posted to the distant rural areas. This outraged Catholic authorities, but critical Church comment seems to have had little effect on the Frenchmen involved in such alliances. In contrast to other colonial situations in Southeast Asia, there is little to suggest that the acquisition of a Vietnamese concubine served as an introduction to the language and customs of the country. (FPCC: Establishment of a Framework (1859-1879), P. 72)
  14. The New Vietnam
    Even during their control, all French public institutions in Saigon, as well as of the whole Cochinchina, were run by French only by name while Vietnamese officials were running the whole operations. During the final decision by the French congress, the southern Vietnamese government, formed by the French, went on to lay the final claim over the rest of Cochinchina.
  15. The Reign of Bao-dai
    In 1948, the French called Bao-dai to return back as Chief of state of Vietnam set by the French during its war with the Viet Minh. Bao-dai spent much of his time enjoying his good life at his luxury residence at Dalat or in Paris. He was overthrew by the prime minister in 1956 and went into exile in France where he died in 1997.
  16. The Quoc-Ngu
    One notable contributions of the Missionaries, which was to play a vital role following the establishment of a French colonial presence, was the development of a system for writing the Vietnamese language in Roman letters. The transcription that the missionaries devised came to be known as Quoc-Ngu, the national language. (FPCC: The Setting: P. 26)
  17. The Tribute to Siam
    It was not the size of the tribute or its value was particularly large; it was the act of tribute that excited Norodom' s displeasure. According to Moura, France's agreement to provide protection without payment was one of the factors that led Norodom to accept the urgings of Admiral de la Grandiere and to sign the 1863 treaty. (FPCC: Cambodia before the storm (1863-1883): P. 186)
  18. The Luang-Prah Bang' s Affair
    In 1884, England occupied Upper Burma and signed a treaty with France " that she recognized having no right on the Shan countries and engaged to consider all the Basin of the Mekong as being part of the French influence (14 July 1884)". Shortly after, the English took over the Shan countries in spite of the convention. In the year 1885, she decided on the king of Siam to sent troops to Luang-Prabang under the false pretext of chasing the Hos, Chinese rebels from Yunnan an Quang-si (LAOS: La France au Laos: la Question Siamoise, de 1886 a 1893).
  19. The French Ultimatum to Siam
    The Ultimatum included (LAOS: Le Laos Francaise: La Campagne de 1893):
    1) the reconnaissance of our rights on all the left shore of mekong.
    2) The indemnity to the family of M. Grosguren and Milician massacres at Kheng-Xice.
    3) the deposit of 3 millions of Francs, to guaranty the execution of these conditions.
    The Siam court had forty-eight hours to response. The same day, the King of Cambodia sent to the French Government and express demand to take back possession of the provinces of Angkor (Siemreap) and of Battambang, taken away by the Siamese from Cambodia, of a misinterpretation of the treaty of 1867.
  20. The Opium Merchandise
    From the first January 1896, the exploitation of the opium on Laos territories had been delegated to the government service. Only the service can buy, produce and sale the opium at the prices and conditions set by the regulation of the government general. Two storage had been built, one at Luang-Prabang and other at Khong. (LAOS: Chapitre V: La France au Laos: L'organisation du Laos)
  21. The Opium Proprietary
    All person holding an opium other than the administration of Laos, the administration of Tonkin or of Annam shall be punished at the amount of 500 piastes and an jail term of five years; the same is applicable to whoever distributing, sale or giving free an smuggled opium. (LAOS: Chapitre V: La France au Laos: L'organisation du Laos)