The early days - 1000 years of chinese domination- Liberation from china - China bites back - Le lo enters the scene - The coming of the europeans - Lording it over the people - Tay son rebrllion - The last of the nguyens - The french takeover - Independence aspiration - WWII breaks out - A false dawn - War with the french - A separate south vietnam - A new north vietnam - The north south war - Enter the cavalry - The turing point - Nixon his doctrine- Other foreign involvement - The fall of the south - Reunification of vietnam - Opening the door - Vietnam today


France's military activity in Vietnam began in 1847, when the French Navy attacked Danang harbor in response to Emperor Thieu Tri's suppression of Catholic missionaries. Saigon was seized in early 1859 and, in 1862, Emperor Tu Duc signed a treaty that gave the French the three eastern provinces of Cochin china. However, over the next four decades the French colonial ven­ture in Indochina was carri ed out haphazardly and without any preconceived plan. It repeatedly faltered and, at times, only the reckless adventures of a few mavericks kept it going. The next saga in French colonization began in 1872, when Jean Dupuis, a merchant seeking to supply salt and weapons to a Yunnan’s general via the Red River, seized the Hanoi Citadel. Captain Francis Gamier, ostensibly dispatched to rein in Dupuis, instead took over where Dupuis left off and began a conquest of the North. A few weeks after th e death of Tu Duc in 1883, the Fr ench attacked Hue and imposed the Treaty of Protectorate on the imperial court. There then began a tragi-comic struggle for royal succession that was notable for its palace coups, mysteriously dead emperors and heavy-handed French diplomacy. The Indochinese Union proclaimed by the French in 1887 may have ended the existence of an independent Vi etnam es e state, but active resistance con­tinued in various parts of the country for the duration of French rule. The expansionist era came to a close and the Vietnamese were forced to return territory seized from Cambodia and Laos. The French colonial authorities carried out ambitious public works, such as the construction of the Saigon-Hanoi railway, the government taxed the peasants heavily to fund these activities , devastating the rural economy. Colonialism was supposed to be a profitable proposition, so operations be­came notorious for the abysmal wages paid by the French and the subhuman treatment of Vietnamese workers. Out of the 45.000 indentured workers at one Michelin rubber plantation, 12,000 died of disease and malnutrition between 1917 and 1944. Shades of King Leopold's Congo.