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e-book Introduction to the Indochinese and their Cultures

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However, as French rule strengthened after the Franco-Siamese War, development slowly began in Cambodia, where rice and pepper crops allowed the economy to grow. As the French automobile industry grew, rubber plantations like the ones in Cochinchina and Annam were built and run by French investors. Economic diversification continued throughout the s, when corn and cotton crops were also grown.

Despite economic expansion and investment, Cambodians still continued to pay high taxes and in , protests broke out demanding for tax cuts. Infrastructure and public works were developed to some extent under French rule, and roads and railroads were constructed in Cambodian territory. Most notably, a railway connected Phnom Penh with Battambang on the Thai border. Industry was later developed but was primarily designed to process raw materials for local use or for export. As in nearby British Burma and British Malaya, foreigners dominated the work force of the economy due to French discrimination that kept Cambodians from holding important economic positions.

Many Vietnamese were recruited to work on rubber plantations and later immigrants played key roles in the colonial economy as fisherman and businessmen. Chinese Cambodians continued to be largely involved in commerce but higher positions were given to the French. Whatever economic progress was made under the French, it benefited the French and the small class of the local wealthy created by the colonial regime. The masses were deprived of economic and social benefits. Through the construction of irrigation works, chiefly in the Mekong delta, the area of land devoted to rice cultivation quadrupled between and The new lands were not distributed among the landless and the peasants but were sold to the highest bidder or given away at nominal prices to Vietnamese collaborators and French speculators.

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These policies created a new class of Vietnamese landlords and a class of landless tenants who worked the fields of the landlords for rents of up to 60 percent of the crop, which was sold by the landlords at the Saigon export market. The mounting export figures for rice resulted not only from the increase in cultivable land but also from the growing exploitation of the peasantry.

The peasants who owned their land were rarely better off than the landless tenants.

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Peasants continually lost their land to the large owners because they were unable to repay loans given them by the landlords and other money lenders at exorbitant interest rates. As a result, the large landowners of Cochinchina less than 3 percent of the total number of landowners owned 45 percent of the land, while the small peasants who accounted for about 70 percent of the owners owned only about 15 percent of the land.

The number of landless families in Vietnam before World War II was estimated at half of the population. The French had imposed high taxes to finance their ambitious program of public works and recruited forced labor with no protection against exploitation in the mines and rubber plantations, although the scandalous working conditions, the low salaries, and the lack of medical care were frequently attacked in the French Chamber of Deputies in Paris.

The mild social legislation decreed in the late s was never adequately enforced. Apologists for the colonial regime claimed that French rule led to vast improvements in medical care, education, transport, and communications. The statistics kept by the French, however, appear to cast doubt on such assertions. In , for example, no more than 15 percent of all school-age children received any kind of schooling and about 80 percent of the population was illiterate, in contrast to precolonial times when the majority of the people possessed some degree of literacy.

With more than 20 million inhabitants in , Vietnam had one university with fewer than students. Medical care was well organized for the French in the cities, but in there were only two physicians for every , Vietnamese. The first wave of resistance to French rule emerged in Indochina shortly after France colonized the region, with particularly active nationalist movements in Vietnam, more limited and mostly elite-based opposition in Cambodia, and fragmented, often ethnically-divided rebellions in Laos.

Nationalist sentiments emerged in French Indochina shortly after the colonial rule was established. By the mids, French troops established a firm grip over the northern region of Vietnam and in , Phan Dinh Phung, a prominent imperial court official, led a rebellion against the colonizing power. Thuyet took Ham Nghi northwards to the Tan So mountain base near the border with Laos after the attack failed. The Can Vuong movement lacked a coherent national structure and consisted mainly of regional leaders who attacked French troops in their own provinces. The insurrection in Annam spread and flourished in , reached its climax the following year, and gradually faded out by The Can Vuong movement was the first resistance movement that saw all of Vietnamese society, royalty, scholar-gentry, and peasantry, working together against the French.

However, although there were some 50 resistance groups, they lacked collaboration and unifying military authority. Actions taken by the resistance were never national, but the narratives of their struggle against foreign domination were passed down to the next generations.

At the beginning of the 20th century, two parallel movements emerged. Due to French diplomatic pressure, Japan later deported Chau. The French suppressed both movements and Vietnamese revolutionaries began to turn to more radical paths, particularly after witnessing revolutionaries in action in China and Russia.

In , French agents captured him in Shanghai and spirited him to Vietnam. Due to his popularity, Chau was spared from execution and placed under house arrest until his death in The party launched the armed Yen Bai mutiny in in Tonkin, which resulted in its chairman Nguyen Thai Hoc and many other leaders captured and executed by the guillotine. The movement was largely unsuccessful as the governor-general of French Indochina prevented full colonization due to possible conflicts with Cambodians and the monarch became a mere figurehead.

In , Si Votha, half brother of king Norodom and contender for the throne, led a rebellion to dispose of the French-backed Norodom after coming back from exile in Siam. Gathering support from opponents of Norodom and the French, Si Votha led a rebellion that was primarily concentrated in the jungles of Cambodia and the city of Kampot. French forces later aided Norodom to defeat Si Votha under agreements that the Cambodian population be disarmed and acknowledge the resident-general as the highest power in the protectorate.

