The French in Indochina
Before French colonization, Indochina was broken up into three independent, separate countries in Asia. They were known as the Khmer Empire (Cambodia), the Laotian Kingdom (Laos), and Vietnam. The Vietnamese were ruled by emperors from neighboring China for hundreds of years before the French took over. The emperors had nominal rule however. One of the old social facts of pre-Indochina included the emperors collecting revenue. But the taxes were extremely modest. According to an old Vietnamese saying, “the edicts of the emperor stop at the edge of the village.” (Ladenburg, p.1) The Vietnamese overthrew their Chinese emperors and became independent because of another social fact—their tradition of armed struggle against foreign occupation. The French will later come to realize this. Another old social fact was that the Vietnamese knew very little of what was going on outside of their villages. This might be looked at as a good thing at first because the people weren’t very much affected by the outside world. However, maybe if they knew a little more of what was going on outside, they possibly could’ve prevented the French taking over their villages. At that time, almost every country in Europe was exploring and looking to colonize. To colonize meant to gain more wealth and land for their country. Secondly, it meant to convert the natives to their own religion. Being Buddhist was another old social fact that the French thought wasn’t working for the Vietnamese, since Catholicism, at the time, was so big in Europe. Because the natives of pre-Indochina paid no attention to the outside world, they didn’t see the French coming.
The men who ruled each village were carefully chosen based on their wisdom, education, and family-life. Because of this, the villages were peaceful. Another old social fact would be that women exercised a good amount of authority and people in the villages obtained an unusually high level...
Cited: Ladenburg, Thomas. "The French in Indochina." Www.digitalhistory.uh.edu.
Www.digitalhistory.uh.edu, n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
Llewellyn, Jennifer. “French colonialism in Vietnam.” Alpha History. N.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2014.
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