Edited by Anis Chowdhury and Iyanatul Islam
Chapter 12: Viet Nam
John Thoburn* A short political history Colonial rule, and attempts to escape from it, have characterized large parts of Viet Nam’s history. A colony of China for a millennium, Viet Nam rebelled successfully in the tenth century against the declining Tang dynasty ( 618–907), and defeated an attempt by armies of the new Song dynasty ( 960–1279) later in the century to re-impose Chinese control. Limited at that time to the region of the Red River Delta – the area centred on Hanoi – the Vietnamese expanded southwards following the defeat of another attempt by the Chinese to subjugate the country in the ﬁfteenth century. By the seventeenth century the Vietnamese had expanded further south into the Mekong Delta, to roughly the area of present-day Viet Nam and parts of Cambodia.1 The gradual expansion of the French colonial empire into Viet Nam in the mid-and late nineteenth century, ﬁrst into southern Viet Nam and 20 years later into the north, followed earlier involvement in the country by French missionaries and traders. French Indochina comprised Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam, with Viet Nam split into three separate territories: Cochin China, Annam and Tonkin. Cochin China in the south of Viet Nam was administered directly as a colony and centred on the port of Saigon. Annam in central Viet Nam, centred on the city of Hue, and Tonkin in the north around Hanoi and the Red River Delta, were administered as protectorates, with a Vietnamese emperor resident in Hue. In Cochin China before World...
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