French Indochina

Colonization and foreign rule have kept Southeast Asia's national borders in flux for centuries. This map from 1886 shows present-day Vietnam and Cambodia under French colonial rule as well as the kingdom of Siam (now Thailand). (Learn more)

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The current national borders of Southeast Asia were not established until after World War II. What is now northern Vietnam was ruled by China for more than a thousand years, between the second century BCE and the tenth century CE. Then, in the 1800s, France conquered a region including the modern nations of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. France did not withdraw from “Indochina,” as the region was called, until 1954.

In the map shown here, present-day Vietnam is divided into three regions: Tonkin in the north, Anam in the middle, and Cochin China in the south.

Learn more about Indochina, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, borders, and colonization.

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