King Norodom, the monarch who initiated overtures to France to make Cambodia its protectorate in to escape Siamese pressure. Norodom was viewed as responsible for the constant Cambodian revolts against French rule. Unlike in Vietnam, Cambodian nationalism remained relatively quiet during much of French rule. The population had limited access to education, which kept literacy rates low and prevented nationalist movements like those in Vietnam from widely circulating their message.

Cambodian students resented the favored status of the minority Vietnamese. Minor independence movements, especially the Khmer Issarak, began to develop in among Cambodians in Thailand who feared their actions would have led to punishment if they operated in their homeland. The revolt challenged French control over Laos and was not fully suppressed until when Ong Kaeo was killed.

His successor Ong Kommadam became an early leader in the Lao nationalist movement.

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Between and , political unrest in the northern Phongsali Province occurred as local hill tribe chiefs challenged French rule and assimilation policies being carried out in the highlands. At the height of the revolt, the unrest spread to the highlands of Tonkin northern Vietnam and was largely concentrated among the minority groups of the Khmu and Hmong. Although the revolt initially started as a resistance against French influence and tightening of administration, it later focused on stopping the French suppression of the opium trade.

Instability continued in the north of Laos in when Hmong groups, the chief opium producers in Indochina, revolted against French taxation and special status given to the Lao Loum, minorities in the highlands, in a conflict known as the War of the Insane. Hmong rebels claimed that both Lao and French officials treated them as subordinate and uncivilized groups. They were defeated in After the revolt, the French government granted Hmongs partial autonomy in the Xiangkhouang Province.

Skip to main content. European Imperialism in East Asia. Search for:. Indochina Pre-French Indochina The diverse cultures of what would eventually become French Indochina traced their roots to pre-modern kingdoms and empires. Learning Objectives Describe the cultures of Indochina before French colonialism.

Key Takeaways Key Points In the pre-modern era, significant parts of the region that would later become French Indochina belonged to what was known as Greater India. For more than 2, years, what was to become Cambodia absorbed influences from India. The Khmer Empire, with the capital city in Angkor, grew out of the remnants of Chenla, becoming firmly established in After a long series of wars with neighboring kingdoms, Angkor was sacked by the Ayutthaya Kingdom and abandoned in The period that followed is today known as the Dark Ages of Cambodia, the historical era from the early 15th century to In the 19th century a renewed struggle between Siam and Vietnam for control of Cambodia resulted in the Siamese—Vietnamese War — that placed the country under joint suzerainty.

In , Lan Xang collapsed into warring factions for the next years. Internal conflicts between local lords divided the country that eventually fell under the French rule. Key Terms Dark Ages of Cambodia : The historical era from the early 15th century to , the year that marks the beginning of the French Protectorate of Cambodia. As reliable sources for the 15th and 16th century in particular are very rare, a fully defensible and conclusive explanation for the decline of the Khmer Empire, recognized unanimously by the scientific community, has so far not been produced.

To varying degrees, these entities were transformed by the acceptance and induction of cultural and institutional elements of pre-Islamic India. Indochina : A geographical term originating in the early 19th century and referring to the continental portion of the region now known as Southeast Asia. The French Protectorate in Indochina To ensure their presence in Southeast Asia, the French used the pretext of anti-Catholic persecution in Vietnam to take advantage of the internal weaknesses of Cambodia and Laos, establishing a colony with the predominant goal of economic exploitation.

Learning Objectives Analyze the French reasons for establishing a protectorate in Indochina.

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It was not the first incident of this nature but this time, it coincided with the Second Opium War. What began as a limited punitive campaign known as Cochincina Campaign ended as a French war of conquest. Validity: 6 May - 20 Dec Offer Detail: Book minimum 60 days prior to arrival date, receive special rate. Thank you for organising a fantastic holiday for our family in Vietnam. It was the perfect mix of cities, beaches, culture and activities.

We were very happy with all the accommodations you arranged and we really enjoyed the guides. I wanted to send my personal thanks for the difficult and extensive arrangements. I thought the guides were exceptional in Vietnam.

All in all I consider the trip a success! We were really impressed with the accommodations and experiences that Trails provided. We had terrific guides that were knowledgeable and seemed to be as interested in us as we were with them and the places we visited. Thank you very much for arranging such a good set of tours and guides for us.


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We would definitely come to Trails of Indochina again if we wanted a further tour of this part of the world. You and your staff put so much effort into making this my trip of a lifetime; one I have dreamed about for many years. How do you simply say "Thank You" to a journey which has left footprints in our hearts? I was very pleased with the guides from Trails of Indochina. All of them were very knowledgeable and willing to share what they knew about the places we were visiting and the culture of Viet Nam, and each had a personal area of interest that added even more depth.

Pre-French Indochina

Please enable javascript in your browser!!! A culturally and geographically diverse country offering something of interest for everyone, from adventure to wellness Vietnam's long and complex history includes Chinese, Japanese, French, and American influences adding to the intrigue of the country Vietnamese cuisine is as varied as the country itself, from sweet flavours in the south, spicy cuisines in the centre, to simple ingredients of the north The open and welcoming smiles of the people leave a lasting impression on all visitors.

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